Forums Shmoozing Seeking Those from An Orthodox Background

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    • None None
      Participant
        Post count: 13

        Hello All,

        I trained in an Orthodox (Litvish) yeshiva. Now I am a practicing Catholic. I have not been able to locate local Catholics with a background similar to my own. No one seems to understand where I am ‘coming from.’ Thus, I am incredibly lonely.

        Are any of you from the Charedi world? I could certainly use some like-minded companions on this road!

        Kol tuv,
        R’ Binyamin

        • This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by None None.
      • David Moss
        Keymaster
          Post count: 38

          I think I just answered you regarding the kippah. The AHC is still young and our members are spread throughout the world. We are encouraging the formation of havurot, where members can get together for prayer, study, and fellowship. It will still be awhile before we have enough people and enough structure to form an approved community within the Church. If you are able, join our Facebook group. There you will find Hebrew Catholics from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities. That may help a bit.

          • None None
            Participant
              Post count: 13

              David, I understand this group is relatively young, but I have been waiting for years – more than a decade – for this to occur.

              My impression is that most of the members were non-observant Jews prior to converting to Catholicism, and so they assume we are all on-board with this non-observance.

              It is time for AHC to acknowledge that there are Jewish Catholics who observe Jewish laws and traditions. We are here, too. We seek a place in the community.

              When the community purposefully, knowingly, sets up all meetings on Shabbat and Tom Tov in such a fashion that a portion of the community cannot attend – well, it makes us wonder if we are wanted at all.

              • David Moss
                Keymaster
                  Post count: 38

                  Hi Binyamin,
                  I may have written this before, but to review: Fr. Friedman OCD launched the AHC with Andrew Sholl, a Holocaust survivor, in 1979. I learned about it and began to get involved in the early 1980s. I assumed responsibility for the development of the AHC in 1993. Since then, the AHC website, the AHC webstore, this Forum, The Miriam Press (the AHC publishing arm), the almost quarterly publication – The Hebrew Catholic, audio/video courses, sample home liturgies for Jewish celebrations in the light of Christ, etc. have all been developed.

                  In the last few years, Ken and Flora Wilsker has begun to encourage the development of havurot.

                  You write that most members (of the Facebook group) appear to have been non-observant Jews prior to their conversion to Catholicism. I cannot confirm or deny that is the case. Many Jews who were observant do not publicly reveal themselves in a forum such as Facebook. But, whether true or not, membership in the Facebook group is NOT membership in the AHC. The Facebook group was started by a friend from Argentina, Pablo Carrion. So whatever observations you make about the Facebook group does not necessarily apply to the AHC.

                  The work of the AHC is to preserve Jewish identity and heritage within the Catholic Church. While many talk about it in the Facebook group, the work is done in the AHC. There are many Hebrew Catholics in the AHC who come from observant backgrounds. One Observant Jewish woman, now also a Catholic, is married to a Catholic man. They are running an internet havurot from Israel for young couples with children. Their intention is to explore how to raise their children in both traditions, living and celebrating both traditions.

                  I should mention that the havurot are groups that are voluntarily started and run. While I believe that they will help us develop individually and as an organization, their work is not controlled by the AHC. Our only role is to support them as best we can as long as they remain faithful to the teachings of the Church.

                  The AHC community did NOT “purposdfully, knowingly” set up meetings on Shabbat. The AHC does not direct the setup, timinmg, or content of havurah meetings.

                  Binyamin, you are interpeting things too personally. The AHC is not officially connected to Facebook or to any havurah. If you want to be more involved with Hebrew Catholics who are/were observant, then let’s think about how we can invite them into some form of communication/meeting. What are you willing to do to make this possible?

                  I am starting on the next issue of “The Hebrew Cathoiic.” If you provide me with an email address, I can put in a blurb that you are looking to make contact with Hebrew Catholics who are/were observant and wish to connect with others like themselves.

                  Let me know. You can reach me at dmoss@hebrewcatholic.org.

