When I was 14, I joined a born-again Christian youth group, despite having a Jewish last name and a lackluster-at-best interest in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I did it for the only reason that I did anything at that age: I had a crush on a boy.
He wore gauges in both ears, the earlobes stretched (how much commitment it took to do such a thing!), and the T-shirts of early-aughts punk pop. In youth group meetings, he strummed his guitar, golden curls falling in his face as he sang that his God was an awesome God.
He had friends like him: sons of former missionaries who now taught at the Christian college. They dated non-Evangelical girls from our school, but everyone knew they were virgins. They were talented painters or members of the drama club; they were proudly straight-edge. They were as artsy and alternative as they were adherents to the faith.
Soon, I loved them all. They closed their eyes when they sang, hands raised in the air. I watched them as they intently listened to the youth group leader deliver a talk: about seeing Christ in everything; about giving back to the community; about asking God for help. Afterward, they kicked a soccer ball around the gravel parking lot or flirted with me as they taught me how to skip stones on the Hudson River.
Their faith seemed integral to them. Showing up every week to praise God was just what they did, just another aspect of being a teenage boy.
As a teenage girl, I hated myself. I hated my body, suddenly curvy in what I deemed the wrong places. I wrote in my diary about what a fat pig I was, comparing my body with my lithe friends’, lamenting that I would never get boyfriends, as they could.
I was, in fact, a healthy weight. It would be five years before I became anorexic, but the seeds began then, right after puberty, when the thinness of my friends became associated with lovability, with French kissing and dates, things they’d done several times but I hadn’t at all.
The only things that brought me solace were these crushes. I had a rich fantasy life, imagining first kisses, songs dedicated to me across a crowded room, one of those boys showing up at my doorstep in the pouring rain professing his love.
Crushes were my religion; I believed, ardently, in the possibility of them coming to fruition. I obsessed over these boys like a fanatic, and I found peace in this faith. It kept me company at night, diverting my thoughts from self-hatred toward the love of boys I barely knew.
There was something incredibly appealing about people who loved God so much that they believed it would solve every other problem in their lives, as these boys did. Soon enough, I found myself singing along to the catchy praise songs with my eyes closed and my hands in the air. If something promised to fix my self-hatred that easily, why not let it?
The fact that I had a Jewish father was a problem. I don’t think anyone in the youth group knew this about me, unless they stopped to consider my last name, but I felt I wouldn’t fully fit in with them until I eschewed this part of myself. Until then, it was another aspect of myself to hate.
Our youth group leader had a girlfriend who styled her hair in that choppy, angular cut popular in the early 2000s: one diagonal line from bang to tip, flat-ironed to death. She wore barbed-wire chokers and hot pink T-shirts with skulls on them.
When we went on Christian camp overnights, she stayed with the girls, giving us talks from her top bunk about the sacredness of sex and the importance of maintaining our virginities for our future husbands. At that point in my life, sex was such a terrifying prospect that I was grateful to someone who told me not to do it.
That winter, we drove around singing Christmas carols to anyone who would listen. I cared a lot about what our group leader’s girlfriend thought about me being genetically half-Jewish, because in the car, I asked her if she believed my Jewish grandfather, who had died when I was 6, was in hell.
She thought about this for a moment. She couldn’t have been more than 20 years old.
“You know,” she finally said. “I’d like to believe he had a moment, right before he died, when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal savior,” she said. She patted me once on the knee for good measure.
In the spring, there was an outing to Medieval Times. We ate turkey drumsticks with our hands, wore paper crowns and cheered for our knight, jousting on horseback. The boys called our waitress “wench,” sending themselves into hysterics, and I remember giggling, too, even though I didn’t know why it was funny.
That night, an older friend of theirs had us over to her apartment for a party. A floor-to-ceiling mural of the crucifixion was painted on one wall. We drank sodas and danced to early Madonna albums.
Later, several of us ended up on the bathroom floor. An athletic girl I admired was sharing her desires for her boyfriend, and how hard it was becoming for her to tell him “no” every time his hand moved to the waistband of her jeans.
One of the boys I liked said that, in those moments, she needed to remember the responsibilities that came with being saved by Christ.
