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From the Talmud (Pirkei Avos): > Who is wise? One who learns from every man. As is stated (Psalms 119:99): "From all my teachers I have grown wise, for Your testimonials are my meditation." > Who is strong? One who overpowers his inclinations. As is stated (Proverbs 16:32), "Better one who is slow to anger than one with might, one who rules his spirit than the captor of a city." > Who is rich? One who is satisfied with his lot. As is stated (Psalms 128:2): "If you eat of toil of your hands, fortunate are you, and good is to you"; "fortunate are you" in this world, "and good is to you" in the World to Come. > Who is honorable? One who honors his fellows. As is stated (I Samuel 2:30): "For to those who honor me, I accord honor; those who scorn me shall be demeaned."

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator God is infinite. God is one, the Creator of the Universe. God is loving, not punishing. Each one of us has a spark of the Creator in our Soul.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that the Torah is true and was dictated to Moses by God. I was born Jewish but had no religious beliefs until 4 years ago. That is when I began learning about Judaism and discovered how wonderful it really is. I became Orthodox -- what is called in Hebrew a baal teshuva which literally means "master of return" -- someone who has returned to God and Torah.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator when my first child was born.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator loving humanity and the Creator through following the mitzvot (commandments) and acts of kindness.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that Judaism is just a lot of rules. Judaism is about joy -- the joy of life, of love, of children, of learning, of Creation. Judaism is the biggest self development seminar in the world. Personal growth by connecting to God is its essence.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Rabbi Akiva because he saw the beauty of Torah when he was older and changed his life for it. In today's world, I admire among others Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK, because of his intelligence, leadership, and grace.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that God loves us and everything that happens, good and bad, is ultimately for our benefit (in this world and/or the next).

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that I controlled my destiny.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator miraculous and amazing.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a secular Jewish American without connection to God or religion.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, my parents and grandparents were secular Jews -- they were not religious.
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator If anyone doubts God exists, just like at a baby -- or look in the mirror. It is impossible statistically that humanity was created randomly. I am grateful to God for the gift of a child.

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Every moment.
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I married an amazing woman who is Orthodox from birth.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Of course it is challenging -- that is how we grow.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator my relationship with my wife and child.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The Five Books of Moses, The Tanach, The Talmud, The SIddur (Prayer Book), The Way of God by Rabbi Luzzato, Permission to Believe by Rabbi Keleman (Proof of God), Permission to Receive by Rabbi Keleman (Proof of Torah's Divine Origin), and Garden of Emuna by Rabbi Arush (Trust in God)

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Politicians need a crash course in God and morality.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Of course, just like we teach about economics, politics, philosophy,etc. The students can question and make up their own minds.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, because even though we believe differently we are God's children -- we must respect each other even in disagreement.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I usually keep it private unless there is reason to talk about it -- discussing religion can be very sensitive in America because of political correctness and differences in theology.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Judaism is about action -- that's is why we have 613 commandments in the Torah -- plus many other laws (halacha). It is all designed to help us improve our characters by getting closer to the Almighty.
http://www.youtube.com/torahchannel#p/u/4/i-QYClR_F0k
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Very often -- because the nature of politics is corrupting.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator 9/11 made us realize the threat of radicals inside Islam -- a problem that continues today. Of course, we should not assume every Muslim is a threat -- but we must realize there are many radical Islamic leaders around the world who spread hatred and jihad. Radical Islam's values are not in alignment with human rights and civil liberties.

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Published October 11, 2010

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