Monday, January 9, 2012

Reform Again?

I had a really good day at the Temple yesterday. It felt great to be there, my family was there, The Little Jewess was happy, everything was good. I'm not sure I can give all that up, which means two things:

1) I need to find a way to develop a community that is either within the Temple or in addition to it, and

2) I need to find a way to live with integrity within the Temple.

You may have noticed that this blog is anonymous and (thus far) has no followers. That's partly because I don't need to be broadcasting my identity all over the internet, and The Little Jewess deserves some privacy. (Mr. Jewess is a grown-up and can deal with the consequences of marrying me, one of which is existential blogging.) But it's partly because I worry what might happen if it got out in my current congregation, where individual relationship with God is the understood norm, that I'm a Humanist. Would people still trust me?  Would I be able to pray in public (do I want to?) Would my every action be judged?

There's already some stuff that's making me uncomfortable. For example, I've decided I'm not going to bow to a God I don't believe in. But I don't think most people notice or care. But if I came out, they might. And I feel uncomfortable about the God language in services and in Religious School. Even little things--yesterday, a teacher was teaching about Jews around the world, and she said, "Wherever they are, they say the same blessings to start Shabbat," and she began the traditional blessings. I felt like saying, "Wait! Stop! What about the Reconstructionists? And the Humanists? And the Jews who don't know the blessings and the Jews who write their own blessings and the Jews who don't say any blessings?"

Can I say that? What would happen if I did?

I guess I'm uncomfortable with that statement anyway, said to a class of children who mostly don't say blessings on Friday night. How can you tell a class of Jewish kids, "This is what Jews do," when you know THEY don't do it? It's like telling them they're not Jews. Other times, I feel like that is their parents' problem. Inevitably, these kids are going to ask why they're there, and the parents are going to have to answer. When The Little Jewess comes home saying "Jews do this," or "Jews do that, and why don't we?" I tell her that we're Reform Jews and we make our own choices. I've also told her that we're Jewish Humanists, so I guess I can rely on that in the future as needed. But I need a way to explain the differences to her so that she can live with it as she grows and also understand the choices she will have to make later.

Maybe what I need is more a support group than a Congregation. I have a Congregation, and there are a lot of things I do like about it. But a basic disconnect on the issue of God is kind of a big deal.


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