Tantrum Warehouse
Tact Free Since 2003

Conversion #1

One of the things that attracted me most to Judaism is how individual it is. There are literally thousands of rituals in the religion. Hundreds of pairs. And no two people practice precisely the same way.

And the rabbis recognize this as possibly a good thing.

I mean, not in the most Orthodox of communities, but most rabbis will encourage Jews to participate in rituals that still have meaning for them.

My family growing up observes almost no rituals of Christianity. We went to church most Sundays. We prayed before dinner. Only dinner. And even though I said that prayer daily for my entire childhood, I couldn't say it to you today. And I couldn't tell you what it was.

Part of me is sad about that. It is sad to give up pieces of your family in that way. Another part says, AB you are already giving up Jesus, I think you will be ok.

I like the idea of being able to have my own relationship with God, and to be able to do what I feel I need to do to be spiritual. There is something so free and liberated about that. At the same time the religion gives you all kinds of tools to do that with. You do not have to make up everything on your own.

What I like best about it is that it creates a firm bind within the family. There is tremendous intimacy in having a comming spirituality. Of showing your children and your husband what you truly believe.

I think one of the reasons that both my sister and I have left the church we were brought up in is that we never had a sense of why were practicing that religion. It had no meaning. My parents were from different churches. Different in a way that doesn't mean much to people outside their churches but was huge to them. And they chose a compromise religion. The problem with that is that I always had a sense that they didn't even buy into what we were doing. And I had a sense that neither was very comfortable with our church.

Top that off with their rebellion against their parents and you have a very tense situation. My grandparents didn't want my parents to marry. They didn't care for each other's religion. So my parents wanted to make sure that my sister and I respected both families' traditions.

I understand this. I respect this. But religion means nothing if people are just going through the motions.

There is a tale in Judaism that forty days before a Jewish child is born the angel Gabriel whispers all of Judaism to him or her. He teaches the child everything about our shared history. Every ritual. And then when the child is born the angel Gabriel takes that knowledge away.

The idea is that as the child grows up she will connect with the things that she learned in the womb. That the rituals will feel like home to her.

That is what I feel as I am learning. A sense of home.

I also feel a sense of amusement that my oh so Christian mother was carrying a Jew all along.

8:17 p.m. :: comment ::
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