I am 15, and have always been intelligent and an independent thinker. I am also quite introverted, and may have borderline Asperger's syndrome. I live with my parents, who are members of the local (ultra) orthodox Jewish community, and they have attempted to raise me to believe in their views regarding God and religion. I, however, after some extensive consideration have come to the conclusion that I personally do not believe in what I have been told about life, its meaning and Judaism. I regard it as nearly certain that Judaism is false, but it is possible a God exists.

I attend a boys-only Jewish school, which includes in its curriculum long periods of religious study at the start of each day, which I am starting to find unbearable, mainly due to the fact that I now realise that the lessons, are in my worldview, patently false, and therefore pointless. I am also finding it difficult to keep up a charade of religious observance, especially when it includes long synagogue services and the upcoming "High holidays"/Yamim Noraim.

As a result, it would seem that the solution would be to inform my parents of my decision, given that this is inevitable if I am to live a life according to my own principles upon being an adult. However, I am anxious as to how they will react. Neither of my parents grew up as Orthodox Jews (both took it up in their late teens, so the rest of my extended family are largely non-religious), and their own parents accepted their choices in life, so I hope they (rightly) feel that they owe me the right to make my own choices too. However, coming clean would mean that I could not really stay on at my current school and might entail rejection from my current friends (not to mention family), and as an introvert, I anticipate that I will struggle to adjust to a new school, especially when it is so different to my current, religious one.

I would deeply appreciate advice regarding the following questions:

  • Should I come clean to my parents or keep pretending for another few years until I can start my own life?

  • If I tell my parents, how should I do so?

  • How easily do you think I could adjust to a not-so "sheltered" state school? I am particularly anxious about the fact that violence and bullying could be more prevalent there.

  • How should I react if my parents try to coerce me to change my mind, or force me to stay on at my current school?

Thank you for reading about my predicament: please do not hesitate to help me!

  • Are your and your parents' social lives also largely within this same religious community? – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Sep 23 at 21:37
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    Hi and welcome to IPS! While we can't answer "should I tell them" for you, asking "how to tell them" is definitely on-topic. (More info in the help center, and I encourage you to take the tour as well!) Also, the part about adjusting to a new school could probably be its own post, since that's a big question on its own :) I started to edit but wasn't sure about "How should I react.." - there's a lot of potential answers to that (from "pretend it was a joke" to "run away to live on your own"), what do you want to do, or are willing to put up with? – Em C Sep 23 at 22:02
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    There is also Parenting which has questions and answers on this topic as well. You could search it for information. – Erik Sep 24 at 5:32
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    Possible duplicate of interpersonal.stackexchange.com/q/10799/22086 – Lux Claridge Sep 24 at 13:44