Posted in Dating

Married at First Sight

I have found some interesting TV shows here in Australia, some are good some are less than.

One show that I don’t think is very good, but is very intriguing is “Married at First Sight”. The idea is that a couple meets at the altar and then gets married. So far it is just the wedding reception and a bit after that has been shown (apparently next week we see the honeymoons where things good badly….)

This show has me thinking. Now it could be because it is almost my birthday, or because I am just feeling lonely in a new city, or I just miss being in a relationship with someone who cares about me…but I think that I would want to do such a thing. I mean, I don’t want to be on reality TV because I think that in general they ruin good things to make it more entertaining for the audience. But I wonder, would it work out if I worked with professionals, and then just got to the chuppah and got married to the person under there (ok, so halachically it wouldn’t really be able to work…so at the bedekin….)

Part of me thinks that it is crazy. That I want the dream of finding someone and falling in love and realizing that I can spend the rest of my life with them. But the other part of me is the realist. It hasn’t happened yet, I’m not getting younger, I find it really hard to meet people, arranged marriages worked for years and year- so why not.

I do feel a lot of pressure to get married, and I do feel like I am lacking something because I am not yet married. I know I can do things on my own and in some ways it is easier to take these adventures on my own- but at the same time it is lonely. If I have nothing planned, as I am just meeting people, I am sitting at home alone watching TV. I feel younger than people around me who are married and with a kid- even though I know that being married and having kids is not what makes you older, and I am an accomplished person.

I want to have that security. I want to have someone with me and not always be the single one. I want to sit at a table and have a partner instead of being the only one without one. I want to have someone to hold me. I want to be seen in my community as an adult. I want to have kids. I want to not feel like a social failure.

When I told a friend about the show, he asked me if I would do it. My answer is that it would most likely be my best bet, but I won’t go on it yet. I am not yet that desperate, and I still have a bit of hope that I will find someone who I want to be with and he wants to be with me. Maybe in year 31….

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Posted in Life

Just Some Thoughts

Here are a bunch of things I have been thinking about:

Pressure to get married: So my very close friend R, recently has gone through a really bad break up. She was in love with the guy, talking about marriage – and then they broke up. Even before they were dating she started to take dating very seriously. She also started seeing a therapist, and was happy to share her experiences with me and encouraging me to do the same. Now that they have broken up she is hurting, which makes sense. I am not in the country to help her, which I do feel bad about. But at the same time, she is even more intense with dating – not only for her, but for me as well. Maybe I do need to do more while I am here in Australia, but she does not seem to understand that Sydney is actually kidna far to get to and I have a job. That I can’t just go all the time, because, well I don’t have time. And when I do have the chance to go, I am there for work.

There is a lot of pressure to get married. I feel it everywhere. I know that I am going to be more attractive for a job if I have a husband. Everyone around me is married and having kids. I am not getting any younger (I’ll be 31 in a week). So yes, I feel it. But at the same time, it can’t be the be all and end all of what I do. I wish I could date. I wish there were people to date. But I also need to make a name for myself and get a job.

Sexual Conversations: So this might be the most out of my norm thing to do. My good friend D (or shuk boy), about two months ago somehow got into a conversation about sex and our bodies – something that we have never spoken about in six years. The beginning fo this conversation, actually took place over two full week. I would wake up to questions, he would wake up to questions and we spoke. We spoke about everything – what our bodies look like; sexual attraction; partners (or lack there of); how things function. You can think of it, we probably spoke about it. What is interesting is that we are still speaking a bout it. Not as frequently, but it is still part of our conversation. I have actually learned a lot about guys that I never knew. I also have been forced (not in a bad way) to think more about my own body and functions. I have also learned a lot about him and his personal preferences, but also things that he has noticed over the years that I never even thought about, or I thought were things that were forgotten or not noticed.

I know it is out of character, but I think that it is important to have such a conversation by now in life. I do trust him in many ways – I know he won’t share the information with anyone; I don’t feel pressured to answer anything that I don’t want to; he doesn’t make me feel ad about myself in things I haven’t done/don’t know, and doesn’t think that my questions are stupid.

