"Diaspora Jews of my generation who, like me, are concerned with this task, but all responses are welcome. I would also very much like to hear from those Jews who are most at risk of being left out of the conversation: queer folks, Jews of color, Jews from “intermarried” families and those with only one Jewish parent, those who are themselves married to or in a relationship with a non-Jewish person, those who grew up secular or just not very observant, those who didn’t get a traditional Jewish education (Hebrew school, bar/bat mitzvah, etc). I want to hear from you! And I want you to know that Judaism is yours, that your have every right to it, that your voice and your concerns and are important and relevant and should (must!) be part of this discussion."
The conversation was regarding what we wanted in the future of Judaism and the conversation has been brisk and enlightening.
My particular interest is of those of us who are connected to Judaism but do not have a connection to a god or divine source. This includes people who have converted, those who feel left out of the larger Jewish community and anyone who has a connection to Judaism, the culture, but not the supernatural are welcome to this discussion.
As a bit of background, I grew up in a very traditionally reform synagogue and household. Lit Shabbat candles every Friday night, didn't eat shrimp or pork but didn't keep kosher either and kept separate dishes and did bedika chametz the night before Pesach, etc. As a young adult I went to HUC-JIR and had planned to become a rabbi until I realized that I was pretending to believe in God and it was incompatible, at least in my mind, with getting smicha. I promptly stopped practicing and yet, the culture, and yes, even some of the rituals, hold great meaning for me.
On this blog I have written about the Omer, Purim, tashlich, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and mikveh. I have also written a screed about Jews and tattoos. I am pretty well drunk on the punch people but I go into even the most liberally-minded Jewish programs and the prayers turn me off.
So, my questions are:
What do you do to maintain your culture?
Have you found a community that welcomes you and makes you feel included?
Do you attend synagogue? If so, how do you deal with the God stuff?
What other questions need to be asked?
I look forward to hearing your answers and questions.