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What’s the best way to connect to Judaism after being raised atheist?

Hi, long-time lurker here.

So my father was raised Christian (Catholic? maybe? look idk?) and my mom was raised Jewish. Both ended up drifting from their religions and I ended up being raised atheist (I’m more agnostic if you want to be specific) and occasionally celebrating a stray holiday. However, that usually ended up being only Christmas as my father has a very large hatred for everything vaguely religious (think 14 year old reddit atheist in the body of a boomer). My mom’s side of the family still actively practices Judaism and I absolutely loved being able to celebrate any holiday with them. It didn’t happen all that often due to the aforementioned reddit atheist I’m related to. As a kid, I was really proud and happy to call myself Jewish, and even still I will either call myself Jewish or half-Jewish despite not being as closely related to the religion as I assume most of you are.

For the past few years, I’ve been really wanting to connect more with Jewish culture and I was wondering how I would do that or even if I could. I was raised agnostic which I think is important to point out because I don’t really believe in gods and that sort of thing. Even still I really would love to be able to connect more with Jewish culture, community, and my roots. I never met my grandparents and I feel like I’d be able to be closer (?) to them by sharing this.

I don’t know, I feel like I’m in a weird middle ground. I definitely don’t know as much as someone who was raised Jewish, but at the same time, I still know a solid amount of practices/customs, holidays, songs, how to cook specific foods, and a whole lot of history. Like I wouldn’t call myself not Jewish, but at the same time it feels weird to claim Jewish so I usually stick to half-Jewish?

I have some questions if that’s ok. First, would I be accepted? Like I understand I am Jewish because of my maternal lineage and whatnot, but (I don’t really know how to word this) I’m not interested in the religious aspects? I mean this in a way of, I was raised agnostic, I’m agnostic, while I would happily go to synagogue or partake in prayers/amidah (is that the correct word?) and other religious practices I don’t think I’d be able to get myself to believe in any form of a god. I don’t mean this in the “your gods are fake hardy har har. stupid dorks!” way, but more of the I don’t believe in the presence of gods but at the same time don’t believe in the nonpresence of gods? I’m like chronically neutral in that disposition. So like would that be allowed? Am I allowed to partake in Judaism as more of a cultural/spiritual activity than a religious activity? (does this sound bad? i think it sounds bad? I’m not sure how to make it sound better, I’m sorry.)

So if I’m allowed (?), how do I go about this? There’s a Jewish club/organization at my college and I’ve been thinking about joining for a while but would they want me there? I feel like I wouldn’t belong and I can’t tell whether that’s true or the same thing of me not feeling like I belong in lgbtq clubs despite being chronically gay. If I chicken out and don’t join the club, are there resources for me to learn more about practicing, how, when, etc? Thank you so much <3 🙂

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