I had not heard the term “saved” before. Somehow, I had missed this crucial step.
“You haven’t been saved?” he responded when I asked what it meant. He had thick eyebrows and a slight accent from having spent his early years in the Middle East.
There were six of us on that bathroom floor. We joined hands. The boy with the thick eyebrows asked me to repeat after him.
I looked around the circle, at the cute boys and the pretty girls who had befriended me. Their acceptance was delectable, and in that moment, too difficult to let go of.
I grabbed his hand. He closed his eyes, his face reflecting the solemnity of his task. I repeated after him and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal savior. Afterward, I called my parents to ask if I could spend the night at this stranger’s apartment.
When I couldn’t explain why, the boy got on the phone with them. My mother still refers to this moment as one of the most surreal of her life — the gall of a 15-year-old asking her to forgo her parental authority. (She had been warned about raising teenagers who were doing drugs and having sex, but never ones that got involved with zealous religious conversions.) My parents demanded I come home immediately.
In the morning, I found them sitting over mugs of coffee, talking quietly to each other. Their eyes were ringed red. My mother explained that the Christianity she grew up with didn’t believe in hell or being “saved.”
My minister grandfather had performed my parents’ wedding ceremony in my Jewish grandmother’s backyard. They made it sound simple, the marrying of faiths, as if their children could grow up to be two things at once. At the time, I was angry with them. I didn’t think they understood what a powerful thing I had just done.
I kept going to the youth group for a little while, but soon my crushes led me toward new churches: the church of drama club; the church of soccer games; the church of cutting class. I didn’t leave Christianity formally as much as I drifted away from it.
I thought it was coincidental that I dated only Jews from age 16 on. In therapy years later, I recognized that this might have been because I wanted to meet a nice Jewish boy not unlike my father.
I participated in Hillel in college and went on Birthright afterward: a free 10-day trip to Israel for Jewish American young adults. I’m now with someone who comes from an observant Jewish family. It is alluring to take on his religious identity as my own, and if someone asks if I’m Jewish, I say “yes” instead of “half.”
But because I loved my grandfather who was a minister as much as I loved my grandfather who that young woman may still think is in hell, I’m trying to figure out how to honor both of them. I’m still trying to figure out a belief system not dictated by the boys I love.
