“You may have a friend over there, but HERE you’re mishpocha (family)!”
Jews are one big family, tied together by a common past and a shared future. And how do we know that? Because the Torah refers to us as “Bnei Yisrael” – “The children of Israel”, highlighting our family origins. Plus, we argue all the time!
And, just like in any family, the inevitable fights and differences of opinion are balanced by a sense of closeness, mutual responsibility and belonging.
You may be able to choose your friends, but your family is what you are born into, or what you are adopted into. And once you are adopted, you are a full member of the tribe.
Adoption, Not Conversion
You’re family and I love you
Unified, Not Uniformed
Who are we? Are we co-religionists? If a random group of Jews were to have a theological discussion, a bystander may venture to guess that that group doesn’t share the same religion . What makes us Jews is that we are mishpacha – family. That is why the Torah does not call us Jews, nor Hebrews, but, Children of Israel. It is language taken from the sociology of family.
Questions to think about:
What is the significance of Family in your Jewish identity?
What are the different ways in which Israeli and Diaspora Jews relate to issues of parent-child relations, authority, family values, education and tradition?
Expanded Families, Community, and Peoples: How should we treat others as friends in relation to our extended family?
Is this a good model for the Jewish people?
Click here for more activities about the family leg.