"Oh, I'm such a bad Jew," has become a common refrain amongst teenage Jews. "You know, I eat bacon and everything and I only go to synagogue once a year, but I had a bar/bat mitzvah!"

The common response amongst their Jewish peers is to pass judgement, since, frankly, that is what teenagers do best. The more conservative ones will say that they are "not good Jews," while the more liberal ones will nod their heads in agreement, saying that they too had bar/bat mitzvahs, but that's about it. They are such bad Jews, but they'd rather stay that way. Of course, there are extremes on both ends, but judgement will always be passed.

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In our modern society, there has become a standard: one of a high moral conscience. We fight for anyone or anything's rights (the vegan movement for example), and we are seeking "truth" more than ever before (like the growing atheist movement as well). I say this from a teenage perspective, where I find my colleagues constantly discussing gay rights, black rights, animal rights, and of course freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We are always discussing everyone's inalienable right to practice whatever religion they choose and not be prosecuted for that. (This of course is not exclusive to religion; we discuss someone's inalienable right to be a certain sexual orientation,etc.) Yet isn't judging someone's religion (or level of religiosity in this case) a form of prosecution?

Maybe I'm naive. But too many times have I sat around the lunch table and heard my colleagues disparage others' religiosity--either they are too religious or not religious enough. My more conservative friends tend to say that someone is not close enough to God; my liberal ones say that this adherence to religious seems quite silly. I usually bite my tongue, since how are we to judge someone's relationship to God or absence thereof? (Many people-- myself included-- would still say that someone has a relationship to God when they say that they don't.)

People with a liberal bent may continue judging, but at the end of the day, aren't these often the same people who fight for freedom of religion? It would be a shame to judge the fruit of their labor so negatively. People with a more conservative bent may also continue judging, but aren't these often the same people who are steadfast believers in G-D being the Final Judge?

It takes extreme labor not to judge someone's Jewishness, especially as a teenager, and unfortunately, I've been the victim of far too much criticism-- often I am far too religious, and amongst some I am far too unreligious. Yet I have my own relationship with G-D, and I'd rather have Him judge my Jewishness.
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