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-   -   Keeping the Faith? (https://www.justmommies.com/forums/f179-jewish-parenting/1718553-keeping-faith.html)

aerisa September 26th, 2009 02:51 PM

Keeping the Faith?
I have been Jewish for as long as I can remember. In fact, way long before that as well. Both of my parents are/were Jews - essentially I come from a long line of Jews.
Growing up in Lutheranville USA, I found myself to be the only Jew in the classroom growing up. While it was special, I did long for the things my counterparts participated in, but my mom always kept our house decked up in lights. I went to a Catholic school for two years while in Middle and High school - in which yet again, I was the only person who really didn't participate in communion but I did go to the masses because I found them entertaining. In fact, I played the violin next to Sister LaVonne during most Fridays. While, I never felt a connection to Catholicism and other Christian based religions, I felt as though I could follow along in the masses, understand what the moral of the stories were, and enjoyed the music and traditions.
I enjoyed the music and traditions of the Jewish services as well - but never understood them due to the language barrier. My dad religiously (ironically) went to services on the weekends, where as my mom never did - my brothers and I went to Sunday school and had our Bar/Bat Mitzvah's through the ame syagogue. Once we had officially become "adults" we were given the option to whether or not to go with dad or do as we pleased. We always went to services on the high holidays and such as a family growing up.
Fast forward to present day. I married a man who was not Jewish in fact, he was Pentecostal. Well he isn't Pentecostal but his family was. He has considered converting but I have told him time and time again, that I do not want to be his influence to convert - that is something that he needs to decide for himself. Since going to college, and working and living in very un-Jewish areas, I have found even more so a disconnect from religion in general. It does bother me. I feel like I could attend a mass and while deep in my heart not have a belief in the scriptures, at the very least I could understand what the point of the story was. Now here it is, the high holiday time of year, after a whirlwind of places we've lived we are back at the synagogue that I was Bat Mitzvah'ed at.
And, I have absolutely no desire to go - in fact I have a desire not to go. I'm not sure where this is coming from. I could never be any other religion than Jewish, but I feel like I have no clue when it comes to what it means to be Jewish.
Has anyone else had these sort of feelings? What did you do in order to regain your faith?

rebeccabaltimore and more September 27th, 2009 12:59 PM

Re: Keeping the Faith?
I don't have an answer to your question, but I understand a little bit how you feel. I grew up a very active Jew. I loved being Jewish. But in February my son was tillborn. And now I'm not sure how to practice Judaism. I'm still good at being a Jew culturally, but I have not figured out how to worship. It's very weird. I know I'll figure it out eventually.

If you have the money and the time, you could visit Israel. I have been an active Jew since I was just a toddler, but when I went to Israel at 16 it was really a life changing experience.

aerisa September 28th, 2009 09:01 AM

Re: Keeping the Faith?
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I couldn't imagine. I know when my son was born, we experienced a bit of a loss but nothing in comparison to your experience. I think when it came to my Judaism growing up, I just went through the motions without internally gaining anything from that - almost like I lumped up each time we went to the synagogue as being separate from the rest of my life. I think it is also part in due to the fact that there were no Jews in our area growing up. (We had to travel 25 miles and to the next state in order to go to synagogue.) So it was easy for me to put into a compartment and not bring it into my everyday life.

I would love to visit Israel, but I think its going to be a while before that happens. Although, I am attempting to plan our 5 year anniversary for next November. Perhaps that is just what our family would need. By that time, hopefully my son will be communicating better and we could all relearn and regain some sort of meaning to things.

I guess, I feel especially guilty now for some reason - my mother is abhored that I did not go to temple for Rosh Hashana, and when she asked if I was going for Yom Kipper/Yisker etc I basically told her, "No, I don't think it would be appropriate, I think I have lost my faith..." It feels like if I did go to temple right now, it would be a ruse.

Thank you for your suggestion. Have a peaceful holiday. Best of luck ttc!

Ima September 29th, 2009 01:16 AM

Re: Keeping the Faith?
Hi hun

I have rocked back and forward with my faith constantly. I am now at peace with it. I do think, based on your conversation, that you feel so disconnected to it b/c you just dont put in any effort (no offense but i have been through this btw). I attend shul regularly now and i know ppl. feeling part of the community is what shul is about. you cant just show up on the high holidays and everyone welcomes you with smiling embraces. they dont know you. if you want to feel jewish, you have to put in some effort. Hashem wants a realtionship with you, but how can your soul feel a connection to Him if you put in no effort?

I am not talking massive steps here. just start attending on shabbos. maybe even just once a month in the begining. get to know some of the ppl. thats what i did. i must say, it does help that my hubby is jewish as its something we share. i love going to shul now. i have my shul friends and they have become my social friends too. its about attaching to the jewish community. there is method in the madness of creating a minyan.

