From Liberal Judaism to Faith in Jesus

Bernard N. Howard | July 14, 2015


My background is liberal Judaism—Judaism without skullcaps, regular synagogue attendance, or even the food laws. (Yes, we ate bacon!) But despite our lack of observance, I knew that I was Jewish rather than anything else.

At the age of 13 I had my bar mitzvah service, a coming-of-age ceremony in which I recited a passage from the Torah in Hebrew. I was glad to take part in it because I wanted to align myself with my Jewish ancestors. I was very conscious of the suffering experienced by my family during the Holocaust: my great-grandmother was murdered at Auschwitz; my great-aunt survived Auschwitz; and my great-uncle survived Mauthausen. They suffered simply for being Jewish. I wanted to honor that by standing in the same line of Jewishness.

Death’s Inescapable Scythe 

The long weeks of bar mitzvah preparation didn’t give me answers to life’s biggest questions. The thing on my mind at that time was the inevitability of death. It seemed to make everything I was doing pointless. I thought it was strange people put so much effort into their lives despite knowing they would die and then be forgotten. Living life seemed like writing a book using a special kind of ink that quickly…


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