The Woman on the Plane

Lasting Jewish pride is based on a strong Jewish education.

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Comments (41)

(33) Anonymous, July 11, 2011 12:53 AM

lady in plane

you made me think i am jewish i am orthodoks and i do not know why i am proud to be jew email me back

(32) Wayne, June 25, 2011 11:07 PM

I've heard the same thing . . .

I've heard the same sentiment expressed by a non-observant Jewish friend, and it prompted me to ask a similar question: "If being Jewish is simply a matter of who your parents were and it doesn't make any difference in your life, then what's the point? Italians are proud to be Italian, Native Americans are proud to be Native Americans, and (dare I say it?) Muslims are probably proud to be Muslims. If your life and values are not different because of your Jewishness, then why bother? Why put up with the anti-Semitism? Why subject your children to it? If you don't know what you are proud of then you probably shouldn't be proud of it.

(31) Sharon, June 21, 2011 12:41 PM

Knowledge is the key to continuing a Jewish legacy

Lori is once again, right on. Coming from a non-observant Jewish family, I knew so little about what it means to be Jewish and about what Jews have brought to the world as a result of their willingness to accept the Torah from G-d. Now that my husband and I made the decision to become more observant and to raise our children with a very strong Jewish education at a yeshiva, it is becoming clear to me. So many in my family say "I don't have to do all that, keep kosher, observe Shabbat. G-d just wants me to be a good person." True and not true. G-d wants everyone to be a good person. But Jews are to be a "light unto the nations". Keeping kosher and Shabbat are not asked of us for G-d, they are asked of us for what they do for us and how they refine our souls while we live on this earth. Each of us can start from wherever we are in our Jewish knowledge and living and learn something new, take on a new mitzvah, and pass it on to our children by our example. Thank you, Lori, for saying it like it is.

(30) Ben m., June 18, 2011 2:48 AM

question

Based upon this article's assertion: "Lasting Jewish pride is based on a strong Jewish education". What is a Jewish education. And what is a strong one?

(29) Anonymous, June 16, 2011 6:23 PM

Poorly written

This message is poorly written and forgets that as Jews we have a lot to be proud of regardless of weather we marry a Jew or non-Jew.Marrying a Good human being should be the focus of marrage not weather they are jewish or not. Forcusing only on that in regards to being proud Jew is very sad. I have seen many Jews marry non-Jews and they end of up raising wonderfully educated Jewish children and attending synagogue.

Robert, June 16, 2011 11:05 PM

did not mean to attack intermarried Jews

Hi Anonymous, I'm sure that Ms. Palatnik was not attacking intermarried Jews at all. Her point was simply that Jews who are proud of being Jewish, but cannot articulate WHAT they are proud of, are missing the entire purpose of what it means to be a Jew.

(28) Anonymous, June 16, 2011 5:22 PM

Pride by association is not very meaningful

The 'woman on the plane" was proud for no reason of her own except by association. That is too cheap and easy. If she lived any of those principles that those Jews had lived who made her proud, fine. But apparently she couldn't even mention any Jewish values that she upheld or believed in or any Jewish principles with which she led her life. What in the world does she have to be proud of I ask. I think that was the author's point. It is a sentiment that is much too common. it is like taking credit for something you haven't done. She can admire those who actually bother to live a Jewish life but she has no right to be proud of them. Ignorance is everywhere, even in our midst, and Judaism, fellow Jews and Israel need us to actually "do" Jewish - live so that next generation will have any reason to be proud of their heritage - and teach them to do so themselves. Otherwise it is just meaningless prejudice. Pre-judging that we are "better" than others.

(27) Gerry, June 16, 2011 4:13 PM

Lori asks a provocative question that applies to Jews AND non-Jews alike ...

I suggest that having pride in one's ethnicity, or religion, nationality, or any other seminal aspect of ourselves first calls one to ask the basic question, 'What does pride mean to me?' For some it might denote a sense of superiority, for others a quiet satisfation, for others a unity in love of something, for many it might mean something they would sacrifice their life to defend and sustain, and for others even something else. Whatever it means to you and me, it needs to be based in love, as I suppose most of us would agree.

(26) Anonymous, June 16, 2011 1:58 PM

Excellent statement

Such a simple question, and how telling of so many Jews. Thanks for asking the question and making her think.

