Judaism is intrinsically open to history. It looks forward to a future event – the messianic redemption – that will dwarf the importance of Exodus. This paper will discuss the important holidays of the Jewish year and a look into the Holocaust from a Jewish standpoint. I talked to a friend of mine, Josh Cohen. Josh practices Conservative Judaism. I also retrieved some information from a book The Jewish Way; Living the Holidays. Rabbi Irving Greenburg wrote it. I will first explain the holidays I discussed with Josh, and then discuss Josh growing up in the Jewish culture.
They particularly exemplify the focus on developing human capacity in the Sabbath and days of awe. The primary, Holy days that nurture personal life along the way. The Sabbat, on a weekly basis, and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippers, annually, are the key periods of individual family renewal. These holidays accomplish their goals primarily by lifting the individual out of a routine that controls, too often, deadens daily life. ” The Sabbat is their weekly ceremony, held Friday evenings, to celebrate the end of a work week.
Rosh Hashanah – Yom Kipper is the core that of being on trial for ones life. During that trial one moves from life through death to renewed life. Also discussed in this paper is Hanukkah, the festival of lights. Hanukkah stands for the temple that burned to the ground. The Jewish people only had an oil lamp to provide light for six nights and seven days. Therefore that is why they celebrate Hanukkah for six nights and seven days. Passover is also discussed. It is a time where Jewish families are to be fasting, no bread or meat.
This last one week. Similar to the Christian Easter celebration. When a Jewish boy turns, age thirteen into an adult Jew they know it as a Bar Mitzvah. In order for this to happen a young teenage boy must attend Hebrew school. They usually take place a couple times a week. There are three types of Judaism worship Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. Orthodox would be the most religious, Conservatism being middle of the road, and Reform being the least practiced. Josh grew up into the Orthodox beliefs because of his grandparents.
Josh’s grandparents, his father’s mother and father, were Orthodox. His mother’s, mother and father were Conservative. Eventually his mother and father switched over to the Conservative beliefs. The Orthodox beliefs would show the in the center and the women on the outside. They viewed women as caretakers. There are three temples in the city of Toledo. B’NAI Israel which is the conservative temple. Josh attends this temple. JCC, Jewish Community Center, which is the Reformer temple. And, Etz Chay, the Orthodox temple. As a child his parents were not strict followers.
They didn’t celebrate Sabbat every Friday but did celebrate all the holidays of Judaism. Josh went Sunday to school every Sunday to learn about the Jewish religion, and he went to Hebrew school every Tuesday and Thursday. At the age of thirteen, Josh celebrated Bar Mitzvah. The Worship procedures are conducted from the Torah, which is actually the Bible. The only difference is they read the lessons in Hebrew. Since Josh is not full practice of Judaism, he has a hard time following along. Since the Jewish religion does not believe in Christ, they believe that Jesus was born a Jew.
They do not celebrate the birth of Christ, Christmas. I asked Josh did this effect him growing up? , His peers mostly celebrating Christmas. As it turns out, his peers were jealous of him. Being able to receive gifts seven days in a row nd being able to take off more school than the other children. Josh in turn was very envious of his peers being able to receive their gifts all at once. The questioned was asked what did your family do on December twenty fifth? “It was a normal day for my family. We went to the movies as a family. Josh celebrated his very first Christmas this past year.
He celebrated with his girlfriend and her family. I asked which celebration was to his liking? “It was weird for him. I’m not use to the huge family gathering and presents being opened all at once. My family, during Hanukkah, says a prayer and lights a andle every night. Hanukkah was more peaceful and subdued” He received a gift every day though. I asked are the gifts you receive as outrageous as some gifts kids receive nowadays, at Christmas? ” It depends on the family.
They spoiled my sister, brother and me. We would receive an encyclopedia the first day and on the last day we could have received a car. ” The other traditional holidays the Cohens celebrate are Yom Kipper, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover. Passover is close to the Christian holiday Easter. During Passover they do not allow that you ate bread or meat. Josh commented on how “His family didn’t go ll out on the fasting, only the true religious take part on the fasting, Orthodox. ” Nevertheless, he told me a story of one of his closet friends growing up.
My friend’s family had a separate kitchen called the Kosher kitchen,meaning no meat. They stocked the kitchen with the normal utensils. The only difference was, none of the utensils in the Kosher kitchen never touched meat. All the dishes were prepared in a special way. ” Then I asked him if we could talk about the Holocaust. I didn’t know if this was a touchy subject with Josh. I had recently viewed Schindler’s List. I had llot of questions for him on this subject. I basically got Josh’s viewpoint. In your mind why were the Germans wanting to abolish the Jewish people? It was all about money.
The Jews had held of most of the assets. Meaning they owned banks, were doctors and lawyers. The Germans didn’t want the Jews running their lives. It is a big stereotype of all Jews being accountants, doctors, and lawyers. ” I asked Josh “you are studying to become a lawyer, you graduate this spring, how can I not stereotype you? Is it in your upbringing to become a doctor or lawyer? ” “My upbringing was very good. My parents installed excellent orals and work ethic in me. Not all Jews are rich, you have your middle class and you have your poor Jews. “We grew up being constantly reminded of the Holocaust.
My mother’s parents were in the concentration camps and survived. They survived because my grandfather was an accountant. He agreed to work for the Germans only if they kept him and his wife alive. His grandfather had no idea they kept his wife alive until after the fact. He found her in a hospital. Before his grandparents were taking into custody, the Germans went door to door looking for children. His grandparents hid his aunt and uncle under the loorboards of the kitchen. The Germans heard the children crying.
The Nazi soldiers shot both of the children in front of his grandparents. ” This is the story he has heard from his parents. His grandparents won’t talk about the situation. All he sees is the picture of his aunt and uncle. He never met, on the mantle. His grand father still has a concentration number tattooed on his arm. “I think this helped us, instead of hurt us. We were like the typical Jewish community, very closely knit. Everybody helped each other out, the smartest Jews helped install strong morals and beliefs into the weaker Jews.
In closing, I think everybody can look at the Jewish Culture and learn. If you look back into history everybody at one point and time has tried to abolish the Judaism religion, but they still prevail. It is the strong morals and beliefs installed in them at an early age that makes them successful. Everything they have been through, but yet they don’t hold a grudge. They keep moving forward. Josh said “respect the past, live for today, and build a future. ” Also in closing I would like to thank Josh Cohen to take time out of his busy schedule to sit and talk to me.