Hi! I’m the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor and I have some thoughts about my Jewish identity and wonder if anyone feels the same or can give me some input. Perhaps people with grandparents that survived the Holocaust can relate (but im happy to hear for all of you guys). I grew up with very mixed feelings about being Jewish and trying to find a way forward that makes sense and feels “true”. I grew up in a home where we celebrated our Jewish connection but did not celebrate any traditions. Our family had a lot of Jewish friends, we went to Israel and Seinfeld was the best show ever! My grandmother survived the Holocaust and her story has always been very present and I took antisemitism both seriously and personally. I know I’m Jewish by a lot of standards but I still never really felt 100% comfortable saying I’m Jewish (or “we Jews”) but on the other hand; I would never say I’m NOT Jewish. So…. we did not get a Jewish upbringing because out of fear from my grandmother and mother – she didn’t what to pass Judaism on because of her experiences from camps and my mother experienced antisemitism as a kid and did not what us to have the same experience. Getting older I thought a lot about our history and felt that it was sad if the only Jewish thing left in our family was the memory of the Holocaust. I always thought my grandmother didn’t want us to be Jewish but I learned that the last thing she said before she died was that we should never forget her Hebrew name. If Jewish culture/tradition died with her and it’s because of fear – that would be sad and a victory for intolerance, right? I felt a responsibility to at least contemplate over what to make out of this. Therefore I decided some years ago that I want to learn and live more Jewish. But because I did not grow up with it I sometimes feel a bit awkward + I don’t want to abandon traditions I grew up with – after all – celebrating Christmas is me and Jom Kippur is totally new. How much would you say celebrating Jewish traditions is a part of Jewish identity, and do you think it’s okay to mix? And also – who am I to go against my grandmother and mothers decision? I truly feel in the middle. My mother, even though she is married to a practicing Jew, is not 100% comfortable with my decision even though she respects it (It’s like the more I cultivate the Jewish part of our life’s, she goes the other way:)) I read and talk a lot about this with my girlfriend – she is very supportive – she thinks I sometimes live to mush in the past but all I really want with this is to move forward in a way that feels right and make sense. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on my story!
Holocaust as an identity (3g) + going forward
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