I have not been Jewish for very long, only for about 3 years now.
I have not been Jewish for very long, only for about 3 years now. I started to actually learn what calling myself “Jewish” meant when I moved in with Second Cousin Billie and her wife Anisa. I had always called myself Jewish, even tho I never knew what it meant. All I knew was that my grandpa was Jewish and that being Jewish made me different. When I said that I was Jewish people looked at me with a different feeling in their eye, and it was not the one that all the other white people got, I felt like I had some history on my back that allowed me to say something was not right. My reasons for calling myself a Jew when I was a child were shallow and selfish; but I guess children are like that sometimes and I should not be as mean to the child version of me. I can give my past self some slack, because I am no longer that little kid who blindly identifies with something to be different, instead I am trying to learn more about Judaism before I label myself Jewish.
Today I can understand what being Jewish means to me, to a very small extent, but my understanding becomes greater and greater by every second that I invest into thinking about it. I try not to be quick to label things in general because labels define something and therefore limit it. I hate the idea of being limited, but being limited does not always have to be a bad thing. If you choose to label yourself as something because you truly believe it, I believe that the next step is to understand the other labels different than yours and allow them to exist. Of course, my previous example has many circumstances where it does not completely work, but most of the time this idea of understanding and acceptance can do a lot of good for a lot of people. I have chosen to call myself Jewish, and learn about the people who I am a part of, but that can be hard. Many times I find myself feeling like an outsider within the Jewish community because of my lack of knowledge or just because I have not known everyone for as long as they seem to have known each other, but this trip has changed that a lot for me. I still do not know as much about Judaism as many Jews do, but now I understand the history of our people. The never ending, hard trek uphill through obstacles unknown and unseen to the world. What has happened to our people over and over again and what we have done to survive. Judaism is a religion, but it is made up of a group of people branching all over the world and way back into history, and now I feel like a part of this people, because I know what my and my Grandfather’s ancestors have gone through in order to make it to this present day.