(25) Anonymous, June 16, 2011 6:04 AM

intermarriage

YES,INTERMARRIAGE IS A SCOURGE BUT DUE TO THE COMPLETE LACK OF LOYALTY BY SUCCESSFUL JEWISH MEN ,JEWISH WOMEN HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO MARRY NON-JEWS WHO ,UNLIKE MOST DESIRABLE JEWISH MEN, DO NOT ,REJECT US. I CAN NOT EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE ALL THE FABULOUS JEWISH WOMEN WHO CAN NOT FIND A JEWISH MAN WHO IS NOT A DWEEB,A LOSER, OR ONE WHO WILL NOT DATE JEWISH WOMEN THIS IS DUE TO THE HORRIBLE DEPICTIONS BY WOODY ALLEN, AND OTHER FAMOUS AUTHORS.TOP THAT WITH THE NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES IN THE MOVIES. THESE WOMEN OF WHOM I SPEAK ARE EXCEPTIONAL IN EVERY WAY INCLUDING HAVING GREAT BEAUTY. RABBIS AND JEWISH LEADERS SHRUG THEIR SHOULDERS AND HAVE NO SOLUTIONS. I BLAME PARENTS ,ALSO ,BECAUSE THEY SHOULD COUNSEL THEIR MALE CHILDREN STARTING FROM AN EARLY AGE. MOST TELL ME THEIR KIDS WILL NOT LISTEN TO THEM. SO THIS WOMAN IN THE VIDEO IS UNAWARE OF THE REALITIES. THE SITUATION CAN BE VERIFIED BY STATISTICS WHICH ARE SHOCKING. JEWISH WOMEN HAVE ,THROUGHOUT HISTORY ,BEEN THE SAVIORS OF OUR PEOPLE. BUT THE SITUATION NOW IS MORE DIRE THAN EVER.I SHOULD HAVE MARRIED A NON-JEW, AND AT MY AGE I REGRET THAT I HAD UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT MARRYING A JEW.NOW I AM ALONE.

(24) suzzanne nemick, June 16, 2011 2:11 AM

i love this. I am not Jewish..per say "what cha call it" but my heart is. Pride is not the right word for the luck at finding the Torah, in what ever way it was. And understanding the Love that made it all possible..... I love everything I'm learning: and it is so much more than i ever thought possible. Thank you All.

(23) Anonymous, June 16, 2011 1:23 AM

Good points

I'm not Jewish, and I cannot agree with people against non Jewish people. However, I can agree with Lori that if you are Jewish, it's important to have a better connection with your heritage. I have a friend who is Jewish, and I've studied Judaism on my own because I like it, just for my own reasons and I know more than she does. Even for myself, I wish that when she says she is Jewish that she has a better understanding of what it means. Not a criticism of my friend of course. I love her. But I get what Lori is talking about.

(22) jack bender, June 15, 2011 8:11 PM

hebrew schools

...hebrew schools need to take up the slack,left by lazy stupid parents, who worry more about sports scores then teaching pride in being jewish

(21) me, June 15, 2011 5:45 PM

I'm proud to be chosen by G-d. I'm proud that G-d gave me the Torah with all its responsibilities and rewards. I'm proud that my actions can influence the whole world. I'm proud that my children will continue the same lifestyle that has been in my family for many generations. And im proud that my children are a part of Jewish nation. Am Isroel Chai!

(20) Miriam, June 15, 2011 5:27 PM

Lori, you're the best!

You say it like nobody else can!

(19) lisa, June 15, 2011 10:14 AM

What are you proud of?

I hope you told her some things that you are proud of....seemed like she needed some help on this one!! And we should not judge that she & her daughters married out of the faith.....my kids aren't married yet & neither are yours. Lets hold off on the judgement call. It's a sad fact....but we never know our destiny.

Henry, June 16, 2011 4:18 AM

Proud to be part of a unique people

I read about young people coming to Israel to serve in the IDF. Most of the time they don't have to but recognize their heritage. The Jewish people are unique, chosen by G-d as His representatives to the rest of the human race. Hated, yes because of being chosen by G-d for His service. A good reason to be proud! Thank you Lori for your articles.

(18) Anonymous, June 15, 2011 9:24 AM

Natalie Portman ; a self proclaimed proud Jew

How does Natalie plan on passing her Jewish pride to her newborn son that she had with her non Jewish fiance? He probably won't want to have anything to do with Judaism.I would be surprised if she were to give him a traditional brit milah ceremony at all or arrange a Bar Mitzvah.