                • Anonymous
                    Post count: 1

                    Shalom. I am a Jew of color and I live in an Orthodox Jewish Community and I subscribe to Orthodox Jewish halacha in addition to submitting to the authority of the Magisterium. If you need to contact me, email me
                    at TheBlackHebrewCatholic777@Gmail.com. I would love to connect. Shalom.

                    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by .
              • Chana Ravinsky y
                Participant
                  Post count: 7

                  Hi Benyamin! I was raised frum and became a traditional Catholic in 1978 when I was 18.

                  • None None
                    Participant
                      Post count: 13

                      Hi Chana! It is very good to hear from you.

                      May I ask: How does one learn to ‘fit in’ within a Catholic parish? I stick out like a sore thumb.

                      The parishioners are kind but I get the impression that the priests and prelates are trying to pretend that I am not Jewish, that I never studied in yeshiva for the rabbinate. So things get pretty awkward.

                      When I first arrived at my current parish, the pastor was thrilled and often asked me to informally expound a little bit on topics during his homilies. But then, after he found out about my yeshiva background, all of that stopped. Sometimes I wonder whether the priests worry that I am some sort of Jewish Pied Piper.

                      I do not know how to fit in. It is not a matter of knowing their culture – I’ve become pretty good at that – but rather that they seem ‘afraid’ to allow me to participate. I mean, I can attend mass, receive the elements, etc., but nothing else.

                  • Chana Ravinsky y
                    Participant
                      Post count: 7

                      Hi Benyamin,

                      My situation is considerably different from yours, I think. I’m a traditional Catholic, meaning we practice the Catholic Faith as its been since before Vatican 2. I belong to a small traditional Catholic chapel where only the Tridentine Latin Mass is offered. I’ve been fully accepted and welcomed.I also spent a number of years in the Byzantine Eastern Catholic parish when my local chapel didn’t exist yet. You might find Eastern Rite Catholicism interesting! For me it felt more “Jewish” in an Eastern European sense, whereas the traditional Catholic Mass etc felt more Jewish in an ancient Jewish sense. A book you might like is HOW CHRIST SAID THE FIRST MASS by Fr James Meagher. Its from 1908 but is in print and also available free online as a pdf.

                      • None None
                        Participant
                          Post count: 13

                          Thank you, Chana. Very good to hear from you!

                          I will check out the book you recommended.

                      • ng
                        Participant
                          Post count: 1

                          Hello Binyamin,
                          I don’t come specifically from a yeshivishe background, I was a ger, sephardi Modox Machmir and actually never felt ‘right’ among FFB/BT yeshivishe-oriented peers (but did go to O.S. in Monsey, visited Lakewood ONCE and survived…). Though I no longer identify as Jewish (having been a ger, that might be understandable to an FFB), and also due to a still-elaborating disentanglement with the notions of Rabbinic Judaism/Perushim-claimed historical hegemonies (on the parameters of defining Jewish/Jews, beliefs, practice, what “judaism taught/teaches”, etc), but I definitely understand a measure of the simple ‘cultural’ awkwardness and ‘not quite fitting in’, even though I was only Odox for about 10 years – I still had fostered the desired dissonance with the NJ world around me and about me, and in terms of my past. But if you grew up frum, I can definitely imagine what dissonance you may feel, in particular, having been around many such families. To my mind, spiritually there IS continuity with ‘observant judaism’, in terms of specific aspects that Orthodox [rabbinic] Judaism has maintained and contained, and Catholicism – not on Rabbinic terms, but Christ’s terms with his people, in liturgy and the various theological ‘ologies’, also continuity around Beit haMikdash, korbanot, role of Israel, but I disgress…

                          *Without bringing up your Catholicism* per se, you might find help with OTD forums, etc, in terms of generally relating to all the non-Jewish ‘worlds’ outside of the ‘eruv’, and might help piece together where the ‘disconnects’ may be between yourself and parish life. It IS a whole other cultural/communal experience, and if you haven’t had other cultural experiences, that may be at the heart of it. Myself, I was Chrismated (Confirmed), in a Middle Eastern Byzantine Catholic where culturally, people are very hospitable, etc – whereas many Roman Catholic communities, especially in the US, are notable not that way by comparison, and not infrequently perfunctory and ‘brisk’ – I have NO problem with that, in fact I DO recognize a measure of similarity from “ffb” synagogue experiences in the past, and have found the “anonymity” sometimes what I’d prefer in a Mass/Liturgy.

