September 2021
Charles - Finding My Way Home: Raised a Christian I Found My Judaism at 70

Charles was raised Christian but, not unlike many Jews, he had unexplored Jewish roots that would eventually grow into a full-fledged rediscovery of and connection to his long-lost Judaism.

Born just two years after the end of World War II, Charles grew up a good, observant Catholic boy, but as far back as he can remember he knew his great-grandmother was Jewish. 

“My mother was not raised Jewish.” So, neither was Charles. But even though his family was Catholic and observant, Charles found himself often questioning his faith, a inquisitiveness that would last throughout his life.

“To make it short,” he said. “There are a lot of mysteries in the New Testament.”

So, there was Charles, raised Catholic but with Jewish ancestry, observant and questioning, with a curiosity about his Judaism. Who helped him reconnect with his heritage?

When Charles met Rabbi Kushi, everything began to click into place, beginning with a solid reconnection to his Jewish ancestry.

“I did not realize that I was Jewish until late very late in life,” he recalled.

 When Rabbi Kushi learned of Charles’ background he said, “Once a Jew, always a Jew!”

Charles remembers that reassuring moment, an important one in the new direction that his life would take.

“Rabbi Kushi accepted me as a person who has a lot to learn, and that it is never too late.” Charles said. “Although I am still in a fog a bit of a lot of things.”

When Charles attended his very first service at Harford Chabad, he felt instantly welcome.

“It was interesting, and people were nice to me,” he remembered. “Rabbi Kushi makes it an open place to go and also makes it a part of the community.”

Since then, Charles has gotten more deeply involved in his Judaism, including learning how to wrap tefillin for morning prayers. He’s also involved in learning the Hebrew alphabet, studying Torah and attending more services such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur observances.

At 74 years old, Charles might consider himself “real old,” but guess what? With the help of Harford Chabad he doesn’t consider himself too old to learn lots of new things about himself and his Judaism. And you can help him with your support!

“All of which are very interesting, and I am learning something and starting to connect,” he said.  “While I have a lot to learn, and probably will not ever know very much, it has made me feel like with more involvement I could help out and give something back to the community.”

You too can give something back to the community, and to people like Charles, who are seeking, learning about and finding their welcoming Jewish community at Harford Chabad!