He has asked if some of it has turned me on- and the truth is, that I think it has. It is hard for me to tell him that. I can’t imagine having this conversation face to face, or even if we had to see each other soon. He has jokingly/not jokingly said that he should just have sex with me to teach me…not so sure how I feel about that. Part of me thinks its silly, and part of me is like ok I don’t want to be a 40-year-old virgin.

I am not 100% sure why I am willing to continue the conversation with him. I think that part of it is enjoyable. Part of it is interesting. Part of it is exciting to actually been seen as a sexual being. It has definitely changed our dynamic, and it will be very interesting when we see each other again.

Canberra: I am actually really enjoying Canberra, well, except for the cold. The community has been really warm and welcoming. I am so lucky to have found such a job. It is a lot of teaching and preparing, but that is what I want. Soon, it will also be a bit more political, especially once there is an article about me in the newspaper and I start traveling with the job.

The job makes me laugh a bit, as I am very much not used to having people do things for me. Here the secretary will set up my classroom and does my printing for me. I have people taking me places and organizing my schedule. I have never had a job like that before.

The city is really beautiful. It is easy to forget that it actually is a city, as it is so quiet. There are actually times that there are no cars on the road (which makes it really easy to cross the street). Everything is so close, that it is only about an hours walk away or a 15 minute drive.

The hard part is actually finding kosher food. There is food in the super market, but there are no restaurants or things like that. This week I will hopefully be hosting Shabbat lunch for the first time, so I hope that makes me feel settled (yes I know, I’m only here for 2.5 weeks so far, I still have time to settle in).

The rabbi is trying to convince me to stay a few weeks longer so I will have time to travel. I am worried that school won’t let me or that my brother and sister-in-law will be upset if I miss the birth of the baby.

31: All the things that I thought I would be by 31, and none of it is how I thought. I will not be married. I will not have a child. I will not have a profession. I will not have a home.

I am happy with some of the things I have done – I have now lived and taught in four continents. I have started organizations. I have run communities. I have made a name for myself. But it is still done by myself, and to be honest is a bit lonely…

But what can be done. I am on a bunch of dating apps. I try to date. I try to do things with people. So I am stuck in the tension of wanting people around, not finding people, so doing it on my own, because what other choice do I have.

As I am becoming more of an adult in age I worry that I will become a spinster that is really knowledgeable, and I really don’t want that. But maybe I need to become ok with that…. (to be continued closer to my birthday next week)

Posted in Rabbinical School, Women in Judaism

Obvious

Something really exciting happened this week. There is an Orthodox shul in Jerusalem that has hired a woman to be the assistant rabbi. This is amazing on many fronts. It is amazing that it is actually happening in Israel. It is amazing because she is actually being called the assistant rabbi. It is amazing because it is a really well known shul and well known rabbi that has hired her- so hopefully this will lead others to follow in his footsteps. It is amazing because I have seen more articles for her appointment than against.

But that is all the obvious stuff. That is what is being written about. That is the excitement that everyone is sharing in articles and in social media.

What’s not obvious, is all that I’m not sharing on Facebook or in public forums. Which  is that I am a bit upset and hurt- even though I am also amazed and over joyed. I am hurt by this rabbi, for when he was approached by the program I was attending in Israel, he said no to taking even an unpaid intern (or at least that is what we were told- it very much could be something else).I am upset at this shul that this women does not have ordination, not is she in a program that is ordaining orthodox women. This just shows to me even more, that potentially the last 5 years of studying might not be for anything. I am disgusted by some organizations and rabbis commending this rabbi for hiring a woman, as they have the power to hire women. And the women they teach, train, and ordain are still without any jobs or internships, and are still told that they are not worth anything.

And so I am a bit hurt and sad. But at the same time I am really excited. My dream of being a rabbi in Israel, might actually be able to happen. I am realizing, especially with my job here in Australia, that there are actually people and rabbis that want women to be having this role. There are people who are looking at the women taking this role, not only as women, but as people who are qualified for leadership and teaching (this is not obvious in the slightest).

