Yahadut: What I Will Do Differently in My Life Because I Am a Jew by Michelle Joseph


Our ark doors at Temple Rodeph Torah have the words l’dor v’dor written on them. This means from generation to generation. To me, Judaism is about passing our stories, beliefs, and traditions down to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, just like my grandparents and parents have. Tradition, tzedakah, and perseverance are three of the most important aspects of Judaism I will want to pass down.


Jewish food that I love growing up with, like latkes, hamentashen, and matzah balls. I want to create a warm Jewish home like the one my parents gave me. I will also continue to be a part of the larger Jewish community, including being active in temple life.

            In addition, my life as a Jew will include giving tzedakah because I strongly believe in the Jewish obligation toward Tikkun Olam. I would like to give charity to homeless people, shelters, animal hospitals, and any cause that needs my help. Even if it’s just giving a dollar at Wegmans for tsunami and earthquake relief, every dollar helps. It is important to give to those less fortunate, because even if we suffer hardships there is always someone who has it worse. 

            One aspect of my life that is shaped by Judaism is that I will not let things get the best of me. I have learned in religious school, throughout my lifetime, about the struggles and hardships our ancestors had to go through in order to keep their dignity and identity. When Haman wanted to destroy Jews, it was Esther who stood up for us. We need people like that today to stand up for themselves and others and not let people get the best of them. This has taught me that whenever someone tries to put me down about myself or my religion, I will stand up for my right to live how I want to live. We are a brave people and we stick together. I will always remember that I am part of a larger community and that I have an obligation to that community.            

Preparing for confirmation, I have had the opportunity to consider all the aspects of Judaism I want to pass on to my children. It has given the words on the ark door more importance to me. I see myself as the keeper of a gift that I will, someday, pass on to my children with love and hope.