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Gemillut Hasadim- Ashleigh Alves

Ashleigh A

 

Ashleigh Alves

Gemillut Hasadim – What I Learned from My Community Service

Once I started attending Hebrew school, I never imagined community service being a part of my everyday life. Gemillut Hasadim, tzedakah, charity, and the act of loving-kindness describe how community service impacts my everyday life. When I started volunteering, I thought community service revolved around tiresome work, such as manual labor and filling out hours on a paper. However, once I started volunteering even more, the tiresome work turned to work that I found that I enjoyed.

            My first experience volunteering was with my camp in the summer; every Thursday we went to the community bank, nursing home, or cleaned up around the campgrounds. Cleaning up the camp allowed me to give back to the community that I was a part of since I was 6 years old. Going to the nursing home provided the residents with company that they looked forward to and hoped to have every day, and going to the community bank provided the needy with meals and proper nutrition.

            What I found was that I wanted to do even more within the community. In eighth grade my brother suggested I volunteer at an organization called Challenger. At Challenger, special needs children participate in three seasons of sporting activities including soccer, basketball, and baseball. The volunteers shadow the children, helping them play the sport. Challenger allows these children to feel included in sports that they might not otherwise be able to participate in at school because they “aren’t good enough.” For two and a half years, I have followed around five different kids, each having a different challenge. This allowed me to experience these different challenges and how to deal with different situations.

            Realizing that I love working with children with special needs, my mom’s best friend suggested that I volunteer at another organization, called Friendship Circle. Once I did the research, I found two activities I could do within the organization. The first activity called Friends at Home, allowed me, along with Jenny Beutel, to spend time at a child’s home and hangout with them for an hour, doing whatever they wanted to do. This activity showed me how much these children crave friendships. Whenever one of the volunteers visits these children’s eyes instantly light up and they become so ecstatic to see us. The other activity that I do, as part of Friendship Circle, is called Sunday Circle. Every week the children do four activities, such as art, zumba, yoga, music, karate, or even play on the playground. My buddy, Matt, who I shadow along with Jenny Beutel, gets very excited to see us whenever we walk through the door. I clearly remember one time when his mom came up to us and explained that during the week he would not stop talking about Sunday Circle or us. Seeing him smile and laugh, remembering our names, and wanting to hug us, makes me realize that just hanging out with him every week, gives him and the rest of the kids something to look forward to.

Community service has become not only something that I am required to do but is something that I truly enjoy doing. The more I dedicate my time to community service, the more giving back has become a part of my personality. To me, community service is learning life lessons through hands-on experiences and gaining the satisfaction of helping those who may not be one hundred percent like us. I know that community service has shaped me into being an open-minded and compassionate person with a big heart and a willingness to give up my time to provide a positive experience for others.

 

Gemillut Hasadim- Matthew Beck

Matthew B

 

Matthew Beck

Gemillut Hasadim – What I Learned from My Community Service

Community service is extremely important to me. Personally, I would never trade my experiences with social action for anything because they provide me with happiness and teach me how to be a better person in society. Putting others first allows individuals like myself to understand what other people, especially those that are less fortunate, are going through in life. Some of the enriching experiences that allow me to help others include but are not limited to: Camp R.O.B.I.N, Challenger Sports, the Midnight Run and Special Olympics.

Camp Robin and Challenger Sports enable me to work with individuals that have disabilities. I teach various individuals with both mental and physical disabilities how to play a sport. These two programs help me teach others that, just because they have a disability does not mean they do not deserve to play the sports they love.

The Midnight Run allowed me to give homeless people resources vital for survival. I provided them with clothing and food; two luxuries that I have an abundance of. When handing out these resources, some of the homeless individuals demanded that their jackets have a hood, or have a certain logo on it, etc. At first I thought to myself, “how rude, why would beggars be so demanding?” By the end of the night, I realized they do not have the luxury of going to the mall and picking out their clothes. We were the shopping mall and they were picking out whatever styles they preferred. So, I then realized that what they asked for was not so bad because if I can choose the exact style and brand of the sneaker I want, then they can pick whatever used coat they wanted to wear in the rain. This taught me to appreciate everything that my family has provided for me. Additionally, seeing the homeless smiling and grateful for the necessities they attained made me extremely happy. Knowing that I am partly responsible for giving them warmth during the winter, a hood in the rain, and food to hold them off for a few more hours, made this a night one that I will never forget.

