Where Do We Fit In?

Being a somewhat Shomer Shabbos Jew married to a non-Jew, I often feel a little at odds with my Jewish identity.  Where, exactly, does my family fit in?

Jewish spirituality is definitely made up of categories: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, cultural, secular – just to name a few. 

A friend’s daughter asked me “Are you Orthodox?”

She cowered after she asked, because she felt she had asked too personal a question.  I reassured her that it was a perfectly acceptable question.  I wondered that myself, who am I spiritually?

I eat Kosher food.  I observe Shabbat and the holidays (as in no electricity, driving, writing, etc.).  I dress modestly.  I am a member of a Modern Orthodox synagogue

We are raising our son with Jewish values. 

I struggle with the notion that I will be teaching my son different values than the ones I grew up with, the same ones that led me to marry a non-Jew.  How would I teach him to make different choices than mine?  Would I be a Jewish hypocrite? 

Is there a place for our Jewishly observant family with a non-Jewish parent within a typically Orthodox paradigm?

The answer to that question depends on who you ask.  My husband, for the moment, is not interested in converting.  We would have to be accepted as we are: a Jewish parent, a non-Jewish parent and one Jewish little boy. 

Throughout my spiritual journey, I have constantly asked myself, Who am I, What am I doing and What is my potential?  Essentially I want to understand where my Jewish spirituality is headed.  The answer to those questions will not only impact my own life, but will influence my marriage and our parenting decisions. 

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2 thoughts on “Where Do We Fit In?

  1. It’s so interesting (and, I admit, a relief) to read this post. I, too, have struggled with the “where do we fit in” question, and have been questioning my own beliefs and spirituality for several years. I know I want my son to have Jewish beliefs, but how will I answer the question “Mommy, why aren’t you Jewish?” (Sometimes I ask myself the same question, but that’s another story altogether). So many questions like yours (and mine), I’m learning lately, are much more universal than I ever thought they were. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for, and that they bring futher Shalom Bayit. :)

  2. Wow Julie, and here i thought i was crazy for writing that post!  Two peas in a pod we are! 

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 

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