USC - It was the first Saturday of summer vacation, and I...

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It was the first Saturday of summer vacation, and I found myself at my usual spot in the synagogue: Third row, second seat. As I sat with my prayer book open, I mouthed an “Amen” in response to the Hazzan’s prayer. While I seemed to focus physically on the services, my mind was distant as I thought about my friend’s laser-tag birthday party that I was missing because of the Sabbath. As an Orthodox Jew, I had to miss out on the fun, only to be in synagogue for over four hours. Even more difficult was that my friend was Jewish himself. As the service droned on, I asked myself one question: why did I choose my religion over my friend? I am not the first Jew to have this inner conflict. Since the first Jewish Emancipation in 1789, Jews have debated amongst themselves about whether to strictly adhere to their traditions and disassociate from the modern world, or to make exceptions to the scriptures and assimilate into society in order to become more accepted. Sitting in synagogue that day, the latter option looked pretty appealing. Still, I remained faithful
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USC - It was the first Saturday of summer vacation, and I...

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