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Switch to Forum Live View Confusion with a capital C
6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2008 - 1:40PM #1
Weeping_Willow1526
Posts: 127
Hey everyone! I have a dilemma, and am seeking help. I'll be posting similar posts on here and on a Christian board.....really I am just looking for answers. I'll get into my story, and I'll *attempt* to keep it short and not too whiney!

I am a spiritual and religious person, the problem is, I don't really have a religion. I was raised Christian, left the church, and stumbled across Judaism. I fell in love with it, and I really wanted to convert. I studied for a long time...years, and was ready to go before the beis din. Of course, I had more to learn and I had to actually live it; I just mean that I was certain that that is what I wanted to do.

I packed up and moved away, ready to start my new life as a soon-to-be-Jew. The family I was to stay with turned out to be WAY different than what I expected. I will not get into details because I do not like to call people down, but I will say that I did NOT feel as though I could stay there and left immediately. I was devastated because these people, this community lived so far away, and I felt as though-as I drove away-my dreams were being left behind.

I don't believe I can convert where I am now (at least not to Orthodox, which is what I was always in love with). I also don't know if I can gather the courage to move away again. I didn't want to move in the first place; I forced myself because I had to. Once I was there, if everything had gone as planned, I would have been find....but the LEAVING part....it's just so hard. I don't know if I can go through that again, but I will try if I know God wants me to.

When I returned home, I eventually resigned myself to the fact that I would probably never convert. I did not return to church, but I have tried to be Christian at heart. Still, I don't know if that is really what I am supposed to be doing. I try to force everything Jewish away from me, but a large part deep within still hungers for Judaism and the Jewish people. I cannot explain it because I have no Jewish ancestry that I know of, and I was not raised around any Jewish people ever. It just doesn't make sense. My mother suggested that I still yearn for Judaism out of habit maybe...because it was part of my life for so long. Yeah, maybe that's it....but when I left Christianity for Judaism, I never longed to have it back the way I do with Judaism, and Christianity was part of my life for a lot longer.

I find myself foolishly wishing I was born Jewish because if I was, then I would not be going through this eternal turmoil. I know that is impossible, but I just do not know WHAT to do! Even though I want to stay in my home province, am I MEANT to move away and convert? Or was G-d right when He put me with a Christian family...should I just accept what I was born into? Should I try going to the Conservative synagogue even though I've never fully felt at home there; should I just go with a "well, something is better than nothing" mindset for the rest of my life (not to offend anyone who has found there home there, I've just always felt Orthodox was my 'home')? Is this all just a test to see if I really have what it takes? Perhaps the easiest thing to do would to just throw my hands up in the air and scream, "I'm through with religion forever", but I can't seem to do that. I am not a secular person, and I want spirituality and a religious lifestyle to be a part of my existance. I will say that I know of the Noachide path, but I do not believe that is an option for me. I don't feel as though I can feel spiritually fulfilled there, even though maybe that is what I was born to be afterall.

I don't know....my ramblings probably don't even make any sense. It's just, the confusion has been tearing me to pieces inside. I would be grateful for ANY advice whatsoever. Know that, of course, I am not looking for anyway to steer the course of my future. I am just looking for opinions, that's all, so no pressure! I did post something similar to this when I first got back on the old bnet, but I did not get many responses. My mind is still struggling with it though, every day, so I thought I would ask on the new site as well. If you've come this far, thanks for listening! G-d bless,
~Willow~
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2008 - 4:44PM #2
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,900

Weeping_Willow1526 wrote:

Hey everyone! I have a dilemma, and am seeking help. ... thanks for listening! G-d bless,~Willow~



BS"D

My heart goes out to you.  I am sorry that some of us do not live up to our "press" or that outward appearances and initial impresssions do not always reflect inward reality.  Mostly I am sorry for your personal disappointment.  All of that study and dedication is worth something to me and should not have been subjected to the changing winds of social intercourse centering on a single family IMHO.

Don't be confused any longer.  Cast off that unnecessary burden.  Make a choice for yourself and stick with it.    You know enough about the major differences between Judaism and Christianity to be able to choose for yourself and not be moved.  Choose one or the other and be true to yourself from that point onward.  Then grow in whatever faith you choose.  You will find support for any choice you make. 

