I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and was super happy to be disengaged from all forms of Judaism. I was very into my social life – dancing, parties, dating – and later I found work I enjoyed as well. If I could really be like the Charlie girl that my mom compared me to, life could be a continuous party, albeit interrupted by some hopefully exciting career highlights.
Of course, on the inside, I was not “party girl”. I had tons of insecurities and fears.
Being okay with being fearful? Insecure? Vulnerable? No, no, no, no. I didn’t think that was okay.
While seeking all sorts of cures for fear, believe me, Judaism and G-d were not on the list. Boyfriends, an exciting career, discos, throw in a little minor celebrity-ish success… now these should bring the confidence and peace I desired.
However regardless of how successful or unsuccessful I was, I didn’t find inner peace or comfort in my own skin in any sustainable way.
I came upon Judaism through a circuitous route.
then, a good many years later,
WORLDS OPENED UP when I discovered a relationship with G-d. Desiring a relationship with a Power bigger than me was a huge paradigm shift. This initially was purely a spiritual pursuit. I was happy to forego religion and its exclusive nature. I was spiritual not religious.
But when I became a mom, my then-husband and I wanted to give our sons some connection to their religion, another feeling of home. I didn’t want to leave them empty-handed. As a young girl, I felt wonderstruck by Christmas and the seemingly happy bonds of my Catholic friends. I couldn’t imagine finding anything wonderful in the Jewish faith but just maybe we could eke something out.
After poking around a bit, I found a home for them and to my truly great surprise, for myself as well! This in the religion of our ancestors! In the long long chain of mothers, grandmothers, great grandfathers, even great great great grandmothers, Bubbies and Zaidys, all the way back to Abraham and Sarah, there was a perfect spot for my children,
… It was good. Actually to quote an infamous line from a Seinfeld episode, it was spectacular.
VULNERABILITY: My gosh…I understand why I kept more than an arm’s length from my Jewish roots. Of course my mom had terror. She lived through discovering that people just like her, babies, children, mothers, fathers, were systematically murdered. This happened in live time. Not from the bare distance of seventy six years ago. The trauma is beyond comprehension.
How could this anxiety and fear not pass down through the generations? How could so many of us not push this identity away? To really grapple with how vulnerable we’ve been as Jewish people… it is mind-numbing.
This trauma hid inside me underneath my glitter and star-studded attempts at chasing the latest success de jour.
Now full circle.
I did not want this baton. I had hoped if I stayed clean and distant enough, I could be safe from the profound vulnerability of Jewish history.
BUT I’VE SINCE DISCOVERED that the great threat actually had taken life inside me. I don’t mean the fear itself. I mean the hidden self-oppression of pushing away my identity.
By choking out the beautiful life force that is bigger than me, I was denied it’s magnificent glory. I had no idea what I was missing. Volumes are written. Religious, mystical, fanciful, rational, supra-rational, Judaism. But to keep it super simple…
boy did I get it wrong!
Love, Vivi ©
Mini skirt and Flower Photos from Canva.com, Revlon Charlie Commercial (1979) Youtube, Seinfeld – They’re real and they’re spectacular Youtube clip