You don’t have to look very hard to find an excuse for not wanting to connect Jewishly.
Many of us can find one by simply thinking back to childhood:
-You hated Hebrew school. -Synagogue was boring. -Your Hillel was too religious. -A rabbi once said something offensive or hurtful. -Being Jewish made you feel like an outsider at school. -You or your family were judged or even alienated for “how” Jewish you were or weren’t.
Others of us may gravitate toward present-day excuses:
-You feel you don’t have enough Jewish knowledge to engage. -You didn’t have the same experiences that every other Jew seems to have had. -Your beliefs and values seem incompatible with the Jewish community. -You’re worried about Judaism eclipsing other important pieces of your identity. -Jewish programs seem overly focused on helping you find a partner. -It feels like everyone already knows each other.
These (and there are many more) are all legitimate reasons to leave your Jewish identity unexplored, and I’m sure most people reading this will find one or more of these reasons resonates.
Yet, an overwhelming percentage of American Jews (94%) are proud to be Jewish.
And herein lies the paradox of 21st century American Jewry – we’re proud of something that we feel disconnected from and haven’t taken the time to seriously explore.
It’s not that we’re not open to exploring our Judaism or feeling more connected to it. It’s just that we have so many paths out and so few paths in.
This is why GatherDC created the Beyond the Tent Retreat – to present a few alternative paths into Jewish life that are compelling and meaningful for us today. This retreat won’t erase your Jewish baggage or resolve all the problems with the Jewish community. But it will validate your experience and allow you and other like-minded Jewish 20s and 30s in DC to take ownership over your Jewish identity.
It’s not hard to find the type of Judaism that doesn’t work for you. Why not spend a little time searching for a type of Judaism that does?
Our upcoming retreat is July 21-23, so if you’re interested and available, you should apply today! Early applications close on Friday, May 26.