Judaism is a Living Contradiction

Judaism is a living contradiction.

At some points we learned that we should never question Hashem, but should obey on blind faith. Look what happened when Moses hit the rock. Look at Nachshon walking into the Red Sea. Etc.

Yet at some points Judaism is all about questioning, just look at the Talmud or Avraham fighting for Sodom.

So Judaism is this living contradiction: Judaism is living in that it is ever changing with the times, but the contradiction is that it still remains the same. We keep our Judaism the same but can accommodate to survive everything we have been put through as a people. I think that is because we have that unbending faith in Hashem but know enough to also question when to rely on it and when we have to make our own way.

We are at another moment in time when having faith is important to give us hope but when we also know that we have fighting ahead. If we were still asleep, Charlottesville should have woken us up. Each of us will take action in our own way and we each need to find a way we can handle.

The big question for me is how do I help my girls? How do I help guide them through this? For starters, my two year old is a two year old. For her, I shall continue to teach our faith and give her a solid Jewish identity while also exposing her to as many different people and experiences as I can so that nothing is “different” to her.

My twelve (almost thirteen!) year old is different. She is at the age when she will hear the hate from other kids at her school. She can process the news she is seeing. First and foremost we much teach her to be strong in her faith and in her Judaism no matter how strong the temptation is to drop it. If she drops it to avoid everything, then the Nazis win. When she is strong in who she is, when she has that faith, then we can begin the action together. She will know what her best course of action is to take and she will have my full support behind her.

It is a tough balance we Jews walk: staying true to Judaism but adapting enough to survive. Our history is all the evidence we need to know it is possible.


Leah is Director of Education for Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor, Maine. She's a special educator, former school director for Manheim Central School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and mother to Amelia and Nezzie. She's usually tolerant of her husband, Brian.

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About Brian

Brian Kresge

Brian Kresge

Writer, soldier, programmer, father, musician, Heeb, living in the woods of Down East Maine with three ladies and a dog.

About Leah

Leah Kresge

Leah Kresge

Director of Education for Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor, Maine, special educator and former school board member, mother to Amelia and Nezzie.

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