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I don’t belong

I often feel like there is no place in the Jewish world where I “belong.”

I’ve been Jewish my whole life, not always very religious. I was born to a Conservative Jewish family, but we weren’t very consistent about practicing and eventually stopped going to synagogue when I was very young.

As I got older I explored Judaism and what it meant to be Jewish. I went to the local Modern Orthodox synagogue and Chabad, I went to the Conservative synagogue, and the reform one too. There aren’t many Jews here so we only have those four synagogues.

I don’t fit in with any of the denominations of Judaism. Although I firmly believe in God, I find the specific theological claims of Orthodox Judaism hard to accept (and by that I mean I don’t accept them). I don’t agree with Conservative or Reform conceptions of faith, religion, or Jewish tradition either. I don’t mean to offend anyone here. To me it just seems like either God did speak to our people at Sinai, and it all has a very real meaning because of that or he did not and it does not.

It’s been almost 10 years or maybe over 10 years now I can’t really remember when I started looking into all of this anymore. In those 10 years I’ve gone to all the synagogues, read, prayed, listened to lectures and podcasts. I’ve tried, so very hard, to find a niche (any niche) in the Jewish world where I don’t feel like an alien; and not only the Jewish world. I spent considerable time looking into Christianity and Christian thought. I’ve spent time looking into Islam and Islamic thought. I went to their services, prayed their prayers, read their books, and watched their lectures and podcasts too. No matter what though, I couldn’t take their theological claims at face value either.

After all of this all I have is a bunch of knowledge in my head, and an even deeper sense that I do not belong. It doesn’t seem like there is anywhere for me to go. I didn’t expect nor want to find a place where everyone agrees with all of my thoughts nor did I expect or want to force my thoughts into conformity with a given religious group. I had just hoped that there would be a place for me somewhere where I didn’t feel like I had to fake or “LARP” to fit in. A place where I could just be. A place where I could find truth and connect to God.

At the end of it all it feels like I’m always “too much” of something for any given space. I’m too Jewish to “fit in” in non-Jewish spaces without always being “the Jewish one.” There are very few Jews here as I said. Often I’m the first and only Jew someone has met in their life, so it just sticks with you. People always think of you as the Jewish guy/girl even if that isn’t a negative thing in their mind it’s still a differentiating factor. I’m too incredulous to be a Christian, Muslim, or Frum Jew. I’m too inflexible in my conception of Faith and Religion to be a Reform or Conservative Jew.

It’s all very lonely. The loneliness is intensified by the fact that in searching I’ve had to push pause on things in my life which would be difficult to engage with before the question of faith had been settled. It got to the point where I tried to convince myself that I didn’t want those things because that was easier than wanting them and having to withdraw from them anyway.

Anyway, I don’t know why I wrote all of this I guess I just needed to vent. God bless you all. <3

submitted by /u/NeighborlyBagel
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