Every Jew should have a strong sense of Jewish pride. Some people may feel a deep connection to Jewish history and tradition. Others may feel a sense of responsibility to continue the legacy of Jewish values and teachings.
Regardless of the individual reasons, Jewish pride is a powerful and meaningful expression of one's connection to a unique and enduring cultural and spiritual tradition. In honor of Jewish American Heritage month, this May, we asked WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps members from around the world why they are proud to be Jewish.
Here's what they had to say.
As a Jew born and growing up in Germany, whose religious community is often considered as some kind of vestige of the past, as a relic of a former once flourishing culture, I am proud to be Jewish because, despite centuries of persecution, genocide, and attempts at erasure, the Jewish people have not only survived but have also shown incredible resilience and resistance throughout history.
I’m proud to be Jewish because I am a link in a chain that has been growing stronger for thousands of years. My identity is like a challah, with various stories intertwined, allowing me to proudly embrace my Mexican-Jewish heritage. We value family dinners by candlelight every Friday night and rest one day a week on Shabbat. We are committed to giving tzedakah (charity) to help the most disadvantaged, honoring our parents, and dedicating ourselves to life, justice, and equality. Being Jewish and passing these values on to future generations is a privilege, and I am honored to be a link in this chain that has been building for thousands of years, bringing joy and morality to the present.
I am Jewish and proud because social justice feels embedded in my identity, and I have always felt a deep connection to Judaism. Tikkun Olam is integral to Judaism and to me.
Being both Black and Jewish may seem like an unusual combination to some, but for me, it is a natural part of who I am. As a convert to Judaism, I did not leave my Blackness or the Black community behind; instead, I added layers to my identity, enhancing it rather than shedding one aspect for another.
I am a proud Jew because of our history, cultural heritage, and the light we bring to the world. Born in the Former Soviet Union, being Jewish meant facing discrimination, which wasn't the ideal condition for fostering pride and self-confidence.
However, being Jewish also meant carrying forward traditions that value education, ethics, and social justice. I learned the importance of treating others with kindness and compassion, fostering cohesion, and promoting fairness and justice. These values have become the compass of my entire life and a vital part of my Jewish identity.
I am a proud Jew because in each country where I had the opportunity to engage with the Jewish community, I always found a common denominator: feeling at home. No matter the origin of the family – from the Middle East to China, Poland, or Latin America – the country where they live or the rituals they practice, every time I attended a Shabbat dinner or a holiday celebration like Pesach or Rosh Hashanah, the most comforting feeling was being at home, part of a larger family that transcends languages, places, or destinations. We all share a common denominator: our origin, our culture, our history, and our people.
I am proud of my Jewish heritage, my story, our traditions, and above all, our survival. Jews are a beautifully complex and colorful people, with deep histories woven across the fabrics of thousands of years.
I have Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi roots; my family hails from Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Italy, Spain, Iran, Morocco, and Iraq.
Being part of the Jewish community, I recognize the beautiful diversity that exists globally. We have managed to sustain ancient traditions and preserve our history and language through the centuries, in and outside our indigenous homeland.
I take pride in our people's ability to not only survive but thrive, despite facing numerous challenges such as invasion, theft, destruction, ethnic cleansing, persecution, oppression, and death.
I am a proud Jew because our community truly embodies the Talmudic passage Kol Yisrael arevim zeh ba-zeh (Every Jew is responsible for each other). We truly have a strong sense of solidarity and support for one another.
In Johannesburg where a large portion of South African Jews live, the community is both vibrant and caring and has incredibly well run organizations taking care of Jewish South Africans through different stages and challenges in their lives.
I am proud to be a Jew, to be part of an ancient people and a custodian of the values and principles that revolutionized society and form the basis of universal human rights today, but to also have the moral obligation to engage in the world around me and work tirelessly to build a brighter tomorrow. One that embodies the Jewish principles of tikkun olam, repairing the brokenness of the world, and of tzedek, justice.
One of the million reasons I am proud of being Jewish is because of the concept of “Tikkun Olam.” This phrase, which translates to "repairing the world," is a central value of Judaism and invites us from a young age to stand up against injustice, problems and limitations, challenging us to find a solution. The idea of Tikkun Olam teaches us that we have a personal responsibility to work towards creating a better world for all people.
I consider it a great privilege to be part of a people whose tradition and history uniquely capture the human experience in its entirety. Upholding a tradition that bridges the gap between universality and particularity, I find pride in a Torah whose morals, ethics, and legal philosophy have impacted humanity for thousands of years. This tradition directly links my family to the vision of the ancient prophets of Israel. Concurrently, I appreciate how our tradition contributes significantly to finding answers to the big questions of our modern world.