Guest Author - Lisa Pinkus
Judaism is a religion that takes the mundane and lifts it up to a holier space. Every day actions are prescribed such that we will always have our Jewish self in mind. Every day actions become Jewish actions. Many of our daily habits become Jewish habits, no matter how religious or non-religious we claim to be.
Mezuzah A mezuzah is a parchment with the Hebrew prayer Shema Yisrael written on it. It is encased inside a decorative container and is placed on the doorpost of our homes. Traditionally, mezuzot are placed in every doorframe excluding bathrooms and closets. When we enter our homes or a room in our home, we are reminded that we are entering a Jewish home. We are immediately reunited with G-d and with our heritage.
Gratitude Expressions of gratitude are prevalent throughout Judaism. We recite a blessing before and after we eat a meal. We express our gratitude upon waking in the morning and after using the bathroom. We are constantly aware of all that we have to be thankful for and that everything ultimately comes from G-d.
Giving to Others Jewish law requires us to give 10% of our earnings to those in need. Individuals and families who receive charity from others are also required to give. Many of us have tzedakah (common translation is charity, actual meaning is justice) boxes in our homes and make it a practice to put coins in on a regular basis. It is standard practice to give charity before holidays and/or to put coins in our tzedakah boxes prior to lighting candles on Shabbat.
What We Eat Whether we follow the Jewish laws for eating or not, we are still typically aware of what they entail in general terms. Those of us who do follow the laws of kashrut (keeping kosher), take pause before we eat. What we eat must have the proper symbols indicating the kosher status of the food. We are careful not to mix meat and milk products and eat them together. There are guidelines to eating and these guidelines remind us of our Jewishness and connect us to G-d.
Spiritual Growth Our path is filled with consistent change and growth. A conscientious and intent-filled life makes our days more meaningful and keeps us connected to something greater than ourselves. Shabbat is a weekly respite in a busy, non-stop week. Every week, we take pause, refrain from work, and nurture our souls.
The journey through Judaism is just as important as its destination. Everyday, modern habits keep us connected to an ancient faith. The actions that fill our days keep us connected to our religion and to each other.