Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Tradition is revering the past. There’s tradition in the secular world; for example, in law, precedent describes following past legal decisions. But, the application of tradition in religious observance has the most meaning to me.

When I light the Shabbos candles, when I bake challah, eat stuffed cabbage on Simchas Torah or knaidels (matzah balls) on the last day of Pesach, I am following the tradition of my Chassidic heritage. What may seem like a minor act to an outsider, is profound to me. It is a link in the chain of Judaism connecting me to my ancestors. It gives me courage and strength knowing that regardless of where I may be at any given time, my actions are significant and meaningful.

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Knowing that my children and grandchildren create another link in the chain makes tradition not just a word in my family but a way of life.

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The Honorable Rachel (Ruchie) E. Freier is a civil court judge. She founded B’Derech, a grassroots non-profit organization advocating for education and opportunity for adolescents in the Chassidic community. She is also a paramedic and the director of an all-women volunteer paramedic agency, Ezras Nashim, as well as a proud mother of six and a devoted wife and grandmother.