                          There is a volume in the last few years translated from French by a BT from a French-Maghrib family who became yeshivishe then a Chabadnik (yes, long strange trip), and now Catholic, called “from the kippah to the cross” by Jean-Marie Élie Setbon. That also may be helpful, I’m not sure he’s fluent in English though, as I did reach out to him in French, but he gave only a brief “hello” response, and didn’t seem to want to connect. Best of grace in finding your situation in Christ!
                          NG

                          • None None
                            Participant
                              Post count: 13

                              Thank you for sharing your very interesting faith experiences with me, NG.

                          • Simeon *
                            Participant
                              Post count: 1

                              Shalom Benyamin: I grew up as a Conservative Jew and was baptized into the Catholic Church several years after Yeshua appeared to me in a vision. I currently attend an orthodox shul; although, I have not made my belief in Yeshua known to the Jewish community. I lead an orthodox lifestyle, shomer Shabbos, shomer negiah, daven with a traditional siddur; although I also pray with the monastic diurnal in private, and follow the daily mass readings on my own. Additionally, I study Torah on a daily basis. Essentially, I have gravitated toward a Messianic perspective; although, the expression of my faith is through traditional Judaism. For what it’s worth, I thought to respond to you, even though my journey seems somewhat different than yours. Shalom, Simeon (my baptismal name).

                              • None None
                                Participant
                                  Post count: 13

                                  Shalom Simeon,

                                  Very good to hear from you. Although you grew up Conservative, I do relate to your path. Very much.

                                  I did not experience a vision of Jesus but I did have a formative mystical experience at age 13. The movie Jesus Christ Superstar had just been released. I went to see it with a friend. The scene regarding Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was poignant and powerful. Well, after discussing (arguing?) with G-d, Jesus sings out (beautifully, I might add): “All right! I’ll die! Just watch me die! See, see how I die! Just watch me die!” And then it happened. Suddenly, the music changed and classical oil paintings of the crucifixion flashed one after another on the screen over about 25 seconds. And, with that, I experienced my first mystical experience. I really ‘got’ it. It was an incredibly powerful experience that I will not even try to put into words. All I can add is, I was never the same from that point on. It was a mystical coming-of-age experience.

                                  Thank you for sharing, and thank you for allowing me to share this important formative life event with you.

                                  Nicholas (my baptismal name)

                              • Anonymous
                                  Post count: 2

                                  Hi, R. Benyamin!
                                  I do not have a Yeshivish background, but I have a very good friend who grew up Haredi (Breslov).
                                  I’d be happy to put you guys in touch, and to chat generally. I am available on WhatsApp at +972(0)525682299.

                                  Also, I know an Orthodox guy from Monsey who’s been having a hard time finding catachesis. If I remember correctly, he’s also Litvish.

                                  Yarden James Zelivansky.

                                  • None None
                                    Participant
                                      Post count: 13

                                      Hello Yarden,

                                      Thank you for writing and offering to help. I do not have a WhatsApp account, but I could communicate with you through email or text.

                                      I’d very much like to connect with your Orthodox friend from Monsey. I am also from the Monsey Litvish community.

                                      Binyamin

                                  • Bat Yerushalayim
                                    Participant
                                      Post count: 1

