Join in the Dance

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Manhattan’s Upper West Side was invigorated with joy, illuminated by the spirit of those who had come to celebrate millennia of Jewish tradition. Songs echoed through the streets, bodies spun in fervent dance, and amongst friends and strangers, children and adults, the Orthodox and the Reform, a sense of proud belonging pulsated through me.

Although I originate from a family utterly devoid of religious observance, Jewish solely in the sense of cultural clichés, I fortuitously found my niche in the environment of a Conservative day school, where Judaism captivated my interest in an unprecedented manner, incited an unwavering intrinsic passion, fomented my inspiration, and sustained my intellect. Thus, striving to extend my connection to the unifying instrument of religion, I acquired a wealth of Judaic knowledge– familiarizing myself with laws and texts, discovering and challenging myself with philosophies, mastering the Hebrew language, and delving into Israeli politics, all the while developing a strong sense of shared identity. Moreover, as I matured and continued to reinterpret my faith, I established myself as an innovative thinker and leader within my Jewish circle, pioneering a progressive prayer group, Nefesh V’Guf, which focuses on recognizing spirituality through harmonious communal education and connections.

My Jewish identity is shaped by a plurality of influences and serves as a profound component of my character. True, you will not regularly find my family eating challah and chicken soup on Friday evening, yet I am proud to be a Jew in my unique fashion. I delight in immersing myself in the culture of my people, and I find holiness in my steadfast passion and in the perpetuation of my heritage, while always finding personal value in an ancient faith. Within this community I am grounded, I am alive, I am home…I am always welcome to join in the dance.





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