Hello. English is not my first language. I apologise if any of the things I say don’t make sense.
I am an 18 M who is officially Catholic, although I have never received a religious upbringing and for most of my life I’ve considered myself to be an agnostic or even an atheist. Whoever, in the past 2 years I’ve developed religious feelings and a very profound inclination to Judaism and the Jewish people, so I know it will only be a matter of time when I contact a synagogue and start my conversion process. I plan to go to Reform Judaism. I don’t have any Jewish ancestry, but I deeply want to become a Jew.
I have a couple questions I would like to discuss with you before I start making the first steps to become Jewish. Sorry if any of these sound stupid; I still have a lot to learn about Judaism.
1) First and foremost, how important is the aspect of community in Judaism? Let me elaborate further. I suffer from high levels of social anxiety and I wouldn’t want this to interfere with my religious life. If I become a Jew, will it be OK if I primarily practice my religion at home or alone in a synagogue and not participate in group activities? Or will I appear as an insincere outsider?
2) Is it OK if I don’t tell anybody that I want to become Jewish? I’ve read many things about how talking to my family and friends about this is very important, but I’d rather not to do that. This is for several reasons. In my house, my father has a tendency to mock religious people, so, for obvious reasons, I don’t feel very comfortable sharing my religious desires with him. At my university, there is a very strong anti-clerical and antisemitic attitude (for instance, some people say that the “Zionists” exaggerate the Holocaust). I fear that people won’t understand why I want to become a Jew and think I’m being stupid for wanting to join a group that unfortunately is the target of a lot of hatred.