This I Believe

Daniel - Bowling Green, Ohio
Entered on September 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This I Believe…

It just slipped out. “I am Jewish” Suddenly, the conversation with my new friends took a new direction. They began to rapidly shout, “Do you have a big nose? Are you a cheap money saving Jew or from a rich business owning family? Can I see your horns?” These rapid fire questions surprised me. Where did they hear all these stereotypes from? Did they really believe Jews have horns? A Stereotype is “something that is regarded as embodying or conforming to a set image or type.” (American Heritage Dictionary)

This definition could mean that all African Americans have dark skin or all Mexicans eat tacos and do landscaping. When we believe stereotypes, they become insulting due to the unproven belief. Stereotypes show human ignorance in such blasphemy beliefs. These quick assumptions are very close minded. They jumped to a quick conclusion before even hearing my perspective

I look back on this moment and I notice how quickly my friends shouted stereotypes. I now wonder if I have ever done this in my past. How many times have I judged a book by its cover or been prejudice? I believe we all need to be more open-minded and look at all perspectives. By learning all perspectives, we can make the best decisions in our lives. When we see the glass half empty, however, we endanger ourselves and others.

In my past, there are times I have done things the fast and easy way rather than the right way. As a kid during Passover, a week where you are not allowed to eat food with raised dough, I have lied. I ate leavened bread. Although this is a very tiny incidence of disobedience, I compromised my beliefs and shorted myself. Learning from this mistake, realize how problematic false statements can be on any scale.

While on the trip with my new friends, I took the opportunity to inform my new friends about my religion. I told them my Jewish perspective. They were intrigued to learn that there are different levels of Judaism, reform, conservative, and orthodox, each more religious. I explained to my friends that Chanukah is just the Jewish equivalent of Christmas and the holiest day is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement for our past year’s sins.

I realize this small act affected several people not only me and my friends but, the people my friends and I will meet in the future. Thanks to this experience my friends’ perspective of Jews has changed. They can now inform other people of how Jews act or at least no longer stereotype Jews and eliminate some ignorance.

This type of ignorance is a daily problem. We make close-minded decisions pertaining to insulting people behind their back, jumping to quick assumptions of people, and making poor choices. We cause pain, distress, and harm to others by quickly solving problems fast. Are we doing what we believe is right or is truly right? If we all do this we could save lives, comfort people, and help you. I believe it is possible.