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Melissa Chapman

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The Upcoming Jewish New Year Has Me Questioning My Faith Yet Again

Posted: 09/05/2012 3:52 pm

We'll be celebrating the Jewish New year this month -- my second since my dad's passing --and being that it's a time for reflection, I'll admit that I'm finding it increasingly harder to believe that life continues after the physical one ends. Of course my husband's insistence that I need to come to terms with the undeniable fact that death is the end, that all religions are clearly bunk and that I'm spending my whole life devoted to a deity I have no proof even exists is clearly not providing me with much consolation.

My husband is a scientist. He believes in evolution. He believes in only what he can touch and see and what science can uncover. He wasn't raised particularly religious. He's what we call a Yom Kippur Jew aka a person of the Jewish faith who wears one of those pink yarmulkas he's fished out of his wedding yarmulka collection from the 1980s (when he was big on the I'll-be-an-usher-at-your-wedding-so -I-can-meet-a-hot-chick-who-will-have-drank-too-much-and-has-wedding-fever-clouding-her -judgement-about-who-she'll-agree-to-share- a-hotel-room-night-cap-with circuit) and steps foot in a synagogue on that one day to acknowledge in some small way the heritage into which he was born.

On the other hand I was raised in a very religious household, attended some serious religious school programs and -- whether it's the guilt of being as he terms it, "fed more religious propaganda" or because as a kid it feels good to have this belief that there is a larger presence presumably taking care of me -- I bought into this whole Jewish faith and for a while it was what sustained me.

Fast forward many years, during which I let go of my long-held beliefs, and then once I had kids -- those feelings of needing to give my kids an anchor (albeit my husband was convinced an imaginary man-made one) that would nourish them when I could not provide the answers, I subsequently found my way back to religion on my terms.

My husband, on the other hand, during our 14 years together has, unfortunately at least for me, never been able to find any solace or comfort in a gd that he cannot be certain exists. And I have to admit I have been struggling with my own religious identity too -- especially in the wake of my dad's death, which felt too sudden and so senseless.

It used to be when he'd present arguments for taking our kids out of their religious private school I could retort with a litany of reasons to keep them in, and since my dad passed I admit I'm finding it harder to counteract his culled straight from scientific evidence that this earth, this world, is really all we have. He wants me to finally admit that there is nothing after this -- and so all these religious celebrations, regardless of which god you subscribe too, are ultimately meaningless.

I am trying hard to keep going to keep holding on -- to see this new year as a way to reaffirm my belief in a higher power and wanting desperately to believe that my dad is up there, smiling, watching and finally free of pain.

Melissa Chapman blogs about her marriage and everything in between at www.marriedmysugardaddy.com She is currently a writer for Lifetime Moms and her work has appeared in The Staten Island Advance, Care.com, ABC News,BlogHer, Baby Center, Momtourage, Babble, The Washington Post, Time, Out NY Kids iVillage and TheStatenIslandFamily.com

 

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