I wish I’d read this article, “Struggling or Suffering: My Journey as an Observant Jew”, at some point during my conversion. But I was so high on Judaism, I probably wouldn’t have given it much thought. No one warned me that at some point after your conversion, you’ve just gone so far up, the only direction you can go is…down.
I wish I could say that I’m struggling and hopefully, my brave face shows that side. But sometimes, I feel like I’m just suffering. I miss parts of my life before. No, I wouldn’t trade them to be a non-Jew again. I love Judaism.
But I miss my old friends. I even miss the old friends I still talk to and can’t seem to connect with the way I did before.
I miss the shiny happy newness of everything. The first time I put up a mezuzah. The first time I realized I knew Asher Yotzar by heart. The first time I learned Jewish history.
I miss how easy it was to see G-d in everything because it’s not as easy to do this now. I’m always looking at least, thank G-d, I’m always looking. But it’s hard. They said it would be a struggle but who’s kidding who, I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t ready for the afterglow. But I’m pretty hopeful that I’ll survive it.
Are you experiencing a low point or a high point in your Jewish/religious life?
5 thoughts on “Struggling or Suffering? Jewish life after your first mezuzah”
Seriously. I know how that is. I’m going through one of those spots right now.
I read your article after reading < HREF="http://www.beyondbt.com/?p=1122#comments" REL="nofollow">this one<> on Beyond Teshuva. I find it very interesting. I feel I have so much growth to do, I shudder at the thought of a decent following. I guess in the “blogosphere”, certain themes pop up across the board. The subject is not the same, but I feel that the post are complimentary.
At least you’re accepted. I’m of Jewish descent on my mother’s side (her grandparents were Jewish) and no Orthodox Rabbi will help me learn more about my past. It’s so depressing I am thinking of giving up on my heritage altogether. I’ve taught myself a smattering of Hebrew that I have taught my mother and daughter but that’s the limit of my experience. I’ve even stopped wearing my Magen Daved. >>Anyway, I truly hope your experiences return to the former joy you experienced.>>Shalom,>Raven
Raven, I’m not sure if you’re a prospective convert or a Jew-by-birth. If you’re a convert, there’s this thing rabbis do, turn you away three times. It sounds like you were hoping to find a helpful Orthodox rabbi and you’re coming up empty-handed. I’m not sure where you are in the country but I suggest that you start looking towards other rabbis. Maybe bypass rabbis altogether and try going into the communities themselves and finding a mentor. There are also great online resources like Aish, Chabad, Simpletoremember.com. There are telephone learning groups through Partners in Torah. You needn’t be dependent on a rabbi though that would be ideal. Don’t just Judaism by its practictioners. If you’re into it, then demand your birthright, go after it with all your heart. Don’t be discouraged by the little bumps along the way, there will always be bumps.
I always feel much more connected to God and to Judaism when I’m not surrounded by it. If I am in a situation where I can easily abandon some of my practices (with friends who are all eating non kosher and I am hungry) but I stick to my guns and don’t cave to the temptation, I feel closer to God. Though I am not a convert, I can imagine that when you are fighting to bring something new into your life, when every step is an accomplishment and a separation from your old life, the connection to God is stronger. And once you get there, once the fight is not as hard, a little bit of the inspiration and the drive falls away. Kedusha is a special kind of holiness, achieved by separation. When you are actively separating yourself from the routine to take on a Jewish practice, you are inching closer to God. I don’t know what the solution is. I want to fit in, to find a community. But at the same time, it’s when I’m without a community that I feel spiritually strongest. I try to remember that the highs always feel better after a few lows. More triumphant.>>— Cindy