Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stern College Poll

I recently noticed that the student newspaper of Stern College, The Observer, had a poll on its website which asked, "What is the most challenging aspect of religious observance?" After reading the nine different options, I curiously clicked to read the poll results. The category with the most votes was "Sexual Propriety," which did not surprise me, and the second biggest category, "Lashon Harah/gossip," unfortunately, did not surprise me at all either. What actually shocked me was the third biggest category, which at the time that I'm writing this post has 14% percent of the votes, and that is belief in G-d.

The reason that this shocked me was that belief in G-d is the biggest foundations of our faith. It is the very first commandment of the Ten Commandments given to us at Har Sinai when we received the Torah- "I am Hashem." The majority of Stern students grew up religious/Torah observant and have attended Jewish schools their entire lives. It boggled my mind that so many people who are religious struggle with such a basic concept as whether G-d exists or not.

Perhaps the 15% of voters were ones who did not grow up religious and were in the process of becoming Baalei Teshuva, but even so, I would think that belief in G-d is one of the first things a person would believe in when growing in Judaism. Or perhaps those who chose that option intended what I would call “Trust in G-d,” which is something that I believe many struggle with, trusting that everything in our lives is a result of Divine Providence and is for the best or ultimate good. But that would have been “Trust in G-d” and the option reads, “Belief in G-d.”

I guess it goes to show you that you never know what people’s challenges are. Even when things look perfect, you never know what’s going on inside. As I once heard, life is like a duck. On the surface it looks like it is smooth sailing, but underneath the water the duck is paddling furiously. May Hashem grant us the strength to be victorious in all of the struggles we face.


  1. I have found that to be a symptom amongst many Jews, no matter what level of religiosity. If people can get so caught up about the wrong things and blow off the big things, then people really don't believe in Hashem.

    Stealing money, laundering, fraud are not as condemned as they should be. Many cannot differentiate between Jews and Judaism, and condemn the latter for the former's crimes. Parents raise children in hypocrisy, resulting in outward religion which is nothing more than conforming to current surroundings.

    Those who believe will hopefully have a good influence of those who feel lost.

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