Hi! Sorry for the long post, but I have several questions, and this seemed like the right subreddit to ask.
Both of my parents grew up in Jewish households but in the 1970s found Jesus (or as I grew up saying ‘Yeshua’). They are both quite fanatical about their faith as they’ve dedicated their lives to it, and I grew up in a ‘synagogue’ that they both lead with my dad as the ‘rabbi.’ I’ve rejected pretty much all of the tenets of Messianic Judaism after bad experiences with their congregation and the crazy fundamentalist Christian school they sent me to for high school. I rejected it for three main reasons. One was my inability to believe in the Christian god (and the one in Judaism too tbh) for a vast variety of reasons. Another was my disgust with various aspects of my parents’ and others’ beliefs. Things like rampant homophobia (I’m gay), sexism, racism, fanaticism about Israel (I’m not talking just support for Israel but pretty much calling for all Palestinians to leave). The third was how wrong it felt. I loved aspects of services like the Torah readings and liturgy, but most of it left a bad taste in my mouth. Things like speaking in tongues, Southern Baptists who suddenly were claiming to be Jewish, etc.
Sorry for that rant, but my first question is do I need to convert to be considered Jewish?
So I rejected my parents’ sect and mostly I am happy, but I feel a longing to be part of a Jewish community even though I don’t really believe in God. I am thinking of going to the local Temple and talking to a rabbi, but I feel anxious for multiple reasons which I have made questions below.
Will people accept someone with my background? I share a fairly uncommon last name with the leaders of the fairly large and only Messianic community in my city. Will there be hostility if I do convert?
Is there a place in Reform Judaism for someone who doesn’t believe in God but wants to take part in the traditions and be part of a community?
Would it be hard for someone who is very skeptical of religion and has many wounds there to be in a Reform service? Like would there be a lot of expectations that I believe in a God?
I have a lot of issues with the State of Israel and it’s current government. Like I definitely support its right to exist and defend itself and am even a citizen, but it also stands against many of my principles. I don’t really wish to start arguments with people, but would it be likely to find a lot of people in Reform Judaism with a very hardline Israel-is-always-right sort of stance?
Thank you for bearing with this long post. Any answers would be much appreciated