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I am Jewish and I want associate with Judaism

Rabbi David SperlingSivan 18, 5780
21
Question
Hello. I am Jewish, but my Jewish mother and grandmother fully assimilated with native people in European country and not associated with Judaism. I want associate my self with Judaism. Do I need to pass any initiation to Judaism? Or I can associate my self with Judaism without any initiation process because I am Jewish?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Firstly – welcome back! After so two generations (at least) of non-association with their Judaism, it’s wonderful to see your desire to return to your family's roots and heritage. There are really two issues that you need to address, and each one is a separate question. The first issue is how to go about re-connecting with Judaism. In order to do so you’ll will want to combine learning together with finding a community. You will need to find a synagogue (advisably Orthodox) to start going to on Shabbat, and a Rabbi to start learning with. Look around your neighborhood and see what you can find. There are also many good resources online for your learning – of course this site, as well as the Machon Meir site, Chabad and others. Start reading some books, read the Torah, and go to classes. Slowly start seeing what you can bring into your own life – Shabbat meals, prayer, charity. Perhaps some of the basic parts of the Kosher laws. Hopefully a trip to Israel will become possible for you also. This is the first steps in “associating yourself” with your traditions and religion. Secondly there is a technical (but highly important) step of clarifying your Jewish status. After such a long gap in your families’ connection to Judaism, this might get difficult. It might even involve some form of re-accepting being Jewish in the form of a conversion like process. What you will need can only be determined by meeting with a Rabbi, (and even then, he will probably send you on to a religious court called a Bet Din). This can take time and effort. These two things are independent of each other – and the first step will hopefully lead you to the Rabbi who will help you with the second step. May you be blessed with every success in your journey. Blessings.
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