            Living in Marlboro where kids get everything they want including brand new Mercedes as their first car, Louis Vuitton purses and the newest iPhone whenever it comes out, has blinded me from the rest of the world. Many people are less fortunate than I am and lack the simple necessities that I am so privileged to have. Along with the community service, which I previously talked about, I volunteered at a soup kitchen in Asbury Park. I served starving people small rations of food. Again, I realized how lucky I was to receive whatever food I want, whenever I am hungry. These individuals are not even fortunate enough to get seconds. At both the soup kitchen and the Midnight Run I was able to visualize the harsh reality of what people actually have to go through. Seeing this was terrifying. At the soup kitchen, there were tons of nice and thankful people who were ecstatic to eat whatever was being served to them, even though it was frozen and came from a can. What struck me the most was that no matter what they were given they were extremely grateful, whereas if I went to a restaurant and received what they had, I would have demanded a refund. This experience gave me a newfound respect for the less fortunate.

            The last experience I want to talk about is by far the most rewarding. When volunteering at an organization called Challenger Sports I have bonded with someone extremely extraordinary. My buddy, Andy is the reason I wake up early every Sunday morning and drag myself out of bed. Andy is smart, inquisitive, athletic and has an incredible ability to memorize every bus route in the FRHSD school district. There's nothing like getting to the field ready to play a sport and being asked a dozen questions. Our relationship has grown further than just playing sports; he has become my friend and has taught me just as much, if not more than I have taught him. He has taught me that his disability does not affect his relationship with others. One Saturday evening, I received a text message from my friends asking if I wanted to go to Great Adventure on Sunday morning. My response was simple, “I can go on one condition, pick me up when the session of Challenger Sports is over.” So the next day, my friends picked me up from a park in the middle of Freehold and we enjoyed the rest of the day together. Gemillut Hasadim, or the giving of loving-kindness means so much to me; it is priceless.

Yahadut- Diana Bergin

Diana B

 

Diana Bergrin

Yahadut – What I Will Do Differently in My Life Because I Am a Jew

What would I do differently in my life because I’m a Jew? I really had to think on this question because I’ve been a Jew my whole life and hadn’t thought about anything different. Over the past few weeks, I’ve decided that the things in my life at are impacted or changed because I’m a Jew are school, family, and future family.

Firstly, the question of my sophomore year of high school is “Where do you want to go to college?” Well, my answer is always that I don’t know. Since I’m Jewish, my college hunting experience will be different than others because I would like to go to a college that already has a Jewish community. My mother also agrees and told me to look for Hillels in the areas in or around campus for college. I feel that I would feel better in an area that shares the same beliefs as I do.

Secondly, I know that my family will influence my life differently since we’re Jewish. I know that I will celebrate different holidays and traditions than others. Also, in the future I know that some of those traditions will end up with me in a food coma surrounded by loud family members. The foods, games, and traditions are what I do differently because I’m Jewish. I’m a typical bagel and lox girl and without my upbringing, I don’t think I would have acquired that taste.

Finally, I know my future relationships will be different because of the fact that I’m Jewish. I know I won’t purposefully seek out a Jewish boyfriend, but I would prefer it that way. It would be easier because religion is only second to money for one of the main causes of divorce. It would also help families to get along as well.

All in all, I think the changes I would make in life because of the fact that I’m Jewish aren’t that bad of changes. My future school, family, and traditions helped in shaping who I am today and I’m willing to change my future in life to keep it that way.

History- Allie Beutel

Allie B

 

Allie Beutel

History – My Path to Confirmation

If you asked me how I got here, I would tell you to start at the beginning. My path to this Jewish milestone really began with Abraham and Sarah, and with Moses leading my people from Egypt to the promised land. Without my ancestors, I never would have made it here in the first place, or had a Jewish community to grow up in. In more recent history, my twin sister and I moved to Marlboro when we were 3. Soon after that, we joined Temple Rodeph Torah and our mom began working here as a teacher. We were consecrated and began a decade-long journey through the history, language, and culture of Judaism. During these 10 long years in Hebrew school, our grade grew into a close community who will love and support each other no matter what, and the temple became like a second home to me. Much of my growing up has been done in this building, especially when I was a part of both junior and senior RTSY. Some of my fondest memories in this temple have been made while eating sushi at a RTSY board meeting, having meaningful midnight discussions during a shul-in, and spending time with friends at RTSY or NFTY events. I know that the people I’ve met here will have my back even through hardships (like this year’s RAC trip debacle). Through both Hebrew school and youth groups, I have formed an unbreakable connection with this temple and my confirmation class that I know will stay with me even through college and my adult life. Even more importantly, I have developed a unique Jewish identity and a strong relationship with my faith. So if you were to ask me how I got here, I would tell you: I got here through 10 years of hard work in these classrooms. I got here by developing a lifelong passion for my Jewish culture. I got here through telling my ancestor’s stories and continuing their legacies. But most of all, I got here because this is where I was meant to be.

