It is the secular new year and this is as good a time as any to look back on the year that’s about to end. Well, what has happened? Since the reform community here decided a year ago that they cannot handle any converts at this point I have resumed going to the orthodox services. I had a fun seder at the community with lots of people my age, but by Shavuot they had all disappeared. For the whole year I have been going back and forth between animating myself to try and approach someone for conversion again and giving up on the thought altogether – I always joke that I’m the yo-yo convert.
Since mid-October I haven’t set foot in a synagogue and I haven’t really observed Shabat. The plan was to drop everything and see what I miss (i.e., withdrawal symptoms). I ate some nonkosher chicken and lamb, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat pork or milk-meat combinations. For a while I didn’t do any brachot, but it sort of crept back in without me even really noticing. As Shabat starts so early in winter, it made my Fridays much less stressful not to observe it. I enjoyed doing things with my friends on Shabat that I usually wouldn’t, but I do miss candle lightning and evenings without TV and e-mail. I miss the singing for Kabbalat Shabat services, but other than that I do not miss my community the slightest bit. But I still spend inordinate amounts of time on Jewish blogs 😉
So where does that leave me? For now, I’m back to kashrut and shabat observance, reform/conservative-style. Judaism is so much a part of me that I don’t think I will ever be able to completely get rid of it. Nor do I really want to. Question is – do I need to / want to formally convert? Do I want to take on the mitzvot and feel guilty whenver I make compromises between Judaism and my non-Jewish surroundings? Or do I stay a non-Jew and pick what I like, guilt-free, but forever on the margins, a guest, non-belonging? That is what I will think about next year.