How do I keep my Jewish observance up when all in my house are against what I wish to do and be?


This is a challenge that many have gone through and successfully handled. Hopefully in your case, too, it is only a passing stage, and with time and effort, G‑d willing, the situation will improve.

Two things are needed from you. They might seem to be contradictory, but they are not:

1) Confidence and pride. Know that you're acting the way G‑d wishes a Jew to act. What you are doing is correct, and you have much of what to be proud. Realize that all the obstacles are only a test—placed there by G‑d to allow you to grow even more. This mindset will makes the challenges much easier to handle.

2) Respect and Peace. Avoid arguments. Be the best child to your parents; the best sibling to your brothers and sisters. Always deal with your family in a non-intimidating way. Try to do whatever you can together with them. Bond with your family. Show them that your newfound path has only made you a better, kinder, and more caring person.

Especially family members do not appreciate a relative with a holier-than-thou mentality; an attitude totally non-conducive for warm filial relations. You have to commit to a total moratorium on preaching and blunt teaching. It makes them feel guilty and it makes you appear distant and strange.

So, with regards to your personal behavior, you must be resolute, strong and courageous. But when dealing with your family, be respectful and friendly. It's a winning combination. Following this path, not only will your family not oppose what you're doing, they will, G‑d willing, watch the way you act and learn from you.

This is a general response for your general question. Every particular instance, however, has its unique quirks and issues. Speak to your local Chabad rabbi for more individualized guidance.

Also check out the following articles for more insight on your situation:

I want a more spiritual life, but my husband doesn't...
How can I get my family to see the relevance of Judaism?
Why is My Family Insulted by My Kosher Diet?
Why is my mother irked that I am becoming more observant?

Yours truly,

Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar