Finding Meaning in Life
If you asked the proverbial Man on the Street, where can you go to find Jews? The most common answer would be, a synagogue. But statistically you’d be better off going to a food pantry or a homeless shelter. The reason for that is that more Jews volunteer than join synagogues. Whether a Jew self defines as religious or spiritual, secular or just Jewish, they are highly likely to define their Judaism in terms of actions. Those actions are usually about repairing the world.
How do you define your Jewishness?
Does it include actions like feeding the hungry, collecting coats for the homeless, reading to kids in underperforming schools and donating to save an endangered species? I won’t lose any money when I say, I bet it does.
And what of the non-Jewish partners? Do-gooders stick together. I’ve noticed that the Christians, atheists, Buddhists and Hindus who come through my office are teachers, civil rights attorneys, nurses, and social workers by profession — and volunteers by inclination. All of you regularly impress me with your good works.
Here is one of those universal meeting places for interfaith couples and families – go out and do good things together. You may not be able to agree just yet on how you’re going to handle the December holidays, but you can agree that an afternoon making sandwiches at a feeding site makes you feel good.
A young couple I know has gotten involved in fighting human trafficking. They came through a Building Jewish Bridges class, went on to join a synagogue. When they decided to fight slavery they had a community willing to support them. When you ask yourself, why join a synagogue, one answer is, because they will help you change the world.