Making the Choice

Living as a Jew in Israel and living as an observant Jew are two very special things that to me give life meaning, and certainly living as an observant Jew in Israel is pretty awesome.

What makes it even better is that for me it was a choice.

I chose to become observance and I chose to live in Israel.  To what extent though do we really make our own choices?  Even if I grew up in an observant family in Israel, as an adult I would still be choosing to live wherever and however I wanted.  Certainly there are plenty of young adults who make decisions that move them in the opposite direction that I went in.  This is of course not to mention altogether the extent to which God plays a role in our lives  (or maybe we never really decide because it’s been decided for us?)

Though the Jewish people accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai, it was really more “You’d better accept this, or else.”  To be honest, I sometimes feel the same way.  I’d better be observant or else – or else God will be angry, I’ll be a bad Jew, or some other thought of guilt crosses my mind.  I’d better live in Israel or else – well, quite frankly living as a Jew outside of Israel at this point to me just seems quite sad.

While I think that it would be tremendously difficult for me if my future children would live outside of Israel or live non-observant lives, I would also like for them to be able to have the experience of making the choice.  While it’s difficult to say that I would want them to be unobservant, even for a short period of time, having other experiences seems to valuable to me.

For more thoughts on making the choice to become ba’alat teshuva (BT), check out my latest post on Beyond BT.


2 Responses to “Making the Choice”

  1. 1 Elle May 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    This is complicated! I feel that way about my kids. I am excited I get to make the choice to convert. But… on the other hand… to be honest… though it is very much a choice of the physical, it wasn’t so much of the spiritual. To not convert would drive me perpetually insane until I think I woudl completely mad. What kind of choice would that be!?

    That said I wonder about my grandkids… how will they feel? being born Jews. That is something I will never understand the feel of. What if they don’t appreciate Judaism the way I do?

  2. 2 Keshet May 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Just found your blog and I’m enjoying it, as another BT! The idea of my children not being frum when they grow up is devastating to me, though–I think a lot of that has to do with raising them in a style of frumkeit that works with who they are.

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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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