Judaism doesn’t do it for me. To be honest, I don’t understand what you see in it. I’ve been there, done that, and it’s not for me. What do you say to people like me who simply are not inspired by Judaism?


You remind me of the story of the poor man’s cheese blintzes.

A poor man was once walking the streets, feeling hungry, when he was struck by a delicious aroma. From out of the kitchen window of a huge mansion wafted the smells of a rich man’s breakfast. Looking through the window, he watched carefully as the cook mixed the ingredients and prepared a pile of cheese blintzes. He had never seen or smelled anything so appetizing in his life.

He ran home and told his wife, “We must have some cheese blintzes for breakfast. They are delicious. Can you make me some? All we need is French pancake mix, milk and eggs, some butter to fry them in, and cheese for the filling.”

“Certainly, my dear husband,” the kind woman replied. “I will whip up the best cheese blintzes anyone ever tasted.”

But when she looked into her pantry for the ingredients, she was greeted by empty shelves. An industrious and resourceful woman, she wasn’t fazed. “We will have to be a bit creative,” she thought to herself. “I haven’t got any French pancake mix, but a little potato flour should be just as good. We are a little low on milk. I’ll just use water. Eggs . . . I don’t have any eggs, but I can throw in a few potatoes. We certainly can’t afford butter for frying, but I have some old oil that I used last week; I am sure it can be used again. And cheese costs a fortune these days. We will have to settle for some mashed potatoes instead of cheese—that will be close enough.”

In no time the delicious breakfast was ready, a pile of homemade cheese blintzes. The good wife brought them before her excited and grateful husband, who eagerly bit into the first cheese blintz he had ever tasted in his life. After chewing for a while on the first blintz, his face turned from eager anticipation to bitter disappointment.

“I have to be honest,” he said, “I don’t really get what those rich people see in cheese blintzes. They really are nothing special . . .”

The Judaism you have tasted is about as authentic as those cheese blintzes. You may think you have been exposed to the Jewish way of life. After all, you sat through a year of bat mitzvah classes, crept into the back row of a synagogue on Yom Kippur every year, and even spent three months on a kibbutz in Israel when you were nineteen.

This is all very nice. But these are not the ingredients for a true Jewish experience.

If you have never racked your brain over a page of Talmud; if your soul has never been touched by the deeper meanings of the Torah; if you have never felt the embrace of a warm and spiritually committed community; if you have never experienced the peace and holiness of keeping a Shabbat fully and correctly—then you have never had a taste of real Judaism.

Enough of the cheap imitations. Go eat a genuine cheese blintz.