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The Jewish nation has a responsibility that has been ongoing for thousands of years; to remain as a light unto the other nations of the world. Yet, I look around at numerous people in our communities and beyond, and I find it difficult to believe we’re doing that job justice.

The sex, drug addiction, malicious attack and general misconduct scandals that are coming out nowadays are sickening and shocking. The news I hear on a regular basis doesn’t surprise me anymore because that’s how low it seems we’ve sunk.

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Before G-d pulled our ancestors from the clutches of slavery in Egypt, it is believed that they had fallen to the bottom level of existence. The only things that differentiated them were their names, clothing and language, which remained unique.

Granted, nowadays there are different things that can make us stand out because we have been given the Torah and the laws that encompass it. Keeping Shabbat, eating kosher, remaining faithful in matrimony and religion, as well as many other key commandments, keeps our people constant.

But, it seems that slowly, our core characteristics are melting away. Sadly, the things that once defined our people no longer do anymore. We’re blending in. Some are scared to stand out; some simply don’t want to.

Maybe I’m just naive; but to me, it is as if our standards have plummeted. It’s become acceptable for people to act in inappropriate ways. There’s a ‘it’s a free world, do whatever the hell you like’ attitude in play and that’s wrong.

The fact is we shouldn’t do whatever we want. Yes, for some things, the only repercussion we will receive is a divine one which is easy to ignore. Being threatened to be ‘cut-off’ from G-d is a difficult concept to comprehend and feel. But some of the laws we have are to shape us as better people.

How many of you can say that you still feel your soul connected to Judaism? How many of you still feel the passion for its beliefs? Would you be embarrassed to disobey the rules that were set out for us? Would you even care?

The raging fire we used to have as a combined nation has become but a weak spark.

In hard times, we show our solidarity for the religion we’re supposedly proud to be a participant of. But it’s the gaps in between those moments that things appear to fall apart.

We need to reintroduce boundaries, rediscover our limits and re-establish our principles.

Try – try and become a better you. Nobody is perfect. Everyone has something they can improve upon; no person can claim they’re impeccable.

If you’re doing something that you wouldn’t want your son, daughter, mother, father, spouse, friend or family member doing, stop it!

The fact is, if we give up trying to develop ourselves, we become complacent and stop caring what we turn into. It needs to be a daily routine to think of what we can do, for our own sake, to make us into someone we’re proud to be.

Don’t forget that spark.

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Selena, a recently married 20-something from Manchester, England blogs for The Jewish Press Online under the title, "My Point of Jew." Selena also works for the Jewish Telegraph - Britain's only regional Jewish newspaper.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I fully share your concern.
    But the truth is we have been in exile for more than two thousands of years.
    Because our nation fell from Brotherly Love into unfounded hatred the Second Temple was destroyed and we were scattered all over the world.

    And although physically we were given the chance to end our exile as a Nation we haven't managed to do so yet.
    Just as at Sinai our redemption will only start, we can only return to our true traditional values if we rebuild the Nation on national unity and undisputed mutual responsibility.

    Even considering our acute, pressing everyday or existential problems in Israel and in the Diaspora we could only succeed and solve them if we do it as "one man with one heart", speaking in "one voice".
    Thank you for your wake up call.

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