Why be Jewish?
By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,
friedforweb2A few weeks ago, I posed a scenario before you asking what you would answer to someone challenging you for a reason to remain Jewish. I received a few very thoughtful answers, but, alas, only a few.
I would like to restate the question; I’m presenting this as a challenge to all of you! What is the reason you are, and remain, Jewish? Is it just that you were born that way and nothing more? Or is there a deeper reason? Is it something sociological or perhaps spiritual or religious?
Maybe you never really sat down and thought about it, but I think it’s a valuable exercise. This is not just about what you would answer someone else, it’s mainly for yourself!
When a Gentile applies to our Jewish Conversion Court/Beit Din in Dallas, one of the areas they need to fill out in the questionnaire is to write an essay on why they want to become Jewish.
Perhaps it’s easier, in a way, for them to verbalize why they want to BECOME Jewish since they weren’t before, than someone who has been Jewish for their entire life. I’m sure, however, that once you think about it many rich ideas will come forth.
So, I would like to reinstate my challenge to all of you to send me your answers. I would like to share and discuss some of your responses in this forum. I’m waiting with bated breath!
Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel. Questions can be sent to him at yfried@sbcglobal.net.

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