My uncle made a beautiful memoir about my Grandmother that just turned 100 years old. It starts with a journal entry that she wrote as a young girl, and when I read it I had a huge realization.
It’s Just Me. Out of all the family on my father’s side and my mother’s side, I am the only one that lights Shabbat Candles, we have guests every Shabbat, walk to synagogue, and this is what my kids know and will remember for the rest of their lives. I feel so honored to carry on the traditions of my ancestors, to live a Jewish life openly and proudly, and teach my children to do the same. Every morning my husband goes to synagogue to pray, my kids know exactly where he is, while we have breakfast, and once he comes back, we all get ready for our day.
I am named after my father’s grandmother, Yehudit, which means Jewish Girl in Hebrew, she was from the Caucasus Mountains, Grozny, Chechnya. I feel proud of my namesake, and her observant life, and excited that my parent’s were able to throw me a full Jewish wedding, after taking us out of the Soviet Union where Judaism was just a nationality, no religion was allowed.
I really feel that living a Jewish life taps into my happy genes. Yes I got them from my grandma Anna, passed down to my mom, and is now living in me. Leading a Jewish life is about being present to your blessings, learning lessons from the challenging times, and being an inspiration and light in the world we live in. My kids will follow this path, and it will serve their emotional and spiritual health, as well as evolving their intellectual side, and taking care of their physical health, because when we feel good, we can focus on what else life has to offer.
Every day should be B’Simcha, always working on happiness,
It just makes sense to me, why choose anything else?