Why am I a Ba’alat Tshuvah? Why am I a Jew? Why do I believe in G-d?
I believe in Hashem: in His power over me, my life, the world, ongoing creation, etc. I believe that, when I speak and I am alone, I am still being heard.
And even if you took G-d out of it and wanted another proof, I believe it’s a good, ethical, moral, way to live your life; a constant reminder that there is always Something Greater than you in this world.
And because I liked the path on which I started, and I’d like to keep following my path, and I don’t think my path will end. I believe I will always be growing.
And I think every Friday night is best spent singing and hoping and talking and eating with all your closest friends and some neighbors and maybe even some strangers you just met.
And I believe in the curative powers of chicken soup (but that’s pretty universal).
And I believe in the sacred texts and the words of those more learned than I. I believe in gematria and the way numerology just seems to add up. I mean seriously, there has got to be something there.
And I believe that Judaism, that being one of Am Yisrael does involve wrestling with G-d; personally struggling with G-d and with His plans for you. Judaism is wrestling with yourself and your path and each choice you make because Judaism is a religion of mindfulness.
Because Judaism is the epitome of “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” and every possible answer is debated before arriving at a conclusion. And because we really are two Jews with three opinions.
And in the end, Judaism is not just a way to pray or a set of laws. It is a mindset, it is saying yom huledet sameach instead of happy birthday and mazal tov instead of congratulations; it is picking yourself up when you’re down and continuing to build your life, your family, your faith. It is a culture because we are drawn to bagels and lox and to saying oy vey. It is a family, we don’t call each other bubbe, motek, and brother for nothing.
And because, like a moth, I am drawn to light. I am drawn to ner tamid and to the flame of the Shabbas candle. I am drawn to the sparkles in Jerusalem stone and to the joyous occasions in life. But above all, as the Ba’al Shem Tov believed, I see the light in each person.