God gives meaning and purpose to our lives. Judaism celebrates the belief in ‘one’ God, dating back to Abraham. The unwavering belief in God’s covenant provides a solid foundation that each and every Jew can depend on. Another strong foundation of Jewish life is the Torah, it continually reaffirms our ongoing relationship with God, and his revelation to his people. These and other steadfast examples of God as a divine presence in the Jewish religion are a large part of what draws me to it. For me, the other very important aspects of Judaism that have been instrumental in my decision to follow this path, are the focus that Judaism places on family, children, education, and the values of ethical and moral behavior. Moreover, Judaism as not just a religion, but a way of life tied to tradition and your extended family.
There are key differences between Progressive Judaism and Orthodox Judaism. For me, the one difference that has the most impact is how inclusionary the Progressive movement is, in many aspects. Progressive Judaism recognizes the individuality of each and every Jew. Through the smallest experiences of everyday life we are able to find comfort in God’s presence. It is comforting to know that through Progressive Judaism it is accepted that a person is able to experience God’s presence through their own experiences in their own time. Progressive Judaism understands each Jews need for the freedom, to embark on their own spiritual journey of understanding God’s expectations on them personally.
Progressive Judaism is diverse in its beliefs and practices, but at its core God, Torah and Israel still remain the central principles of the progressive Jewish faith. Diversity lies in the fact that the Torah is not viewed specifically as a written law to be followed. Unlike Orthodox, Progressives do not believe that God himself dictated to Moses the exact words of the Torah. Rather that it is inspired by God to be used as a guideline by which we can base our actions and behavior towards ourselves and others, in fact all people. The ‘progressive revelation’ is that over time we will understand Gods’ will more and more. There is the understanding that all human beings are created in the image of God. We all have something valuable to input and we all have a place along side God to help improve upon the world around us. Halachah is a choice rather than an obligation. It is a source from which an individual may draw from it, the practices which they find personally meaningful. In relation to the Sabbath, the focus again is been placed more on seeking out the spirit of Jewish law rather than imposing restrictions. The Progressive view for the observance of the Sabbath is one in which an individual or family are able to discover a level of observance that is meaningful to them. Focusing more to inspire, uplift , and remembering the celebration of Shabbat.