I was born a Jew.
I was forced to go to Sunday School with all the other Jewish kids whose parents dragged them up the stairs of our Temple to the religious school entrance.
Our practices, laws and history crammed down our throats until we puked them back up for Bar Mitzvahs, Confirmations and finally…our Temple Graduation. Yeah, I graduated from Sunday School High School. And my children will do the same.
I went to Temple and listened.
I listened to our history.
The stories of my people.
Of Adam and Eve. Of Noah and his Arc.
All the chronicles of our people, living in the Bible and Torah.
Along with more modern day Jewish heroes.
They are beautiful and colorful.
And uplifting and hopeful.
The Jewish history sings and dances of strength and perseverance.
It rejoices in its continuity and pride.
I never got into the religious aspect of the religion.
I never felt the comfort of God when I walked into Temple for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
I laughed inside at some of italicized print in our prayer books that instructed the congregation to repeat after the Rabbi said his bold print part.
I found so much of it to be…difficult for me.
I read the italicized print out loud but my mouth formed words that my heart didn’t hear. Because I didn’t believe.
I didn’t feel it.
I never did.
I still don’t.
I am a Jew. I will always be a Jew.
I don’t have to believe in God to feel a sense of my community or of my rich and incredible history.
I don’t have to go to Temple on the High Holy Days and worship to something that I have a hard time believing in its very existence.
That would be hypocritical.
Perhaps I’m being just that by dragging my kids to our Temple and depositing them, against their free will, to have our history and religion shoved down their throats.
I’m OK with that. I lived through it. They will too.
They will get to decide for themselves, when they are adults
They will decide one day if they believe and practice.
But one thing, no matter what they may or may not believe.
And no matter what I do or don’t believe.
We were born into such a beautiful and rich history.
And for that part, I feel so lucky.
I hope that, one day when my children are done gagging on our religion and they wipe away the taste of resentment, that they realize it too.
We are Jewish. We were born Jewish. We will always be Jewish.
And that is something to wear with pride.
To all my Jewish friends during this holiday season,
Shana Tovah to you and yours. Have a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.