Religious School (Toddler-7th Grade)

Religious School News

Being Grateful for Citizenship

No matter where you stand politically, you can’t help but be aware of people who are struggling to become citizens of the United States. I know that there are times when I am watching the news that I am consciously thankful for the gift of being born in this country, even with the flaws that need to be addressed.

Then I got to thinking. New citizens of the U.S. take a pledge. What if to be Jewish we took a pledge? What would be the components of the pledge? What would we promise to do? People becoming citizens are thankful to be officially a part of the United States. What about being Jewish makes us thankful?
What would my answers be? So, in no particular order, here are some of my answers.

I am thankful that:

  • Being Jewish provides me with a sense of community.
  • Jewish learning is a lifelong process.
  • Being Jewish makes me think about how I act toward others.
  • I have had some wonderful and caring teachers on my Jewish journey.

I pledge:

  • To pass on what I have gained and hopefully provide it to others.
  • To always be invested in creating an ongoing and vital Jewish community.
  • To be a positive representative of Judaism.

It is easy to take being Jewish for granted when, for most of us, it has been an automatic or inherited part of who we are. In reality, we all choose if and how we will be Jewish. We may even go through times when we are more or less active in our Judaism or don’t like being Jewish at all. Having to think about it is harder but I believe the benefits are greater. In a conscious process we are more aware of what we gain and what we give. We are part of the process. It is like when we tell 7th graders that they become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah rather than saying he or she was Bar/Bat Mitzvahed.

So, like new U.S. citizens, we don’t know where life will take us, but we do know that we are part of a special group. What will you put on your list? What do you think your children would put on theirs? Enjoy the process.

Toby Koritsky, RJE
Education Director

You're at Home Here! An Engaging, Inclusive, Reform Congregation in the Blue Ridge Mountains