created at: 2012-05-29I finalized my conversion to Judaism last summer. Since then, other than taking our daughter to Tot Shabbat once a month, I feel somewhat disconnected from the wonderful experience that was my conversion process. Unfortunately, we cannot join a temple yet due to the financial burden of having to pay for daycare, but I wonder if there are other activities, online communities, etc,. that I could attend/join to expand my knowledge and “feel Jewish.” I am part of a same-gender married couple raising a 4½ year old daughter, so I would like to find affirming and welcoming venues/resources.

Welcome!  This is the primary message I hope you receive from the Jewish community.  Certainly your conversion process sounds as if you felt warmly embraced. First,  I want to encourage you not to rule out associating with a synagogue because of financial concerns. There is a great benefit to being part of a synagogue community. You can continue to grow and to learn in your own development as a Jew while celebrating the holidays, Shabbat, and life’s joys and sorrows as part of an extended family all within the same “house.” You will have a consistent community to meet and to get to know. Check out your area synagogues by attending services there (which you can do without paying), meeting with the rabbi, and asking the important questions about your family being affirmed and welcomed. Most synagogues want you to join and will work with you to deal with your financial obligations to help you affiliate. Keep the door open to the possiblity that you might find an incredible warm, hospitable synagogue awaiting you.

In the meantime, check out the events listed on JewishBoston.com as well as CJP’s Family Connections Newsletter to find a plethora of activities happening in the Jewish community. We are fortunate to have a full array of riches offered in multiple venues in the kinds of programming and activities happening in the Greater Boston area. You will find what to do for yourself as well as for your family on these websites. This will help you feel connected to the Greater Boston Jewish community. Remember to find those programs, classes, activities which will help you to expand your ever growing understanding of Judaism, but also, keep an eye out for the kind of programs attractive to your daughter. Don’t be satisfied with just finding what to do with or for your daughter but consider what might be beneficial to and for your own (adult) growth.

Finally, which is really still a start, check out Keshet, which serves gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members of the Jewish community. Keshet is a grassroots organization working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life. Keshet offers community events, programs, and learning session among its many offerings. They may also be able to help you navigate finding the many synagogues especially welcoming to you.

You are most welcome to find a home for yourself and your family amidst the abundant array of possiblities.  All the forces of the Jewish universe are aligning to help you feel embraced.

Rabbi Elaine ZecherRabbi Elaine Zecher is one of the rabbis at Temple Israel of Boston, a Reform synagogue in the Longwood area of Boston.