Yahadut- Zachary Isaacson

Zach I

 

Zachary Isaacson

Yahadut – What I Will Do Differently in My Life Because I Am a Jew

            I certainly do things differently in my life because I am a Jew. For starters, I have written this essay, something I most definitely would not have done had I not been a Jew. I write this essay because I am in a Hebrew High School program, a program I attend because I identify as a Jew. But the effect of being Jewish on my life cuts deeper than just attending religious school each Monday and goes deeper still than occasionally going to Shabbat services. All the Jewish activities I have described thus far, religious school and Shabbat services, leave a Jewish impact on my life and effect what I do Jewishly. I do not really go to Hebrew High School because I am Jewish, but rather because I wish to learn about Judaism and I want to know what impact being Jewish can have on my life.

            Because I am Jewish, I will donate more of my time to charitable organizations. Judaism has taught me the importance of donating my time to help those in need. I do not learn about charities and helping people in need in public school. It is a topic that is only brought to my attention at religious school. My experience in Hebrew School goes beyond just discussing charitable organizations. The discussions and topics in Hebrew High School are much more eye opening and fulfilling than lessons in public school. The Rabbi mentions from time to time how, “I can say things that your public school teachers are not allowed to say.” This leads to much more truthful and intelligent discussion and allows us to discuss topics that may be overlooked in public school, such as this year we are discussing ethics. I find this class and the Jewish teachings on morality to be very fascinating and I am happy to be exposed Jewishly to something I would not have been exposed to otherwise. I have become and will continue to be a better person with stronger ethics because of my Jewish identity.

            I enjoy going to services, and that is something I will be continuing throughout my life. I find going to Jewish services to be spiritually fulfilling. Services are amazing rituals of positivity, in which the congregation prays for positive things. It is enjoyable to feel that amount of good energy. Because I am Jewish I will be a happier person. Going to all of these events and doing all of these activities has introduced me to many Jewish friends who I have come to enjoy spending time with. I am more sociable and happy because I am a Jew. I plan to continue going to Jewish gatherings to meet new people and enjoy time with old friends. My life is greatly improved by being a Jew and by all the things I do Jewishly.

Community- Jenny Beutel

Jenny B

 

Jenny Beutel

Community – What It Means to Me to Be Part of This Temple and Part of the Jewish People

I’ve never felt closer to Judaism than when I fell asleep on the sanctuary floor. If it wasn’t for the ark, a stranger looking in would have no idea that this room, filled with giggling teenagers and sleeping bags, is the holy room usually filled with prayer. Nothing we did late at night during our shul in outwardly appeared to be particularly Jewish. Yet as I lay on the floor with my friends, bathed in the blue light of the sh’ma, I felt something connecting me to everyone who had been there before me, something undeniably and utterly Jewish- a sense of community.

            As a student at TRT for 10 years and a teacher’s daughter for longer than that, I have come to see this temple as a second home. Whether we are at a youth group event, listening to the Rabbi in class, volunteering, or just hanging out with friends, I have never once felt intimidated by the holiness of this building. Somehow, that makes it even more holy. Watching the room that we pray in on friday nights get turned into a stage for a karaoke competition reminds me that Judaism is always around us. And watching the room where I hung out with my friends be filled with the prayers of all our congregants reminds me of how I belong in this place.

            One of the greatest things about this temple is that I was never forced to believe something I didn’t believe, thereby allowing me to form my own Jewish identity. Armed with only the knowledge that God will still protect me no matter how I pray, I was left to form my own beliefs and identity. This has allowed me to become more secure in my faith, which has taken me through hardships and celebrations. Everyone talks to God differently, yet we still all share the common thread of Judaism, which stretches all the way around the world.

