In case you missed the memo, it’s November, which means it’s time for Thanksgiving! Time for gratitude, thankfulness and generally appreciating what we have. In a society in which we are all dying to have more, more, more, finding gratitude in everyday life and truly cherishing what we have as opposed to lamenting what we don’t have seems to be a challenge (and a rarity). So, while you’re sitting around saying how grateful you are for your home, family, job, health or what may have you, don’t forget to be thankful you’re Jewish!
Yes, that’s right: be thankful you’re Jewish.
Remember, we’re G-d’s chosen people. I mean, that’s pretty darn nifty. Talk about natural selection and statistical odds of being born awesome! Check out some of the many reasons being Jewish is something to celebrate.
1. We’re Trendsetters
Judaism is the first religion to teach monotheism, or the worship of one sole god. We started a trend among major world religions today. Not too shabby, eh?
Let’s not forget that Christianity still hearkens back to the basic Ten Commandments that are the foundation of our religion. Talk about being rock stars of values and morals. Two thumbs up for us Jews! You can walk around knowing that as a Jewish person, your far-far-far back relatives were part of a huge religious movement and foundation that so many people look to when it comes to making choices as individuals and as groups. Even people who aren’t religious are aware of these Ten Commandments. Not many people are going to argue that fact that “Thou Shalt Not Kill” today, but way back when, we were setting a new standard.
2. We’re A Select Group
According to the Pew Research Center, only 4.2 million people (or 1.8% of the adult population) in the United States are Jewish by religion. And according to CNN, there are just 14,212,800 Jews worldwide.
Unlike many other religions, we’re not exactly going around trying to convert people to join the tribe. We’re selective and don’t feel the need to wrangle people into the fold.
3. We’re Survivors
Our people have survived years of persecution. Millions of our people have died due to genocide. Jewish people have been marginalized and oppressed throughout history, yet we continue to rise above. We’re often known for being funny, a reputation that Jews like Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Howard Stern, Jerry Seinfeld and Joan Rivers (to name just a few) have helped to cement in the American psyche. It’s that same sense of humor, along with smarts and survival instincts, that has gotten us through the many challenges we’ve faced as a people.
Without adversity, we may have had a prettier history and backstory, but we wouldn’t have the character and tenacity that we have today that is, in my opinion, inspiring.
4 .We’re Successful
When Forbes released its list of billionaires earlier this year, 10 Jews were among the top 50 billionaires. There is no real answer or reason for this success other than perhaps that overall, many Jews value education. There must be some truth behind the joke that says: “When does a Jewish fetus become human? When it graduates med school.” Higher education and financial stability have been a huge focus for many of my friends claiming tribe membership. It was a big deal to my father and his parents who came to the United States in the early 1900s from Minsk, Belarus.
Whether it’s coincidence or actual fact, we can’t deny that, as a people, we hit the ground running and get the job done! Hard work is in our blood.
5. We’re Old School
We’ve been around for like, ever man! Our longevity and history speaks for itself. We’ve evolved as people and so has the religion, and yet we stand the test of time. That just kicks major a** if you ask me, but don’t tell your mom I said that. Rephrase it to sound more Ivy League. Wink.
6. We’re Meaningful & Love Family
While there’s nothing wrong with some Bing Crosby and candy canes, our holidays are deeply rooted in tradition and meaning. Even Hanukkah, the most “commercial” of our holidays, still doesn’t hit the Santa Claus level of commercialism, and that’s a good thing.
Don’t forget to also count your blessings that you’re Jewish and get to be a part of a people who value family and its importance. It’s nice that our traditions bring our families together, valuing each member from the youngest to the oldest.
Let’s face it: it’s pretty awesome to be Jewish! We may have people who don’t like us, but like they say, “If people are talking about you … most likely, they’re envying what you’re doing.” I could also add I personally am grateful for being Jewish thanks to Adam Levine, but then I would have to add in that the boys are probably pretty darn grateful for Mila Kunis.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!