I don’t fit in a box…a Jewish box, that is. I don’t neatly fit into a category, classification or type. I am not a check box on an application nor can I describe myself in multiple choice, yet why am I constantly asked to do so?
Orthodox, Ultra Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Conservadox, Conservative, Traditional, Reform, Reconstructionist, New Age, a Jew for Jesus or even Space-Age Scientelogically Jewish. Can everyone be classified in neat little categories that identify complex beliefs or ever changing beliefs? Can’t one go from God-fearing to not even believing in a matter of minutes? Does that mean your classification should change with your changing thoughts? Are human beings not complex? Are we better understood simplified or stupified?
I recently have had the opportunity to meet different types of Jewish moms through homeschooling groups with my son. Everyone seems to identify with one precise category. I find myself changing mine wherever I go - because otherwise it would take hours for me to explain who I was and my belief system. It can not just be described with one word or type. I have even thought about the “elevator pitch” description of my affiliation - who am I? It would just have to be an extremely long elevator ride.
Isn’t it better, therefore to remain category-less, indescribable, even modest about one’s beliefs. After all isn’t modesty key in Judaism? What is so modest after all about wearing my belief on my sleeve (or long sleeves below the elbow, rather)?
Next time I am asked what my religious beliefs are…I will just answer, “Jewish” and that should be good enough…well, with hints of Buddhism and Existential angst of course.
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