I hope that with this appointment, there become many more appointments. And this may be obvious, but I pray that those appointed are dealt with respectfully, and really seen as equal powers and nothing less than they actually are. And may those who are studying be have positive and nurturing experiences. And may those who are searching find something meaningful and fitting swiftly.

via Daily Prompt: Obvious

Posted in Uncategorized

A List of Things

So I’m studying to be a rabbi, and in a school that gets a lot of press (it is a big deal that we are women). I know that I am going into a field that there is little to no privacy, and almost everything I do can and will be looked at. More than that, because it is so small, everything that I do most likely will get back to the school, and has the ability to effect the other women learning there and trying to get jobs. So here is a list of a bunch of things that if I did them it could jeopardize  my (and potentially my colleagues’) careers.

  • Eat non-Kosher
  • Let it known publicly that I think that egalitarian prayer is ok
  • Let it known publicly that I attend egalitarian prayer services
  • Start to go to egalitarian services on a regular basis
  • Date someone who is not Jewish
  • Be open about not being shomer negiah
  • Be open about the desire to do more than I have (or even act on it- and what if people find out….)
  • Wear pants out
  •  Wear a tank top out
  • Show cleavage
  • Have pictures taken of me on a beach with a bathing suit
  • Have pictures of me touching a guy
  • Have pictures of me wearing things that are not socially acceptable
  • Post “inappropriate” pictures or articles or posts on social media
  • Talk publicly about things that happened in my old program
  • Live with a guy (no matter what our relationship is)
  • Publicly break Shabbat
  • Say something that is controversial be that politics, religion, women, God, etc.
  • Take a job in an organization that is not in the denomination
  • Attend a prayer service regularly that is not in the denomination and they know what I do in life

Ok, so there is a long list (and it probably could be longer if I wanted to sit here writing), but I think that I try (and I hope others in my situation as well) to live life normally. It is not possible to truly live life when feeling like someone is always watching over their shoulder. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t feel this pressure. I do- and a lot. And I think it does affect some of my choices in life. But at the same time, there are things that I choose to do, knowing that it is not totally accepted, because I feel like either they are the right thing to do or I need to do them for my own person-hood. I hope that I am making the right choices, and I am not actually doing anything to jeopardize my own (or other’s) careers.

Posted in Daily Prompt, Life

Yes, I Look Much Younger Than I am…

Yes, I look much younger than I am.

It starts with the confused face when I mention that I finished my MA 7  years ago. Or when I say that I haven’t driven in over 7 years. Or when I say that I haven’t lived with my parents or in my home town for 13 (almost 14 years). Or when we talk about work and accomplishments, and well, my CV is kinda long.

It doesn’t really matter how much make up I wear. Or if I am wearing high heels. I just look young. I know that it will be good when I get older. My mom and my paternal grandmother both don’t look even close to their actual age. But for now, part of me wants to look my age.

Part of me wants people to know that I am 30 (almost 31…), so that I don’t shock a 24-year-old (who might have been hitting on me). Or maybe looking my age would make me feel my age – I don’t feel like I am almost 31. Or maybe it is because I’m not married or have kids or I’m still in school [ye, cultural expectations].

Or maybe I don’t need to try to be that. Maybe it is not only about my youthful skin, but also my youthful energy (something that I am told I have as well).

As my birthday is only a few weeks away, I hope that I don’t lose my youthfulness. Although I do hope that I find myself respected as an adult [even without kids or a husband…]

Posted in Australia, Life, Rabbinical School

Hello from Down Under

I have now been in Australia for about a week (I guess around this time last week I landed in Sydney). It is crazy to think about how much time flies.

I feel both very far away from things that I know and people who I love, but also bizarrely at home. I have a brother living in Seattle, which is now a 17 hour time difference. When I called him on Friday morning to say Shabbat Shalom, it was only 2pm on Thursday- so crazy. I am learning some new words (or really just figuring out what words people use for things). I am remembering to look in the other direction when crossing the street. Slowly I am learning how to get to places. So far I can walk to the shul, the shops and the rabbis house without any problems.

