Sunday, February 26, 2006

Why I don’t think I could become Orthodox (part one)

I’m not going to lie about this: One big reason why I don’t think I could become Orthodox is related to the old Yiddish saying, “Schver tzu zein a Yid, It’s hard to be a Jew.”

I was not raised Orthodox.

The last member of my family to live an Orthodox life until the day of death was my maternal great-grandmother, who died when I was about six years old. So there were no Orthodox Jews in my family to serve as role models as I was growing up.

I never attended a Jewish day school.

And now, I’m supposed to accept upon myself 613 commandments??!! As I was saying, “Schver tzu zein a Yid.”

There are simply some things that I’m not prepared to give up.

I’m trying to avoid using the phone on Shabbat. But I’m not prepared to give up watching tv on Shabbat.

We went kosher when our son was born. I stopped eating non-kosher meat outside of the house several years ago. But I’m not prepared to give up eating cheese that doesn’t have hashgacha (i.e., cheese that isn’t supervised by a rabbi to ensure that it’s kosher). Nor am I prepared to stop eating kosher fish cooked in non-kosher pans in non-kosher restaurants.

And I’m not prepared to stop travelling on Shabbat. One of the reasons why I’m not prepared to stop traveling on Shabbat is that I’m not willing to giving up “shul hopping” (visiting other synagogues) on Shabbat. As I said to “Anon. #2” here, I’ve never, in my over twenty years of membership in my current synagogue felt truly at home there, because "In our shul, we can count the number of people who are both hard-core davveners and egalitarians (believers in equal rights for women in terms of participation in ritual) on one hand, literally." In addition, as “Anon. # 2" said, I also feel out of place in my community because it's not “willing to allow [me] to be intellectually curious and intellectually honest . . .”

Which brings me to my next post . . .


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