            During my years at Rodeph Torah, I have made so many lifelong friendships. Our tenth grade class has become more than classmates, we are learners, teachers, volunteers, friends, Jews, and above all, members of this sacred community. Here, we have learned all about Jewish history and culture from the best teachers anyone could ever ask for. But the most important thing I have been taught from growing up at Rodeph Torah is that Judaism, just like this temple, is my home.

Hope- Ian Katsnelson

Ian K

 

Ian Katsnelson

Hope – My Dreams for the World of the Future

The more I sit and deliberate my hope of the world in the future, the more I realize what hope really is. Sure, we all dream for peace, and success; but what I dream is far simpler than that. I dream, that the place that we call Earth, will still be a life-supporting dwelling. Now, I may seem like a crazy doomsday-prepper, satan-worshipping tenth grader; but truly, I hope that Earth will not become a desolate planet, with cockroaches living in humans’ footsteps. The world that we live in, unfortunately, has become one that revolves around conflict. Whether it be conflicts of interests, or conflicting ideals, society today encompasses itself around these very concepts. Personally, I have an entire folder of “apps”, or applications, on my phone, dedicated to solely inform me about the dire state of my planet. Unlike most teenagers I know, when I wake up, the first thing I see on my mobile, infamous, computer (aka iPhone), is the list of breaking news that occurred overnight around the world. I have to admit that waking up and seeing “Train derailment in Ohio”, pop up on my phone, isn’t the most pleasant thing to wake up to, but I choose to start my day this way, so I understand the world I live in better. Preventing from being desensitised from such events completely is not something simple, but it is important, and I hope that the world of the future will realize the same. Yes, I do hope that the cliche of a perfect utopian society will exist, with no problems such as hunger, poverty, and un-education; but this is unfortunately impossible to exist. There has always been such in society, and as weird as it sounds, it actually does contribute into a proper and functioning world. There will always be those who make the wrong decisions in their lives, but I dream that these will soon become a rarity. Conflicts throughout the world have become an instituted part in the lives of billions. One heated topic of conflict that many Americans today are scared about, is the constant threat of terror. What too many do not realize, is that terror is an ideology, an ideology that thrives in communities of fear. Now, eliminating such ideology of terror, is basically futile, but I dream that the fear associated with terror will be a thing of the past. And, with that, terrors will be a blurb in the digital textbooks of the future. Where does Judaism play into all of this? Judaism, to me at least, is an identity beyond just religion. As I have learned in our Rabbi Confirmation Class, that antique scroll behind me right now, is much more than a compilation of stories and drama; it is a guidebook for advice on morals, and actions in one’s life. I’m not talking about the animal sacrifice part of it, but instead, I’m talking about how the Torah advises during the times where we, humans, blunder. So, my last and final dream of the future, is that Judaism remains as the eternal dying religion; and that more and more students will be able to join the path of further education through l’dor, vador, as we all have at TRT, so that one day, one day, when I wake up and glance at my phone, there won’t be any disaster headlines at all. :)

Ethics- Tyler Mercado

Tyler M

 

Tyler Mercado

Ethics – My Personal Code for Living

My code for ethics is very simple. Don’t get in other people’s business, don’t do anything to take advantage of someone and don’t do anything that will harm my future. I am a libertarian so I believe that I have no right to dictate others. If someone does something that some people will constitute as morally wrong, I will not try to stop them or try to talk them out of it because I have no business doing so.

Ethics is completely subjective and is shaped by society. The court of public opinion, the media, religion and law shape people’s ethics. In the Torah, ethics are the law. To be ethical you must follow the 613 commandments. If you want to make sure you are always ethical, you can believe in the “fence around the Torah” theory, which is the theory that you cannot do anything that is close to breaking a commandment. For example, you shall not bathe a mother in its child’s milk is a commonly known commandment. Many people do not eat chicken parmesan because of this rule, even though chickens don’t produce milk. The reason is because you can mistake the chicken accidently for a different type of meat and have inadvertently sinned.

In every society, the law is below the ethical standards of a human. In America, you are legally allowed to say whatever you want to say as long as it doesn’t instigate direct violence toward others. You are legally allowed to be a racist activist and a misogynist, however most of society looks down upon racists. This is where ethics come into play.

