Appreciating The Diversity of Judaism

February 20, 2024
Daniel Ovadia

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States

Class of 2025

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On Friday and Saturday, there was a multitude of options for teens to observe Shabbat. From Orthodox to Reform services and with everything in between, teens could worship any way they wanted.

During these sessions, themes were present, for example, Israel Shabbat, which specifically focused on topics relating to Israel and IDF soldiers and thoughtfulness on each individual’s relationship with Israel. These different experiences can add value to one’s IC experience.

Experiencing Judaism is a vital part of IC, but the way to do that can look different from person to person. While some might benefit from staying within their denomination of Judaism, some, particularly if they aren’t particularly observant and might want to be in the future, could benefit from a new experience.

One reason why it could be a good experience is because it can show you a different part of Judaism. Jews come from all over the world, and with that come a variety of melodies, traditions, and customs to explore. Learning about these differences can have a number of positive effects on you and your individual region or chapter.

When taking in all of these different traditions in, the ones that stick in your head can be brought back to where you live. This can lead to a richer experience during regional and chapter services and introduce more variety and diversity into how you practice Judaism. This can give you and your members a new perspective on Judaism.

The other thing this can accomplish is to give you a greater appreciation for how far Judaism reaches. Learning about the diversity of the culture can give you a greater appreciation for how far Jews have come and how widespread it is. To see and hear Jews practicing from other places in the world is a unique experience and one that can be attained during Saturday and Friday’s Shabbat services.

IC provides a unique opportunity to meet Jews from all across the world and have a variety of interesting experiences. By stepping outside your comfort zone, specifically during Shabbat, you can make the most of these opportunities and experiences. A greater appreciation and broader perspective of Judaism is invaluable. When you broaden your perspectives, you can accomplish more because of the wider net. This isn’t only true for IC, it can be applied to learning about other cultures in BBYO in other ways. A broader perspective never hurt anyone.

Daniel Ovadia is an Aleph from Cherry Hill, NJ and I am the co opinion editor of my high school newspaper.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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