Judaism And Me

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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On September 3rd, I set out for my adventure. For 18 years of my life, I sat quietly at a desk at Temple Beth Sholom in Sarasota, studying about the history and traditions of the Jewish People- My People. When I decided to come to Israel for the year, the decision was not just for a place of study, or a change of pace, but in a way I was making a commitment to the Jews in little Sarasota, Florida that our people would live on. Everyone makes the same speech at their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, "Today I am a man/woman, but today does not mark the end of my studies, it marks the beginning..." And perhaps I meant it a little more than some, and a little less than others, but I meant it. When I heard about Nativ, I knew it was what I needed- a year to find myself spiritually and intellectually, a year before College, but the opportunity to study at the number one school in Israel- Hebrew University, a year to experience the sights and sounds of this Land that we have fought over for thousands of years, that we reenact the Exodus from Egypt to at our Seder, that we pray for in our Services.

And as if that wasn't enough, the chance to work and live on a Kibbutz in the Northern Negev- and truly work the Land. For the past 2 months, I have been living on Emek Rephaim, a quaint, quiet, and very safe neighborhood of the Greek and German Colony of Jerusalem. We have the option of traveling every weekend for Shabbat, and are given host homes for meals or a stay if we ask. My group- composed of 25 students from North America (down from 42...