Doron Kornbluth



Red Things, Blue Things, Jew Things

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The brain, I am told, spends an enormous amount of its power blocking information. Without doing this, our eyes would notice too much, our ears would hear too much, our bodies would feel too much…and we’d be overwhelmed. So the brain prioritizes. Decides to notice some things and not others. To hear some things and not others. 


A practical expression of this idea: look around the room and notice anything red. How many things did you see? Now look for blue things. How many are there? Most people didn’t really notice the blue stuff when they were focusing on the red – the brain decides what to focus on and gives it priority. The blue things were always there – we just weren’t noticing them at first because our minds were busy noticing other things.


How many things can you be interested in? How many things can you focus on?


When you look at the newspaper or go online, what subjects do you look for first? Some subjects people are into include celebrity gossip, sports, politics, business … every individual has their own likes and dislikes. We should remember, however, that whatever we choose to focus on comes at the expense of something else that will inevitably drop down on the priority list. 


With what glasses are you seeing the world? We each have, of course, many sets of glasses. A person can be a committed environmentalist, baseball fanatic, and an active Jew. Some people have one area of interest, most have at least 3 or 4. But it is rare to have ten. The brain prioritizes.


In our quest to help our children, grandchildren, students – and ourselves – feel Jewish, one important point is to regularly wear Jewish glasses. Meaning to see the world with Jewish eyes. Not as our only area of interest, but certainly as one of our areas of interest.


How to do this? The more you know about Israel, the more you’ll feel connected to it and interested in it.  Same with Judaism. And Jewish history. And any facet of Jewish life.  So get online.  Look for Israeli news. Visit the good Jewish sites.  Take the time to wear Jewish glasses. It is a beautiful way to see the world.

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