Growing up, my family was observant. Growing up we went to services almost every Shabbat and on every holiday (including staying out of school to go to services on holidays), kept Kosher, and observed many Jewish laws. Additionally, my father became a Cantor (a clergy member in our synagogue) when I was 10 years old and my grandfather has been a Cantor my whole life. My family is not Shomar Shabbat but we did not do many things that were considered “work.” Shabbat is from sundown on Friday night until sundown on Saturday night (the Jewish calendar days go from sundown to sundown). So on these days EVERY WEEKEND (as well as during Jewish Holidays), my family doesn’t ride in a car (start a car, sit in a car, be a passenger in a car, take the bus, etc. I say this because often people ask if my friends couldn’t just pick me up and drive), use money, light a match, or do some kinds of work like laundry. Also, my parents won’t do any kind of work for their jobs on Shabbat.
Try imagining never being able to go to a Friday night football game in high school, to the mall with your friends on a Saturday afternoon, or even to your friend’s birthday party when you are 9 years old. To make things even harder, there were hardly any other Jewish kids in my city and most of the kids from my synagogue were from surrounding towns, went to other schools, and came from families that didn’t have practices as observant as my family does. Like I said, the lines of Conservative Judaism are very much blurred, so they could consider themselves conservative but do all the things I wished I could do on a Saturday afternoon. Growing up this was really hard for me to understand. This is what I grew up with. As I’ll tell in later posts, I don’t want it to sound like I had an awful childhood. My religion is a very important part of my life and has helped to shape my life in so many positive ways. It’s just a fact that part of the way that my life has been shaped is as a result of my feeling like I missed out on so many things when I was younger.
I think that’s enough take in for one post. I’ll write again soon to continue to explain everything. Please feel free to leave questions in the comment section to help tell me what else I should be talking about on this blog.