In the 1980s after the death of my three year old son Casey (a victim of my exposure to Agent Orange) my heart was ripped from my chest, it killed me.
I became part of the living dead, a ghost pretending to live, going through the motions of waking, eating, off to work, then home again to repeat the process of a mediocre existence.
Despair became so unbearable that while looking for a way forward I found myself studying Judaism and joined a class at a reform synagogue.
I was moved by inspirational histories, literature, Rabbinical dialectics and a people who had the nerve to question the actions of their own god and beg mercy for the lives of those from Sodom and Gomorrah.
I learned these parables are a way of teaching critical theory not literal stories from some magical deity in an imagined spiritual dimension where he/she/it dreams of our existence.
I converted to Judaism and found a home for my own ideas of morality, a place for challenging bigotry, hate, injustice and the meaning of being a Jew.
To be a Jew is knowing what it is not. It is not a race, it is not a single culture, it is not a nation. Some would reduce it to a religion but that I think clips it’s wings. It is a school of thought, a philosophy of Socratic argument on questions like what is ‘good’ or what is ‘just’ and are there absolutes?
Thus Judaism is an educational discipline of discovering how to be a moral and loving human being without prejudice to other paths of discovery.
This is my conversion, I am no longer in need of synagogues, churches, nations or political parties only people who like me want to share this planet we live on in peace with our brothers and sisters and with an unpolluted nature.
To be human then is not to war, not to oppress, is not to occupy and it is not to kill – it is to nurture life, to embrace it. Thus this is what it is to be a Jew.
Israel cannot be a Jewish nation because it has forfeited what it is to be a Jew. It’s claims are false, it’s rabbis ARE NOT teachers of critical thinking but narrow bigots who worship a false god – the State of Israel.
Jews living in Israel & the world over, reclaim your identity, make Israel stop its rain of death on the Palestinians of Gaza.
Daniel Shea a Jew
Veterans For Peace
more on the Israel/Palestine