Posted in Lost

some thoughts and musings

So I am not sure if these will make sense or actually be interesting to anyone, but I need to get them out of my head, so I will try…

  • Last week I broke down in class. To be honest I am not sure why a conversation about not being understood make me SO exhausted. Made me so tired that all I wanted was to disappear, dissolve or melt into the couch. What was even more shocking was that I said that out loud – another thing I don’t know why I did. I don’t really think it felt cathartic, if anything I felt bad. I felt that I shared too much. I felt that I was just broken. I felt like I wanted to run away – but I was unable to do so.
  • I think that I am feeling too much and I am not so sure what to do with that. I think that I am feeling too much and I am having trouble holding other people’s feelings. I don’t have the energy to be a good friend right now – and I feel bad about that. I have no desire to listen to my friend’s anxieties and difficulties. I find it frustrating that some are still reaching out to me even when I said explicitly that I did not have time because I was going to be running around like a chicken without a head – but still they try to get in touch, and then I feel bad about not being able to be there – but I couldn’t do it.
  • I want to share some of my feelings, but I don’t think that I really have so many places to do so. It is uncomfortable to be so vulnerable with people who are not used to me being vulnerable – so I just have to hold onto my vulnerability and find a way to hold it in.
  • We speak quite a bit about family in CPE and I am realizing how distant my family is to one another. How we speak to each other once a week, but that is about it. My family is not very much part of my life- I thinking about it both by choice and by circumstance. I worry that my family doesn’t want me- that I am too much for them, so they are happy that I have primarily taken myself far away, so all they need to do is deal with me from a distance. I don’t feel like they understand me. I know that my parents at times try, but it never met what I was looking for – and I guess I either did not try enough to explain and/or they were not able to listen or understand what I was telling them.
  • I think about my not learning to drive or not enjoying it- and maybe it was just my subtle way of showing my parents that I need them. That it was a time that they would then spend with me, because otherwise it would never happen…
  • I got into another fight with my sister. I think that she hates me… I feel horrible about that. She said to my face that there is no point in talking to me because we have nothing in common…. we might not have so much in common, but I do think we have some stuff. But without speaking we will never figure that out… I know that she has been living in my shadow. I know that I am very publicly accomplished, and that is hard for her that I get the attention and she didn’t. I know that she thinks that my life is so easy and that I just get what I want… I just wish she was willing to sit and talk and maybe then she could she that I feel terribly alone, not wanted, and scared. I wish she would be able to see that I am weak and not all that she is making up in her head…
  • Over Chag, I went to a shul. I heard from the women that at night they were given a Torah to dance with…but it was pasul. During the time the men were all getting aliyot the women were speaking words of Torah. Some were beautiful. Some were very much from the heart. But then there were some that just read a d’var Torah that some man wrote and they printed from the internet. SO many apologized before speaking or thanked the crowd profusely as if someone was doing them some great favor for allowing them to speak words of Torah. WHY?! Why can’t they just get up there and speak, and know they are good. One woman who is a neurologist (yup, she works with brains all day) before she spoke apologized and thanked everyone– YOU WORK WITH BRAINS! I wish we lived in a world where women had more confidence in their abilities.
  • Someone tried to set me up with someone in shul – it brought me to tears. He is a 32 year old WHO WEARS A SHERIFF’S BADGE EVERY DAY!!!!! At first she described him as quirky, which is fine. I asked what type of quirky and this is what I see. AM I THAT WEIRD? AM I THAT SAD? IS THAT ALL MY OPTIONS? Either to be with a super weird guy or be alone?! I don’t think I’m being to picky on this one. Looking at someone shouldn’t bring you to tears of self pity, I think…
  • In CPE group we are slowly learning more about each other. And the other day I head this in almost all stories (maybe this is what exhausted me) – the pain that seminaries cause their students. How is it that in a group of 6, 5 of us felt a detachment to God and spirituality WHILE studying to be clergy?! How is it possible that while becoming clergy we felt hurt and broken by the system- and just had to push through?! How is it possible that those who we see as teachers of God and that is holy is capable of such abuse?! And why are we all willing to go through it, and work in the world of God/the spiritual?….
Posted in Decisions, Life, Lost

Bubbling Over with Tears

There is too much that I am unsure of right now. I feel shaken. I feel vulnerable. I feel cracked. I feel pulled. I feel tired.

