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I really don’t like how ideologically divided the North American jewish community is — also if you’re a euro jew I’d be curious to hear your thoughts

I grew up half in the US and half in France. My american mom is Jewish and my French dad is not. It’s funny and perhaps times have changed, but the American secular / reform culture is the only Jewish culture I knew growing up. I didn’t know any French Jews living there as a child. Then as a teenager in the US I had no interest in jewish culture bc it was kind of default ? I liked in New York so there were always Jewish people around me and I didn’t necessarily crave it or seek it out. Then as a young adult I moved to the Netherlands and found myself missing it. I randomly connected with a community there and loved it. My experience here ended and I now live in Montreal, Canada. I have tried to connect with the Jewish community here and have had such a hard time finding my place in it.

You’d think it’d be better in North America bc there are so many more Jews. But what I’ve found instead is that it’s way more segregated. Reform, modox, conservative, orthodox, chabad etc. Then on top of that in a city like Montreal we’re also divided linguistically with Franco Jews (typically sephardi) vs anglo Jews (typically ashkenazi). For someone like me with a mixed heritage and also a non Jewish Brazilian spouse, it’s kind of complicated.

I preferred my experiences in europe bc while there are less movements and options for practicing Judaism, it also means that different kinds of Jewish people mix more. I lived in a Jewish student house with secular Israelis and slightly more religious European Jews — which was above a pretty orthodox synagogue. I also found that people were less extreme in their views and more laid back bc they had to interact with Jewish people with vastly different practices or beliefs than their own. When there’s only 1-2 synagogues in one city, you don’t have that many options. I also found that more secular Jews hung out in the community more bc it was a nice way to connect with their culture and heritage. In europe I think Jews feel more alienated by the society and so this can be a nice thing to have even if one is not Jewish. While in North America, a lot of secular Jews hyper assimilate and I think take it for granted. Just another way things become more polarized within the Jewish community here.

Since being back in North America I had hoped I could find my place in a community but it’s been difficult to feel like I fit into any part of the community and also to make personal connections (could also be bc they’re much more reserved in the north lol). I’ll keep trying, but it’s been frustrating.

Anyway, I’m wondering if anyone can relate or understanding what I’m saying. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for a few years now and I came to this realization recently as I’ve been trying out different synagogues before the birth of my first child. It would be nice to be connected to a community in this new phase of life especially.

submitted by /u/lem0ngirl15
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