Volume > Issue > On Growing Up Jewish & Becoming Catholic

On Growing Up Jewish & Becoming Catholic

WAS I GOING CRAZY?

By Linda Dickey | March 1996
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. I’d 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 weren’t 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 Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s 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 who’d just become observant. I did what they did — but somehow it didn’t work. The prayers were meaningless to me. Nothing in the services I went to touched my soul.

Enjoyed reading this?

READ MORE! REGISTER TODAY

SUBSCRIBE

You May Also Enjoy

Eating My Words: From Campus Crusade for Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy

We studied the issues in both Scripture and history and came to the conclusion that the East was correct on both the papacy and the filioque.

The New Catholic: Quo Vadis?

Converts' stories of their pasts would be enhanced by explicit avowals of where the Holy Spirit seems to be pointing them.

A Spiritual Journey from Jerusalem to Rome

My spiritual adventure, taken over the past dozen years, made stops in Shrewsbury to meet Darwin and in Wittenberg to see Luther.