Hello! I apologize for such a vague post title and the long post, but there is just so much on my mind regarding my Jewish heritage and my consideration of conversion to Judaism. I also apologize for any ignorance that I may have, I ask these questions and I seek out advice in genuinely good faith. I also apologize for asking these questions during the High Holy Days, but I feel like I cannot wait any longer to talk about this, as it has been eating away at me for too long.
I have known since I was a child that I am matrilineally Jewish. My grandmother’s mother was an Ashkenazi Jewish woman who immigrated from Russia in the 1910s. My grandmother was raised in a Jewish household in the Midwest, but her mother died not too long after she was born. My grandmother detached herself from Judaism and her heritage because her father became very abusive and just went with my grandfather’s cultural and religious practices (he was born and raised in the Southern US and was a Methodist) when she raised her family. My mom practices Christianity and has only mentioned being ethnically Jewish in passing a handful of times, so I was, along with my siblings raised gentile and Christian (though I am currently agnostic), with no true understanding of my Jewish heritage despite knowing it is there. This is a great source of insecurity for me.
Any time I would ask my mom, grandmother, or my great aunt they would ask me “Why?” And I would answer them with “I want to connect to my heritage and the Jewish community.” They would dismiss me with telling me things like that Jewish people are strict, so I shouldn’t. As I had previously stated, my mom is content being Christian, and my grandmother and my great aunt fell out of the religion because they were abused by their father as children. I just wish that they understood how I feel so lost and out of place as someone who is Jewish but grew up totally assimilated. I just want to come home.
I started coming across more information about Jewish culture, traditions, and Judaism in my own time as I was growing up. I’ve come to love what I have learned so far and now, at 25 years old, I want to join the community.
The sect I am considering is Reform, I agree most with it. I’m also a queer woman in a relationship with an agnostic woman who does not intend to convert, and the Reform synagogue that is in the city I currently live in is LGBTQ and interfaith friendly, it is also the only synagogue in the city. The one issue that I unfortunately have is that it is extremely probable that I will have to convert as a gentile would since I was not really raised Jewish (it definitely doesn’t help that I am originally from a part of California with no Jewish community.). It sort of wounds me because I feel like I am being punished for something I couldn’t help.
TL;DR: I am someone who is matrilineally Jewish but was born assimilated with only being told in passing that I am Jewish. Anything else about my heritage was withheld from me on purpose and was actively dissuaded from learning more about it by my Jewish family members . Am I still Jewish despite the possibility of having to convert, as Reform guidelines on Who is Jewish will most likely consider me to not be Jewish?
EDIT: I apologize if it seems like the Reform conversion thing is the one thing that is barring me from doing it. If I need to convert first, I will. It is just a frustration is all!