I grew up in a house where what most would imagine as an ideal family life did not exist. Relationships were cold and indifferent, and holiday celebrations were nonexistent. We were without the emotional bonds during our lives that makes a family close. Even after death, when speaking of family members lost, we treated them as if they never existed.

I enlisted in the military, (U.S. Navy), right after high school, and quickly became a member of a “Unit.” A family. We taught and learned from each other, were responsible for each other’s successes, failures, and our very lives. We revered those who served before us. Those whom we had never met, those who served before us, or will serve in the future, we are one. Their service is my service; their history is mine. We are shipmates. We will forever have a bond that neither time nor circumstances can break.

Bond is an important word when I think about what drew me to Judaism. The bonds. The deep love and dedication that bonds one’s personal family. The bonds between Jews all over the world. The bonds from one generation to the next by teaching, learning, and sharing the history and heritage of Judaism. As well as honoring those who walked before us. When I was young, being in the Navy was where I wanted to be. For the last ten years, and until the end of my days, being a Jew is where I need to be.