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GO participants explore local areas and learn skills that will help them as community members.This program is available on Monday through Friday from a.m. Each week, individuals discover new and exciting places in their region!I was so connected to my Jewish identity that my betrayal of it was not even statistically probable. I stopped socializing with them in silent protest, after a more outspoken effort had failed.I self-righteously concluded that we had nothing in common, since they were prepared to give their Jewish identity the backseat.Mercer Residential Service’s ADS program offers an incredible balanced range of activities that parallels the individuals we serve.The activities offered are used to assist individuals towards gaining more independence.A lot of people feel that they need to make a great sacrifice to live out their Jewishness. We can’t be complacent for lack of funding, knowledge, the right address or social circle. These are the definitive moments that can carve a caring Jew out of the stoniest backdrop of threatened assimilation. Our Torah and Jewish calendar are filled with a veritable treasure trove of tradition and meaningful ritual, enabling us to live uniquely enhanced lives filled with memorable moments of celebration and wisdom, all with that inimitable Jewish flavor.

Our homes are where we show our children what it is important to care about. Lighting Shabbat candles, decorating a sukkah or eating matzah on Passover, putting up mezuzahs on every doorway, laying some Jewish books proudly out on the coffee table, saying Shema Yisrael with our children, hanging out an Israeli flag on Israel’s Independence Day.

But don’t expect us to be anything other than civil. For the first time ever, I had stumped my brilliant lawyer father. If it’s so hard for you to end it now, think how difficult it will be later, since there will be a time when it will end, according to you. Jewish day school, Jewish friends, a traditional Jewish home. For the first time in my life, I consciously thought about, and decided, who I was, what I wanted to be, and what was truly important. I never saw or spoke to him again, although I cried for days.

It’s just too hard.” I wanted so much to honor my parents. Seeking Legal Counsel The next day I found myself in the car with my father. There we sat for a good few minutes, lost in our separate worlds. ” “Because it’s important that we preserve our unique heritage.” he replied, surprised by this basic question coming from me. “Yes, but what’s so special about our heritage, I mean, why is it SO important that there be Jews in the world? “Because we are supposed to be a light among the nations,” he stressed, wondering where this was going. “So, Dad, if our heritage is so special, and we have to be a light among the nations, and my entire future depends on it, why do I eat Mc Donalds, and why on earth don't we keep Shabbat?! Why would an intelligent girl do that to herself, or worse, to the person she says she cares about?! My heart was heavy with respect for my parents and the desire to please them. Why had it been so fundamentally clear to me that I would marry a Jew? There had been no challenge, no threat, no temptation. But now my exclusive Jewish education and traditional upbringing was on trial. I don’t really know why, but I think it had something to do with my soul. If we want the Jewish People to survive, we need to care about all these things, more than we care about ourselves. All the private Jewish day schooling, extra-curricular activities, tutoring, youth groups, social events, community get-togethers, online newsletters, dating clubs and support groups have a gargantuan uphill battle and built-in disadvantage when faced with the masses of Jews that grow up in homes void of any practical Jewish expression.

I, in my bubble of optimistic self-gratification, and my father – mourning the potential loss of future generations. I felt the weight of my Jewish identity on my fragile shoulders. This is an event that took place almost two decades ago, but looking at today’s frightening assimilation statistics, it could have happened yesterday. Getting Back to Basics How do we practically go about nurturing a caring relationship with our Jewishness? Jewish educational institutions and community groups are the necessary lifelines that extend from our homes to our collective future.

I almost became a statistic, except for one redeeming factor: I cared. We need to nourish ourselves with more Jewishness in order to ensure their success.

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