Shana Tovah to all those in the Spectrum community who are Jewish like myself. However, I find that unless they aren’t religious or decided to convert to being Jewish from another faith, I don’t really get along or connect with my own that well. It breaks my heart that I can’t have the best of both worlds.
I have attempted many times to try and connect. Most of them were really bad experiences. Whatever I was wasn’t good enough for those I tried to connect with. It just hurt me to see my own shun me for such stupid things like not knowing how to read Hebrew, not going to Yeshiva as a kid, and worst of all because my last name was one type of cultural Jew and not the other. I just felt so alone. Even signing up for Birthright was a big to do. For those who are not familiar, Birthright is when you are sponsored by Jewish organizations to go on a free trip to Israel. I wanted to go with this specific group because they were planning a side trip to Greece afterwards. However, I didn’t get to go with them because the organization they chose to go with had an Ableist attitude and separated me from them forcing me to wait until December. I also went with another group that my sister chose (which just happened to be a reform group). Reform, although more loose in tradition, were still religious and even though they were a nice bunch I still felt the disconnect and I got all perturbed when they started to talk about Jewish summer camp as if it made a difference. (Mom told me she went to Jewish summer camp and said it’s nothing special.) I cried a lot because of how lost I felt. I observed the sabbath or Shabbat as we call it for the first time. I felt so lost. I wanted to connect but couldn’t, I just felt so empty inside because my parents didn’t raise me this way. I hate when someone tries to teach me a concept and it doesn’t make any sense. I felt so stupid.
But one thing on that trip did make me happy. Something I was supposed to get at 13 but got while I was there. – Getting Bat Mitzvahed. I was told all because 13 was tradition, didn’t mean I had to. It was worth the wait though, I was Bat Mitzvahed in Israel and that stuck it to my MIA extended family that always think they’re better than me because they’re “more pious”. 😅 What a bunch of losers! I’m lucky if I even hear from them let alone getting a card! Pfft! The one year that I couldn’t make it for Passover because I got hurt, they showed their true colors. The first relative who came to visit me in the hospital wasn’t any of them. Nope! It was Grandma Levine. Yeah take that! My dad’s side rushed to me first! Only one relative on mom’s side came. Nobody else. No hello, how are you feeling, nothing! That broke my heart because I saw them more often. I still cry about it. They’ve disgraced what Mima tried to do for all of us, which is keeping us together as well as having a memory of her to go by. They disgrace her legacy. She didn’t survive the camps to be treated in this way.
I could tell you all the other stories about trying to connect but this is a blog post, not a memoir. – And it just plain hurts.