Hello, muddah. Hello, faddah. Here I am at camp OSRUI. An unexpected lesson on my first synagogue retreat to the Union for Reform Judaism’s Midwest overnight youth camp.
Which of these commonly held assumptions about Orthodox Judaism in America is true? A.) Orthodoxy is an unchanged, ancient tradition. B.) Orthodoxy has always been stringently observant. C.) Conservative and Reform Judaism emerged out of Orthodoxy as increasingly less “authentic” versions of Judaism. Actually, none of the above.
Shifting from a secular life to a religiously observant one can definitely teach you who your friends are–and aren’t. My social circle looks very different at the end of my Jewish conversion journey than it did at the beginning of it. That’s OK.
Yes, I’m becoming a religious Reform Jew. Yes, I wear a kippah full-time. Yes, my last name is Doyle. Uh, can we talk about the weather now?
When a well-meaning friend asked me on Christmas Eve, “Is being at temple tonight hard for you?” they were surprised I said, “No.” I wasn’t surprised at all.
Saturday after temple in a north side Starbucks, I sat down with a Reform Jewish friend. I had my kippah on and my computer open. As we were walking out, an Orthodox woman sitting nearby turned to a stranger and told him I wasn’t going to be a good Jew. And as you may have guessed, I marched right back in.
Living Jewishly obviously means spending the period from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Eve with a different emphasis. This year, I’ll leave my well-known tree fetish behind. But as I ponder all the adult Christmases I’ve kept, I’m realizing I won’t miss that holiday’s sense of joy and wonder…because I’m increasingly finding those feelings to be an everyday part of my new journey.
Why does Target Corp. think delivering Chanukah menorahs by Christmas Eve is a selling point for Jews?
My synagogue was one of the Yemeni mail-bomb terror targets. It is impossible to write a sentence like that without feeling the worst of humanity well up inside your being. But sometimes it’s when you feel the most hateful of urges that healing the world has the best chance to begin.
Last week, I was concerned my friends wouldn’t be able to accept the idea of me as a Jew-in-Training. But it never occurred to me that some of them might not be able to accept the idea of me as religious at all.