I can’t decide what is best me to do next. I feel like I don’t know the direction I am supposed to be following. I am unable to listen to my heart- or I think I know what my heart is telling me, but my head is very much fighting against it.

I can’t decide what I should do this summer. But I guess what I do over the summer is based on what I do next year.

It feels like every decision is THE descision. I know that is not true. I know that things can change and move and I should go with the flow. But I feel like everything is going off course. I feel like the decision will change everything and I really just don’t know what is the best thing for me. I can’t figure out what country I should be in. What career path I should choose. What does it mean for me to no longer be a student? What does it mean when my indenties are all in a mix. For so long my identity has been American/Israeli/student/theatre/old people/nomad….but that is all up in the air. I don’t know where I belong or what I should be doing…

Today I broke down in process group. I felt bad that we ended a half hour late. I felt bad to just burst out with everything. I felt weird to be the center of attention and to be a blubbering mess. It felt weird to be so vulnerable and open and to share all of this. I both want people to care, but at the same time I don’t want pity. I don’t want people to treat me differently. I don’t want people to worry about me.

In some ways I think it was a good thing. The tears that have been bubbling over are not any more. I don’t have as intense of an urge to burst into tears. It was hard to say outloud that I feel lonely and alone. And hwo hard it is to feel like when people have been trying to be so open. I guess it is good that people know what I am going through. That I am not so excited about the next steps. That I am not put together. THat I feel lost and sad and alone.

I was told by many that I need to allow myself to be open to others coming in and coming close to me. That I need to trust that people won’t necessarily hurt me, that there are people who will not fail me, that there are people who have the ability to do what I need them to.

I was asked when I started feeling like I was alone and there is no one that will be able to help me. I was told that this was something that helped me up to this point, that it protected me and it is what made me stronger and able to do what I did, but it is not the only way to be. I don’t have an answer as to when I first started thinking this. But I guess for a long time I have felt that I am not understood. That it is up to me to accompish things. I guess in some ways I have always been the outsider tryign to get in, but not managing, so I would just do me, and made myself be ok being alone and doing alone. But I can think of the times that I have asked for people to be there for me and they were not able – either they did no comfort/help me in the way I needed or wanted, because they didn’t understand or I was unable to verbalize. Or the times (especially over one summer program) that I was told regularly by my staff that they would hear me asking for help and decide not to because they knew that I would be able to figure it out on my own, and they had what to do. Or when I reach out and it’s only because I reach out that someone is there for me.

I have gotten to a point where the feeling of being alone hurts and I don’t feel capable of creating something else to help me not feel that void. Or maybe I have reached a point where the void is too big, so not matter what I do there is no way to make it feel full. I am aware that I need to let people in. I know that it is my nature to pull away, so then my aloneness feels like my choice and not because someone else decided that I am not worth caring for/hanging out with. I know that being vulnerable terrifies me, the feeling that I won’t be held, that I won’t be understood, that nothing with come out of it.

I feel like I need to be the strong one. I need to be the fighter. I need to accompish and be accomplished. I need to do the things that no one else does. I need to be the one that is happy and excited and gets other people involved. I need to be able to do it on my own and not need anyone. The problem is- what if I do need others? What if I don’t feel like I have strength? What if I am sad?

I didn’t get any answers today. It was a mix of people telling me to just go back and I will create and do things the way I know how. And there were people who were telling me I should stay, that there is much to be learned and gained from CPE. That doing something will be good for me.

