Most importantly, I endeavor to find my Jewish identity.
Throughout the year I’ve been thinking about this trip. What I want to visit, what I want to learn, the people I’m excited to meet. Most importantly, I endeavor to find my Jewish identity. I merely know the blood that flows through me defines me as a Jew. It determines who I am. I went to Jewish summer camp, I learned at Sunday school when I was little, and I am here today at AMHSI because of my Jewish heritage.
For something that has impacted me this significantly, I know very little about Jewish and Israeli history. I focus hard in my Israel studies class. I love to learn. The class expands my knowledge about the Torah and pushes me to think deeper about my morals and memories. I’ve already started to develop a more profound connection with my ancestors and religion. Every class has been informative. meaningful, and really digs deep in ours and the Jewish people’s past. We’ve been studying the stories in the Tanakh so differently than what we did in Sunday school. The class is more engaging and we consider each character’s perspectives in greater depth. I anticipate continuing to learn this much. It thrills me that I get the opportunity to learn more about my religion and heritage.
Finding my Jewish identity is more than knowing the history and what makes me a Jew. I want to bond myself as an individual to the Jewish side of me. I want to attain an enlightening relationship with Judaism. I’ve often felt distant from my religion. I never had a bat mitzvah because when at bat mitzvah age, I lived in a diaspora within a diaspora, living in parts of the US where there were practically no Jews. For three years I almost never attended synagogue. I strive to establish my Jewish identity and acquire knowledge about my ancestors’ history here in the land of Israel where the past can speak to me deeply and the present is filled with resources and knowledgeable teachers that were lacking in other periods of my life.