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Am I too "hodge-podge" to participate and learn?

I apologize in advance for the length of this post and the complexity.

To start, the Jewish side of my family tree is absolutely riddled with generational trauma and abuse. That’s one reason why this all gets so complicated. To put it simply my mother was born to Jewish woman who married a non-jewish man to escape her abusive household in the 1950s (women in the US didn’t have a lot of options). My mother was raised secular for the most part and celebrated all the holidays and attempted to make friends with other children from the local synagogue (but was essentially shunned after they witnessed her mother abuse her after coming home from a group outing). However my mother cinverted to Christianity for a boyfriend who intended to marry her in the 70s and obviously that never happened and she married another non-Jewish man who committed adultery and she divorced him. She then met my father and got pregnant with me by accident a few years later. She never married my father and separated from him for good reason. I am essentially a bastard.

She also gave me a veeeeeery Christian sounding name. Like my name screams “this here kid is Christian!” And she raised me Christian but it never quite sat right with me and I no longer ascribe to Christianity. During Passover my mom would still buy matzo at the store even though we never participated in a seeder. I always had contact with my great uncle who I knew was Jewish but we never really talked about it at all.

It was only as an adult I started to really look into family and Judaism and I met a Jewish person in 2019 who is very dear to me and they encouraged me to keep looking into it as they said I had a right to since I am technically Jewish matrilinealy. They have allowed me and invited me to participate in many holidays with them. I am grateful.

My great uncle passed away this January and we have been going through all his things and saving pictures and memories and things like his kippah, tallit, books, menorah, and things like that. We found some letters from his uncle who he wrote to often to discuss concerns and ask questions. In one of the oetters his uncle made disparaging remarks about my mother because she was pregnant with me outside of marriage to a non-Jewish man and was under the impression that she had not been fully divorced from her husband at the time (which she had been for over a year). He viewed me as a veritable mamzer. It was hurtful but what can you do? We destroyed the letter of course. Let his side of the family continue to remember him as a kind person.

All this has led me to doubt whether I truly have any right to continue to participate and learn. It brings me a lot of joy and a sense of belonging. I don’t think I would ever be very religious but I appreciate the religious aspects for what they are. But I feel a bit like a hodge-podge mashup of a person. It is not my fault my family continued the awful cycle of generational trauma that made me who and how I am. But it does cast some serious doubts that I hope someone here (I do not have access to a Rabbi in my area) can give me an answer.

If you read this far or humored me this much, thank you! 💖

submitted by /u/crescendcll
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Source: Reditt