I really wanted to be involved in the Jewish community but knew no one would accept me as Jewish since I only have a Jewish grandfather. In college, I became involved with Hillel and Chabad and told everyone that my mother is Jewish (also said my father is not Jewish to explain my lack of Jewish upbringing) so that I would be accepted as a Jew. I had a (late) bar mitzvah at a Chabad house, put on tefillin dozens of times, studied parsha with the rabbi, went on the birthright trip, celebrated Shabbat at both Hillel and Chabad, celebrated the holidays (helping build a sukkah was awesome!), and volunteered for quite a few Jewish community events. It was actually pretty funny because on my birthright trip, there were a ton of secular Jews who knew almost nothing about Judaism, and I was the one explaining to them the more religious aspects of being Jewish (fasting on Yom Kippur, what constitutes kosher food, what tefillin is, etc.).
I know I have been disingenuous about my background, but I wanted to be accepted as Jewish by everyone, and I’ve seen how so many people, on this sub-reddit included, say they don’t consider you Jewish unless you are halachically Jewish. I didn’t want to be seen as an alien or some kind of outsider which is why I lied about my background. I ultimately feel guilty about what I did – I was the tenth “Jewish” man for a couple minyans and realize it wasn’t a successful minyan since I am technically not Jewish. Felt bad while I was doing it, but the rabbi really appreciated my attendance.
I have since graduated from college and have been pretty distant from the Jewish community since covid. My question is: Where do I go from here? I’d love to be involved in the Jewish community again and had so many amazing experiences, but I realize 99% of people don’t consider me Jewish. Conversion isn’t really an option for me at the moment, and I don’t want to oust myself as a liar to all the friends I made. Is there a place for someone like me in the community? Can I still be part of the Jewish community after doing something so disingenuous?
Using a throwaway account since my main account contains identifiable information.