Welcome to the first of my Sacred Space Interviews! Today, I’m honored to present my conversation with Elaine.
Elaine, age 65, is a retired teacher living in Jacksonville, FL. She describes herself as a lifelong learner with a passion for meditation and travel. She speaks in today’s interview about the beliefs and practices of her Jewish faith.
Do you believe in a spiritual force or forces? If so, what name(s) does your spiritual force have? Where does the name come from?
I believe in one G-d as my spiritual force. G-d’s name should never be used in vein so one speaks of G-d with words such as: Adonai (“My Lords”), HaShem, and many other words. Adon (singular) is found in the Tanakh, which has the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings.
Sum up your faith in three words. Why did you choose these words?
“Live by doing.” Judaism focuses on one’s actions, one’s belief in following G-d’s laws in their daily life.
How do you practice your faith? What kinds of prayer, texts, service, or other rituals do you use?
Judaism is deeply grounded by rituals and religious observances. These traditions found in Judaism are intertwined in the framework of the commandments as well as the rabbinical laws and traditions. The Jewish religion recognizes significant occasions in a person’s life. Specific rituals use specific prayers and traditions to recognize these occasions such as birth, bar/bat mitzvah, marriage, death.
Describe a moment when you knew that this faith was right for you.
I was brought up in a Jewish home and knew no other faith. When experiencing all the traditional rituals throughout my life, attending services in a Conservative Synagogue and attending Religious School, it became my way of life.
Describe a moment when you felt that G-d was real, that your faith was making a difference in your life.
I feel comfort knowing that when I am in a difficult situation or in a good place, I am able to believe G-d is always with me.
Have you had any spiritual mentors or teachers? If so, describe their role in your life. How did they help you find your faith?
The Rabbis from my many congregations that I have been affiliated with have been my spiritual teachers. I enjoy learning each of their philosophies and their beliefs on Judaism. My Judaism is deep rooted, but I do believe I can expand my knowledge of the faith.
Where and when do you feel most in tune with your faith or spirituality?
At home, in synagogue, around my family celebrating Jewish rituals and traditions
What is one misconception that others have expressed about your faith? How would you correct it?
Many people do not understand why the Jewish people do not believe in Jesus. One needs to explain that we do believe Jesus was the son of G-d but believe G-d is our spiritual force.
Assign some “spiritual homework” for our readers.
Reflect upon who you are, who you could be and who you should be. How are you living up to the image of who you could be by your actions.
What is one practice, prayer, or lesson you’d like to share?
Think about your family, work, love life, social life, community, spiritual and religious life and make a list of the ways you are blessed.
* * *
I am still seeking participants for this series. If you would like to discuss your spiritual practice, please contact me here.