                                      Shalom Binyamin-Nicholas,

                                      It took me a long time to fit into the Catholic world as someone coming directly from halachic (Modern Orthodox) Judaism. May I suggest that the misunderstanding was mutual. I did not understand the Church and her values and some members of the Church did not understand me and my needs. Guess what? We both had to compromise, but me in the first place. I had to stop thinking that the Jews are better than others and that knowledge of Talmud makes me more competent than others in the true Faith. I think we Jews as a people tend to be rather arrogant and self-important, and the Litvish culture fosters that especially. Christians can’t stand that since Christian values are all about humility and love. Not that Christians don’t struggle with these vices, but at least they don’t turn them into virtues. The Church needs to come to respect Jewish tradition, but don’t expect the priest to respect you just because you observe Jewish tradition. Most of Rabbinic Jewish tradition is irrelevant or even contrary to Christian faith and values. If you want a leadership role, don’t show off your Talmudic knowledge or flaunt your Jewishness. No one will accept you for that. Try to be humble and learn from those around you. I’m talking from my personal experience. I know a number of formerly observant, even hareidi Jews who entered the Church. They fit in because they don’t flaunt their Jewishness or try to take leadership roles without being duly trained in Christian doctrine. One’s yeshiva background is quite irrelevant. Yeshua did not have smicha from a Rabbi. If you want to be a leader in the Church, I highly suggest you go to seminary. And getting a good spiritual director helps very much in working on our midot. I can recommend mine. I’m sorry if I sound brash, that is not my intention. I can connect you to a former ordained rabbi who is now Catholic. He and his wife do keep Shabbat to some extent. But going Mass is way more important because that’s how Yeshua becomes part of you more and more and you become more and more part of the Church. Try going every day, without a kippa, sitting quietly in the back, and being friendly to everyone, including to your priest. After a while, he will warm up to you. Believe me, I tried it. Unfortunately, I had to change parishes to start with a clean slate. But it worked eventually, and I found my little corner in the universal Church. And I’m active as a Hebrew Catholic and recently started a havurah in Yerushalayim. You’re welcome to contact me through it. JerusalemHChavurah@gmail.com
                                      Blessings for upcoming Pesach and Pascha!
                                      Leah-Maryam

                                      • None None
                                        Participant
                                          Post count: 13

                                          Thank you for writing.

                                          Tell me: Do you consider the Catholic prelates, those men who prance around in showy custom vestments, custom shoes, and ostentatious crucifixes about their necks to be humble? What about their Vatican finery, living like Princes with a King on a throne? This is not humble behavior. Do you truly believe the Catholic prelates are more humble than Jews? I do not see it.

                                          It appears that your path is different from mine. I have separated from the Catholic Church.

                                          Best wishes to you.

                                          Binyamin

                                      • Eli W
                                        Participant
                                          Post count: 3

                                          Hi, I can understand you very well. I’m going through the exact same situation! I’d love to share each other’s story, challenges and hopefully being able to encourage and help each other further. Due to my background, I prefer not to give my email here. Leah Maryam, the person who responded here (Bat Yerushalayim) is a friend of mine. She can provide you with my email. Looking forward to be in touch! God bless you:).

                                          • None None
                                            Participant
                                              Post count: 13

                                              Thank you for writing.

                                              Although I have done nothing but attend mass faithfully, the Catholic priests and prelates continue to push me away. They do not even answer my emails. One priest – my own pastor – told me that he had no ability to learn to appreciate my path even “somewhat.”

                                              Although my connection to Jesus remains, I have left the Catholic Church due to their unwillingness to accept me.

                                              If I must deny my very essence to be part of the Catholic Church, I do not belong there. It is an unhealthy environment.

                                              Best,
                                              Binyamin

                                          • None None
                                            Participant
                                              Post count: 13

                                              While I appreciate each and every one of you, and wish you the best in your spiritual endeavors, I must be frank and explain that I am about to set my email preferences so that all communications from this community and AHC as a whole will be sent to my junk mail folder.

                                              The Catholic Church is no longer a part of my life. If forced to choose between Judaism and Catholicism – which is exactly the choice my pastor and the Church is trying to force on me – I must choose Judaism.

                                              Best wishes to you all.

