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"Jew"nitarian?

Discussion in 'Seekers Circle' started by sunsplash, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    Long time, no write fellow seeking RF'ers! Summertime is a busy time in my home so I haven't had much time for internet, let alone spiritual contemplations. :) Things are slowing down now and I look forward to easing back into the community.

    After putting some actual time into myself this passed week, I began to explore Unitarian Universalism a bit. Their more laidback, progressive, one love attitude, is very appealing but... it seems to be split into two halves, neither of which fits me. There is still a strong Christian influence in one half and the other half seems to be more atheistic, not as in anti-religion, moreso as anti-deity, and I can't seem to give up my Abrahamic God (Christ, no problemo - not sure I ever believed that anyway, but a personable creator being - I honestly can't fathom at this moment a no-God senario for myself).

    So next I turned again (for the umpteenth time) to Judaism, admittedly with fear. I had a pretty uncomfortable encounter with a Jewish member on here that made me feel that my questions were silly, borderline stupid, that to acknowledge and respect various faiths is blasphemous, and I was basically unworthy of even considering his religion, like it's a right you're born into and too bad, so sad, for the rest. I'm still getting over those feelings and I'm not quite sure if they are anger, sadness, humiliation...I felt like a lost puppy looking for scraps in someones yard only to be kicked into the street and scolded for not being good enough or welcome.

    Anyway...moving on! Jewish core beliefs still sit very well with me coming from a Christian upbringing, I respect their history, love the people, and almost envy the turmoil they've encountered having to prove over and over again their testaments of true faith, willingness to die for their beliefs as if there isn't even another option, even in modern times. What stops me from actually going to a Rabbi and seeking further is my family. My husband is a "Christian" - accepts Jesus as savior - but really has no understanding of why he holds those beliefs other than his upbringing taught him this = that. He doesn't go to church, he doesn't pray, "Christian" is basically a comfort label and not true faith. I know that conversion isn't something that rabbi's take lightly, nor should they, and unless "Jewification" results in "unification" of the family, it isn't likely to be supported, from my understanding anyway. I love my husband, I took my marriage vows very seriously, and it's disheartening to feel that because he believes differently than I do (and isn't open to exploring with me), I'm stuck in official-religion-limbo.

    So I had an epiphany, or I thought I did, lol. I figured I'd mesh the two religions that I felt most drawn to together, and make my own - just for sunsplash (and share with my daughter) - and I'd called it Jewnitarian. Come to find out on a Google-whim, that is an actual term used by people who believe simialily to me! Jewnitarian or UU Jew, whodathunkit? Now my qualm is with whether or not this is disrespectful in any way to either, primarily Judaism. I'm not trying to substitute or change anything, just pave my own spiritual path in a way that feels right. I know I shouldn't worry about labels or others opinions, but acceptance even when different is something I've always wanted. Basically, agree to disagree but I still love ya, type of thing.

    What do you think? Is this a conglomeration I should pursure or am I being silly trying to take green and purple and make white? :cover:

    Where are you currently on your paths? Hopefully making productive headway...I know I hate feeling stuck and confused!!
     
  2. xkatz

    xkatz Well-Known Member

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    Good to see you again Sunsplash! Indeed you haven't been here for a while.

    I would say that what I have seen of UU-ism IRL seems to be more of the second "half" you were talking about. I think UU-ism is an interesting concept and does work well in some cases. However, I personally find short-coming(s) w/ UU-ism because IMO it's too broad of a religion/religious group for me. There are lots of Christians, Neo-Pagans, Buddhists, and other groups. While I think it is a good idea for people of different religions to intermingle, I feel that such groups have conflicting theologies and ideologies, which could seem problematic. But that's just my perspective, and unfortunately I am an outsider to UU-ism, so I would suggest to talking to someone else if you are really interested in it.

    As for Judaism, don't listen to what that member said. I am a Jewish person and I say it's bollocks. You certainly do NOT have to be of Jewish descent to convert or be a member of Judaism. However, some Jewish sects, would not be pleased if you converted... But don't listen them, as they are extremists usually. Anyways, I can understand your interest. Many people have indeed been inspired by the hardships the Jewish people and their faith has gone through in the past 3-4 millennia. But, I am curious, is their any other factors you think that have played into your interest of it?

