December 17, 2018

How Jewish are you?

I have a clear view of who I am in terms of my faith, but on occasion I still question who I am. Religion is a tricky subject and even though I prefer to only date Jewish men, it has proven to be somewhat complicated.  I’ve dated men who thought I wasn’t Jewish enough, and others who felt I was too religious.  I somehow always thought it would be easier to be with a Jew, but that isn’t always how it works.

In past relationships I have strived to be more Jewish, or tried to dumb it down to be less Jewish, but at the end of the day I am simply Jewish. I love being Jewish and think my level of observance is between God and me. I’ve been judged by people who don't think I’m observant enough, and called an inspiration by some who wish they were as observant as me. It is strange because faith is personal.

I talk to God everyday. I pray everyday. I have been praying a lot over the past few days for clarity as I have been confused by things floating around in my mind. Rather than pray them away or hide them in the back of my mind, I wanted to understand what it all meant. I find it hard to sleep when my mind is busy so I prayed for clarity mostly so I could get some sleep. Truth be told I flat out prayed for sleep.

If I ask God to help me, I find what I am seeking faster. I could simply be willing the answers so I can believe they come from God, or perhaps it is God guiding me to where I need to be. I can’t explain how it works, but I can share that when I pray I am comforted. I do not pray for things God cannot give me. When it comes to clarity however, prayer allows me to not give up, which connects me to God.

If I can be my true self in front of God, and can be that same woman in front of the man I date, is that a soul mate?  If I can worship without fear of judgment or criticism, is that love? If I can feel safe in my faith and open to seeing a different view, does that make God happy? At what point am I Jewish enough if I am dating a Jew? I write a lot about my search for faith, but does that make me religious?

I would not say I'm a religious person. I'm traditional in that I light Shabbat candles, go to temple when I can, observe high holidays, and have a Jewish worldview. I am a Jewish mother with a Jewish soul, and am grounded in faith. I define myself as a Jew, but don't appreciate being judged as one. I don't judge people on religious beliefs. Never have and never will. I connect to God quietly.

I am dating a Jewish man and our practices are different, but at the core of who we are is Judaism. He is a mensch and when he speaks of his children and his life as a father, he speaks on a level my soul connects to. We may do things differently, but we understand each other and the importance of tradition. I am a woman of faith and my faith is rooted in Judaism. I am Jewish enough for me and for God.

I’ve dated men who are Jewish, Jew-ish, and Jew adjacent. I don’t need to observe, practice, or believe in the same way as the person I am dating. I simply want them to understand and appreciate the tradition of our faith and roots. I love writing about faith, rarely write about religion, yet am perceived by many as being a Super Jew. I welcome the label because all it means is that I am keeping the faith.