When the time comes, my partner and I will raise our children Jewish. My partner prefers not to have a Christmas tree in our home. While I first found this difficult, I have come around to the idea.
For once, even if only in this small, symbolic way, my religious identity will be crystal clear.
Mandy Berman is the author of “Perennials" and “The Learning Curve,” which will be published in May.
Rites of Passage is a weekly-ish column from Styles and The Times Gender Initiative. For information on how to submit an essay, click here. To read past essays, check out this page.B:
2017年064的买码图【所】【有】【人】【都】【在】【观】【测】，【也】【在】【猜】【测】，【更】【多】【的】【人】【则】【是】【在】【等】【待】【着】。 【他】【们】【不】【知】【道】【在】【等】【待】【着】【什】【么】，【或】【许】【是】【一】【个】【时】【机】，【或】【许】【是】【一】【个】【阴】【谋】。 【但】【接】【触】【不】【到】【这】【个】【层】【面】【的】【人】，【他】【们】【所】【考】【虑】【的】【问】【题】【就】【更】【简】【单】，【因】【为】【他】【们】【只】【在】【乎】【眼】【前】。 【剑】【圣】【传】【人】【出】【世】【了】！ 【这】【就】【是】【眼】【前】【的】【故】【事】，【以】【狂】【风】【席】【卷】【之】【势】【在】【一】【天】【之】【内】【就】【席】【卷】【了】【整】【个】【宁】【州】，【并】【且】【以】【更】
【沈】【翔】【虽】【然】【借】【用】【了】【龙】【雪】【怡】【的】【力】【量】，【但】【此】【刻】【却】【觉】【得】【自】【己】【和】【廖】【少】【云】【还】【有】【一】【些】【差】【距】，【在】【那】【股】【震】【荡】【之】【中】，【两】【人】【为】【了】【避】【开】【那】【股】【反】【冲】【的】【力】【量】，【不】【由】【自】【己】【地】【后】【退】【开】【来】。 【那】【座】【山】【瞬】【间】【消】【失】，【被】【夷】【为】【平】【地】。 【沈】【翔】【降】【落】【在】【地】【面】【之】【后】，【只】【看】【见】【廖】【少】【云】【满】【头】【乱】【发】，【脸】【上】【满】【是】【震】【惊】【之】【色】，【因】【为】【刚】【才】【的】【交】【锋】【中】，【他】【看】【出】【沈】【翔】【的】【实】【力】【不】【比】【他】【差】【太】【远】。
【小】【囡】【子】【边】【滚】【着】【地】，【手】【中】【的】【刀】【乱】【砍】。 【通】【的】【一】【声】，【身】【也】【的】【小】【鬼】【子】【就】【被】【小】【囡】【子】【手】【中】【的】【刀】【砍】【到】，【重】【重】【的】【砍】【到】。 【血】【跟】【着】【溅】【飞】【了】【出】【去】。 【看】【到】【身】【边】【倒】【下】【的】【小】【鬼】【子】，【手】【中】【的】【刀】【正】【好】【对】【着】【他】【的】【脖】【子】，【于】【是】，【小】【囡】【子】【就】【顺】【势】【向】【鬼】【子】【的】【脖】【子】【刺】【去】。 【小】【囡】【子】【用】【刀】【支】【着】【地】，【才】【吃】【力】【的】【站】【了】【起】【来】。【一】【看】，【如】【花】【还】【被】【一】【个】【鬼】【子】【刺】【得】【十】【分】【的】2017年064的买码图【任】【天】【堂】【旗】【下】【备】【受】【期】【待】【的】【系】【列】【正】【统】【新】【作】《【宝】【可】【梦】：【剑】/【盾】》【即】【将】【于】11【月】15【日】【发】【售】【了】，【作】【为】【纪】【念】，【近】【日】【出】【现】【了】【一】【款】【宝】【可】【梦】【网】【页】【记】【忆】【工】【具】【引】【玩】【家】【热】【赞】，【只】【需】【要】【回】【答】【问】【题】【就】【可】【以】【轻】【松】【回】【顾】【经】【典】【感】【动】【场】【面】，【感】【兴】【趣】【的】【玩】【家】【可】【以】【体】【验】【一】【下】！
“【为】【什】【么】……” 【韩】【非】【的】【声】【音】【艰】【涩】：“【这】【都】【是】【为】【什】【么】【啊】？” “【她】【是】【刺】【客】【啊】……” 【魏】【尊】【的】【脸】【上】【没】【有】【太】【多】【的】【悲】【喜】，【静】【静】【得】【开】【口】。 【不】【是】【他】【早】【先】【就】【知】【道】，【而】【是】【看】【到】【眼】【前】【这】【一】【幕】，【他】【又】【如】【何】【能】【够】【不】【明】【白】？ 【刺】【客】【的】【装】【束】，【刺】【客】【的】【短】【剑】，【上】【面】【涂】【有】【剧】【毒】！【却】【不】【知】【道】，【为】【什】【么】【此】【时】【此】【刻】，【这】【把】【短】【剑】，【刺】【在】【了】【秋】【娘】【的】【小】【腹】
“【毁】【掉】【活】【死】【人】，【放】【弃】【修】【习】【巫】【蛊】【之】【术】？”【云】【裳】【重】【复】【着】【朵】【兰】【珠】【的】【话】，【而】【后】【幽】【幽】【笑】【了】：“【这】【倒】【未】【尝】【不】【是】【一】【个】【法】【子】，【只】【是】……” 【朵】【兰】【珠】【听】【云】【裳】【话】【中】【态】【度】【隐】【隐】【有】【所】【松】【动】，【眼】【中】【闪】【过】【一】【抹】【喜】【色】，【忙】【不】【迭】【地】【道】：“【只】【是】【什】【么】？” “【只】【是】，【便】【是】【毁】【掉】【那】【灵】【穴】，【让】【巫】【族】【的】【巫】【蛊】【之】【术】【效】【果】【大】【打】【折】【扣】，【可】【是】，【巫】【族】【也】【已】【经】【派】【遣】【了】