So my daughter Sophie doesn’t believe in G-d…
Or, at least, that’s what she said when her twin brother Jacob said that he does. Which means I have no way of knowing if she doesn’t believe, or if she is continuing yet another year’s resolution of doing and saying the opposite of Jacob.
Whether or not she was trying to get a rise out of me — or raise some genuine questions — I shared a thought with her about a fundamental difference between Christianity and Judaism that I had learned from a JTS professor who spoke at my shul last year (and as soon as I can remember who it is, I will let you know). He explained that Christianity is a religion of beliefs — you must buy in to the whole megillah (not their word for it, of course), and failure to believe is sinful. Judaism, on the other hand, is a religion of behaviors — you are judged on what you DO more than what you believe. Not believing in G-d doesn’t absolve you from treating others with dignity and respect, or from engaging in the mitzvot. Being Jewish is about doing.
Do I care what she believes as Jew? Honestly, yes, I do. But that’s because I’m her mom. But what the rest of the world will see about Sophie is how she behaves: respecting others, speaking kindly, sharing her gifts. That’s what being a Jew is about.