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My membership application has been approved!

My membership application for the new shul I’ve recently begun attending has officially been approved!

Fifty-six years ago, my mother and her family — Lebanese-Jews — fled Beirut with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and one small bag per person. They initially landed in NY, and eventually settled in NJ for the next (on and off) twenty years or so.

My mother’s career eventually took her to Europe, where she met my father, and where I was born and raised. Ten years ago, I moved to the United States, initially for my university studies, with the intention of moving back abroad following my studies. Life had other plans, and I ended up on the west coast for a fabulous job opportunity, where I met my husband. Six years ago, we moved to the east coast.

What I thought was simply a short temper and pack-rat tendencies, turned into full-fledged abuse over the years. He also had many other issues, like a raging anger problem, a legitimate hoarding problem, excessive drinking, and more. Like many young women, I was young, in love, and thought he’d eventually mature and come to his senses. I spent years quietly putting up with it. Six years ago, I also became the breadwinner, though not by choice. And so, I spent years bringing home all the money, and like so many women, also still handled the vast majority of household responsibilities, and endured his abuse and issues with a smile on my face, while also continuing to navigate chemotherapy, monthly immunotherapy infusions, and frequent surgeries for my autoimmune condition. And I spent years trying to connect him with resources to help him succeed, all to seemingly no avail. He seemed unwilling or unable to help himself, and seemed content letting me shoulder the entire burden of adulting.

Nine months ago, I found myself backed into a corner of my (now former) kitchen, with him spewing complete and utter vitriol in my face. His hands flew within inches of my face and neck. It wasn’t the first time he’d been aggressive. He had a history of throwing things, and on several occasions, I sustained injuries from his aggression with objects. However, this kitchen incident was the first time I genuinely feared for my life and safety. A visceral feeling of fear and panic soared through my veins, and deep within me, something knew I had to get out.

Later that day, while he was out of the house, I found myself on the phone with a local domestic violence agency for my state. They effectively slammed the door in my face, and implied that I didn’t qualify for any type of help or support, on the basis that I earned too much money. I wasn’t even asking for money. I simply didn’t feel safe at home. With my own family living halfway around the world, it was in that moment that I realized that I was truly going to be alone in the process of escaping and leaving my husband. I did the next best thing I could think of in that moment, and messaged my father. Had I shared specific details, my father would’ve been horrified, and so I simply told him that my husband’s anger had reached an untenable level that morning, and I needed out of the house that same day.

I never imagined, fifty-six years later, right here in the United States, in an upscale, gated community in American Suburbia, that I too would find myself hurriedly packing a bag, and fleeing my own home with nothing but the clothes on my back, and one small carry-on bag. Within six hours, I was boarding an aircraft bound for 1,000+ miles away. I spent the next few weeks with my grandmother.

Six months ago, I finally escaped my husband’s grip for good, and my divorce is underway, and BH will hopefully be finalized soon.

Growing up, I attended Chabad, but due to my parents’ international careers, I really only ever attended services on high holidays while visiting extended family in Florida. Given my Lebanese-Jewish heritage, however, I had always felt a carnal itch to explore my Sephardic roots. At the start of 2024, I found my new shul, a Sephardic shul. Attending services there feels like home. Much like myself, many of the members there are also Jews that originated from various areas of the Middle East and/or North Africa. Interacting with them feels akin to looking in a mirror, as though I’m talking to my own blood. Many of them have taken me under their wing as though I am their own flesh and blood.

Today’s approval of my membership application has brought tears to my eyes. I am so, so thankful and proud to be Jewish.

submitted by /u/disjointed_chameleon
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Source: Reditt