As I have said, I am strongly against doing something to dictate others. I have this position because I believe that the greatest gift of being a human is free will. Everyone has the ability to perform their own actions; it is not my place to dictate their actions. If someone makes a poor choice they need to live out the consequences of their mistake. I do not believe that people are entitled to charity for poor decision making; if someone suffers from a tragedy they deserve charity, however if someone makes a mistake they do not.

My ethics come mainly from Judaism and the media. For me personally, I do not care for the court of public opinion when pertaining to ethics. I will say and do as I personally believe and I will not have anyone try to dictate my actions. I do not follow many of the commandments, however I have learned from the Torah interesting ideas and philosophies. I believe that God did not make stupid rules, every rule has a purpose. I do not hold true to many of these rules, but I understand the purpose of them.

The Torah has taught me Tikkun Olam, or to repair the world. It taught me that anyone can make the world a better place, they just need to try. In order to repair the world, I do charity work and give tzedakah. I don’t think that this is just a good thing to do; I believe it is the right thing to do. You cannot repair the world without giving your own time and money into the cause. In addition to Tikkun Olam, the Torah also taught me that holding a grudge is wrong. The Torah says that as long as someone asks for forgiveness you should give it to them. I find this very interesting because most religions or philosophies believe in “an eye for an eye” or a form of that. I believe that if someone has made a mistake and tries their hardest to make things right, they deserve to be forgiven.

I strongly disagree with some of the rules in the Torah. For example, the Torah says “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman'”. I am a supporter of LGBTQ rights and I believe that it is unethical to say that a gay man cannot be with another gay man. However, I understand why this is in the Torah. It is in the Torah because God believed that when a man has sex he becomes the owner of whom ever he had sex with. Other than to produce offspring, sex was used to show power for men and it was meant for pleasure for women. I know this because the rule specifically cites “a man with another man” which means a woman is free to sleep with another woman. Also in the Torah, it says the only reason a woman may divorce a man is if he is not pleasuring her enough. I disagree with the Torah in this instance because Torah is promoting that marriage is meant to be a man dominating and owning a woman, instead of it being an agreement between two people who love each other.

There are other parts of the Torah with which I disagree such as many other sections of Leviticus. As a Reform Jew, I am able to argue with the Torah and only take the ethical parts out of it.

God- Marissa Klass

Marissa K

 

Marissa Klass

God – God’s Role in My Life

            The Saturday night before NFTY-GER Hagigah Elections, we spiraled around the glowing Havdalah candle, the sweet spices, and the golden grape juice. This Havdalah, I was no longer in the cushy center, getting the V.I.P. treatment. No, I was quite far in the back, in fact, I was the very last person to spiral into NFTY-GER Havdalah, my favorite part of each event. Quite upset that I was last in line, I put on a pout and grabbed Ashleigh’s hand as she guided me into the room. I was greeted by some heyyy-yoooos as i circled about, passing my friends in the inner circle, dreading having to sit down and see how far away I was from the candle, the spices, and the grape juice. While tunes were sung and heyys were yoooed, I sat criss cross applesauce feeling bad for myself for being the last one in the line of over one hundred GERites. That all stopped when our region burst out in song. Lo yisa goy, el goy cherev, lo yil’medu, od milchamah. “Let Nations,” the community roared, “not lift up their sword,” we passionately harmonized, “and let them study, no war” we mightily exclaimed. I closed my eyes, and listened. Listened to a group of teens with only religion in common, rejoice in song and praise God as one. During that NFTY-GER Havdalah, God was present. God was present in the sweat that stuck our hands together, God was in the harmonies that even the most tone-deaf singers could belt out, and God was in the hand motions that made each song that was sang have a special, secretive meaning to it. In my life, God is the reason I want to be Jewish. God is the reason that I spend my days at temple, being a madricha, coming to services, leading services, giving the occasional sermon, embracing Jewish poetry, going to NFTY events, working to make others happy and comfortable in Jewish settings, and being a member of RTSY. For me, God is community, God is comfort and God is my home.

