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I'm a believer.

Eric Alterman asks, "What do non-Orthodox Jews believe?" ("The Secular Spirit of Judaism," January/February 2009). Although I can not speak for all, I believe that kindness and courtesy are more important than kashruth. I believe that caring for human needs is more important than being frum. I believe that being a part of a Jewish community and attending services Friday night and Torah study on Saturday are more important than not traveling on the Sabbath. Wearing a sheitel does not make you pious and using tefillin does not keep you honorable. Mikvot, like Christian baptism, cannot alone bring spiritual cleanliness. I choose to watch what I say rather than what I eat. I choose to dress with normal modesty rather than with elaborate cultural elements.

In short, I choose to be a Jew and believe my creator will know my heart from my deeds rather than from my diet or dress. Having spent my youth in Orthodox surroundings, I have chosen not to be an Orthodox Jew. But I have not chosen to lose my association with being Jewish.

Bettylene W. Franzus

Johnson City, TN
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Title Annotation:Eric Alterman
Author:Franzus, Bettylene W.
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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