I was raised in a conservative synagogue, and recently have sought to become more observant. I feel more connected to my family roots and traditions when I incorporate more Jewish rituals into my life. I now put on Tefillin every weekday, and keep Shabbat. Of course I’m not perfect. I still feel nervous going out with a kippah on, but have been wearing hats and covering my head more often. I’m worried about becoming an outsider in society if I adopt a more religious look, but at the same time, I feel more blessed and connected when I’m more observant. I also feel that I understand Judaism much more when I listen to more classes about Torah, instead of just accepting Jewish law without understanding where the laws come from. I seek to have a deeper understanding for WHY we do things the way we do.
My family isn’t very observant, so it makes it a bit harder for me to become more observant, but I totally respect their decisions. I also seek to become a doctor, and have thought deeply about how I might be able to work as a doctor while still maintaining a strong Jewish life and identity. I worry that I’ll be looked down upon for seeking to keep Shabbat. At the same time, depending on the field of medicine I go into, I suppose I would be able to work on Shabbat (pikuach nefesh), but I’d surely be missing out on the community and all. I don’t want to be viewed as someone who isn’t willing to work long hard hours like other non Jews. Especially in residency, if you’re not putting in as many hours as others you will fall behind, due to the competitive nature of it.
Does anyone have advice on how to become more observant without pushing yourself away from non-Jews? And how to maintain a strong Jewish identity if your career requires you to be at work before sunrise and leave after sunset … I would really appreciate any insight and let me know if you’ve been in a similar situation! Bless you all and have a wonderful week!