For over 3,500 years, Jews have been telling themselves, their children, and the rest of the world: Be good. Be kind. Be honest. Be ethical. Be moral. It is the most essential message in human history, and we are the people who were chosen to deliver it, to be as the prophet Isaiah said, or lagoyim, “a light unto the nations.”
This summer, as we have every summer for over three decades, we will gather to celebrate the JCC Maccabi Games® and ArtsFest®. We will compete–sometimes win, sometimes lose–meet new friends, and get to know Jews from around the world.
This unique event together with being a part of the Jewish people comes with a mission. To make the world a better place. To make ourselves a better people. These values were created in 2013 to help us remember the greater mission of the games and our people. We are very proud these values continue to play a vital role in the Maccabi experience.
Welcoming others is an essential component of what it means to be Jewish. With open hearts, we invite friends and family to our homes on Shabbat, holidays or a regular weekday evening to share a meal, stories and traditions. Kindness is at the core of being a mensch - a true human being.
Amit yehudit is the awareness of the underlying unity that makes an individual Jew part of the Jewish people. This includes the sense of belonging and commitment to the Jewish people, their values, their big ideas and their potential, as well as to Israel, the expression of national sovereignty.
Being happy isn't always easy; life has its disappointments and frustrations. But finding joy can be as simple as a beautiful sunset, dinner with friends or finally winning that gold medal.
Pride is the feeling of being confident in the world. It is reaching your full potential and claiming your space: I exist. I have worth. I give back. Taking pride and honoring our bodies is a way of honoring God.
Judaism teaches us to treat ourselves and others with respect. Even a stranger is to be treated with respect. Kavod is a feeling of regard for the rights, dignity, feelings, wishes and abilities of others. Teasing, name calling and bullying disrespects and hurts everyone; we must learn to appreciate people for who they are.
The Hebrew phrase tikkun olam means "repairing the world." In modern Jewish circles, tikkun olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice.