Whenever people ask me if I am Orthodox, I dance around the question. Knowing many have negative biases about Orthodox Jews, assuming they are judgmental, I say, “I don’t like these terms, and being boxed into a definition, but I am religiously observant.
After being accused of being a fundamentalist on the latest NetFlix drama bashing Orthodox Jews, I have had enough of these games of semantics.
I didn’t grow up as an Orthodox Jew, but when I turned 16 years old, I chose to become one, and I am proud of it.
I am proud of the fact that in the grocery store when my 6 year old asks for Starbursts, and I tell her no, because it is not kosher, she is totally fine with that.
I am proud of the fact that before grabbing donuts after their baseball games, my 10 and 12 year old search the box for Kosher certification.
I am proud of the fact that I am bound by Jewish law to make sure my wife is always content and satisfied.
I am proud of the fact that I am bound by Jewish law to honor her more than I honor myself.
I am proud that my four daughters who dress modestly know that they are royalty and are growing up to become powerful young women.
I am proud of the fact that my children refuse to speak negatively about their classmates and friends.
I am proud of the fact that my family gathers together every Friday Night and Saturday afternoon for an intimate family meal with no technological distractions.
I am proud that the Torah forbids me from objectifying women by gazing at them inappropriately.
I am proud of the fact that despite being 11 percent of American Jewry, and .2 percent of the American Population, Orthodox Jews account for 15 percent of all Living Kidney Donations in this country.
I am proud of the fact that an Orthodox Rabbi From Connecticut returned $98,000 he found in a desk he bought on Craigslist to its rightful owner.
I am proud to live my life with tremendous intention and forethought, yes–even in the way I put on my shoes.
I am proud to truly and deeply love other Jews with beliefs and practices that differ from my own.
I am proud to be an Orthodox Jew.