I want you to follow your heart on this, whatever your choice and stick with it whatever the consequences.  That is my advice to you.  I support either choice you make.  You don't even have to choose one or the other.  The world is full of peoples each with their own prophets and their own ways of wisdom.  A large portion of peoples even have wisdom apart from religion.  Find your own true path and begin really living your life.   If your path is with my people, you will be unable to resist the drawing of your soul to it.   But your choice is your own and you are absolutely free to choose your own life and your own destiny.  ;)

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2008 - 4:53PM #3
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
I don't pretend to understand the details of the problem here, but to get to the heart of the matter this is what I see as your situation:

You feel drawn to Judaism, particularly the Orthodox variety, but there is no Orthodox Jewish community accessible to you that you can live in or convert through. Your family and community of origin is Christian, but you do not feel any sense of spiritual satisfaction from Christianity. There is a Conservative Jewish community accessible, though.

I can certainly sympathize with the difficulty that comes when a religious system that had been part of your life for so long no longer works. I felt the same pain when I discovered that Christianity no longer provided me with the connection to the Sacred and the means toward the sanctification of life that I felt I needed. I can also empathize with the sense of connection and completeness that you feel you have found in Judaism (obviously, or else I myself would not have converted).

I can't help with notions of "destiny" or what you might be "meant for" or what God wants from you -- none of that has ever really had any meaning for me. Judaism is not really a religion, a relationship with God. Judaism -- Jewishness -- is national/cultural/tribal identity, an evolving religious civilization founded on a shared ethical commitment. If one is a Jew or wants to become one, it is more important first to find a Jewish community -- any community -- rather than what kind of community it may be.

You have a Conservative synagogue in town. Why not go there? One should not let trivialities of religious observance stand in the way. You might want to do some serious introspection and try to articulate in words why it is that Orthodoxy was so appealing to you and see if there is any real reason why you wouldn't be able to find that same thing in the local Conservative community (from my understanding, C congregations in Canada are much more conservative and Orthodox-esque than they tend to be here in the US).

If you truly feel like you want to be part of the Jewish people, then do not cut yourself off from the community. Jews are Jews, be they Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, or Reconstructionist. You're not "settling," as LK said. You're just continuing your journey of exploration.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2008 - 6:28PM #4
lauramushkat
Posts: 625
You sound like you need a definite break-tho how you get a break from yourself is beyond me.

Depending on your economic circumstance you need to be where you can meet many Jews and there are all kinds even in the same movement-Orthodox. There are extremes and liberals in the way they run their own lives.
How you end up, if you do convert, will be up to you.  What you need is to be able to live near people who are Orthodox and maybe not with someone.  You need to live in an area you will be happy in even if you change your mind about things.

Until then I would attend Jewish serices of any kind near you and talk to the Rabbi and tell him or her your problem.  They may have a suggestion for you.

Also try to do things to make you content other then religous.  That may help.  Best of luck
Hugs
Laura
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2008 - 8:11PM #5
mlarue75
Posts: 1,199
I wrote this beautiful long reply to you and it didn't post, but here in a nutshell is what I would say.  Being brought up in a Christian family means what you want it to mean.  I was a preacher's kid.  It was kind of like living in a convent but the food wasn't as good. ;) For years I tried to stay Christian because I thought I should; when I finally realized G-d would be just as happy with me Jewish, I converted.  Haven't regretted it for a single moment.

I agree with what the others said.  Take the opportunity presented by the Conservative shul even if it isn't quite what you want.  There are bound to be people there from whom you can learn.

Forgive me for bringing this up, but you haven't said:  Are you quite clear in your mind about Jesus, and who he is or isn't for you? 

Don't be discouraged.  Someone said that opportunity knocks only once.  They lied.  It knocks all the time.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2008 - 12:46PM #6
Weeping_Willow1526
Posts: 127
Wow, thank you all so much for the replies! I am truly touched by all those who took the trouble to read my post and respond to it. I certainly need all the help I can get right now, and I appreciate all of the comments and advice left to me.

