My journey into Judaism as told by a twice a year Jew

I am going to share with you my journey into Judaism. For most of my life I was a twice a year Jew; Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. My family always celebrated Passover but that did not entail walking into a synagogue so I think that still makes my a twice a year Jew. I  believe there are others out there in cyberspace asking the same questions I am asking. Where do I begin? Do I even want to begin? What’s in it for me? By the way, I have no idea how any of you will ever find me. This whole notion of blogging makes me sound so social media savvy and I am not.  I am a writer of historical fiction. I needed to get that out of the way. It is what I do as a career. I would be working on book four but instead I have decided to duck out of that for now and move into this.

I would tell you where I am right now on the journey but I think it might scare you off. So let me begin where I began. My beloved father died. He was ninety years old, still played golf, and still drove at night. I adored him. He died the way I think any of us would choose to die, lying on the floor doing exercises. 

He use to say to me, when I pass I want someone to say Kaddish for me. (Kaddish is the prayer for mourning and it is said daily for eleven months. The word is not to be confused with Kiddish, the prayer said over the wine.) I would always reply, Daddy you are not dying, and PLEASE don’t lay that guilt on me. Then we would laugh. Anyway, I have a brother and I always thought it was a man’s obligation.  

My dad was religious, not orthodox in practice but his faith was deep and abiding. He just lived the life, especially after we lost my mom, his wife of sixty-four years. Over his lifetime Dad said Kaddish for his father, mother and my mother. Dad was only sixteen when his father passed and yet he went to shul every day for the eleven months. I will leave out the standard, through the sleet and snow. If you don’t get that, then you are just not the right age. 

I am going to try and stay focused on me because it would be so easy to switch the focus on the the rest of the family. My dad had two children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He died before meeting my daughter’s baby, Jacob. He was the patriarch of the family, and each one of us would vow we were his favorite although I know I was! 

I have always been a spiritual person. If you have read any of my books you will know that. I wrote about the Holocaust,in Clouds Across the sun.  I wrote about second century Jews and the Bar Kochba Rebellion in And So It Was Written. I am also a devout Zionist and always have been! I believe had the State of Israel existed six million of our people would not have died. If you are still reading this then I am sure you also believe that to be the truth. Understanding how to accept a G-d that could let the Holocaust happen is still a great stumbling block in my faith and in my quest, but I will address that much later.  

I am looking for answers. I don’t believe it is because I have more years behind me than I have in front of me. None of us know when our day to die will be. What I have come to believe is that faith takes us out of living in the past, brings us into living in the present. It is faith that takes away our fear of the future. Until the next time. In love and serenity. Ellen Brazer

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