What religion am I? In my life, I have been told many things about my religion. My mother is a Roman Catholic, while my father is Jewish. I have learned about both religions, and I have tried to practice both as best I could, but I am now faced with the decision; which one am I?
Christians believe that Jesus is both God and man, incarnation of God, and man -gives man two natures, physical and divined that they are united in one person. Thus the mystery of God becoming a human being, Jesus, and suffered and died, and Mary (Jesus’ mother) was the mother of God. God resolved himself to mankind in 3 ways, as God the father, God the sun and the Holy Spirit. From this we can see that Christianity is based on the mystery of the doctrine of the trinity, which cannot be proven and requires Christians to have faith that this root of Christianity is in fact true. The promise of life after death (salvation) is very important, without it they find life meaningless. Ritual Christianity is a ritual filled religion, especially Roman Catholicism. There is a ritual for all stages of life from birth to death. In following a structured one needs constant reinforcement of one’s basic faith, what better way than to have a ritual based belief system which starts at birth with the celebration of Baptism, which is the entry to Christianity and the first step in developing ones faith. Then as one gets older; he/she is Confirmed which is a deepening of commitment to faith and allows one to receive Holy Communion, which is the final step to becoming a committed Catholic. From this point on one normally goes to Church weekly and breaks bread and shares wine with the Christian community to which one belongs. So ones life becomes ordered in the structure of the sharing of bread and wine, which is the Body and Blood of Jesus; i.e. God. His or her life is structured from birth to death, through, the sacraments weekly worship, daily prayer and the promise of eternal life.
Judaism is the complex expression of a religious community, a way of life as well as a set of basic beliefs and values, which is separated in patterns of action, social order, and culture as well as in religious statements and concepts. The ideal is to remember God in everything one does, through prayer and keeping the commandments. There are many spiritual practices that the Jewish people follow as a reminder of their faith and as a way to engage all the senses in awareness of God. Some of these scared practices include: circumcision, Sabbath, eating kosher foods, and Bar Mitzvah. Of all of the commandments in Judaism, the brit milah, is probably the one most universally observed. It is commonly referred to as a bris. Even the most seculars of Jews, who observe no other part of Judaism, almost always observe these laws. Boys are ritually circumcised when they are eight days old, to honor the seal of God’s commandment to Abraham. A person who is uncircumcised suffers the penalty of kareit, spiritual elimination. Sabbath is the most important ritual observance in Judaism. It is primarily a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. The Jewish Sabbath runs from sunset Friday night to sunset Saturday night. Observant Jewish families begin the Sabbath eve with a special Friday night dinner. The woman of the house lights candles to bring in the Sabbath light; the man of the house recites a blessing over the wine. Special braided bread, challah, is shared as a symbol of the double portions of manna in the desert. The rituals help to set a different tone for the day of rest, as do commandments against working, handling money, traveling except by foot, lighting a fire, cooking and the like. The next morning Shabbat services begin around nine a.m., and continue until about noon. After services, the family says kiddush again and has another leisurely, festive meal. The family studies Torah for a while, talks, takes an afternoon walk, plays some checkers, or engages in other leisure activities. It is traditional to have a third meal before Shabbat is over. This is usually a light meal in the late afternoon. Shabbat ends at nightfall, when three stars are visible, approximately forty minutes after sunset. At the conclusion of Shabbat, the family performs a concluding ritual called Havdalah. Blessings are recited over wine, spices and candles. Then a blessing is recited regarding the division between the sacred and the secular, between Shabbat and the working days.
These two religions have been practiced in my house since I was born. How do I choose which to be a part of? My mother has not been present in my life since I was two years old, so the family I know wants me to be Jewish. I feel separated, between this choice. What if I don’t want to be a part of either religion? I want to explore what else is out there, and make a decision on my own. I think because I practiced both religions, this had made me a very open-minded person. I see things from every angle, instead of just one. I accept everyone for who they are, and not for what they are, or what they practice. Since most of my family has shown me patience with this vital choice; I have also learned how to be patient with important decisions that have to be made.
How do I make such a life altering decision? As my parents have showed me patience, I will wait. Even though I have to make a decision one day, the knowledge I have gained from this will be with me until the day I die.