Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Do I Look Familiar Pt. 3
How scary, I mean sweet is this picture? A lovely Jewish family celebrating Hanukkah. UGH! That's me standing up holding the yarmulke beanie on my head. The woman with her arm around me is my grandmother who passed away 6 years ago.
For those new to my blog these "Do I Look Familiar?" posts are about my adoption and my slow and hesitant search for my birth family.
My adopted parents told me many different stories regarding my history. The stories changed through the years until I eventually found out the truth that they didn't really know any of my history. I picked this picture today because I wanted to talk about religion, just a little, nothing controversial, just my thoughts.
My adoptive mom (a-mom for short) first told me that my birth mother was Jewish and so I was "automatically Jewish". This of course was not true. Later, my a-mom told me that because she was Jewish, that meant I was "automatically Jewish". I am sure she really wanted to believe this, but again, this was not true.
I found out a few years ago what the true story was. I was not born Jewish and no one had any idea what religion I was. Actually, they might know but claim not to. Because of this, I had to be converted when I was a baby. An aunt told me that my great-grandfather took me all by himself to his Temple and had me converted. He was in his 80's when I was born so it must have been an interesting trip for me.
I've always thought of myself as being a sort of black sheep in the family (My cousin M might disagree, as he thinks he is). I felt that I was different from my family and just never fit in. The Jewish thing is just one reason. No matter how much I tried to feel connected with my Jewish heritage, I never really did. Well, I did for a long time feel a connection to Jews in history. The persecution for example, I was also persecuted for being Jewish. Of course there were other reasons I was picked on, mostly because I was shy and people thought I was stuck-up. And, the Jewish kids were the worst offenders, I hated going to Hebrew School. I knew kids would be mean to me and I knew the teachers wouldn't do anything about it.
I went through a time when my grandmother(pictured) was dying and I thought I felt a connection to her and to Judaism. I even tried to incorporate some traditions in my daily family life. I joined the Jewish Temple, the only one in the area, so E could go to Sunday school and my hus and I could meet some adults. My hus is not Jewish but since he is the best nicest guy in the world he hesitantly agreed.
BAD IDEA! It was horrible, not right away, but a few months into our membership. I found the other couples cold and unfriendly. I started to feel the same dread when I would bring E to Sunday school. Finally I realized, WTF am I doing? How can I feel connected to a religion where most of the people I meet are mean!? After that experience along with a lifetime of feeling like I am mistreated and don't fit in, I gave up on being Jewish, period.
The point, of which I am writing this long winded post is that I just wonder what religion I was born. Right now I consider myself non-religious, maybe atheist, maybe not. Why can't just being a good person be enough? I think it is. I would love to find out I am Irish Catholic or something opposite of Jewish, just to horrify my family!
The ironic thing is that the best friends I have ever had were met in public school and they were Jewish! But not the "I go to Temple every week" Jew, Jews like me, just good people.
As an update to my actual search. I sent in my registration to the state of New York where I was born and they sent it back saying they can't help me because I was not adopted in NY. I also sent in my registration to ISRR and it's been weeks and I haven't heard other that that they got my paperwork. So it's not looking good. My next step will be to hire a lawyer and try to get my files opened. I will keep you all posted when I do this.