My Jewish Journey: Shel West

Judaism is my anchor. The community provides me with family, so important with my blood relatives far away in the middle of the country. Knowing that there are folks who miss me when I’m gone — well that’s a great reassurance.

Judaism is my moral compass. Studying Torah and reminding myself of the essential values brings me back to striving for peace, even when the world around me is in turmoil. I see the core beliefs reiterated in the world around me, even in my dojo where humility and service are married to study.

Judaism is my home.  Not home in the sense of total comfort — since that has never been my experience. But it is the place where dichotomies are balanced, tension between differing concepts are not rent apart, but kept in spite of all differences. It is the reality check that more than one thing can be true, can exist, and be valid.

I am dedicated to Judaism, to keeping it alive and tangible. I’m part of keeping Judaism modern and current, interpreting Torah to meet the world around me, defining it with other Jews around me through the push and pull of study and discourse.