Ethics- Michael Namer

Michael N

 

Michael Namer

Ethics – My Personal Code for Living

When first given the assignment to talk about my personal code of ethics, I thought it would be an easy assignment. I had just spent an entire year with the Rabbi meeting Mondays from 7-9 discussing the subject. Despite this, when I tried to type the first words, I could not. What I thought would be an easy essay, was actually harder than any research paper or essay I had ever written. I began to ask myself, “what was a personal code of ethics?” Furthermore, what was my personal code of ethics. I had spent countless hours discussing subjects such as sex, business, honesty, marriage, and much more. But how did I put these together into a cohesive “code of ethics”. It was like trying to solve a jig-saw puzzle! I knew what each part was, how it looked, and where it should go. But how did I put all the pieces together to make my puzzle, to make my code of ethics?

I began listing all of the lessons we had gone through during the course of the year, and summarizing my views, on them. Surely this would be a good start to my code of ethics. I then began to look outside of the school year, to look for ethics that we had not mentioned. The list went on endlessly and so I came to a conclusion that if I did not just focus on one idea, this essay would be huge! So I then tried to focus on one single aspect of my personal code of ethics. I looked into our classes and Judaism, and found one very important aspect. I decided to focus on my personal code of ethics, and how it relates to Tzedekah and Tikkun Olam. In Hebrew, they meant Righteousness and Repairing the World, but for my code of ethics, they meant making the changes I want to see. Yet even this, is too broad of a subject, so I narrowed it down to charity. I then further divided this subject into two areas, monetary and physical charity.

            The first and most common type of charity is monetary donations. This is the easiest form of charity to complete and something that to me is required. No matter what my situation is, I must always find a way to give donations. I do not think there should be a specific percent of my income given, but you must give something. One simple way this can be done is by giving a homeless person money. This is an easy donation that goes a very long way. Another way this type of charity can be accomplished is by donating money to an organization or cause that you believe in. This in specific is something that I believe is required. In today’s age, anyone with a bank account can donate money to help a cause. With just a simple click of a mouse, I can send money to help causes I believe strongly in. Before doing so though, there is one step that must be made. It is necessary to investigate the organization or cause as the term “non profit” can sometimes be deceptive. Though a charity may show no profits on paper, there may in fact be administrators of the charity who reap large benefits. There is no purpose in giving a thousand dollars to save whales, if 999 dollars go into someone's pocket.

            The next way charity can be done is something much more personal and fulfilling. It is physical donation of objects or time. These types of charity are also, in my opinion, required. What is the purpose of fighting for something, if you don’t physically take part in it? Using the example of the homeless, rather than just giving money, why not give someone food or clothes? Why not help an organization by handing out supplies or helping to raise funds. By doing so, you become closer to your cause and it becomes more “real” to you. Once again using the example of saving whales, why stop at donating money? Obviously it is very unlikely that you yourself can save a whale, but why not help with actions. Putting up flyers, raising funds, spreading the word and more! All of these are great ways that one can take physical action in something they want to see change. You do not need to travel across the country or globe either, even small actions make a difference.

            In conclusion, a personal code of ethics is something bigger than this essay. It is something that will guide me through life and determine what I do. It is not a simple thing either. It is comprised up of an almost infinite amount of tiny things, all of which add up to make your own personal code of ethics.

Community- Tori Richman

Tori R

 

Tori Richman

Community – What It Means to Me to Be Part of This Temple and Part of the Jewish People

            As anyone who joins the temple, I consider it as my home. This temple allows its member to flourish into a more mature and spiritually advanced person. When a person first joins the temple, they are welcomed with open arms into our regular routines. Then they are included in our new and innovative way to pray, Rock Shabbat. I am proud to be able to regularly attend Rock Shabbat. Being part of this temple means that I am able to become more spiritually advanced, which I can hope to be for the rest of my life. I have grown so much since I joined the temple, and not just physically. I am now a more mature woman of the Jewish people. I now understand the necessity for Tzedakah and performing mitzvot in everyday life. The teachers and fellow students I have met in the temple also helped in my maturation. I know that I am always able to ask the teachers for help and support. I have also made lifelong friendships here that I can count on in times of need. I know that when I joined the temple, I joined a new family. I have come to appreciate this new family because of the people I have met and the things I have accomplished. So, the temple is like a home to me where, the teachers and its member have allowed me to mature.

