Throwback Thursday #30 – Religious Influences

I’m  ready to host a little different Throwback Thursday Blog Hop.  I might be going out on a limb here. Please understand it doesn’t matter to me at all what religion anyone is. You need not even state your religion if you don’t wish to do so. I am more interested in how religion impacted your youth.

If you want to join in, it’s easy:

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • Feel free to add pictures if you’d like to.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

My choice for this week’s prompt is: The impact of religion.

Religion (faith) is very important to many people. Even the decision to not follow a religion has an impact on our lives. It is rare for two people to have the exact same belief of the origins of religion. Religion (faith) often provides a cultural identity as well as a system of values and ethics. The choice to follow a religion (faith)  can offer a community of like mined people as well as a division between others who are not of your faith.

Did your family attend services together?
Did you attend weekly, more than once a week, only on specific holidays, or some other designated time frame?
Was everyone of the same thought as to what faith to follow?
Did you have friends specifically from church/synagogue/ temple/ mosque, etc.?
Did your family practice religious ceremonies at home?
If you chose to depart from what your family believed (and feel like sharing) why did you do so?

My response follows:

When I was very young, we practiced Orthodox Judaism at home. I was too young to have memories of that time. I know my mom kept Kosher and planned on continuing to do so. When she divorced my bio-dad she hoped to continue our Jewish education. He promised he would take care of the expenses. That of course, never happened. He was too busy with his new life to be concerned with us kids in any way.

When stepdad #1 came into the house we no longer went to temple. He was not Jewish. We began celebrating both Jewish and Christian holidays without the religious attachments. We no longer lit Shabbat candles on Friday evenings. We had a Christmas tree but no Santa Clause. We had Hanukkah but no longer lit our menorah. In a way I felt like I had the best of both worlds and yet belonged to none. It was not an easy time as a kid.

Friends went to church every Sunday. I went with them once or twice, but never felt right about being there. We never went to temple as a family any longer. I would attend services occasionally with my paternal grandparents. I felt at home in the synagogue. I will admit that High Holiday Services were a little brutal as a kid.

When stepdad’s #2, 3, 4, and 5 came along the Jewish holidays ceased to exist at home. I felt like a Jewish child without a community. I often asked my mom if I could go to temple. I tried once, at age twelve to join some activities at a nearby synagogue. The cliques were established and being an introvert meant I had no skills to join in. I desperately wanted to connect with with my culture.

As a teen, I researched the history of religions. I investigated numerous philosophies and still felt drawn to Judaism. I concluded that I don’t fit in any regular religious frame. I consider myself a cultural Jew. I have read more books than I can count. I immersed myself in the history of my people. I am grateful for all the connections my grandparents gave me to my past. My home reflects my love of my heritage. I no longer feel like a fish out of water. I still do research to learn more about my heritage. I don’t plan on dropping my search for new knowledge.  My faith is very important to me because it is very much who I am.


23 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #30 – Religious Influences

  1. Gosh you had a lot of stepdads and I am sorry that you found yourself without support of a temple or synagogue. I am glad that you found yourself, your path and understanding of your faith. 💜💚🍀☘️🍀💜

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  2. Good questions. I grew up Presbyterian, which is sometimes referred to as the Frozen Chosen. It fits. The weekly services were organized but lacked anything even remotely fire & brimstone. I did make lots of friends through the church, but not lasting relationships that continued into adulthood. I kind of think of going to church as a childhood thing, more than an adult thing. Hadn’t really reflected on that before this.

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    1. Thanks for responding Allie. I rarely went as a child. But now that you mention ir, those that I knew went to church as kids did not continue as adults.

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