Culture: Orthodox Jew

Culture: Orthodox Jew

I wouldn't use a single culture to define myself, as I have a French father and a Filipino mother. I am also an Orthodox Jew

Religion

While our faith and theology are important, we focus mainly on keeping our code of laws and ethical principles that come from the Bible. My religion plays a central role in almost every area of my life. I attend prayer services at my synagogue every morning and evening.

I also follow a strict diet - I cannot eat a variety of animals. The meat we eat must be slaughtered in a specific way, and cannot be mixed with dairy products. So, it is almost impossible to eat at any of the restaurants in Hong Kong.

The observance of the Sabbath on Saturdays is the centre of Jewish life. We try not to use any power or electricity, and we try not to work.

History

My Jewish heritage comes from my father's side, which has a long history in the Rhine area in Western Europe bordering France and Germany.

Alsace, the region in France where my father came from, repeatedly switched between French and German control over the centuries, so his family's culture contains a mix of French and German-Jewish (Yiddish) aspects.

All the older members of my family are Holocaust survivors. Most of them remained in France, while some moved to the US, Argentina, or Israel.

Special place

The most significant place for Jews the world over is the Western Wall in Jerusalem's old city. It's the only remnant of the walls that once surrounded Temple Mount, which housed the Jews' most sacred entity, the Holy Temple.

Ever since the temple's destruction at the hands of the Romans, the site has served as a unifying point for Jews worldwide, who go there to pray.

Defining characteristic

The craving for knowledge has always been prevalent among Jews. This has resulted in tremendous contributions to society. This is more related to social factors than religion. But Judaism does permit, and even encourages, people to search for truth in all aspects of life.

Holidays

The Jewish calendar is full of holidays. Some such as Passover (a holiday that celebrates the Hebrews' freedom from Egyptian enslavement) have been held for more than 3,000 years. Many of these biblically ordained holidays involve a Sabbath-like abstinence from work and other activities.

More recently, in wake of Zionism and the establishment of the state of Israel, a few more holidays have been added to the calendar, such as Israeli Independence Day and Jerusalem Day.

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