Am I Jewish or Christian? Developing An Identity | Teen Ink

Am I Jewish or Christian? Developing An Identity

June 24, 2010
By KatiKat BRONZE, Middle Of Nowhere, Vermont
KatiKat BRONZE, Middle Of Nowhere, Vermont
3 articles 14 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
The most important thing in life is learning how to laugh just for the sake of laughing! -Me

The other day I was talking with my older sister and we had a very interesting conversation about religion. I was born into a family with several religions. My dad was raised Catholic and my mom was raised Jewish. Neither of them ever felt much of a connection to their religion.
When I was three we moved to our current town. After a few years my sister reached the age that a lot of kids traditionally start studying to become a Bat or Bar Mitzvah at. A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a Jewish coming of age ceremony held at age 13. My sister decided, after a bit of thought, that she wanted to pursue this path and study to become a Bat Mitzvah.
When it became that time for me, I knew already that I wanted to have a Bat Mitzvah. Why? Because my sister was having one, of course. How could I not want to have one? So, I started learning to read Hebrew, and learning a bit of vocabulary along the way. I performed the ceremony last fall and became a Bat Mitzvah.
All my life we have celebrated holidays such as Pesach, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah by going to synagogue and Seders. And we have also celebrated Christmas and Easter with my paternal relatives. And this is the reason for my conversation with my sister the other day.
What I’m really writing about in this piece is the identity I’ve always held for myself. Do I say I am Jewish, or do I say I am from a family with mixed religions? Over the years my perception of this has changed, and until the other day I never even noticed.
I used to say, “I am half Jewish and half Christian.” Well, wasn’t I? My family celebrated holidays from both religions. I felt as much Christian as Jewish, because one parent was Christian and the other Jewish. It was half and half exactly.
After a while I started telling people that I was Jewish, but a little bit Christian as well. I was studying to become a Bat Mitzvah, but I also celebrated a few major (if commercialized) Christian holidays. Sometimes I even went so far as to explain the whole situation with the holidays and such. I also enjoyed telling people that because I celebrated both Christmas and Chanukah, I received exactly twice the amount of presents that I would have otherwise. It was, I felt, a white lie.
Now, I identify myself almost completely with Judaism. I chose to become a Bat Mitzvah, and in doing this I chose to be Jewish. At the time that I decided to study to be a Bat Mitzvah I didn’t even know how huge a decision I was making, in the long run. I think there will always be that little bit of awareness in me that I am, as I used to put it, “half Christian and half Jewish” on some level. I suppose it is inevitable to have that, since I have a dad who was brought up Catholic.
So as I was talking to my sister the other day we realized that we both went through the same changes in perception of our religious identities, at different times. It made me think about how similar we are. We both told people the same things as our views on the issue changed. And now, we both think of ourselves as just plain Jewish. I am Jewish. It is my identity. And yet, as long as I live, I will never forget that I used to be half Christian and half Jewish.

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This article has 7 comments.

on Nov. 17 2011 at 5:48 pm

how did u decide to become part of the jewisch religion as opposed to a christian? are there certain things about the jewish religion you believe in more? or do you not like the traditions of christians? something like that?


on Jul. 12 2010 at 4:28 pm
live-love-laugh BRONZE, Asldkjfoi, Connecticut
3 articles 14 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Happiness is learning to see beyond the imperfections"

well written and interesting! i've always wondered how people in your situation feel and how they choose, but i've never been close enough to anyone to ask.

on Jul. 12 2010 at 4:27 pm
live-love-laugh BRONZE, Asldkjfoi, Connecticut
3 articles 14 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Happiness is learning to see beyond the imperfections"

I read that too! good book


on Jun. 29 2010 at 10:09 pm
whatshername GOLD, Carlsbad, California
14 articles 1 photo 112 comments
i come from the same type of family! I describe myself as Jewish and was Bat Mitzvahed...

on Jun. 29 2010 at 9:23 pm
respecturself7 SILVER, Medina, New York
8 articles 0 photos 76 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is a natural law in life to settle.....I broke that law ~Katherine Hepburn
Love, Is the severest of mental diseases~U.K.
Spinning always spinning....when life puts me down I'll give you a call~respecturself7

 A lot of people are raised "religious" But you don't become a certain religion just because you were raised as such. It's not like a different race. Religion is about a personal belief, being dogmatic wouldn't make you a religion. It all comes down to a personal decision. which is not to say you can never change your mind. It's just something you have to do yourself. I was raised as a Baptist Christian but I studied a lot of other religions before realizing that this one made the most sense. If you want TRUTH not religion pray to G+D to send it to you.He will, you just have to have your ears open to it. GOODLUCK!!!

on Jun. 29 2010 at 8:26 pm
mwahxandxmwa SILVER, Melbourne, Other
6 articles 0 photos 135 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Silence is golden...duct tape is silver" - a random T-shirt

I like this article it is eay to relate to.

It also qestions the thought of why religion is such a big part of our identity.

I reda an amazing book about identity. It is called 'Does my head look big in this.'

Well worded...:D

on Jun. 28 2010 at 11:02 pm
that_one_song SILVER, Helena, Montana
9 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
M.I.A- "I don't judge my success by how high my tower is, but by how much I am able to be a part of people's lives."

"You tried to sink your soul, oh, but didn´t realize, you keep it in a different hole."
The Kooks, Sofa Song

ummm, kind of not interesting but well written