by Sam Golden
Having attended religious school at Temple Rodeph Torah for many years, I have given a good deal of thought to how Judaism pertains to my everyday life. What I do each day as a Jewish adult is a very personal decision and affects many aspects of my life. My Jewish background and teachings are influential in how I make decisions, the different facets of my current life and how I will live my life in the future. A big part of being a Jew means trying to become the best person I can be.
Becoming a Bar Mitzvah has provided me with greater self-confidence and responsibility. In religious school, I learned that Judaism is committed to learning, prayer and acts of loving kindness. I am proud of the Jewish community’s many contributions to social justice and social action. Judaism also stresses the importance of family and community and I think that these are very important. The years I’ve spent at TRT and growing up in a Jewish home have instilled in me the basics of leading a good Jewish life. I intend to pass down these values to future generations, not because I have to, but because I truly want to. Rabbi Weber has explained that the best way to contribute is to pass on what you have learned to the next generation so that the Jewish light never goes out. One special thing I would like to pass on to future generations is my family’s tradition of celebrating the Jewish holidays. Hanukkah especially is one of my favorites because we always get together with my cousins, aunts and uncles and light the candles, exchange presents and eat latkes and other traditional foods at my cousins’ house. I also plan to support Jewish organizations such as Mazon: a Jewish Response to Hunger, which makes donations from the Jewish community to prevent and alleviate hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds. Judaism places a great deal of emphasis on getting together for meals and food and in college, I look forward to trying out Shabbat dinner at both the Hillel and Chabad on campus. As an adult, I hope to be an involved participant in the Jewish community.
No matter how busy I am in the future, I will always make an effort to live Jewishly and further expand my knowledge of my religion. This will require commitment and dedication. I plan to continue my religious education at Temple Rodeph Torah and look forward to attending the Siyyum program in eleventh and twelfth grade.