Search This Blog

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Inner Jewishness

I don’t remember when I first fell in love with the Jewish race. I remember having a curiosity about Hassidic culture and the Holocaust. However, those two subjects will fail to define all of Judaism and its history. Jewish history, religion, and culture are vast subjects with many ambiguities. I am currently reading a book by Lisa Schiffman called Generation J. The author is a Jewish anthropologist who attempts to define Judaism, while attempting to find her own identity. It is on my top ten list of non-fiction writing.

My curiosity about the Jewish race has grown into spiritual respect and adoration. When I am introduced to a person of Jewish decent, I feel my spirit leap, and my smile broadens. I often hug the person and celebrate their Jewishness verbally. I take them in a tight embrace and say, “I love the Jewish people and I love you!” As one might expect, they often look astonished and confused. Most Jewish people no longer embrace their Jewish culture, so they aren’t sure if they are truly “Jewish”. This is the quandry Lisa Schiffman deals with in her book.
I wrestle with jealousy; I want to be Jewish. Now God constantly reminds me that: A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.(Romans 2:28-29)

However, I still argue with Him. I still voice my discontentment.
He responds: What about Ruth, Rahab, and Tamar? They were of my bloodline and they were Gentiles. What about the woman at the well? I accepted her as a Samaritan? (John 4: 1-26)
I respond, "I know the stories and the theology, but something within me feels insecure and less holy."

There is something dynamic and beautiful about the Jewish people. Not only because the Holocaust or Steven Spielberg. The Bible makes it clear that these people were the chosen people. These were the people God would used to display His glory. I respect our spiritual fathers and I am left to grumble about my obvious Gentile nature.

No comments: