Looking at my answers from last year’s 10Q it unbelievable that I am where I am- at least I think so.
This time last year, I was really sad and hurt. I wanted to give up everything that I have been studying for. I had no desire to fight or even try. I was willing to give up my dreams.
It was an interesting year of putting myself back together. Part of the time was just to separate myself. I took a lot of time on my own. I learned on my own and didn’t worry/deal with any beit midrash or school drama. I did not really engage in my friend’s drama’s either. I met with a therapist, which I think was a good thing over all. I gave myself the time to mourn and heal, and eventually started to be myself again. Pushing myself to try things and create. Once again coming to be confident and have some belief in myself.
And here I am this year, basically the assistant rabbi of a shul. The shul I’m working for made a small mechitza in the front, and I had one of the rabbi chairs to sit in. I was sitting in the seat of honor- how crazy. I spoke, organized women to speak, and changed the page numbers.
At first it was a bit strange to be sitting there. Everyone can see me. It is something that was never done before. Some of the women were actually a bit upset about it. The treasurer even came over to me to make sure that I was actually comfortable, and that I wasn’t just doing it because of a crazy idea from the rabbi. But the truth is, I really liked it. I found it very comfortable to be sitting there. I think it was also very fitting to have me sit there, there was a different feeling of respect that went along with sitting in that seat, parallel to the rabbi. It was an even clearer message that the two of us are the same.
Also, I liked sitting on the men’s side. There were just many more people sitting there, especially in the beginning of davening. I wasn’t sitting alone in the back- I was sitting with everyone. There is a feeling of being more part of the service- which is kinda sad, and makes me wonder what can be done on the women’s side to create the same or a similar feeling.
By me sitting in the front, it allowed the women who were speaking to speak from the front of the shul. They were standing on the bima, in a place of honor, which I think also makes their words of Torah hold more of substance. I know that they did it last year, but people were telling me how nice it was and how much it added to the service- maybe they don’t remember or maybe they didn’t notice.
I do miss singing in shul. It was an interesting experience being the only (or one of the only) ones to sing along with the chazzan. I miss singing bits of shacharit – but the chazzan here doesn’t do that. And during mussaf, most people don’t sing along. It makes the service that much more quiet and long. I was thinking this morning, if I would ever have a Rosh Hashana experience like I had in Alon Shvut again, if I go into my desired profession. I feel like I will most likely be in a small community or nursing home, which would then mean that there is not that much communal participation, as most of the time they are unable to follow along.
Meals were actually kinda sad. I really miss being with my “family” in Israel. I miss being part of their world of brachot giving, and having real intention when eating the simanim. I miss not being the “frum” one who has to explain everything or answer to my religiosity. I miss being around people who know and care about me. In one meal I hosted there was a conversation about halacha and the bindingness of it, and one person was so anti-religious, that although he started the conversation, I found it very difficult to continue it with him.
I was supposed to have lunch at my house too, and the last minute the couple that was supposed to come cancelled on me. I am very thankful to the rabbi and his wife for inviting me to come along with them. It is times like that, that I am very aware of my singleness. That if my guests cancel I would be all alone on a Shabbat or chag- which is just a bit sad. I don’t need to have a lot of people, but I would like to have a meal with at least one other person, if I can
Looking at other things from 10Q from last year – I did have a desire to be in a relationship. I was in one, even though it broke off. It was really nice while it was happening, and quite sad when it ended. Every so often I think about A. As much as I enjoyed being with him, and I am not 100% sure that it would have actually lasted very long. There were some things that worked wonderfully, but then there were areas that we had never experienced. All I do know, is that I am able to be cared for, and if it is with a person who is genuine, I actually enjoy it.
I still would like a relationship- if possible to get married. I want to have a family, as well as a profession. I have that desire, and not only because I don’t want to be alone. I know that I am fully capable of doing these things one my own – but there is still a feeling of loneliness. But I really do want someone else with me. I want to care and be cared for. I want to love and be loved. I want someone to talk to when I come home from work. I want to have more going on in my life other than work.
So here is to a new year of unexpected journeys. This year is already off to a good start, although it is in unexpected places. I never would have thought last year, I would find myself in Australia working in a shul, teaching classes, giving sermons, and representing Australian Jewry at national and embassy events. I pray that this year is full of continued growth and feeling of fulfillment. I hope that I will be able to move from my need to be alone to a place of being with others, both romantically and socially. I hope that I continue to have the courage to apply to things that interest me, and allow that to take me to where I am meant to be. I hope that I will be able to find a job by the end of the year – and not only a job that I want, but also in a place that I want to be. I hope that I also start to find ways to settle down, finding someone, finding a job, and a place I would like to live.
So here is to 5777!! J