support for the newly observant?

HomeDiscussionsGrowing up in an Interfaith Familysupport for the newly observant?

This topic has 2 voices, contains 1 reply, and was last updated by  Mimi McKeever 1046 days ago.

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January 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm #6490

Sara Davies

One issue generally ignored is that some children of “interfaith” families grow up without any religion, or with minimal religious exposure, and face prejudice from both branches of their extended families. When I wanted to learn about Judaism, I felt like there was no place for me to go. I was told by one rabbi that I wasn’t really Jewish because I wasn’t raised religiously, and by another that I was “confused” – this was an attitude I often encountered in Reform settings. The Orthodox, on the other hand, were ready to run over and build an eruv around my house because my mother was Jewish, but leaping into that level of observance wouldn’t work for me because I’m married to a non-Jewish atheist. Recently I discovered a book by Adin Steinsaltz entitled Teshuvah, which he wrote to address the struggles of the ba’al teshuvah individual. This is a comforting and useful book. I’ve learned my investment in Judaism has to come from me, because I am not going to get a great deal of support from outside – I don’t fit into any neat categories. On my own, I’ve transitioned from identifying as “half-Jewish” to “just Jewish,” because I have done my own studying, online and through the small library I have built up in the last decade. It would be nice if it didn’t have to be so difficult – or more to the point, lonely. I wish that synagogues offered more support for newly observant or returning Jews and/or descendants of intermarriage.

January 18, 2012 at 6:25 am #6500

Mimi McKeever

You hit a home run! I always knew I was a Jew. My mother was a Jew. She came to hate her father. She was a famous concert pianist. I was born in1939. I was raised in the Christian Science Church. But I could understand Yiddish when visiting friends as a child. My mother was a depressed person. She was 39 when I was born. Her father married his mistress I knew. Only ten years ago I discovered she was 2 years older than my mother. Inthe 1920 Census there it was: language spoken in the home “Jewish”! Where parents born? It said,”Russia”! I was always told we were French/German! I have been deprived of my true foundation. My name is married name- but Idid marry an MD..and mychildren have Hebrew names. Now at 72, I want to catch up! It us not easy nor open.

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