Now that the start of Choosing Judaism class is nearing, and the registration is complete, and I’m getting more and more immersed in Judaism, I’m getting a taste of the “outsider”. While I’m already an outsider as a first-generation immigrant, my Christianity, and even Atheism at times helped with making me more connected to what is called “Western Civilization”.
Last year I visited Europe for the first time, and I was in awe at the breathtakingly beautiful cathedrals, the architectures, the streets, and the different statues (mostly Catholic). When I walked there, I could tell I was enjoying a city built by people hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and churches and cathedrals that stood for centuries. In Europe, the Christian and Catholic heritage is present in the streets, the buildings, and the shops. But also in the back of my mind, I kept reminding myself that while now I’m enjoying my visit, many people (In this instance, Jews) saw hell on earth in those same streets. That gave me the feeling of “the other”. Here I am enjoying my visit, but also can’t get over the history of what took place not just during WWII, but even before. There was that conflict that I never had to deal with when I was a Christian or even an atheist. However, now that I’m in the process of becoming Jewish, all that beauty and history has a different outlook and meaning and with it comes at times a desire to not look at it that way, a desire to not be “the other”, a desire to enjoy it and feel being a part of it.
Any thoughts? Do you ever get those feelings, and if you do, how do you deal with them?