Jennye - 2003-06-16 16:00:12
Oh man, that is so true! (Your Jewish story) DH was raised Conservadox (went to an Orthodox school, an Orthodox day school, dad was head of the JCC, etc but they drove on Shabbat, ate kosher at home but also ate out non-kosher, etc.) His family is a microcosm of the Jewish community. His brother is yeshivish and went to YU in NYC, we are Modern Orthodox, older sister is barely Jewish at all and younger sister is very Jewish identified, but completely non-religious. (Very Hillel, social activist kind of Jewish) His dad, after years of Orthodox shul-going, married a reform woman after DH's mom died and now is Reform, but keeps kosher at home. It is an odd family, Jewishly. I say all this because he and his family fit in very well among the Jewish community in the town where they live. As a matter of fact, if we had more money, we would fit in at that level of observance with the Orthodox shul in our commuity as well. (We live in a VERY wealthy community. Well, the Orthodox shul is in a very wealthy area anyway. Think 2BR/2BA townhome selling for $400,000) But in many other places, we do not fit in at all. We lived in LA for awhile, but we were not even close to the level of observance of the people there, so we were pretty out of place. But, of course, we are way more observant than most everyone at the more liberal denominations, so it is difficult to fit in there. Add to that the fact that we are extremely "crunchy" and we don't fit into standard mainstream society well either and we sure don't fit into standard Jewish society well either (the closest we came on that was the Orthodox shul in Berkeley, CA, which is very pants friendly, BTW, and very vegetarian friendly, which we are.) Another great, Modern Orthodox shul is one we found in LA near the end of our tenure there (and in a different neighborhood as the one we ended up in, of course. If you ever move, I seem to have done significant research on MO shuls on teh West Coast of the US and can be of help there :) ) So I guess my advice is, find a community that you fit into if you can. They are out there. We would love to do just that. But of course, like you, our parnassah demands that we stay in certain markets, so we can't go back to where DH's family lives and fit in (like a glove) there. And unless we win the lottery, we'll never fit in here in our current community as well. It is a shame, because community is a very very ioportant thing. I never realized that until I had a child. Now that my DS is 2 1/2, we have been making a concerted effort to get involved, but are hitting a wall on all sides. So we are stuck between the rock of living away from the Orthodox shul in our area because we simply cannot afford it and therefore driving on Shabbat to have some semblance of community (if they'll even accept us) or the hard place of either buying or renting something twice as expensive as we can afford or DH finding a job in another community, if he can and moving again. Or changing careers altogether and moving back to where our families live and fitting into that community (although I understand that, much like the rest of the Orthodox community, it is moving toward the more frum end of the spectrum.) I think I'll try to email you more later. Obviously this is a subject close to my heart.
texas holdem - 2005-05-11 05:51:02

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