Posted in Quotes

Alone

I met someone who had this poem by Chaim Nahman Bialik framed on his wall. It seems appropriate.

לְבַדִּי

כֻּלָּם נָשָׂא הָרוּחַ, כֻּלָּם סָחַף הָאוֹר,

שִׁירָה חֲדָשָׁה אֶת-בֹּקֶר חַיֵּיהֶם הִרְנִינָה;

וַאֲנִי, גּוֹזָל רַךְ, נִשְׁתַּכַּחְתִּי מִלֵּב

תַּחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה.

 

בָּדָד, בָּדָד נִשְׁאַרְתִּי, וְהַשְּׁכִינָה אַף-הִיא

כְּנַף יְמִינָהּ הַשְּׁבוּרָה עַל-רֹאשִׁי הִרְעִידָה.

יָדַע לִבִּי אֶת-לִבָּה: חָרֹד חָרְדָה עָלַי,

עַל-בְּנָהּ, עַל-יְחִידָהּ.

 

כְּבָר נִתְגָּרְשָׁה מִכָּל-הַזָּוִיּוֹת, רַק-עוֹד

פִּנַּת סֵתֶר שׁוֹמֵמָה וּקְטַנָּה נִשְׁאָרָה –

בֵּית-הַמִּדְרָשׁ – וַתִּתְכַּס בַּצֵּל, וָאֱהִי

עִמָּהּ יַחַד בַּצָּרָה.

 

וּכְשֶׁכָּלָה לְבָבִי לַחַלּוֹן, לָאוֹר,

וּכְשֶׁצַּר-לִי הַמָּקוֹם מִתַּחַת לִכְנָפָהּ –

כָּבְשָׁה רֹאשָׁהּ בִּכְתֵפִי, וְדִמְעָתָהּ עַל-דַּף

גְּמָרָתִי נָטָפָה.

 

חֶרֶשׁ בָּכְתָה עָלַי וַתִּתְרַפֵּק עָלָי,

וּכְמוֹ שָׂכָה בִּכְנָפָהּ הַשְּׁבוּרָה בַּעֲדִי:

“כֻּלָּם נָשָׂא הָרוּחַ, כֻּלָּם פָּרְחוּ לָהֶם,

וָאִוָּתֵר לְבַדִּי, לְבַדִּי…”

 

וּכְעֵין סִיּוּם שֶׁל-קִינָה עַתִּיקָה מְאֹד,

וּכְעֵין תְּפִלָּה, בַּקָּשָׁה וַחֲרָדָה כְּאַחַת,

שָׁמְעָה אָזְנִי בַּבִּכְיָה הַחֲרִישִׁית הַהִיא

וּבַדִּמְעָה הַהִיא הָרוֹתַחַת –

 

תמוז, תרס”ב.

Levadi –Alone

Wind blew, light drew them all.
New songs revive their mornings.
Only I, small bird, am forsaken
under the Shekhina’s wing.

Alone.  I remain alone.
The Shekhina’s broken wing
trembled over my head.  My heart knew hers:
her fear for her only son.

Driven from every ridge –
one desolate corner left –
in the House of Study she hides in shadow,
and I alone share her pain.

Imprisoned beneath her wing
my heart longed for the light.
She buried her face on my shoulder
and a tear fell on my page.

Dumbly she clung and wept.
Her broken wing sheltered me:
“scattered to the four winds of heaven;
they are gone, and I am alone”.

It was an ancient lament
a suppliant cry I heard
in that lost and silent weeping,
and in that scalding tear.

And when it is put to music.

Posted in Life

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…

I have been thinking a lot about being single and alone recently.

I feel like my singleness has never been so much in my face as it is now with this job search. It is the thing that I feel is stopping me from pursuing my dreams, which is something I never thought I would give into. But I really feel like my options are doing what I want to do but be alone, or do something else and have a potential of finding a partner or at the very least living in a city where there are other singles.

On the one hand there are jobs that I can have working in a shul, which was always my dream – but all of those jobs are in places that I either can’t or won’t live in alone. It is not good to be single and live in suburbia or move to Nairobi or even Sydney. The job in Nairobi would be amazing for me – but it would be completely socially isolating and I’m not sure how safe it would be for me to go there alone, as a single woman. Even the job in Sydney I am worried about applying for, as all I hear is how there are no single men there, especially where the shul is located. But these are the jobs that make my heart lift; the jobs that sound perfect; the jobs that I would love to do…if only I was ok being alone…

On the other hand there are jobs that I can’t apply to because I am single. Still in 2017 there are jobs, even in the very modern/open/progressive Jewish world, that the only image of family or adult is one that is married (no matter what gender either partner are). I am not seen as one who can really show what a Jewish home is. I am not seen as one who is able to hold my own or teach in a serious way. It doesn’t matter that I hold a BA, MA, and comes June smicha; or that I have held a job and ran a community already. Nope, all that matters is if I have a ring on my finger and a legally binding partner (they are not ok with roommates who are not married to one another).

And so day in and day out I am forced to see that I am single. I was talking to a friend yesterday, and he noticed my unhappiness with my choice for next year, and was the first person to tell me not to give up my dreams, but I will have to give up one of my dreams. I am forced to decide the next step in my life, and I feel like my options are either to pursue what I have been working towards, but know that I will be alone OR take a slightly different path so I can live in a city.

I hope to be proven wrong.

PS. An interesting book to read, that I found really speaks to my life as a single woman “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation” by Rebecca Traister

 

 

Posted in Life

Mourning a Dream

I’ve been down lately and really trying to think about what is happening. I had a realization last night in preparation for a meeting I was going to have with school today about what to do next.

I should be happy. I was offered a job. I was offered a good job that will give me great credentials for things I want to do in the future. But at the same time, I am sad. I am sad that my martial status is preventing me from applying to jobs I will be great at. I am sad that I had to go through the horribleness of abusive administration. I am sad that the world is still not ready for me. I am sad because my dreams have shifted drastically, to a point that none of my dreams are part of my soon to be reality.

From 2008-2012 I was thinking on and off of becoming a rabbi. At first I fought my desire, telling myself that the role didn’t exist; I would not be able to find work; it is not real. I decided I wanted to be a rabbi because it was a chance I would be able to build community, lead, teach and counsel – it brought everything into one position. I also wanted to move to Israel – which also made it harder. I played back and forth in my mind and heart what to do, and I decided to move to Israel. I decided to stay in Israel. And then at the end of a bad year, on Lag Ba’omer, I saw an ad and applied to what I thought would be my dream school. Even my interview was wonderful. I remember getting my acceptance email. I was at work at the nursing home. It was almost the summer, I was training someone to potentially take my position over the summer when I would be gone. I remember seeing the email and being shocked in disbelief but excitement that my crazy dream of studying to be a rabbi AND being able to stay in Israel was going to be a reality. I was accepted to a program all in Hebrew. I was accepted to a program where I would be pushed to study at the highest level. I was going to be able to create a new reality for women in Israel.

I remember starting to learn, and questioning if I was good enough – how was I going to take all my classes and exams in Hebrew. But slowly (and with encouragement from friends and one of my teachers) I was doing it, and doing it well. I was able to find my voice. I was committed to the learning and the ultimate goal of working. I had visions of my ordination in the brightly lit beit midrash giving a sermon in Hebrew in front of a full room. Figuring out when my parent’s would be able to arrive from America. Having my chevruta check my grammar of my speech. Receiving the klaf from my teacher, who for whatever reason treated me with such respect and as if I knew something even from day one.

That dream was crushed when it was clear that the administration was abusive. That they were hurting the other women and myself. That no matter how much I fought or tried to rally others, no matter what we said, we were not going to win. We were never going to get anywhere. When one has mediation and is told that our feelings were wrong, or what people said in a so-called “safe space” was used against them, or just having a general feeling on brokenness – it is time to leave. It was a horrible decision. I remember sending an email to the head of school in America because he happened to be in Israel at the time. I remember getting a phone call from him while I was on a bus on my way into town. I remember sitting with my chevruta in Roladin, her telling me that I need to accept their offer and under no circumstances should I stay in the program in Israel, even if it would mean that I would have to leave Israel. I remember the phone call with the dean right before going to a Yom Hazikaron tekes, telling me that I need to come to the US for two years – there I was in my room quietly crying, and later at the ceremony not knowing how to feel on that day of national mourning. I remember finding the strength to write an email that I will not come for two years, but I needed to stay just for one more year, so I can be responsible at my job and make sure that my brother, who was at the army at the time would have somewhere to live – because saying that I just needed time to say goodbye was not seen as valid. I remember telling my friends. I remember my goodbye party. I remember telling people “I’m moving for at least a year, but I’m not sure” – hoping and praying that I would be able to find a way to get back; hoping and praying that I would be able to at the very least fulfill my other dream in a country that seemed to be more open to the idea.

And then I moved to America. I said goodbye to my apartment, my job and my friends. I broke up with the first person I was really dating because I needed to move. I have been working too hard to give up now – it was five years. I did CPE which was great. And then maybe the greatest thing (or the thing that causes me the greatest saddness now, as I don’t know if I will be able to replicate it) that could happen – I found a job to basically be a rabbi in a shul. I was flown abroad and I was able to teach, lead and counsel – and I was good at it. [I pray that is not the last time I am able to do such a thing]. I really felt like I was doing what I was meant to be doing, the only down side was that it was for such a short term. And then I moved back to the US, with only 6 months to go.

And then there were no job openings. And school didn’t have any leads, at least none they were telling us about. And I was feeling lost, so once again I did what I do best, and I tried to think about how I can still do what I want to do. I looked back to the summer and thought of CPE and really enjoyed it. I thought of my plan B of becoming a rabbi in a nursing home, and how becoming a certified chaplain would be useful. And so I applied to a program, a good one in New York.

And then I was accepted. I was sitting in the beit midrash and I let out a gasp and tried to keep in my tear. I think I stopped breathing for a moment. I was mixed with excitement, because who really likes to get rejection letters – but also because it really is a great program and great opportunity. And at the same time a deep sadness, because I knew this meant that I would not be able to go back to Israel. I knew that there were no viable options at this current moment, and so this is what I would be doing. I knew that my dream of being a pulpit rabbi would be put on hold – potentially forever.

So today in my meeting it was clear that there weren’t any viable jobs for me. Most are in small cities, where I would be isolated and alone – which is pretty bad when you don’t have a spouse. They spoke about a potential job in a nursing home, but in a year from now. We spoke about how having 4 units of CPE, especially if I go into nursing homes is extremely beneficial.

Looking back five years ago – I hoped that I would be married (or at least in a serious relationship); I thought I would be living in Israel, getting smicha from Rav S, standing in THAT Beit Midrash; with my friends and family present, speaking in public in Hebrew confidently, knowing that I passed rabbanut exams; with a party with residents of the nursing home who really were with me the entire time of my studies; with hopes of finding a job in Israel or maybe starting out in shlichut in a community somewhere. I was hoping that for once I would not be living year to year, but I would just have a job that I can stay at – that there will be something stable in my life.

But here I am, with 115 days till ordination. I am single with no prospects. It looks like I will be in New York for at least another year – and once again not be putting down any roots, because it’s only for a year. It looks like I will be a chaplain. I will have family at ordination (yes, in someways its good- it means my grandmother can come), and there will be friends there – just not the people who have been supporting me for the past 4 years. The residents of the nursing home won’t find out and we won’t celebrate. I will stand in some auditorium, receive smicha from a rabbi I barely learned from, and give a speech in English (which I know sounds silly, but there was something really empowering about proving that I am able to do this at such a high level and in Hebrew).

I know in my heart and head that things happen for a reason; that dreams change as we grow; that at times the world is not ready for our desires; that we are not able to get what we want; that this is really a great option that will open many doors; that part of me really wants to do it; that it will be nice not to have to worry about what Orthodox bodies say about my ordination; that I will be doing something real and important, and something I am good at.

But right now, I am not there yet. Right now I am mourning my dreams.

Posted in Life, Quotes

The Road to Character

I find it amazing when a book that I see in the airport is actually a book that I think has substance. I found “The Road to Character” by David Brooks,  a great book to read. I learned about interesting people and how they found their strength to do in the world. David Brooks, gave a great summary of “The Lonely Man of Faith”. The characters that he brought are not only men, but also women who created great change in the world. Here are some quotes that I found especially meaningful while reading.

pg. xi-xii

Modernizing Soloveitchik’s categories a bit, we could say that Adam I is the career-oriented, ambitious side of our nature. Adam I is the external, resume Adam. Adam I wants to build, create, produce and discover things. He wants to have high status and win victories.

Adam II is the internal Adam. Adam II wants to have a serene inner character, a quiet but solid sense of right and wrong- not only to do good, but to be good. Adam II wants to love intimately, to sacrifice self in the service of others, to live in obedience to some transcendent truth, to have a cohesive inner soul that honors creation and one’s own possibilities.

While Adam I wants to conquer the world, Adam II wants to obey a calling to serve the world. While Adam II wants to obey a calling to serve the world. While Adam I is creative and savors his own accomplishments, Adam II sometimes renounces worldly success and status for the sake of some sacred purpose. While Adam I asks how things work, Adam II asks why things exist, and what ultimately we are here for. While Adam I wants to venture forth, Adam II wants to return to his roots and savor the warmth of a family meal. While Adam I’s motto is “Success,” Adam II experience life as a moral drama. His motto is “Charity, love, and redemption.”

Soloveitchik argued that we live in the contradiction between these two Adams. The outer, majestic Adam and the inner, humble Adam are not fully reconcilable. We are forever caution in self-confrontation. We are called to fulfill both personae, and must master the art of living forever within the tension between these two natures.

The hard part of this confrontation, I’d add, is that Adams I and II live by different logic. Adam I- the creating, building, and discovering Adam- lives by a straightforward utilitarian logic. It’s the logic of economics. Input leads to output. Effort leads to reward. Practices makes perfect. Pursue self-interest. Maximize your utility. Impress the world.

Adam II lives by an inverse logic. It’s moral logic, not an economic one. You have to give to receive. You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave. Success leads to the greatest failure, which is pride. Failure leads to the greater success, which is humility and learning. In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself.

To nurture your Adam I career, it makes sense to cultivate your strengths. To nurture your Adam II moral core, it is necessary to confront your weakness.

pg. 23

Life…”ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets before the individual.”

pg. 24

Frankl, like Perkins, had a vocation, a vocation is not a career. A person choosing a career looks for job opportunities and room for advancement. A person choosing a career is looking for something that will provide financial and psychological benefits. If your job or career isn’t working for you, you choose a different one.

A person does not choose a vocation. A vocation is a calling. People generally feel like they have no choice in the matter. Their life would be unrecognizable unless they pursued this line of activity.

Pg. 34

Perkins kept a folder titled “Notes on the Male Mind” and recorded this episode in it. It played a major role in her political education: “I learned from this that the way men take women in political life is to associate them with motherhood. They know and respect their mothers — 99 percent of them do. It’s primitive and primary attitude. I said to myself, ‘That’s the way to get things done. So behave, dress, and so comport yourself that you remind them subconsciously of their mothers.’

Pg. 46-47

As Reinhold Neibuhr put it in 1952:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from out standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.

Pg. 63 (Eisenhower’s pick me-up poem)

Take a bucket, fill it with water,

Put your hand in–clear up to the wrist.

Now pull it out; the hole that remains

Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed…

The moral of this quaint example:

To do just the best that you can,

Be proud of yourself, but remember,

There is no Indispensable Man!

Pg. 78 Thoughts by Dorothy Day on living in New York – which very well could be my own, just written much nicer.

In all that great city of seven millions, I found no friends; I had no work, I was separated from my fellows. Silence in the midst of city noises oppressed me. My own silence, the feeling that I had no one to talk to overwhelmed me so that my very throat was constricted; my heart was heavy with unuttered thoughts; I wanted to weep my loneliness away.

Pg. 168 Some more ideas that seem too true to my life right now.

Mary Anne [Evens, ie. George Elliot], for her part, was also lonely, but maturing. She wrote to Cara Bray, “My troubles are purely psychical – self dissatisfaction and despair of achieving anything worth doing.” In her journal she embraced the sentiment that was first written by the feminist author Margeret Fuller: ‘I shall always reign through the intellect, but the life! The life! O my god! Shall that never be sweet?’

Pg. 170 On Love

Love is like an invading army that reminds you that you are not master of your own house. It conquers you little by little, reorganizing your energy levels, reorganizing your sleep patterns, reorganizing your conversational topics, and, toward the end of the process, rearranging the objects of your sexual desire and event he focus of your attention. When you are in love, you can’t stop thinking about your beloved. You walk through a crowd and think you see her in a vaguely familiar form every few yards. You flight from highs to lows and feel pain at the slights and you know are probably trivial or illusory. Love is the strongest kind of army because it generates no resistance. When the invasion is only half complete, the person being invaded longs to be defeated, fearfully, but utterly and hopelessly.

Love is a surrender. You expose your deepest vulnerabilities and give up your illusions of self-mastery. This vulnerability and the desire for support can manifest itself in small ways. Eliot once wrote, “There is something strangely winning to most women in that offer of the firm arm; the help is not wanted physically at the moment, but the sense of help, the presence of strength that is outside them and yet theirs, meets a continual want of imagination.”

Pg. 197

Lewis Smedes, expressing an Augustinian thought, describes the mottled nature of our inner world:

‘Our inner lives are not partitioned like day and night, with pure light on one side of us and total darkness on the other. Mostly, our souls are shadowed places; we live at the border where our dark sides block our light and throw a shadow over our interior places…We cannot always tell where our light ends and our shadow begins or where our shadow ends and our darkness begins.’

Pg. 206

Paul Tillich puts it this way in his collection of essays, Shaking the Foundations:

‘Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life… It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at the moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness and it is as though a voice were saying: ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted.’ If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance.’

Pg. 266

No good life is possible unless it is organized around a vocation. If you try to use your work to serve yourself, you’ll find your ambitions and expectations will forever run ahead and you’ll never be satisfied. If you try to serve the community, you’ll always wonder if people appreciate you enough. But if you serve work that is intrinsically compelling and focus just on being excellent at that, you will wind up serving yourself and the community obliquely. A vocation is not found by looking within and finding your passion. It is found by looking without and asking what life is asking of us. What problem is addressed by an activity you intrinsically enjoy?

 

Posted in Quotes

Inner Light in a Time of Darkness

I was reading “We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness” by Alice Walker, and there are two poems that really hit me this week.

When Life Descends into the Pit (pg. 39)

When life descends into the pit

I must become my own candle

Willingly burning myself

To light up the darkness

Around me

When We Let Spirit Lead Us (pg. 181-182)

We we let Spirit

Lead us

It is impossible

To know

Where

We are being led.

All we know

All we can believe

All we can hope

Is that

We are going

Home

That wherever

Spirit

Takes us

Is where

We live.

Posted in Life, Lost, Overwhelmed

Trying to Climb Out

Once again it has been an intense week. So much has happened and I have too many thoughts and feelings.

I really have been feeling lonely. I miss my friends and my support system. I want to be able to do things with other people. A few weeks ago, someone asked me why I haven’t started organizations or been as outgoing as I have in the past. At the time I didn’t have an answer, and then I thought it was that I was just not sure where to start. I realized early this week that it is because of not knowing what is next.

There is a lot of talk about the exhaustion and difficulty of making friends, but we don’t talk so often about the exhaustion and difficulty of saying goodbye to friends. Both sides take a lot of energy, which I do not feel like I have right now. And because there is a good chance that I will be moving once again in June, I don’t really want to put in the investment in making friends because once again I will have to say goodbye, feel hurt, and start all over. Part of me wants to know what is next, or at least accept the fact that I might not be going back to where I want to go.

Last year when I went to therapy, I spoke about enjoying being known by strangers. I realize that I don’t have that here either. I walk the streets, take the subway, take the bus – and everyone is a stranger. No one is going to say good morning to me. In many ways I feel invisible. That no one will notice if I am missing or that my existence doesn’t really mean much. I miss speaking to people on the street. I miss being noticed. I miss feeling part of a greater world than my small bubble.

This is not to say that I didn’t feel loneliness in Israel – I did, but it didn’t feel the same. This feels much deeper, where really I am unsure of how to change it. I don’t really know where to find friends or how to start a community. I also am so unsure of what I want…

And then there is the really big news that I got today. I got into the CPE residency that I applied for. When I read the email acceptance my body went numb and all I wanted to do was cry – I think that is what shock is.

On the one hand it is great. It means that I really am finishing school and will have a job. It is a really well respected program and difficult to get into. I think that I am good at being a chaplain. I think that the skills I will learn will serve me well, no matter if I work in a shul, hospital or nursing home. It means that I have a job for at least a year. It means that I won’t have to move to a new city and start over, again. It means that I will not have to prove the legitamcy to my existance . I don’t need to worry about what the RCA, the OU, the Rabbanut or any other body says, because all the hospital cares about is if I can do the work.

On the other hand I’m really sad and terrified. It means that I really am finishing school and will have a job. It means that I am still far from my dream of becoming a pulpit rabbi. It might mean that I am giving up some of the fight for female clergy, as I will be taking the “easy” way out. It means that the past 7 years of studying halacha are for nothing, because my role is to provide pastoral care, not rabbinic knowledge. It means that I will be in New York for another year. It means that I really will not be moving to Israel.

And then on top of that, Friday would be my 7th Aliyahversary. It would be 7 years since I moved to Israel. Talking about Israel and moving to Israel are things that are constantly spoken about and celebrated. Making aliyah was so much part of my identity. But here I am, back in the US. I now am part of conversations talking about dreaming about living in Israel – I had it and gave it up. I was praised and had a party when I moved to Israel, it was something I constantly spoke about – and I did it, but now I am back. In Israel there is a lot of talk about those who move, and then move back to their home country because they couldn’t make it – and now that is me, even though I was feeling settled. I moved and made it my home, and then I had to leave. Normally, I would be celebrating on Friday…but this year, the date hurts. It feels like a reminder of what I had, but also a reminder of failure.

I need something to happen to make things make sense and bring me out of this dark and confusing space.

Posted in Life, Rabbinical School, Women in Judaism

I Will Persist

It has been a very long and tiring week, full of lots of different thoughts and feelings.

I think that I cried at least once a day. I feel a bit overwhelmed.

I have the desire to fight too many things. I want to help with the fight for refugees, for schools, women rights, Dakota Pipe Line, Black Lives Matters, stopping deportations… I also have my own personal fight in the world of Orthodox women. There is just so much and so much that is real and necessary, and I am having a hard time figuring out what to fight for.

To keep things making sense, I will not write about the learn-in at JFK- maybe I will post about that another time. I will also not write about US politics, but rather this is about the my personal fight within the religious system.

