On Growing Up Jewish & Becoming Catholic
March 1996By Linda Dickey
Linda Dickey is a copywriter for Bantam Doubleday Dell in New York City.
How could this have happened? I was happily married, a mother of two great, nearly grown-up kids, a Jewish middle-class New Yorker. Id had hard times in my life, but things were so much better now. I had my health, a job I liked, a nice apartment. Life was good. So why did I become a Christian?
Growing up I knew I was Jewish, but I had no real idea of what that meant. I was aware of only the most famous Jewish holidays. Even though my parents werent liberals, I had no religious education, no acculturation as a Jew. When we went to temple, very rarely, I was deeply bored. I never thought the prayers said there, even the ones in English, had anything to do with the Almighty-my-protector, the God I asked for help in school, the God I asked to bless my family at night. My prayers were silent, private, and completely unrelated to formal religion.
From the time I was a teenager, my spiritual life was based on literature, art, and music. Literature was Christian, and for purposes of understanding what I read, I willingly suspended disbelief in Christ. I loved Christian painting, especially Madonnas. And when I was 16 I had an older boyfriend who took me to performances of Handels Messiah and Bachs B Minor Mass. Both those pieces had a strong effect on me religiously. My boyfriend was appalled. He was Jewish, and wanted me to love the music, not the faith expressed.
He admonished me to learn about our faith before I gave it up for Jesus. He gave me books and lectured me. And he succeeded, sort of: I tried to find my spiritual self in Judaism. I went to Brandeis University to learn to be a Jew. I attended services. I spent time with other Jews whod just become observant. I did what they did but somehow it didnt work. The prayers were meaningless to me. Nothing in the services I went to touched my soul.
You have two options:
- Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
- Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.
If you're already a subscriber log-in here.