From the lofty heights of theology I come down to reality. It is my blog, so I can whine a bit if I want to. Again I’m struggeling with my path and thinking about abandoning everything. It’s not theological doubts, or that it is difficult to live as a Jew (although it really is!), or antisemitism that might make me leave Judaism. It is the feeling that my community doesn’t give me anything and there is no point in going there.
I live in the middle of Jewish nowhere, with only a very small community here. This is the typical attendance list for a Friday kabbalat shabat service: The rabbi, the chazan (cantor, prayer leader), 2-3 old Russians, 2-3 (Russian) yeshivah guys, 2 converts, the messianic woman, the foreign Jewish visitor, 1-2 would-be-converts, 1-5 non-Jewish visitors. The last three in this list vary and may be male or female.
Now let’s see who I will talk to at kiddush. The rabbi, the yeshiva guys and the successful converts are all very haredi and all male. I’m female and more modern. Mostly they don’t talk to me and anyway they disappear pretty quickly because their wives are waiting at home with the children. The old Russians are pretty much secular, but have known each other for possibly 20 years and we cannot talk because we have no common language (they only speak Russian). Anyway, they are about two or three times my age. So who’s left? Usually, I either help the would-be-converts or the visitors to understand what the service was about, explain various Jewish holidays and try to prevent the messianic from talking too much about crazy stuff. Or I talk to the Jewish visitor and tell him that yes, this is normal turnout.
There is just nobody I can be friends with. The differences in age and/or outlook are too great. Sometimes a student or an intern is new in town, but after she/he has been to services once, she/he never shows up again. Why should she/he? We have a student group, I’ve been there a few times. They are nice, but I am not a student anymore and feel just too old for the crowd. And I’m inconveniencing them, because I’m the only non-Russian and they have to switch language for me (which they can do without a problem, but somehow normally they prefer to speak Russian).
So why should I go to services or community events? Why should I even make an effort to fit in? At the moment I really don’t see the point. And that makes me very sad.