Let me explain something that mlarue has asked me (she asked if I was clear in my mind about Jesus and who he is or isn't for me). To be honest, no I'm not. Or maybe deep down I am....and I just won't allow myself to see what is deep down.  For YEARS, I thought I was 100% sure that I know who Jesus was, and I knew he was not my Lord, not my Saviour, and not my Messiah. When the rabbi first rejected me a few years ago, I tried to rid my life of everything Jewish and become a Conservative Christian. A few months later I admitted to myself that I only did that because I was in so much pain and any exposure to anything Jewish was pure torture to me since deep down I still yearned so much for it. No matter how hard I tried during those days, I could not push Judaism away from my soul. I jumped back into it whole heartedly, and that is when I moved away (a couple years later). When I returned from that community, I found myself trying to do the same thing I did a few years ago, and I wonder if this is also because it hurts to much too have Judaism in my life when it feels so out of my grasp forever. I really don't know, and I know that is a possibility, but I've also been told, as stated before, that I could just be missing Judaism "out of habit", and it has been suggested to me by more than one person that it is Satan's doing, trying to keep from Christianity. All that just adds to my confusion, and I wish the clouds would part and a voice would come bellowing down and tell me what to do! Or maybe it has, and I am just not paying attention....

Anyway, I have a couple more comments, but I will back up and reread the replies, then post them in a separate posting. Thanks again for reading! G-d bless,
~Willow~
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2008 - 1:03PM #7
Weeping_Willow1526
Posts: 127
I guess one thing to point is that we do indeed have an Orthodox synagogue around; however, as I'm sure you all know, an Orthodox synagogue doesn't always imply an Orthodox community. We have a synagogue that follows the Orthodox rules; however, 99% of the people that attend are quite liberal and secular when not in shul (no kosher food, no tznius, they drive the cars to the shul on Shabbos, etc). That is the synagogue that I've attended over and over again. I can't say I've always felt fully welcome there, but I have always felt at home there. I have been told by a Jewish friend who grew up here, that I would be welcomed at the Conservative shul, but I don't know if I can feel AS at home there as I do with the Orthodox. It's kind of similar at church. What I mean is, I can go and I am welcomed with open arms, but I don't always feel spiritually at home there.

In all fairness, I never gave the Conservative synagogue a real chance though, so maybe I should go give it a try. I think I will always love the Orthodox lifestyle more (because I am an Orthodox person when it comes to basically everything, including my religious beliefs...I've always felt most at home among the Chasidim), but maybe I just cannot have it, at least not for now.

One idea that came to my mind is that I could go to the C shul and convert if I still felt compelled to....then, if I ever get the courage to move, I would convert Orthodox at that point. Then I think that the Orthodox might not like that because maybe they think I should have went with what I wanted in the first place....and the Conservative may also not like that because I converted without truly planning on staying with them.

Maybe I should stop seeing labels, and starting seeing them as one complete nation....but then, even Jews don't  always do that when it comes to conversion, so that can be difficult.

Either way, I think that as soon as I am able, maybe it would be wise to at least give them a chance and see what they have to offer as well.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2008 - 1:07PM #8
Weeping_Willow1526
Posts: 127
Buns, I love your advice as well, and I am taking it to heart (about casting away the burden, make a choice and stick with it). I think that is where my problem lies. Every time I make a choice, I have a sudden feeling of doubt that overcomes me and does not leave until I make the other choice, and then another feeling of doubt casts itself over me. Maybe I am thinking TOO hard, but it is difficult not to.  Your advice speaks to me though, and I am praying I can get the strength to do just that.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2008 - 1:17PM #9
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,900

Weeping_Willow1526 wrote:

Buns, I love your advice as well, and I am taking it to heart (about casting away the burden, make a choice and stick with it). I think that is where my problem lies. Every time I make a choice, I have a sudden feeling of doubt that overcomes me and does not leave until I make the other choice, and then another feeling of doubt casts itself over me. Maybe I am thinking TOO hard, but it is difficult not to. Your advice speaks to me though, and I am praying I can get the strength to do just that.



BS"D

I understand and I wish for you the best.  For me, as an O Jew, I have no problem at all going to Shabbos services in a schul of any branch.  I carry my Judaism inside so it hardly matters the external format and if anythng is lacking in a service I make up for it on my own.  I encourage you to try out the Conservative synagogue and see if you feel more at home spiritually there.  One thing about C, they are much less apt to harbor extremist anti-O perspectives than R, but that is NOT a rule.  Jews of good character respect each other and their own customs. 

Hatzlecha!

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 2:48PM #10
Pam34
Posts: 2,647
Buns is right - 'Jews of good character respect each other and their own customs'.
Go where you can. Community matters more than labels. Becoming a Jew is joining a family - a tribe - more than it is joining a 'denomination'.
I know folks who've gone from Protestant to Reform Jew, and then to Conservative to Orthodox to Hasid. It's not 'steps', but a spectrum. Not separate 'houses' but a river -
step right in.
Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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