I think that there is a part of me that wants to just go back to Israel. I will go back to the routine that I know. I won’t be pushed too much. I won’t have to share my feelings with everyone. I will get to once again just create, but maybe I will just be coasting…

My heart is torn as to where I should be living. My friends, the people who have become my support system are all in Israel right now. But my parents, grandparents, and half my siblings are in the US. I have never lived this close to any of them, and yet I still don’t see or speak to them that often. I want to get close, but at the same time that is scary and hard. We are all used to me being somewhere else, doing on my own, knowing they are there but not using them. If I go will I lose that opportunity to be around forever? What if I go back to Israel and then move again, will I be able to do that? If I am already around, and have a reason to be, should I not try and stay, just for the year, just to make them happy or try to be closer? My friends will still be there (yes of course tragedy could occur), but the truth is my parents and grandparents are only getting older, and that only means one thing, isn’t it up to me as their child and grandchild to be around?

I think there is a part of me that wants CPE so I can be pushed to feel and to share those feelings. I think that there is a part of me that feels like I can’t do it in school because I do feel very much like an outsider, but in CPE we are all going to be starting off together. There is a part of me that is scared of going out into the big world alone, and what it means not to be a student, so I am giving myself one more year. In CPE there is a start and an end; there are clear goals; there are people that I can turn to for support. If I go back to Israel right now, I am on my own. I need to be building and working. I need to turn to people who might care about me, but don’t understand what I am doing. I will be the creator of my goals. I will be the creator of what my position is and what it should look like. The end will only be when I decide that I want to move onto the next thing. And I guess that scares me…

Posted in Lost, Overwhelmed

Being Back (Part 3)

Only three days left before I head back to New York.

Yesterday I took a mini day off. I was exhausted. For two weeks I was seeing people all day everyday. It was coffee then a meal, then coffee, another meal, coffee or ice cream…and then it would already be 10pm. I was so excited to see everyone, but seeing that many people crammed into that amount of time is exhausting, I think mostly because I am not happy where I am. It is one thing to hear everyone else’s life from the past year- that was actually interesting. But for me to go over and over again it was really hard.

Not everyone heard every detail. But some questions were always the same. When do you finish? What is next? How do you like New York? Will you be able to find work in Israel? What title do you want? Can’t you just work in a Conservative shul? What if you just did something else? Couldn’t you do chaplaincy in a different city? What will do you after?

I find that when I am overwhelmed I just pull away. I get frustrated that my feelings are sometimes put down. That when I say I feel alone (both in New York and in my life’s work) or that I want to be in a relationship, that the response is “well, you can feel lonely in a relationship too” or “being in a relationship isn’t everything” or “why don’t you go out to events more” or “why didn’t you reach out to me to reach out to my friends”. I know there is nothing real than anyone can do. I am very thankful to my friends who on the spot sent Facebook messages to their friends, and now I just have to reach out when I get back. By asking me over and over why I didn’t reach out, how many times can I say, it’s been a really hard three months and I didn’t have the mental capacity to think about who to reach out to; or that I’m tired and sad and not in a place to meet new people; or that meeting new people and having to try and fit in is exhausting (and in addition to that I am in school, figuring out a new city/country, applying for jobs/figuring out what is happening next in my life).

So I find it easier to just pull away and go into my head (or I guess share here). That way I can still be polite and not get angry. That way I won’t start crying in front of them because then they will just pity me, and that is not what I am looking for. That way I can be quiet and they can continue thinking whatever they want because there will be no obligation of actually listening.

So all I wanted was a beach day. I both wanted to go completely alone, but also know that would be bad for me (I am aware that lots of alone time is actually bad for me, even if it is what I want). And so I saw friends when I got in, which was nice, until I was ready to go to the beach and they were really slow. And then I was meeting another friend who I said could join me, but only if he let me relax and didn’t talk too much (he has a tendency of talking a lot and very loudly). For the most part he was ok. It was useful to have another person, that way I could go into the water or to the bathroom without worrying about my stuff.

