HOUSTON—On a typical Friday night in Houston, many young people are out drinking at bars or curled up watching Netflix, grateful to be done with the obligations of the workweek.But in a few Houston homes, Jews in their 20s and 30s have opted to fill these evenings with a different kind of obligation: strictly observing Shabbat, or the Jewish Sabbath.
Of course, tales of scarce men and sexual permissiveness in ancient Sparta won’t convince everyone, so I began to explore the demographics of modern religion.
My boyfriend is Jewish, raised in an orthodox family, and I’m half Lebanese.
Last week we were on vacation and, at the suggestion of a journalist friend, added a photo of us together in support of what was then a little-known initiative called Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies.
Many of these young people were likely raised Orthodox and have chosen to keep the traditions of their upbringing.
But a small portion are baalei teshuva, a Jewish concept drawn from the Hebrew word for “return”: it denotes those who have become Orthodox as a way of “returning” to God.