Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Its Hard to Be A Jew Alone


Well I have taken a bit of a break from blogging, and for me blogging is truly a journal writing process...but I have not been feeling inspired....I don't want to whine....but that appears where my mood is....
As I re read what I had posted over the past year I realize I have been dealing with some depression but more descriptive melancholia.

"Melancholia (from Greek μελαγχολία - melancholia "sadness, lit. black bile"), also lugubriousness, from the Latin lugere, to mourn; moroseness, from the Latin morosus, self-willed, fastidious habit; wistfulness, from old English wist: intent, or saturnine, (see Saturn), in contemporary usage, is a mood disorder of non-specific depression, characterized by low levels of enthusiasm and eagerness for activity." (thanks wiki)
In the pre-modern science days "melancholia" could be physical as well as mental...which works for the combo of my mood and physical issues..

As I completed the holiday marathon these issues and moods seemed to grow....although we belong to a synagogue community...it is hard to find folks to celebrate with...the conservative group we are members of doesn't do the lets have sabbath dinner together type activities....I think that is the reason I fantasize about becoming orthodox...Yet from a philosophical standpoint going orthodox would never work for me. I yearn for an all encompassing community...it is hard to be Jewish alone...thank goodness my husband and I have each other...but the home based nature of "celebrations" only hit home the fact we have few options if we are choosing to be even somewhat observant.

Family issues, my husband, born Jewish divorced his first wife a number of years ago..thusly fallout from that continues to reverberate with his children... they don''t engage smoothly with him/us.....and bluntly my family is no where near Jewish and although they will put up with me and my religious choice to a certain degree, it is not like they are going to fill in for an exuberant Jewish community of support and celebration.

As we approach the uber cultural divide...the Xmass on slot..this sense of isolation is only growing...I have bought some Hanukkah decorations, knowing full well it is a "minor" holiday that has been commercialized because of its time of year...and pressures...none the less it is something for me to "do" to defend against the melancholia overload....

how do other converts cope?...those in the middle of Jewish nowhere....I find this all so difficult.....

5 comments:

Marilyn said...

Hi Rachael,
I converted to Judaism maybe 8 years ago in a conservative synagogue. Although I did occasionally get invited to holiday meals, shabbat was usually a go to shul--then everyone goes their own way. At the time I converted, I was married to a non-practicing Catholic and had 2 daughters. For many years, I had to create both holidays.

I too am drawn to orthodoxy. I've been lucky to get to know a number of orthodox jews and even worked as the executive director at a small orthodox shul where I used to live. What I've learned is that orthodoxy really does come in many flavors. It isn't an all or nothing branch. I feel the most comfortable in a modern orthodox shul now and much less so at a Conservative or Reform shul. I wouldn't be happy around ultra-orthodox people who were insular and judgmental. But many modern orthodox congregations are more laid back than you might realize.
Good luck on your journey.
Marilyn

Dunking Rachel said...

'Chanukah Sameach'

Thanks Marily for the post.... it is truly appreciated!

Dunking Rachel said...

so soorrrrrrry...
I spelled your name wrong!
Thanks Marilyn!

ohshhhhmamas said...

I know this is an old post, but as a semi-recently dunked Jew (I converted last June 3rd) with no Jewish family who's living in a place where the nearest synagogue is 2 hours away and I am quite literally the only Jew in town (and the next town, and the next town...), I just want to say I can totally relate. And I'm already beginning to feel the effects of the December dilemma this year, which was a bit easier last year when I was going through my conversion classes and living right down the street from my vibrant synagogue. It's lonely out here in "Jewish nowhere", I agree.

Dunking Rachel said...

ohshhhhmamas,

the good news is that we are truly never alone....
yet concretly, as my post says it can be difficult.
I hope you find a meaningful way to engage in home rituals so that it fules you, and of course there are those of us in the virtual community out here to help...

if you havn't already you might want to check out the "Jews by choice" site... and "Empowering Ruth" both lovely communities with lots of support...

Shabbat Sholom

Karen

Dunking Rachael

Love, Faith and Life