And then I met up with A (yes, my ex). I reached out the other day because too many people asked me about him, and I figured I have 4 days, if I see him great and if not, also great. It just so happened that he was in Tel Aviv, so we agreed to meet and sit and watch the sun set together. I have to say that the hour I had alone was the best part of the day. Just sitting watching the sun and the water, not worrying about being mean that I left for too long. And then he arrived. The last time I was in TLV at the beach it was with him, last Pesach. And here we were sitting together watching the sun set. It really wasn’t romantic though. There was a lot of space between us, as there should be. I think I was pining more for him before I saw him. But sitting with him, I knew that it would not have gone farther than it did. Part of me is still hurt, as he is dating a woman in New York, and he talks about how our relationship was good because it had an end date (I guess it did in his head…) But I realized how little he listened to me (or maybe it’s because of who we are now). That even though we sat on the bus back to Jerusalem together, we barely talked, and if we did it was about him. That when we were going to the bus he didn’t trust I knew where it was. Or didn’t wait for me when I was giving someone instructions. There is still a part of me that misses him (I guess the physical part), but mostly I am over him.

Today I am back to meeting people. I have a meeting with a chaplaincy organization in Israel to find out if it is possible to do anything here. When I spoke to one person she basically said I would be greatly qualified, but there are no jobs. Maybe meeting with someone else about roles of female rabbis here. Going to Pardes, my home away from home (or at least it was) but there will be lots of catching up to do. And then it is just getting ready to leave and go back to my real life.

Shabbat I decided I don’t want to spend with lots of people. I don’t have the energy for it. I am a bit upset with myself that I did not get the keys from my friend and go spend Shabbat in Tel Aviv- although if I did that I really would be alone, and at least here, even in the small meals I will be around people who do love and care for me.

So here’s to the last few days, I hope it will be fun and relaxing and that I start to feel more whole with what I will be doing next.

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, Lost


I used to say that I wish I was a bubble (why a bubble, I don’t even remember), and then I would be able to float around and not have to deal with emotions. I don’t really like emotions- they just complicate things. If I was able to take away my emotions, then things could run smoothly- and things could be good.

Apparently I actually got good at taking away my emotions- or at least pushing them away, telling myself that it is not worth feeling. That at a certain time I might be frustrated, angry, in love- but when it comes down to it, there is nothing that can be done and so I just push it away. I see it as a way of keeping myself from getting hurt.

Many times I feel, that yes, there is nothing that can be done. What I feel means nothing. No one else cares. So is it worth it to share? What is worse sharing and no one caring or just keeping it in and moving along?

Looking back to when I was younger and quieter, I wonder how much of my quietness was fear of sounding stupid (which is what I always said) or how much was fear of not being heard? I know now, that in spaces that I find myself not being heard (sometimes literally, not being able to say a word) I just go quiet. I don’t try and say anything.

With asking out guys, every time I have ever tried to do that I have been told no or have been  completely ignored (online/apps). I just don’t even know when guys are interested, and when there are, I don’t even know what to do with them (which would make sense as to why TLV confuses me so much).

I can think about people who have pushed me down. I can think about people who I feel take up a lot of space- meaning that I feel like I can’t get a word in. I can think about times that I was just told that my feels were wrong, or they were just not understood. And so, it was just easier to keep them to myself, and go about my business as if they were never there.

It meant that I focused on goals to accomplish- things that did not have to do with how I feel. I was able to create programs. I was able to join people together. I was able to get people to do things. I learned how to work hard and make my brain the thing that people notice. I was able to provide for other people- be the person that people can speak to because I won’t bring my own story into theirs. I was able to separate my own emotions in order to hold someone else…

And now I find myself alone. I became so good at hiding, that I don’t really know how to share. I can share superficially, that is for sure. I know that I bring a lot of joy to the residents of the nursing home. I know that I bring a lot of happiness and love to the students I teach.

But when it comes down to intimacy- I don’t really know the first thing about it..and that is really what I want….

Posted in Decisions, Life, Lost

Bumping Around

Ever since making the decision to leave my program it has been both up and down. There are times that I was very happy about it, and there are still things happening in school that make me even more happy that I will not be there next year. And all the more greatful that I have another option that will help me fulfill my dream.

