In Judaism Powered by Joy, we explore two ways to live Judaism. The Jewish people can be defined by tragedy, by the deafening silence of Auschwitz, by the persecution we have suffered throughout the ages. This is a Judaism motivated by guilt, a people who remain true to the ideals of their ancestors because of the tragic fate which overtook them. It is a Judaism where suffering and sorrow prompts Jews to remember their parents and grandparents in silence.
Or we can have a Judaism that lives, and surges upward, that breaks from past tragedy in loud celebration. This Judaism defines the Jewish people not as an object of persecution, but as the subject of an exceptional vocation, to be G-d’s ambassadors on earth. It defines our Jewish identity with happiness, not sorrow. It is a Judaism that teaches our children that it’s good to celebrate Jewish holidays; it is exhilarating to study Torah; it is a joy to do mitzvot.
Without tradition, without mitzvot, without some element of observance, there will be no membership in a Jewish community tomorrow. In a Judaism without Torah, without tradition, the flame of Judaism, its message, its purpose, its very essence is lost. But when we live a Judaism inspired by heartfelt joy, warmth, depth, passion, and love, it thrives.
This uplifting message, essential to Jewish continuity, is brought to life with moving and captivating stories and anecdotes, including:
The speech culminates with the following introduction to Yizkor: Let us face these beloved souls and tell them that all of their toil and sacrifice for us were worthwhile. For we are your children, continuing to live your ideals, and we will courageously help to build the future of our people. Your eternal light will continue to shine and grow.