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What does it mean to be Jewish

Being Jewish is intense – there is no other word to describe our experience. There are so many emotions that we feel, from all the highs – the joy, gratitude, love and connection, to the lows – the grief, despair, anger, fear and sadness. It’s like the flow of life that we all experience but it can feel more complicated, challenging and full of resistance as we work our way back to the higher vibe, more peaceful, positive emotions again.

Being the best people we can be and our authentic selves is constant “work in progress” whilst we ride the waves of consciousness and resilience. Constantly having to fight for our existence, that constant battle to get people to understand all the positive things that we as Jewish people stand for, the love and light that we are, and at the same time, to stay in the light, amongst all the hate, sadness and grief that is around us too.

How much tragedy do we have to experience in our lifetime as Jewish people to be able to open everyone’s eyes to the injustice we have suffered. We will not allow a repeat of the way the Jewish people were treated during the Holocaust. We cannot play small anymore and let the fear take over and divide us. Also, more than enough damage was done in the brutal attack on Israel on October 7th and as if it wasn’t enough, by taking all those hostages. Never again is now. We mustn’t allow this evil to continue.

It’s time to unite with Jewish people with the values we stand for in line with the values British people hold, in the multi-cultural society we live in, along with people all around the globe. We all have our differences but we must learn to co-exist, to respect each other and our differences even if it isn’t something you personally believe in.

Whilst these beliefs or differences are doing no-one any harm, let’s choose to let people live their lives peacefully as they choose with the traditions and customs that are close to their hearts. Surely, as long as they are showing love, kindness and respect to those around them, why can’t we just leave them be?

We have such a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society here in London – make the choice to accept and embrace the diversity of what is around us instead of all the vile hatred that is being spread right now about Jewish people, otherwise known as antisemitism. Even though Jews are such a small percentage of the population, if we let this antisemitic movement of hatred grow, there isn’t much hope for humanity going forwards into the future as we really would have a future to fear, which is I truly hope is a future no-one would want to see.

This is all we ever want as Jewish people, just to be able to get on with our lives and do what fills our hearts with joy and love. Our connection with Israel is strong. Family means a lot to us, and community spirit too. Despite what some people believe, we are the better side of humanity – Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Of course none of us are perfect, but we are doing our best in the face of everything to stay strong, resilient and true to ourselves. These are such turbulent times. It’s not easy.

Who you are, your beliefs, your traditions, your cultural way of living is personal to you and how you live your life – it’s intrinsic to your way of being.  Once your identity is attacked, it does make you realise what really matters in life to the core of your being.

We are all affected. As Damian Barr says “We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts, some have canoes, and some are drowning. Just be kind and help whoever you can.”

All we can do from here onwards, all that is within our control, is to look after ourselves in the best way possible and keep a distance from negativity and hate as much as possible. Our responsibility is now to show up as the amazing people that we are, all of us. We are the light that not a lot of people can see clearly – this is why we must shine our lights as brightly as possible. The light will shine much brighter in the darkness.  Focus on your inner peace and what serves you the best.

It is all very difficult as that awareness, that sadness, those ongoing battles against the extreme hate that is out there is there in the background, is never going to completely go away. However, whilst we are all united, Jews and non-Jews together, love will only get stronger as we learn to drown out the hate. The more we speak our truths and open our minds and hearts to what we really want to be seeing in tomorrow’s future, the brighter our future will be.

Celebrate life. Live from the heart, be kind, be the light.