I mean, at neilah (concluding service of Yom Kippur) the emotions that you share with the ppl around you is incredible. i feel so blessed. It was hard to overcome my inital shyness, but you know, we all have to start somewhere....

mamabeeto3 October 1st, 2009 04:19 AM

Re: Keeping the Faith?
Well let's face it. It does take an effort to go. It's not always easy or convenient. I might not have the same experience as Ima - example the Neilah service at the end of Yom Kippur. But what I do get is others who understand. Understand my beliefs, my concerns and a great sense of community.

I too, like Rebecca lost my son. He was stillborn at 22.5 weeks Dec. 5, 2005. It's hard to have faith after such a devastation. But I also realize if it wasn't for my faith and beliefs I would have spiraled much further downward after that loss.

It is with baby steps that you can begin. Go to synagogue one Shabbat a month. Go to Friday night services, if you find they are not for you, then attend Torah Services on Saturday morning. Try different synagogues in your area till you find one that is right for you.

I wish you luck in your quest for faith.

aerisa October 7th, 2009 07:16 PM

Re: Keeping the Faith?
Thanks ladies. I do understand that it takes effort. I guess I'm just trying to figure out whether or not it is worth the effort for me at the moment. I think for me that I had really just felt more of a severe disconnect around the time my father died and my son was born. When I was first pregnant, my father had a second heart attack - I miscarried. My father had to have a LVAD (left ventricular assist device that essentially pumped the heart) put in. About 6 months later, I was pregnant again - my father had a stroke. A few days later, I was still pregnant, my father passed away. Fast forward a few months later - my son is born (after being discharged from the hospital, at home, alone with only the dog...long story). All seems to be ok - then we found out he has Trisomy 21. Which is not anything that we can't deal with, but in a sense we were dealing with the loss of all the unrealistic potentials. Its hard to go from dreaming of all the different opportunities your children have, to simply dreaming for your child to be mainstreamed.

The other synagogue is over an hour and a half away. But it may be a good idea to just start to go to random services. The other synagogue is only half hour away, perhaps Friday night services may be a good way to start. Are there any books that you would suggest to get a better understanding? Thanks again for all your suggestions.

Ima October 19th, 2009 02:26 AM

Re: Keeping the Faith?
oh hun. so sorry you went through so much pain and heartache with all this. you really are a strong person who wants to connect with Hashem and i totally admire that. There are plenty of books. It depends what you are in to. There is a fab Rebbetzin who writes a series of books called "the committed life", "the committed marriage" etc. check out Chabad Lubavitch - Torah, Judaism and Jewish Info for their shiurs you can download as well.............

just e November 17th, 2009 10:05 AM

Re: Keeping the Faith?

My heart goes out to you. We should email back and forth if you would like. I'm on the opposite side of your life experience literally (was sent to catholic school where i very much had belief and faith in G-d until my mothers parents died and she lost it and my life went into a whirlwind) and have made peace with the fact that I am just not a Christian and can't take my children to "church" to teach them about G-d knowing that I don't believe in any way shape or form that Jesus was anything more than a man.

Having been on both sides of life (as child and parent) the greatest lesson I have learned is to be very happy for the successes of my children and my life. I thought by now I would be teaching and I'm working part time in pharmacy. I had expectations in my life of how my children would be and has some learning disabilities the other is a huge tom girl (possibly gay?) and I've just had to say to myself, you know, I'm ok with this! This isn't what I imagined, but it is my life and I'm happy to be in it. This is what my life is meant to be because its the only way that it can be.

I think that if you're thinking about how you feel about going to temple, you are thinking that it's something you want to do, otherwise why would you think of it? Give it a try. I have my issues with attending synagogue as well, so I'm certainly not one to preach about going when I myself don't do it as often as I should, but it's a good place to learn and to reconnect with community and that's good.

I take a view that my religion is between myself and my G-d, I make no apoligies for who I am religiously and don't feel the need to defend the way I go about things. Because of my daughters learning issues, I decided last year that I am not going to send them to Hebrew sunday school. I can't afford it at this time anyway, but I have to make sure my children have an education that will give them the opportunity to live a life on their own. I teach them what I can about Judaism, a Hebrew word her and there, but there wont be full on Hebrew education, and I am ok with that. I'm really going on and on. Feel free to send me a message on here if you would like.

Incidentally my family is from Lutheranville, Midwest and so I completely relate to your feeling like an outsider. Shalom everyone!

Ima November 25th, 2009 05:50 AM

Re: Keeping the Faith?
Nicely said Just-e....

I, too, have just learned that life isnt always simple. Well i probably always new that, but i have constant blows again and again (the latest being diagnosed with a uterine abnormality).....

Hopefully, I can find inner stregnth to connect again with Hashem. Its not easy and I dont understand why i must go through this, but in fact, having watched a sad movie last night about a woman with a neuron disease, i put it into perspective........

Hashem only gives you what you can deal with...

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