(17) Anonymous, June 15, 2011 1:43 AM

Amazing

Lori, This is so true. Thank you for putting this together. I see this every day in my community. People simply cannot articulate and never think about these simple yet direct questions.

(16) Anonymous, June 15, 2011 1:26 AM

i was waiting for the question

During the whole conversation with this woman did you, at any point ask her, " if you are so proud to be jewish, then why did you marry a non-Jew? If being jewish is SO important to you, you should not have done that." Since you did, you had no excuses for your daughters doing the same thing" Once I met a Jewish girl who was engaged to a Jewish boy, both weren't religious. She told me they were thinking of living together, and not getting married. I told her that one day she will have children, and if their children told their parents they wanted to do the same thing (live together) you would probably be mortified. What kind of example do you give your children if YOU don't do the right thing?

(15) Anonymous, June 15, 2011 12:13 AM

I'm having a tough time with this one. How do you answer this? Why is anyone proud to be who they are? Help.

Chava, April 29, 2012 7:09 AM

I'm proud

I'm proud for following reason: For G-d has chosen us (me included) from among the nations, to give us (me included) His Torah. G-d obviously saw that MY soul was capable of following His laws. I don't think "pride" is the word to define this feeling, it's probably more like a tremendous privilege and responsibility.

(14) Gary Katz, June 14, 2011 8:04 PM

Sounds like an awkward plane conversation

This one was a bit preachy.

(13) Evie Cohen, June 14, 2011 8:01 PM

eviebc@msn.com

Thanks, Lori, for this clip. It resonated with me. I need to be much clearer when I educate my grandchildren who have one parent who is not Jewish. I miss you. Be sure to let me know if you come to Denver to speak. I've saved your voicemail from the Kotel :). And I have a strong memory of your talk from 10 years ago.

(12) Yisroel P, June 14, 2011 7:46 PM

Pride?

Where does it say in the Torah that you're supposed to be PROUD to be a Jew? Isn’t pride intrinsically and inextricably related to haughtiness? Is it for US to be haughty? It is the sole purview of the A-lmighty Himeslf!

(11) Denis MacEoin, June 14, 2011 6:44 PM

Education, education, education

Jews have a lot to be proud of (Israel, for example), but the largest source of pride must be Jewish education. Not just education, but things like pilpul, discussions in shul, outright disagreements. This critical quality to Jewish thought is what transforms basic education into something outstanding. It's the reason why 14 million Jews have produced about 200 Nobel prizewinners while 1.6 billion Muslims have 9 (including the famous peacemaker, Yasir Arafat). Jews flex their brains. Not so much in traditional yeshivas, where there is so much rote learning, but wherever questions are encouraged. The root of this critical education is learning and the value Jewish culture has always placed on it. However, something must be done to stop the haredi talmudei torah and little yeshivot preventing youngsters learning the core curriculum subjects. Their antiquated approach only places them on a par with Muslim madrasas, who hold children back from developing their talents for life in the real world.

(10) Anonymous, June 14, 2011 6:33 PM

The Jewish people are to be honored because they preserved God's word down through the ages; gave us visual proof that God is faithful (Where are the Hittites, Jebusites, etc. today?), have been valiant in the face of hatred (People that hate God ...can't fight Him, but can strike out against those God loves!); and most importantly, gave us the line of the Messiah

(9) Miryam (Maxine) Elkins, June 14, 2011 6:05 PM

Lori does it again- amazing message!

Hi Lori- we met at Ben Gurion airport 2 or 3 summers ago when you were waiting for your Womens group and I recognized you( I was on the same plane). Then I waved to you on the rooftop of the Aish building from the Isralight rooftop- where I was studying. This e-mail message (as all of your messages) resonated and hit a cord since I now know how to gently respond to people who say the same thing to me. "I am a Jew in my heart". What????? Keep up your great work Lori- you are amazing- I forward your e-mails to the hundreds on my Jewish/Israel Activist list. Kol Tuv- and Kol Hakavod! Miryam (Maxine) Elkins Princeton

(8) Henry Wiltschek, June 14, 2011 5:38 PM

Interesting Conversation - but with too much negativity

My sentiments are more in line with Ms Carolyn Williams above. Neither am I a Jew, but I admire the Jewish people and. for their achievements too numerous to mention. Having witnessed the masses of Jewish people (and others) coming out of the Concentration Camps in 1945 and working for, with them most of my working life.

