Somehow this summer moved very quickly. I arrived in the US over three months ago, and I am surprised that it is almost time for me to go back to the “real world”.
Camp was great. It is so nice to be in a place that I am appreciated and that I am able to do what I want to do. My job is about teaching and leading and learning, what more could I ask for? I am able to work with people who respect my opinions and try and push me to be better. I am not afraid to ask questions with fear that they will then think that I am stupid, and by that not promote me to try and get a job that I want. If anything it is the opposite- that because I don’t know they are going to force me to try so I can learn.
It really makes me wonder about the orthodox movement and where I stand. Can I be halachic and be in a place that actually respects women? Or do I need to stay in the orthodox world for me to feel like I am doing something “authentic” whatever that might mean. When I was younger, I never thought that I would be involved in anything that is conservative or egalitarian, but here I am, and I think that I am definitely moving more in that direction. When I was asked about if I would ever wear tefillin, my answer now, is I don’t know. I know that any choice that I make that moves me to the left will change my abilities to get a job and potentially force me out of school. But really what is the fine line of liberal orthodoxy and halachic egalitarianism? Is it just that women are allowed to do stuff? And if that is the case- why would I want to go there?
After camp starts the busy week of trying to see everyone, finding a chance to see my friends and family that I get to see once a year now that I decided to live in another country. First stop was going to Philly to see my old college room mate who we have now realized we met 10 years ago. How is it that I started college 10 years ago? It is amazing to see within myself how much I have changed and grown up. It was great to see her and some other friends, which reminds me that there are people in life that no matter how much time they are not together, there is something amazing that keeps them connected and it is as if nothing has ever changed.
Philly once again reminded me, and made me laugh, at all of the things that I have done in life. I still find it amazing that I can go to a random place, and know people, or find connections with most people that I meet. It makes me wonder how it was that I did not meet them at an earlier time. I am glad that I am still able to interact with the world while still being a bit more settled in one place (at least for now).
Philly also made me think about what it would be like to be back in the US. It was actually a very nice community, I think one of the first that I felt that I could live in, if/when I move back for work. There was something very laid back and comfortable there. But something that I have found throughout my stay, is how much I am not American anymore. Like, everyone talks about Israel, and fighting for Israel, and dealing with Israel, and yearning to go– and yes, I live there, but I never thought nor think too much about that. Also hearing people talk about how much better Israel is or how much better the Jewish people are, really bothered me. I agree that there are horrible things in the world, but I don’t want to believe that we should put down others, to make ourselves look better. That yes, those of Hamas are not good, but that doesn’t mean that we are great. It just means that they are bad. There is this narrative being told, that I don’t believe in. It is so hard for me to hear actually.
Then I went back to NJ, was able to hang out with my grandmother, best friend and sister. Then went to NYC to see some friends to catch up. It was funny to catch up for longer with a friend I didn’t realize I was so close with.
And now I have three days left. Three days before I need to go back to work. Three days before I have to start thinking about school, and the fights I will need to fight this coming year. Three days of reading the news and feeling nervous from 6000 miles away, worrying about what it will be when I get there. Three days of my mom doing my laundry for me. Three days of my mom cooking for me. Three days of being able to just lay in bed with nothing to worry about.