I am the only Jew within miles of where I live. It's not easy being so vastly outnumbered. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth being different. One thing my non-Jewish neighbours ask that I can't answer is: Why have your people been so unpopular throughout history and around the world? What should I tell them?
From ancient times and until today, the Jew is a dissenter, a voice that runs counter to the accepted norm. And that doesn't earn popularity.
It all started with Abraham. He was the first Jew, known as Abraham the Hebrew. The very name Hebrew means separatist, the one on the other side. When the whole world says one thing, the Hebrew says the opposite. All humankind was worshiping idols. Abraham worshiped the one invisible G-d of heaven and earth. People thought that they could demand what they wanted from the gods; Abraham taught that G-d demands goodness from people. Even while the entire world stood on one side, Abraham, the first Hebrew, stood on the other side.
This has been the way of the Hebrews ever since. We are a counter voice that refuses to exchange truth for popularity. The Hebrews have protested the claims of false messiahs and self-proclaimed prophets, political saviours and would-be revolutionaries. We watch them come and go, and we stick to the path of Abraham.
The existence of a Jew today is a slap in the face of every movement that has sought to disprove the G-d who spoke to Abraham, took the Hebrews out of Egypt and gave them the Torah. No matter how distant a Jew may be from Judaism, the very fact that he or she identifies as a Jew is a vindication of G-d's promise to our forefathers that their descendants will survive and reach every corner of the earth.
The Hebrew viewpoint is unpopular at first. It starts as the sole voice of a small minority. But in time these ideas spread and become universal. Abraham was a lonely monotheist, teaching all who would listen that there is one G-d who wants you to live a moral life. Today, four thousand years later, most of the world prays to the G-d of Abraham. That's the power of just one Hebrew. Be true to the Hebrew within you. Be the dissenter who chooses morality over popularity.