Personal Narrative: My Jewish Identity, Math, And Me

Decent Essays
At the beginning of sixth grade, I met my two future best friends, and I did not like them. I found one boring, the other frustrating and hard to understand. I couldn’t connect with the first, and I didn’t want to bother trying to get to know the second. Not long after, however, we became inseparable. So now it’s the three of us— my Jewish identity, mathematics, and me. Technically, I’d met them both before, and even then we’d had our differences. In fourth grade, I threw a temper tantrum twice a week because I didn’t want to go to religious school. In fifth grade, I confidently told my math teacher that two times three was equal to five. Soon enough, though, I discovered that first impressions could be wrong.
I first encountered what I like to call “joyful Judaism” at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Eisner Camp that summer. I learned new, fun melodies for songs that I’d written off as uninspiring and outdated. I attended services where everyone would get up and dance without being told. I learned to rejoice in tzedakah, or charity; tikkun olam, or repairing the world; and gemilut chasadim, or acts of loving kindness. Most importantly, I learned not to just
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As we spent more time together, it became evident that I was drawn to them both for the same reasons. Both teach me that I have full control. Jewish law states that we are not inherently good or bad, but rather, that our choices define us. Similarly, in math, so long as I stay within the basic rules, I can move around and manipulate the numbers however I choose. These friends empower me with infinite potential to grow. I am taught lo alecha hamlacha ligmor v’lo atah ben chorin lehibatel mimena— though I am not required to complete the holy work (or the complicated math team problem), I am not free to ignore it. They both encourage me to do all that I can in the time that I have, but they understand and respect my
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