    UU-Jew is indeed an interesting combination, but I am not sure how many Jews are part of the UU faith. Also, I'm not sure if you could really understand Judaism by going to a UU Church. Even if you decide to go on this path, I would say you should still talk w/ a Rabbi since knowing theology and what-not would help a ton. That said, UU-Judaism could work out well I guess, as the diversity in UU-ism could play in your favor if you get what I mean and probably other reasons as well.

    So basically, I say "Go for it!" :D

    Best of luck! :)

    BTW, what makes your daughter interesting in UU-Judaism?
     
    #2 xkatz, Aug 22, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
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  3. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    It is broad, you're right, and sometimes almost not like a religion at all and instead more of a common-interest club. I agree with a lot of their ideologies but it's the varying and inconsistant theologies that worry me, like you pointed out. I guess because of my fear of rejection from the Jewish side, UU is so open that I think I've been thinking of them as a safety net, lol. I need to look into it more for certain. I would never switch/change religions without serious consideration and hope that when I make that final, official leap, no matter to which, it is the only time.

    Wow. Thank you for that. I've spoken with another member privately about the incident and was basically reassured to just not even pay him attention as he's more of a mouth runner anyway. It definitely affected me emotionally in a few ways though and scared me away from looking at Judaism as an actual fit.

    I suppose the most basic reason Judaism appeals to me is that I come from a "Christian" background that never taught reasons for why beliefs were held, just threatened with hellfire if I didn't agree. It never sat well with me. In high school and college I looked further into Christianity and the teachings behind it and realized and surprised myself, that I had a genuine and true faith in the Abrahamic God. I don't think I'd ever questioned that I believed in God but when I realized I could no longer pretend that the Jesus issue didn't make me feel ill, like my soul was in agony, I never considered that I could have one without the other, if that makes sense. It wasn't until I explored further and learned on my own that Christianity claimed to be an extension of Judaism that I thought maybe they got it all wrong, and if I wiped the Jesus part out but kept the Hebraic God that I feel is real, religion would start to make sense. And honestly, from my narrow and incompetant understanding of Judaism so far, it has.

    I really would like to talk with a rabbi, but I think I'm too nervous right now - because I'm married to someone not interested in converting. My daughter is only 14 months old right now, and getting pregnant with her is what really fueled my desire to get a specific faith, so I could bring her up with a clear understanding of why we hold certain beliefs - I never had that. I'm done being fake and I'm tired of being ignorant. :yes: Whichever path I take, unofficial or official, I want to be able to share with her the options available in religion, but enstill in her the faith and values I hold and teach her why they are important to me and why I feel they are true.

    I really appreciate your responding - especially coming from someone of the Jewish faith, it was such a pleasant and comforting surprise. Any insights or questions that you may have for me, please pass them along.
     
  4. xkatz

    xkatz Well-Known Member

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    I would talk to a Rabbi or someone about this. You can still probably be Jewish and married to him, especially if you were to be Reformed. I know many Jews here who marry Christians (most Catholics for some odd reason :sarcastic). I am not sure though what Jewish law has to say about having a non-Jewish husband, but if you were to convert to Judaism your children would be too, at least that's how it works w/ "ethnic" Jews; although it could possibly apply to converts.

    Have you talked to your husband about this?
     
  5. Rakhel

    Rakhel Honey badger.

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    I have to agree with Levite. >Raises hand< I am what most would call "Jew by choice" My conversion was very unorthodox. Rabbi marrying us asked if we would raise our kids Jewish we said Yes of of course. Ok you are Jewish.(reform Jew by most standards. Traditional by my own). Katubah, chuppah, and all.
    We have since found that the Reform movement drives both of us nuts and have moved to Conservative.(Much more to our standards. Maybe we will move to Orthodox, maybe not.

    A Jew is not always someone born into the religion. That would be like saying a Christian is only a Christian because they were born a Christian. "Converts not allowed." Muslim, the same principle.

    Talk to a rabbi only when you feel comfortable. Hell attend a couple of shabbat services. Friday nights, Saturday mornings. If it makes sense to you. then that is all you need.
     
