Why Everyone Should Take on a Jewish Challenge

For those who have been following along, you’ll know that I’m counting the Omer this year, and am documenting the process on Instagram with journal entries and daily goals. (And if you’re not following along, please do so!) I’m loving the process so far - it’s been a week, and every day, it’s really been a pleasure to take just a moment to step back from the ever-changing chaos of life and to meditate on the daily sefirot. This week has been all about reflecting on the nature of love through various lenses, which has made me think about what I do well, where I can do better, and how each of the various divine attributes is truly applicable to my life.

As I shared about my last Jewish challenge, when I spent 3+ years reading a daily chapter of Tanakh, I think there are incredible tangible and immeasurable benefits to having your own Jewish study practice as an educator. After all, we spend so much time doing Jewish for others. In between the meetings, and the lesson planning, and the curating of Jewish experiences for others, this is how I do my own Jewish self care.

Pushing myself to keep learning keeps me inspired and invigorated in my own Jewish practice.

On a day to day basis, it’s way too easy for personal growth and edification to get pushed to the bottom of my to do list in favor of immediate needs and instant gratification. But when I set a goal, ideally a meaningful, time-bound, measurable mission that I can commit myself to for a period of time, I love jumping in with both feet. And sharing it publicly, seeing my progress, and applying it to my life makes it such a great way to continue my own Jewish learning and exploration.

What’s a Jewish challenge you’re itching to take on?

A few ideas that I’m considering for my next round (after all, I’ll need a new one in only six weeks…):

  1. Pick a different commentator (either ancient or modern) and read the weekly Torah portion with their reflections.

  2. Daf Yomi - the big kahuna of Jewish text study challenges, which still totally intimidates me but also somehow draws me in.

  3. Build a list of different Jewish practices I’ve never taken on before and test them out - everything from classic rituals (I’ve never wrapped tefillin) to modern adventures (Torah yoga anyone?).

  4. Go to a different denominational Shabbat service every weekend for a month.

  5. Break out the cookbooks and find a new recipe for each holiday from a Jewish community around the world.

  6. Hebrew - I always find a way to opt out of this, but a new vocab word a day would probably do wonders for me.

Your turn - what’s a Jewish challenge you’d like to take on? Or one that you’d be interested in following along as I test out?

Please share in the comments!