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Stage V:  “Some Words of Encouragement”

Overview

            Whew!  It’s been a long journey up until now.  Encountering so many new ideas and experiences can be exhausting as well as challenging.  You’ve had  a taste of authentic Judaism to  begin to get a feeling if it’s for you.   We’ve introduced you to many of its special events, places and people, guided you through some of its observances and rituals and presented its values and uniqueness.   We’ve also tried to navigate you through some of the obstacles and show you, although presenting challenges, all of them can be overcome. 

             If, at this point, you feel that you’ve given Judaism a fair look and have carefully considered its lifestyle but are not interested in pursuing it any further, keep in mind a few things.  First, acknowledge how much you’ve learned about your own history and heritage.  In many ways you have probably gained an immeasurable amount of newfound pride, appreciation and understanding for your own people.  

            Try to remember that Judaism, as we’ve mentioned before, is not an all or nothing proposition.  There are 613 mitzvos and a person receives reward for each one he does.  Those mitzvos you found meaningful and enjoyable you should continue to do.  They will serve you as a source of Jewish identity as well as a connection to Jewish values.    

           Never say never.  There may come a time in your life when Judaism may seem more attractive to you, more doable or may even make more sense.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ve already heard or seen it all and have no more to learn. Continue to study Torah because it is a never ending, worthwhile pursuit, for every Jew, at every level of observance. 

            For those of you who want to continue your Jewish journey, congratulations!  You have decided to become an active member of the chosen people.  Your future will be infused with purpose and meaning.  You also need to bear in mind that Torah study is endless and that you can never complete it.  It is the key to limitless personal growth and fulfillment.

            Remember what we said about moving forward at an appropriate, measured pace with the guidance of a teacher or rebbe.  Moving too fast can be destructive and can undermine the solid foundation you’ve already established for yourself.  Each brick has to be cemented in tightly and securely for the building to remain standing. 

            Most likely there will be more obstacles to overcome.  The Midrash tells us that G-d promises to assist those who make an effort to overcome difficulties in their spiritual pursuits.  He says, “Open for Me an opening the size of a needle hole and I will open for you an opening wagons and oxen can fit through.”  We hope you will always be deserving of this kind of heavenly assistance.

To all those who accompanied us on this journey, we wish you all the success and blessings in the world and may you always appreciate the beauty, pleasure and privilege of being a Jew!

Last updated on: 10/20/2017
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