  6. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    I have only a few times and the conversations are usually short and a little uncomfortable. I think he is very much attached to the traditions that come with Christianity, ie: holidays, family ties, etc, and not the religion itself. We agree on most basic priniciples, with the exception of Jesus, Satan, and the afterlife - and even those, he isn't educated enough on to have a reasonable opinion. I don't mean that to sound harsh or disrespectful, I just mean that I don't believe that he has enough of an understanding of the religion itself to call himself a true or faithful Christian, if anything I'd call him a fearful Christian because that used to be me - ignorant but "associated"!

    (And funny enough, he was raised Catholic - his mother was a Catholic school teacher for 30 years, lol, but he left to a protestant church at 18 but hasn't been an active participant of anything like that in almost 10 years.)
     
  7. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    Levite?! xkatz = Levite?? Now I feel really stupid...I've spoken to him on a few other occassions when I was feeling brave enough to pop out of lurkerdom in the Judaism forum a few months ago and he was so understanding and helpful with my questions. Here I've been talking to a rabbi all along. :eek:

    I googled some Temple locations near me about a week ago and ran away in fear when I saw the membership costs, lol. I don't want to waste a rabbi's time when I can't afford to attend, even if it's a good fit.
     
  8. xkatz

    xkatz Well-Known Member

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    No, I'm definitely not Levite :p You should talk to him though since he is a Rabbi ;)
     
  9. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    Oh, okay... LOL I didn't think so at first but man did I feel punked in that last post!
     
  10. Rakhel

    Rakhel Honey badger.

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    Had to go back and see what I did. I'm bad about that. Sorry xkatz. Sorry Levite. and to you Sunsplash. didn't mean to confuse you anymore than necessary
     
  11. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    No harm done...just a little mental whiplash ;)
     
  12. Rakhel

    Rakhel Honey badger.

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    I think it was the missing Hypnotoad(I think that was xkatz) that threw me. That and for some strange reason I see Levite as some old bald guy(likethe guy in xkatz's signature).
     
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  13. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    I have to agree -- talk to a Rabbi, or even better, several of them. I'm working towards converting to Judaism and have some of the same issues as you. My wife, while not religious, does not want to convert and we have children whose conversion would not be automatic.

    If even if all you want is more information, that's the best way to go about it.
     
    #13 Tarheeler, Aug 23, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  14. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    How receptive have the rabbi's you've met with been? And other Jewish congregants?
     
  15. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    So far, I've only met with one rabbi (I'm in a small southern city with a single synagogue), but he's been very receptive. As have most of the members I've met from the congregation.
     
  16. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    Is it a conservative or reform branch? There are two or three in my area, not as close as I'd like but not ridiculously out of the way, but I'm pretty sure at least one is orthodox and I figure not even bothering with those. I should find out.
     
  17. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    Officially, it's a conservative synagogue. But, since it's the only one local, it serves everyone from orthodox to reform. So far, it seems to me to be fairly conservative in the service, but fairly liberal in the rest of things.
     
  18. sunsplash

    sunsplash Freckled

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    For someone converting, what were you drawn to most, reform or conservative? One of the synagogue's by me I just found out is reform, one is orthodox, and I can't find any info on the other one - but now, other than fear and shyness, I have no excuse not to look into it further.

    Are you going to become a member - or is it expected? The annual fees at the ones I've found are nothing I could ever afford.

    I need to pray about it because right now nerves are getting the best of me.
     
  19. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon
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    I'm not really drawn to any branch yet. All I know is what I've read; I'm sure I won't really have enough experience with it until I really start to get involved.

    I guess the best I could tell you is that I'm drawn to the idea of conservative the most, but as I said, I really don't have enough information to make a solid decision.

    As for becoming a member, the local synagogue does not require it; it's open to everyone at all times. Membership gives deep discounts to school fees, however, and access to other benefits. The cost is about $100 per month per family plus an additional building fee. They offer payment plans as well as reductions for those who can't afford the full amount.

    That being said, there is a large Jewish community with 6 (I believe) synagogues about 2 hours north of me. It's a fair distance to go, but I do have some choices.

    Take a deep breath and solve one thing at a time.
     
  20. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    It might be my bad for not reading all of this, but the question that comes to mind is what do you know about UU's. The thread caught my eye because a women I used to attend with said that it perfectly expressed her faith, which is Judaism.

    :namaste
    SageTree
     
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