nine months I lived, worked and travelled around Israel. In this
time I discovered that Israel is an amazing place. To be a Jew in
Israel is an indescribable privilege.
is a religion built on philosophy and debate".
time away taught me that there were probably no concrete solutions
to many of my questions. Instead, through education in politics,
culture, history, ivrit (the hebrew language) and Torah, I realised
that for many of its followers, Judaism is a way of life, a nationality,
and a lifetime commitment and for many a dream or an ideal yet to
be Jewish is to question. It is a religion built on philosophy and
experience of Judaism in the Diaspora had been bland and uninspiring,
a chore that was added to the endless list of things I was supposed
to be doing. It seemed to predominantly consist of a series of meaningless
rituals without purpose or pleasure, inspiring no passion, emotion
Statue of Faith in Israel
time in Israel taught me to view Judaism in a new light. The rituals
laid down in the Torah suddenly came to life. The Harvest festival,
Sukkot, was actually celebrated when the fruit was ripe to harvest,
rather than in the middle of winter when the earth was barren, as
it did so in England.
this time I was introduced to the concept of Kabbalism - Jewish
mysticism and spirituality. I learned that humming a niggun; a wordless,
melodic tune, had the power to lift a person up.
provided me with the sense of spirituality that I had never experienced
in England. Unfortunately I have not experienced it since leaving
Israel. Kabbalism outside of Israel is lost to me, and I to it,
and this is painfully sad.
at home in England, I would not describe myself as a 'practicing'
Jew; I do not attend synagogue and I do not obey many of the laws
referring to food or lifestyle laid down by the Torah.
is the way I choose to live my life, yet the blood that runs through
my veins and the tradition woven into my family life is rooted in
Jewish culture. Judaism is a family orientated religion that brings
people together to live, work, play and pray.