                                            • David Moss
                                              Keymaster
                                                Post count: 38

                                                Hi, I had a few minutes and was able to take a look at this forum. I appreciate everything that has been written and sympathize with those who have had difficulty adjusting to life in their parish. Historically, we are in a transition period where, for the first time since about the 3rd or 4th century, the Church is officially embracing the Jewish people. While they are doing so with respect to the Jewish people outside the Church, the Church has not yet said much, except on an individual basis, regarding the Jews within the Church. While the theoiogians and clerics do their work, the AHC is moving forward, slowly and steadily, to help those Jews who have entered the Church to preserve their identity and heritage within the Church. Unfortunately, since we are so thinly dispersed throughout the world, much of our efforts have to be carried out via electonic communications.
                                                The Jewish people in Egypt waited for hundreds of years before God sent a deliverer, Moses. It took a lot longer before God sent His Son Yeshua, but this time not just for the Jews but for the whole world. And those in the world that entered the Church overwhelmed the Jews who started it all. That was for a time. We have entered a new time, and I beg your prayers and patience as His will unfolds. I also welcome your support for the AHC as we serve our Lord in restoring the People Israel to their Church.

                                                • Brother Gilbert Joseph
                                                  Participant
                                                    Post count: 87

                                                    Just read all the comments here David. I was impressed that people were willing to help Binyamin but it seemed he wasn’t really open to that at this stage, so i suggest we pray for him. It can be a struggle to fit in and it can at times feel lonely but one needs to start to create community around them and starting a Havurah is a great way to do that even if at first there are only one or two others that get involved. I wrote this on marginalisation. see https://aronbengilad.blogspot.com/2010/06/marginalisation-of-torah-observant.html

                                                • Anonymous
                                                    Post count: 1

                                                    Hi. I was born Jewish, placed for adoption, and raised as a Catholic. I didn’t know of my roots until I was close to thirty. I understand you’re looking for someone from an Orthodox background, but I’m very interested in learning about the Old Testament from and Orthodox perspective. I have some questions regarding keeping kosher, bat mitzvah, mikvah, etc. Would you like to talk sometime? You can email me at hannahefontilus@gmail.com.

                                                    Thanks,
                                                    Hannah

                                                  • Joseph Zeev
                                                    Participant
                                                      Post count: 2

                                                      Is there such a thing as a Catholic Messianic Jewish synagogue?

                                                      • Brother Gilbert Joseph
                                                        Participant
                                                          Post count: 87

                                                          No there isn’t as far as I know. There are Havurot which are Hebrew Catholic prayer and study groups.

                                                        • Eli W
                                                          Participant
                                                            Post count: 3

                                                            No, there are the messianic Jewish congregations and there is the Catholic Church. Can I know what you exactly try to ask with you question?

                                                        • Joseph Zeev
                                                          Participant
                                                            Post count: 2

                                                            Binyamin, I would like to connect with you.

                                                          • Anonymous
                                                              Post count: 1

                                                              In regards to this thread on orthodox Jews new to the faith in Yeshua and catholic church.
                                                              1. I am an orthodox Jew still in schul
                                                              2. Any Jew comming into the church needs a personnal guide to help him or her make sense of it all
                                                              3. It requires the Jew to really make an outstanding effort of laying down all he holds dear. Ways of dressing for prayer, styles of worship,ways of relating to other people.we really have a unique style in schul and it all feels so confortable BUT
                                                              Yeshua isn’t ther openly…and when you have been overwhelmed by His presence, the rest seems not so important anymore.
                                                              4. It takes time to get to this point. Be patient.
                                                              5. Know whose you are..( now a new creation)
                                                              6. I still do tefillin and pray from the siddur every morning. Shomer Shabbat and Kosher and kashrut.I have a wonderful synagogue community. No Jew has to give this up, but look what you gain: the possibility to be authentic in your love for yeshua and to be in communion will people from all over the world and cultures.
                                                              7.Haftorah would tell us: love mercy, act justly and walk humbly with your G-d. It’s a difficult journey but so, so worth it.

                                                            • Eli W
                                                              Participant
                                                                Post count: 3

                                                                @YaakovDaniel(and others in this post), I have quite a similar story. Where do you live? We are working on organizing a new group helping and reaching out to others in situations similar to ours. (I can’t give too many details here:)). You’re welcome to write me for more details, if you’d like. God bless you. e.n.weiss@protonmail.com

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