Where am I in this fight. So part of me feels like I talk about it too much. I feel like I should be over it. I feel like I should know what I am in and just accept it. I also know that I am one of the lucky ones. I am lucky because I have family and friends who are very supportive of what I do. Very rarely am I trying to convince those who are close to me that I am doing something worth while. My friends and family are there for me. When I posted on Facebook, I only got messages of encouragement. Messages telling me that they admire what I am doing; that I am doing something worthwhile; that I should continue fighting. But I read the other articles, I hear the messages that my friends get, I am not naive and I know that is not what the majority of the world looks like- and so I know that I need to push myself to speak out.

Yesterday I wrote three things that went out to the public. Writing is the thing that I find that I am the worst at. I am worried that my words are not written correctly; that people are going to find fault with it; that I am not really saying what I want to say. But apparently I said exactly what people wanted. Apparently the message that I always got, that I am not good at writing might not necessarily be true. Maybe I should post things publicly and I shouldn’t be afraid of sounding stupid.

I think also about the fight I am willing to fight. One of the ways that many of the women in my program get jobs is by convincing a shul that they should hire me. I broke down crying the other day realizing that I don’t have the energy to fight anymore – especially the inside ones. I know that not everyone in the world will accept what I am doing, nor do I think that they need to, and so getting a message from those people doesn’t really matter so much. But I don’t have the energy to constantly be trying to prove myself and fight for my job even when I have it already. I am not naive- I know there are always politics. I know that there is always things a person does to make sure that they are necessarily and good at their job – that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the fight to prove that I actually have accreditation; or that I am worthy enough for such a job; or just to prove that they made the right choice because they too are now openly part of this fight. To do that, I don’t have the energy in me. I am burnt out. I am tired. I am angry.

I also am feeling very lonely in all of this. Yes, I have people out there in support of me – which don’t get me wrong, is really amazing. But I am lonely. I want to have a partner. I want to have someone to come home to – to talk to; to hold me in the times that I am down; to be there to push me; to do things with that have nothing to do with any of this. It is even more part of my focus because I am looking for a job. There are jobs that I can not apply to – certain jobs will not even look at me because I am not married. There are jobs that I personally would have a problem applying to because they are based in areas that the marriage prospects are slim to none. So even though in the past, I found ways to push away this desire when I couldn’t see it, now it is constantly in my face. I have a desire to be with someone and to get married, and I’m not getting even close to it, and it is in my face every single day, in every single conversation about getting a job or what I am doing next.

It is also a conversation I don’t feel like I can have. I feel like I am not supposed to have sexual desire, and if I do I definitely shouldn’t act on it. I feel like if I talk so much about getting married, then I fall into the category of the sad single person. That I should be “happy” with my single status, because I am able to move to wherever and there is nothing tying me down. That I should learn to be on my own because I can’t or shouldn’t find happiness or wholeness in another person — But guess what I have done it. I have been alone this ENTIRE time. Everything I have done is alone because I have yet to find someone. So I know very well how to do it alone. I know how to fight and pick myself up. I know how to push. I know how to go places and not be afraid to sell myself, to make jobs want me. BUT I DON’T WANT TO ANY MORE!!!! But for now I don’t have an option…

This week, a few of us from school changed our Facebook profile pictures to have a text overlay saying “She was warned. She was given and explanation. She persisted.” To me this means a number of things. One it is to look back and around me at all the women in history that have defied expectations and limitations. One is to try and bring conversation to other women (or those who feel marginalized) to recognize their contributions – that they have strength that they might not have thought they did. One is to let others know that I will continue fighting. To acknowledge the fact that I know that I am doing something big (even though we are told not to brag). And maybe the most important of all, it is a message to myself. It is a reminder to myself that no matter what I have been told and no matter how many times I will be pushed down or have obstacles thrown at me – I will persist. I will create change. I will fulfill my dream.