Countering Hate with Jewish Pride

My list of Almost 100 Things I Love Most About Being Jewish

I know that the prevalence and incidents of antisemitism we are witnessing have caught many of us not only off-guard but also with a feeling of helplessness as we are being hit with it from all sides. Comments made by politicians and celebrities to what feels like a new set of despicable flyers being thrown on driveways each week throughout our community, it is hard not to feel uneasy about showing our Jewish pride.


Instead of focusing this month’s column on these incidents, I have decided to take a different approach and celebrate what I love about being Jewish. This is something that I saw Michael Twitty (an African-American Jew who is a culinary historian, educator, and writer, who recently published Koshersoul and The Cooking Gene) posted on Twitter earlier this year. He decided to highlight the 50 things he loved about being Jewish. And last month, on Kveller, a wonderful website that covers Jewish culture, Jaime Herndon, wrote an article she titled 100+ Things To Love About Being Jewish. Each wanted to celebrate Judaism in light of the hatred the Jewish community is seeing.


Inspired by these two individuals, I have put together my own list that I am calling My Almost 100 Things I Love Most About Being Jewish. I had a little fun and even put out a Facebook post and asked my friends to share their ideas… some have made it onto this list, which is organized in no particular order:


Playing Jewish geography; Rick Recht; Shabbat Oneg (a more festive dessert party); Radio Hanukkah on Sirius XM radio; "Where ever you go, there's always someone Jewish"; Havdallah; Camp Song Sessions; Mel Brooks; Jewish comedy; Fiddler on the Roof; Torah; Pirkei Avot; Steven Windmueller's insght; Israel; Passover seders with family and friends; Feeling an instant connection when finding out someone else is Jewish; Chocolate Babka; Matzah Ball Soup; Matzah brei; Kugel; Latkes (with sour cream and sugar); Jelly doughnuts; Spinning a dreidel upside down on Hanukkah; Vehavta (to me it embodies all we are supposed to do as Jews); Nigguns (wordless melodies); Doug Cotler's Listen; Bim Bam; PJ Library; PJ Library; PJ Library (I think this program is revolutionizing the Jewish community); Jewish Federations; Youth groups; Shabbaton/shabbat retreats; Camp style of Birkat Hamazon (blessings after the meal); Our history; Jewish debates; Debbie Friedman; Maccabeats; Six13; "I have a little dreidel"; Wearing a kippah and being stopped by people with questions (including at the airport); The Shehecheyanu (the prayer that provides us the opportunity to appreciate and mark special moments); Hearing yiddish words in everyday conversations; Going to the movies and eating chinese food on December 25; Tikkun Olam; Apricot or cherry Hamantaschen; Purim; "May their name for ever be a blessing" (words offered to the family of those who have passed away); Kol Nidre (both the service and the prayer); The concept of Repentence/teshuvah; A perfectly toasted everything bagel with lox shmear; Those gummy passover fruit candy slices; Jewish summer camp; Sunday School; Noah Ben Shea's Jacob the Baker (if you have never read it, please do); Birthright Israel; Debbie Friedman's Mi Sheberach melody (the special healing blessing); Seeing a counter or table full of menorahs on the 6th, 7th and 8th night of Hanukkah; The Frisco Kid (great movie with Gene Wilder as a rabbi and Harrison Ford as a bank robber who befriends him); The increased focus on greater inclusion within the Jewish community; Creating opportunities for people to see and feel the beauty of Judaism; Ga-Ga; Tzedakah; Mitzvot; Listening to a good sermon; My rabbis

High Holy Day services; Making Judaism relevant in my work; Jewish cooking; Memories of past holiday celebrations with family and friends; My family; The smell of freshly baked challah; Hearing hebrew; The Jewish ideal that we are all B'ztelem Elohim (created in the image of G-d); Biting into a good brisket; Going outside to see if there are 3 stars in the sky (this signifies that a holiday is over); Prayer; Hillel (both the Rabbi and the college organization); Knowing that the Great American Songbook was primarily written by Jews; Broadway; Danny Kaye; Love that science and Torah are not mutually exclusive; Jews feel a moral obligation to stand with those who are suffering; Chopped liver on rye; Bar/Bat Mitzvahs; Seeing a Star of David and feeling an instant connection; Community; Rugrats Hanukkah and Passover; Purim carnivals and costume parades; The Priestly Benediction; Feeling a connection to something that is larger than me; Jewish Friends; Rugelach; Sam Glaser's music; Joel Ben Izzy's storytelling; Stories from Chelm


I hope that seeing my list, it got you thinking about your own list and gave you a feeling of Jewish pride. I would love to see what made your list. Please share it with me by emailing it to


Add Comment