Shalom… that is “peace,” I didn’t know what this truly meant until I began studying and practicing Judaism. I’d never been at peace with myself or the world around me, though I’d given up my past and became wholly non-violent, I still hadn’t truly known peace. I literally had to delve deeper and deeper into the Jewish religion, read tons of books, never miss a Shabbat, and to truly immerse myself wholly and completely into it, before I came to know peace.

…and peace I found!

I’m not going to sit here and say it made life easy, but it definitely made life better, more peaceful, and more rewarding for me and my family. No matter how horrible a week may be, no matter the struggle, no matter what trials we face, Shabbat seems to wash it all away and let me begin the new week with a clean slate instead of carrying the previous week with me. I have a fuse a mile long and even my kids have told me I’m like a new Dad and that I never raise my voice anymore.

I smile… a lot, and have found that nothing is worth my peace and joy. I dance… a lot because every day is a celebration of being alive and the Bracha that Hashem had brought to me and my family. I sing… a lot, songs of praise for Hashem and celebration of the Jewish people and life. I read Tanakh… a lot as it brings me greater and greater peace and love in my life every time I read it. 

I truly understand why “Shalom,” is the common Jewish greeting, as peace is paramount to truly living life and not merely existing or surviving. When a Jew says, “Shalom,” to you, it’s much more than just a greeting, it’s a wish, a hope that you find that peace in life and in yourself… I understand this today and until you experience it yourself, you won’t fully understand it (like me for so long). Nothing is worth my peace and it is my sincerest prayer that the world comes to know this peace and embraces one another as brothers and sisters through life. 

Shalom… peace… Wer1!