On the other hand, there are things that I will miss in school. And on top of that, it is clear that I will have to move back to the US in a years time. For a bit they wanted me to move back starting in September, which I fought back.

The idea of moving back to America is a scary one. I can’t imagine actually being in the US full time again. It has been 6 years since I have lived in the US full time, and to see myself as an adult there, I am not sure that I will be able to do it.

In the midst of trying to deal with the idea of moving back to the US, I am also working on a play, studying for my final exam, finding a subletter, getting ready for camp, getting ready for being a scholar in residence.

All of this started with rehearsals so I would not get home till past 11:30pm. Then I taught at Limmud TLV, which was fun. Although not what I expected. I think that the class that I co-taught was not as well attended nor was the conversation serious as I would’ve hoped it would be. After that I ran to my friend’s place, to then catch a flight.

Got to go to my parent’s new apartment, which although it was very nice, it did not feel like home. The building feels like a hotel, and there are no memories or things there…but they are happy, and I guess that is what is important being that i don’t live there any more. From there went to Sara, which was great. It is always amazing to me that we are able to be so close even though our lives are so different, and we live so far from each other.

Then I went to Cornerstone. This year, the fellows, I feel, are a bit less into it. But that could be because I was less into it. The stress of the year has really gotten to me, and I did not participate as much as I have done in the past.

From there I went to Philadelphia and got to see Asya. Then I went to Baltimore, where I saw a bunch of friends, both those who I expected to see and those who I did not. It is crazy to see how some of my friends have changed so much since college. I guess I too have changed, but they have changed in a way that I never would have expected. I hope that we are able to stay close even through our changes.

It is funny to me that I am at a point that I can be called a scholar in residence. I don’t see myself as knowledgable enough to be called that- but I guess I need to grow into it. Even at Limmud, when a great rabbi in London knew about me, he told me I just need to get used to it– that is true. But then the question I have for myself is- what if I fail? What if I am not able to do the things that everyone is expecting me to do? What if I can’t live up to other’s expectations? What if I never find a job? Or I want to stop being religious?

But now, after bouncing from place to place- I’m on my way back to Israel. Back home, and to work– for my test, and the play, and the wedding. And the stress of other people, and the falling apart of where I am learning…the only plus to all this, is that it is only for three weeks.

Three more weeks of school.

Three weeks to get everything done.

Three weeks till camp.


Posted in Decisions, Life, Lost


I finally decided.

I have decided to leave where I am, and join a different program comes September. This might have been one of the most emotionally draining/intense months that I have had in quite some time. And making this choice took even more out of me.

While sitting with my friend, and her forcibly making me send an email, I burst into tears. It was both out offear of the unknown, but also of immense relief of choosing. It took the breath out of my body.

For the hours after, I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t believe that I did what I did.

I am fully aware that I this change can and will change everything– I hope for the better, but I know that certain things will be more difficult. 

I made the choice to leave because every person I spoke to told me that I needed to.

I made the choice to leave because every year something like this happens, and then it is only temporarily resolved, and we are back to where we started. I no longer have the energy for this fight. I deserve better. I am taking my power to choose- I too have the choice to say no, and stop this cycle.

I made the choice to leave because I want to be in a place that will push me to be the best that I can be. I don’t want to be somewhere that is still trying to figure out what they want to be doing. I don’t want to be somewhere that doesn’t think highly of the students that they are trying to train.

I made the choice to leave because I want to be somewhere that the other students are happy, and are learning, and pushing. I burnt out because I felt like a lot of the fighting was done on my own. That I didn’t have other people there with me, even though they told me that they too wanted change.

I made the choice to leave because I need to do what is best for me. Being here was making me so down, that I wasn’t able to do anything at all. Maybe I gave up– that could be true. But, if I felt like I had nothing to give to the fight now, then what will I do when I really have to fight in the real world.

I hope that this new path is the correct one. I hope that it brings me what I want and need. I hope that it will allow me to grow and change, and be there to push me up, and not down.