I am not what you would call a Torah Jew

I am not what you would call a Torah Jew.

Not even a little, nor by any stretch of the imagination.

I do not live my life by the letter of the law.

(And I am neither bragging nor apologizing when I tell you this)

And still, I love a good story, and am touched and inspired by the stories in the Torah.

They move me:

I relate to the oppressed, for we were the younger brother, the older mother, the slaves in Egypt.

I relate to broken-hearted, for we were the slighted wife, and the barren wife, the father who lost his favorite son, the woman who looked back and turned to a pillar of salt.

I relate to the dreamers – for we were dreamers.

I relate to the explorers – for we left our parents house “to the land that I will show you”

I relate to the freedom fighters – for we delivered our people from bondage.

I relate to the strugglers – for we, too, hit the rock in the desert.

And I relate to the survivors for here we are.

Tomorrow evening begins Shavuot, when we Jews celebrate receiving Torah, and today, I celebrate our Peoplehood – for through it all – through exile and holocaust, through persecution, mass migration, and great strife from enemies without and yes, within – we have stayed together as a People … even when we struggle under our big tent, at least we struggle together: Those of us who follow the letter of the law literally and in every waking moment, and those of us who follow it’s spirit and just love a awesome story.

Chag Shavuot Samaech.

And may the One who makes peace in the high heavens make peace on earth for all humankind.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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