(7) Kaytee, June 14, 2011 5:31 PM

The world owes a debt to Jews for the Word of the Almighty

That is where we got all those great values and blessings like the smarts from.

(6) ben m, June 14, 2011 5:14 PM

so answer the question already

I like the profundity of the airline moment, but a question cannot be more important than an answer. So what is your answer? What are you proud of?

Evie, June 14, 2011 8:04 PM

the idea is to own the answer for yourself

Her message is to prompt you to think about what you are proud of.

(5) Anonymous, June 14, 2011 4:54 PM

you dont have to have all the anwers to be proud

because she and her daughters diddnt marry jewish men she can still be proud to be jewish. and her grandchildren are jewish they will maybe marry jewish men who knows..time will tell

ann, June 14, 2011 8:18 PM

will they want to find spouses who are Jewish??

Why would the grandchildren even consider marrying IN the faith, if there is nothing Jewish about their life styles? Proud to be a practicing Jew in Eretz Israel.

(4) Carolyn Williams, June 14, 2011 1:45 PM

Something about this attracted me and I had to watch. I am not a Jew, but I wish I were! My mother always told me pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and always love the Jews! She worked at a bakery for many years, the owner was Jewish. I believe God has blessed the Jews with wisdom beyond measure, things like the ability to keep their nation secure, inventions, humitarian aid -always first to aid other countries. Anyway I wish I knew more I study the Bible every day and my dream is to visit Irael.

K. Shaffer, June 14, 2011 3:03 PM

Converts

Carolyn, the Talmud states that every Jew was at Sinai when HaShem gave the Torah - even those not born yet - and even every person who would ever convert to Judaism. Were you there?

Laura, June 14, 2011 5:31 PM

Carolyn you can become Jewish

Consider becoming Jewish, nothing is stopping you. Bet that your local synagogue has classes. Go for it! :)

Anonymous, April 29, 2012 7:13 AM

Converts

With all due respect, it is against Halacha to urge Carolyn to convert. Carolyn has no obligation to convert and can have a meaningful relationship with G-d through the Noachide laws.

(3) Andy, June 14, 2011 4:11 AM

I think she meant proud like other ethnic groups are proud. Lot's of Nobel prizes , many material and intellectual achievements, many charitable works,group survival against odds ,etc but as you alluded to it's not the reason Jews exist on earth

Jews have given mankind many of the laws for civilized living. Our role when we are doing our job is as spokespeople and role models as a nation of priests serving the Almighty, and thus helping perfect ourselves and the world. We are commanded to obey an unknowable God commanding challenging moral behavior that runs counter to our animal nature,but in line with our Godly one. As you stated that is not going to win popularity contests. At least not until messianic days

(2) Natalie, June 13, 2011 6:23 PM

So true, Lori!

(1) TMay, June 13, 2011 8:35 AM

My answer

My mother described that what she liked about Judaism was that it was ethical monotheism, that is that it believed in one God which means unity of all humans and the universe, and the ethical part is that the God the Jews believe in is an ethical God who wants ethical behavior from its adherents and from all human beings which is why there are the Noahide commandments for non-Jews. One has to know history to appreciate Judaism. Prior to Judaism, there was child-sacrifice. Some peoples believed in multiple gods which fought each other and therefore in that system the adherent of one god thought it was natural to fight the adherent of another god. Also their gods weren't very nice and pretty much acted like not very nice people. They were bored. They were worshipped because they were perceived as powerful. There were religions which were superstitious about all things having spirits. In Judaism one has a purpose for living, to heal the world. There is a difference between perceiving oneself as needed by God to accomplish his purpose, and where one is accountable and has to give an accounting for oneself after living a life, versus seeing oneself as an accident, like mold growing on a tomato who is just passing time from darkness, a life, to darkness again for infinite time. Since there is good and evil in the world, one wants to be on the right side. Since it is hard for every individual human being to learn what is necessary to live well, and it is hard to make it up as well, the Jewish religion provides thousands of years of intelligent people who groped with how to deal with problems and how to think out values and how they apply and is a source of guidance.

 

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