We live in a world where there is freedom of religion for Jews in virtually most everywhere Jews live. Judaism has branched out in to so many factions other than reform, orthodox, or conservative. There are many choices in Judaism, which explains why there are so many kinds of Jews.

What is most surprising is that the Orthodox community has so many choices of lifestyles. One can be a "Chabadnik" or a Breslav Chassid or a Haredi Jew, strictly adhering to "Daas Torah." There are also national religious Jews with a passion for settling in the Land of Israel. One can also simply be labeled as "modern Orthodox". When a young man or woman decides that they would like to become more observant and study about their heritage, they are often lured to be converted into one of these labels.

While it is unfortunate that there are labels in the Orthodox world and it should be sufficient to say that one is a "committed or observant" Jew, all of the above mentioned groups are doing a fine job. Each is sincerely trying to find a path of worship where they become closer to G-d.

The important thing for anyone seeking truth is to find that group or philosophy that speaks to the person as something that (s)he can identify with. It is most important to be tolerant of these various paths as each has a very strong following. Perhaps it is even in one's Jewish genes, the tendency to gravitate towards one philosophy or another. The key is to have a sincere desire to get closer to G-d and the many various kinds of Jews may ultimately end up being a plus.

Machon Meir is a Center for Jewish Studies located in the heart of Jerusalem, in the neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe. It was established by Rabbi Dov Bigon shortly after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. For the last 35 years, the center has been a place for all of Am Yisrael to come and learn more about their Jewish roots. It has expanded into a facility with over 500 students and classes in Hebrew, English, Russian, French and Spanish.

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