But at the same time as feeling this distance, there is something homey to here. Even though I’ve only been here a week, I don’t really feel so out-of-place. I actually feel more comfortable here than I did when I was in NYC for the first week.

The community is one of the nicest I have ever met. The rabbi and the president both came to pick me up at the airport. The biggest surprise of that was, they met me at the gate! Apparently here it is still allowed to go through security without a ticket (I did it a few days later to pick up the shlichim…) Someone has taken me around to make sure I filled out all my paperwork, got a library card (yes, I have a library card here), a bus pass, a bank account, do buy all the things I need for my apartment. They even found me my apartment, which is really beautiful. Tomorrow someone is taking me and the shlichim around the city, and on Thursday outside of the city so we can see kangaroos and the such. 🙂

I jumped into my role basically the day after I got here. My first event was a showing of the film “Of Love and Darkness”, which was hosted by the Israeli Embassy. Before the showing there was a meet-and-greet, where I met someone who works for the Philippians Embassy, the Israeli Embassador, and some other members of the community. On Friday I gave the sermon. Saturday night I helped with the Tisha B’Av class. On Sunday I taught a class. On Monday I started the first of my two weekly classes (18 people showed up, in the early afternoon I was told 5…) I already have to write an article, set up a meeting to talk on an interfaith panel, meet with a school, have plans to have dinner with a former Israeli MP and go to Sydney to teach for two days….I am amazed that I was offered this job. Already, the congregants are calling me the “assistant rabbi” (The other day I got there early and someone told the rabbi that the assistant rabbi was already in).

It is a lot, but I think I can do it. Slowly I think I will get settled (although I hope not too slowly, as I am only here for 4 months). It is really and exciting time and a really exciting opportunity. I get to teach, learn about running a shul, act as the assistant rabbi, meet with influential people- and who knows what else.

Even though this is not at all what I expected this year to turn out to be, it is a surprise but on the positive side.

So here is to living in the Land Down Under and doing my dream job.

Posted in Daily Prompt, Life

572

Have you ever recorded the number of people who you have interactions with over any period of time? Well, this summer as part of my job, I did.

572 is the number of people who I provided Pastoral Care for in the past 11 weeks. That 572 includes children and adult patients, spouses, friends, significant others, and staff. That 572 is just the amount of people I recorded, it leaves out short regular conversations that built up significant connections.

40 is the number of times I prayed at a bedside. There were 40 different instances of creating spontaneous prayer with Jews, Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Buddists, secularists, and the list can go on. There were 40 times that I called out to God for healing and support and for praise for what has been done so far.

During those 40 times, I did not always lead the prayer. Many times someone from the family or the patient themselves did- which in my opinion always made the prayer that much stronger and beautiful. My role was not the one to pray, but rather the one to create a space for prayer.

I prayed in English, Hebrew and Spanish. Even though I don’t know any Spanish, I was there with people reading Psalms, saying “Our Father”, and even a personal beseeching. It was creating that holy space. It was about being another person so hopefully for those few moments they feel less lonely. It was about bringing in God or hope, in a time where there was nothing else that we could do.

It is amazing to think about what was accomplished over the past 11 weeks. Although the role of listener was something I held many times, I feel like this was different. I had the title of chaplain. I was not just there to be a pair of ears. I was there to create a space to try to do something metaphysical. To create a space of crying, calling, praising, thanking, questioning, God or some higher power.

And now I have graduated from my first CPE unit. I am thankful for having met great people, who are kind and wise- I would  even call some of them mentors. I am thankful for having been given the opportunity to work in such a large hospital that I met people from all walks of life. I am thankful that I had an opportunity to try on the “hat” of religious leader, as very soon it will be one that I will be wearing indefinitely. And I thank those 572 people who were open to me being with them in some of their hardest days, while teaching me so much about patience, listening, and caring.