Saturday, January 7, 2012

Less and less

I've been thinking less and less about Judaism these days. Though I often joke (on and off camera) that I see the world through "Jew colored glasses" and probably always will, the degree to which this presently happens has greatly decreased over the past year. More and more of my writing ideas have little to do with matters of religious law and faith and I consider Judaism less when making decisions about the rest of my life. (Perhaps this is not a great thing to admit publicly since I still frequently write for Jewish publications--Dear editors, I still have pitches for you! This post is all lies!)

During the first couple of years that I ceased to be Orthodox, I thought about Judaism constantly. I wondered if I would ever return to a greater level of observance. I was often negotiating with Jewish law--how do I feel about driving on Shabbos? How about flying or using money? I was in a constant conversation with tradition and text despite observing the rules less and less.

But now that I feel settled in what I do and how I do it, now that I'm figuring things out less, I don't analyze the religion and tradition as much. Judaism, for better or worse, has become more of a part-time activity. I'm a weekend Jew. And I'm pretty happy about it. My circle of friends has greatly expanded as have my range of experiences (perhaps the reason for my non-Jewish ideas). It all feels like a natural part of my life's trajectory.

During this process I've noticed that others that come from a similar background and have made the move away cling, if not to their observance, then to their old social circles and orders. They seem to hang out mostly with others who have left the community, in whole or part.

Obviously, each in his or her own time, but part of me always felt that this defeats the purpose of leaving the insularity. While I understand the desire to be around people who really understand what you're going through and understand how destabilized and uprooted you may feel at times (especially if you were like me and never truly thought that this would be the route you would be taking), I still believe that it is imperative to get out there and find friends and a social network that doesn't seem to be based on where you came from. When I'm in those social settings, I frequently find myself talking about how my life used to be, not where it's going. 

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