“When I say that I am a Jew, I affirm the following ...”

by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
in I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl
edited by Judea and Ruth Pearl

1. The only sound my God utters is alef – the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which has no sound, the sound of nothing. The Hebew word for “I”, anochi, begins with alef.
2. My God is not visible; my God is not invisible. My God looks like Nothing. There is Nothing to see.
3. The Name of my God is made from the root letters of the Hebrew verb to be, which are themselves vowels. It probably meant something like The One who brings into being all that is. It is the sound of Nothing – only breathing.
4. One day each week I try to pretend that the universe is done, finished, that it (and I) need nothing more to be complete.
5. My parents are the instruments God used to bring me into being. Through trying to understand and listen to them, I begin to comprehend myself.
6. Life in all its forms is sacred; in the face of each creature I see my Creator.
7. The relationship I share with my life-partner is sacred and ultimate. She is my Only One.
8. You are other than me and your things are extensions of who you are. I may not appropriate your things for myself; they are yours.
9. I respect society’s mechanisms for resolving disputes; I renounce perjury.
10. To the extent that I can rejoice in and want nothing more than what I already have, I begin to resemble my God who has, wants, and is Nothing.