Saturday, May 29, 2010

Independence and Conformity

When I was in high school I felt that doing anything remotely Jewish meant subscribing to this whole world that I hated so much. It also meant that I wasn't my own person and everyone would think that I was just another Jew. Throughout college I've been attempting to internalize that there is so much more to a person than their religious beliefs or their community- and there is no way that any two people can be exactly the same.

There's an important component to our religion, some may argue the most important component, and that's community. We have an obligation to be part of the community, to contribute to the Jewish lives we all live, and make it feel that none of us are alone by constantly reenforcing being part of one nation. Unfortunately, the Jewish community creates labels, stereotypes, and establishes who you are based on where you pray, or how you keep the Torah based on where you live. While those labels suck, it's important to focus on the better parts of it- like feeling included as part of a whole.

Just by observing commandments, a person doesn't have to worry that they are being "just like everyone else". Going to the same high school, or colleges, or living in the same communities and following the same laws- doesn't mean that a person is not an individual. It just means that they are part of a whole. But every person within the whole can still be an individual. They can build their own connection to God and have their own styles, taste in music, and everything. Don't be scared to be part of a community, just because it comes with labels and stereotypes. Seek to be your own person while still feeling part of a greater whole.


  1. Mazel Tov.......

    Excellent post. I am still finding both my community and my place in it.



  2. Ditto Damien;s post, I am feeling so torn and stuck today with feeling of being frum and gay that I just want to chuck the whole thing and be at peace however Orthodox Judiasm as much as am angry that I can't live an "open gay lifestyle " with embracement from the community, I am still committed to it.
    I am glad I read this blog.
    For thos of us who are committed to being frum and are gay, may H.K.B.H. continue to give us Chizuk!!!!

  3. There is nothing wrong about labels at all. Labels do not suck like you insist, labels are absolutely necessary. Being against labels is basically being against words themselves. The problem are not labels the problem are people who only see the label and not the person. So you should not be anti-label you should rather be against people who only look at labels.

    I wrote about labels some time ago back here:

  4. Going through a tough challenge of remaining frumm! Recently it's getting worse for me to remain observant . I am like in a tugg of war . Half of me is pulling me to stay religous and the other is not. I am just so tired of living like this . I'm like living like a hermit. It's not healthy.


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