            Being a part of the Jewish people makes me a better person and allows me to define myself in a positive way. Although being part of the temple and part of the Jewish people are quite similar, being part of the Jewish people, as a whole, is about connecting to my heritage. I understand that it is crucial to carry on traditions. Moreover, being proud to be Jewish is a key part in being part of the Jewish people. This is due to the fact that all Jewish people have to acknowledge the terrible injustices that our ancestors went through. It is then the job of the current Jewish people to not let it occur again. Due to practicing the Jewish religion I know how important it is to give Tzedakah and help as many peoples I can in my life. However, the Tzedakah should not be limited to anyone because being Jewish means that you are willing to accept and help everyone. It is also not restricted to only helping people due to the fact that practicing Tikkun Olam is a major factor about being Jewish. So, being a part of the Jewish people means that I become one with my Jewish ancestors while following Jewish morals and commandments.

History- Mark Rivilis

Mark R

 

Mark Rivilis
History – My Path to Confirmation

I still remember my first day at TRT. My sister was already going to TRT, and my family forced me to do the same. I remember walking in to my second grade class, and seeing all these new happy faces. This was the first day of my journey to Confirmation.

After the second grade, I made it my goal to become more involved with the Temple. I continued with my Jewish education, and joined the temple youth group. By this time, I really started liking being at the temple, so I continued on. I kept going through third grade, fourth grade, and on and on. I met new people along the way. Some joined the temple, and some left. This made me feel as a part of something.

Eventually, came my Bar Mitzvah, and I thought I was done. I felt that once I was a Bar Mitzvah, I would not need to come to temple any more. I considered stopping, but eventually, I realized that this was wrong. I realized that I wanted to continue with Judaism, with the Temple, and with everything else. So I moved on to the Hebrew High School, where there were even more opportunities to learn about Judaism, and well as get involved with the community. At this point I knew that I would not stop my Jewish education until my Confirmation, and would keep being involved with Judaism.

Once I finally made it to my confirmation class, I was excited. I finally made it to the year when we were going to go on the RAC trip, and more. This is the year that was supposed to be exciting. Even though we did not get to go on the RAC trip, I hung in there, because I knew I almost made it. And finally, I did.

            Even though we are finally, here, this is not the end of my involvement with Judaism. I will continue to do as much for my community as I can, and will keep Judaism with me forever.

Hope- Sydney Schoenholtz

Sydney S

 

Sydney Schoenholtz

Hope – My Dreams for the World of the Future

My dreams for the world of the future. What a prompt. Immediately after receiving this topic from the Rabbi, I knew I had a dilemma. What do I say? I can sound really surface level and say “World peace! An end to famine and disease!” On the other hand, I can sound really pessimistic and say “World peace is unattainable and unrealistic”

I decided that I want to sound like all of the above. None of us can know what the future will hold. If in the near future, say tomorrow, everybody decided to put down their guns and be tolerant to one another that would be great. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Not because I don’t have faith in humanity, but because I know how the world works (at least I think I do). Even in a tiny, affluent, white collar town like Marlboro we still can’t escape from corruption, the drug epidemic, and crime. If town-wide peace isn’t working out, how could world peace? World peace doesn’t seem to exist. At no point in history have humans- or any other creatures in nature- peacefully coexisted.

 With all of this being said, the prompt asked what my dreams were for the future, so yes, my dream is that the human race can defy all odds and obtain real world peace, and also that there will be enough food for everyone to be full, and that racism and sexism ceases to exist. After all, the oxford dictionary defines a dream as an unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy. But what good is it going to do to entertain myself with self-deluding fantasies about the world and the future? Instead I think I can share my hopes for the future, or realistic goals based off of this dream.

What I want for the future is progress. I want people to put their egos aside, and start listening instead of shouting over one another. I want people to know what they are talking about before they make accusations, and think before they speak. I want education to be available for men and women worldwide. To say that racism and sexism will cease to exist may be a self-deluding fantasy, but I think that it is realistic to want people to approach these topics with open minds and open hearts, personal biases aside. I want people to see another person’s character before skin color and gender. I want world leaders to fight with words before resorting to armies.

These are all things that I think are completely attainable. I guess you can call it a dream of mine that I have for the future- but it’s more than that. It’s not an unrealistic self-deluding fantasy (as Oxford says dreams are)- it’s progress that can very well be made. It’s just baby steps! If everyone took a couple extra seconds to listen, we may be a step closer to world peace. If people put superficial things like egos and unimportant things like biases aside, we can have a much more tolerant world. With that, I just have two more words to say: Sydney out *mic drop* [See White House Correspondents’’ Dinner 2016].