Date: May 03, 2021 02:54PM
In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in what is now Massachusetts and founded what eventually became the United States of America. What this article ignores is that, previous to this journey, the Pilgrims had been living in what is now the Netherlands--and from what we now know, it is likely that the stay of the Pilgrims in the Netherlands likely resulted in some vital cross-fertilization with the Jewish refugees who had been living in the Netherlands since the late 1400s. (The Jews in the Netherlands had been fleeing Spanish and Portuguese persecution.)
Although Judaism can be analyzed like any other religion can be analyzed, Judaism is not primarily a religion--it is primarily a people (a people which is open to previous non-Jews who have decided to opt in).
I can say, from personal experience (I am, by Jewish law, a convert to Judaism), that most people who decide to become Jews do NOT "do it for the religion." They do it because they want to become part of the Jewish people (a major impetus), because they want to live their lives within Jewish culture (another major impetus)...and the Jewish religion which is an integral part of all this is, at minimum, unobjectionable to them.
Most converts to Judaism are attracted by Jewish life and Jewish culture (not to mention whatever specific Jew they might happen to be in love with ;) ), and the Jewish religion often comes along as an integral part of the entire Jewish "package."
Although some commonality does exist, Jewish values are, in daily life, often quite distinct from Christian values--beginning with the reality that Jews are overwhelmingly UNinterested in what happens after death, while to Christians, what happens after death is a central part of not only their general religious belief, but how they live their daily lives.
Here is a list (I took this from a video on YouTube) of Basic Jewish Values:
1) Value of Life
2) World Peace
3) Equal Justice [in Jewish understanding, this includes thoughtfulness, caring for humans, non-humans, and the planet alike, and etc.--"the root of charity is JUSTICE"]
4) Education (extremely important to almost all Jews both worldwide and throughout history)
6) Social Responsibility
In addition, and for those Jews who choose to pursue the development of their individual selves, there are the middot ("the characteristics or traits of [a person's ordinary, everyday "soul"). There are many middot, and they are discussed in various contexts, but here are some of the ones Jews generally concentrate on:
14) Loving Kindness
It is important to know that these middot are understood in specific ways which do not necessarily correlate with how people in American society, in general, understand them. For example: "Trust" (Bitchon, in Hebrew) has a very specific Jewish religious/cultural meaning that does not apply to everyday English-language vocabulary (because no one Jewish is, in any way, recommending that others be, or become, fools)--and "awe" ("yirah," in Hebrew), in the context of middot, is really, REALLY difficult to attain an understanding of in English since it is not any part of English-language culture.
Lastly: I am going to recommend a video on You Tube which is one of the most startling presentations on American culture and American life I have ever seen. I am a Los Angeles-born American citizen, I grew up totally within an American family, in American culture, my education has been overwhelmingly American, and I grew up (starting at age three) within the entertainment industry (which has been an integral part of my life ever since)--but I never actually understood my own Americanism, or American culture, or the history of the American entertainment industry, until I saw this video.
It is over an hour long, and extremely well worth the watching of every minute of it.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHfGuYiKlF4
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2021 03:02PM by Tevai.