“Arise like a lion to serve your Creator in the morning” (Shulchan Aruch 1,1)
At the moment I am unsure about how to serve my Creator. So maybe this is why I have difficulties getting up in the morning?
Without going into too many details… I am stuck between orthodox and reform Judaism. The only thing I know now is, that Judaism it has to be.
At first I really thought I could live orthodox at some future point in my life. You know, you read books, you become intrigued, it seems like the only “original” version of the whole thing. You don’t question. You are a sponge. But then questions start (at least when you continue to live in a non-Jewish environment). What is the reason for … ? Question from yourself, but mostly from others. On the one hand it is a good thing. It forces you to research what you do to be able to explain the nuances, to find out what you can honestly defend. It forces you to define yourself and your faith.
On the other hand, it makes you explain and sometimes defend positions, that are just plain ridiculous, outdates or very narrow-minded. And this is the basis for my current state of confusion. How is it that the comunity has become so judgemental? So obsessed with outer appearances? So fearful of interaction?
At that point, I met my first serious non-orthodox Jews. Not these “yeah, well, I’m just not practising, so call me reform Jew”. Really committed to Judaism, but also engaged with the world, open, willing to think about the reasons for a commandment and to maybe reject some age-old minhag (custom) that is no longer applicable to modern times. Halacha means walking, walking stands for movement, adapting to changing terrain. We can critically examine our traditions and reject things that come from a different time. Society (also gentile society) evolves. So should we. This seems to be the basic approach of the conservative movement.
But I have yet to meet a real conservative Jew here. We have a liberal community here and I have been to their services. They are kind and open, wonderful people. But when I sit in their services,sometimes I feel like the only person who kows what’s going on. And that’s just sad. At other times they read things together in unison in transation and I feel like in a church. Orthodox services are wonderful, like coming home. But I cannot really connect to the people, cannot really share their world view.
So where do I belong? Nowhere?