Posted in Life, Overwhelmed

Be Careful What You Wish For

One who seeks to embark on a journey and wishes to know if he will return and come to his home or if he will not, let him go to a dark [daḥavara] house. If he sees the shadow of a shadow he shall know that he will return and come home. The Sages reject this: This omen is not a significant matter. Perhaps he will be disheartened if the omen fails to appear, and his fortune will suffer and it is this that causes him to fail. – Horayot 12a

For a while now, I have been wanting to find a home.  I have been wanting a place that wants me. I have been wanting a reason to settle down. I have been wanting some form of permanency. I said that I would be willing to move to where the job is, if the job is right, no matter where that might be.

And now I have been offered it. The hospital I am working at offered me a second year residency.

On the one hand it is really great. I actually really like what I am doing there. I like the people there.

On the other hand, this has been a hard year still. I still don’t feel at home. I am growing more and more angry and distant from the Jewish community. I won’t be going back to Israel anytime soon.

But then again, it is a good job. And I know that I will learn a lot. And there is permanency to it (at least for the upcoming year). For the first time in three years, I’m not moving apartments AND moving countries AND starting a new job AND starting a new school. There is a change that the only thing that will be new is my role – that is crazy!

A friend asked me, well, if you do go back to Israel without a job, what would you want to do. And honestly, I have no idea.

But do I want to settle here in NY? Am I giving up on myself, that I don’t think I can create something if/when I go back to Israel? Am I just settling? Am I just scared to try something new again? What part of me am I losing by staying, but also what am I going to gain?

I wonder often, if I want to go back to Israel because I really feel like that is where I belong, or if it is because there were times that I was happy there and I haven’t really found something here yet. Or the thing I found, actually is the thing that scares me, because it is outside the world I thought I was part of.

I am questioning a lot – and I feel like I am questioning my soul and my identity. Each of these choices, I feel (and maybe I am thinking too much) makes me define who I am and defines who I am – and I guess I just don’t know who that is anymore nor who I want to be.

As one of my supervisors said to me the other day – you just need to be open. Allow yourself to be open – open to share, open to receive, open to new possibilities….



Posted in Overwhelmed

The Balloon

A shiny helium balloon was bought and tied to some kid’s wrist. The balloon swayed in the wind. Sometimes a bit to the left or right, and sometimes behind, and sometimes was just straight up in the air. But through all that the balloon was tied. It was connected to the kid and was never able to go too far away, even though it was able to go in it’s own direction.

Through out the day the tie started to loosen. It was slow at first, but as we have all known balloon tied to be, they are not that tight. A mix of the wind and moving about, slowly but surely the tie gets undone. It gets undone in the car, but that is not a big deal, as the car is small and the balloon can’t escape. The kid was able to grab it just in time as the car door was opened.

The balloon was brought into the house. The kid was holding it and then it slipped just a little. But the ceiling was not too high that it was unreachable. That night as the kid went to sleep they tied it to a chair, a very lose knot- but it was close so they could look at it as they drifted off to sleep.

The next day the balloon stayed safe in the house. It had a bit more freedom than when it was tied to the kid, but it knew where it belonged.

But then the backdoor was opened, and before anyone could do anything the balloon went out. Everyone tried running after it, but the wind was strong and the balloon just went up, and it was very soon out of reach.

The balloon is now in the air flying this way and that. Able to see all that can be seen, but there is no one holding onto it. There is no chance to just be in one place. There is no belonging. There is no being looked after. There is no way to know where it will go or where it will end up….

Posted in Life, Overwhelmed, Uncategorized

Blank Page- Blank Mind

I don’t know how to start. I was looking at a blank word document and instead I am writing here on my blog.

I just found out that a dream job has an opening, and I was told that I should apply- by the job itself.

And here I am and I am not sure how to start the application. I have no clue how to start the cover letter or how to contact my references.

I am not sure that I have the right words. I don’t know what it is that they want to hear. I don’t know what the implications are if I would get such a job.

If I get this position everything will be changing. I will be moving to another country (again). I have spent the past 6 months getting used to the idea that I will be working in a hospital in NY, but that might be changing. I have finally found a new place in NY, and there is a chance I might have to move. I will be moving to a smaller community, and I have to have the strength to know I am doing this big move alone.

Thinking about the job I am excited. It is something I would be excited to talk about. When I got the job at the hospital, I felt like I couldn’t breathe- almost like someone punched me in the stomach. When I found out about this opening, I also couldn’t breathe, but it was that of excitement and a bit of fear.

I am afraid of doing it alone. I am afraid that it might mean that I won’t get married. I am afraid that I won’t be able to do the job well. I am questioning if I really do know enough and am qualified enough (even though I know people that are equally or less qualified do this job all the time). I am afraid of what it means to actually get the job that I have been dreaming about….

Everyone I have spoken to has told me I should apply. Here is a message from my friend, may her words be true. I hope I do actually have the strength and power for this. Here is to getting this application out.

You are never sequestered to aloneness. You never know. There’s a door in you that begs you to open it. It’s in you – Not in the World…You are a Brave bitch! Get into your amazing heart, And ride it hard! The world and your sex life are waiting


Posted in Life, Overwhelmed

Constant Motion

This time last year, at least in the Jewish calendar was my first Shabbat in Australia.

This time this year, is my last Shabbat in the apartment in New York. I will be moving out on Monday.

Sunday is an in and out trip to Atlanta. Thursday I am off to Colombia for two weeks. When I return I am starting my new job here in NY.

This is my last Shabbat living in my own apartment. It has been an entire year of living alone, and my next apartment will be with roommates.

Once again it is the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av. The world just feels tense – people storming the Temple Mount; only last Shabbat a family was stabbed to death while eating Shabbat dinner and anticipating a celebration to welcoming in their new baby; the plans for health care in the US have been going up and down, people terrified for their lives and the lives of their loved ones; leaders of the world making declaration against people- telling them they are not allowed to be part of the community, they are less than, they are not wanted…

Once again we will sit on the floors, reading Eicha, crying or at least trying to. We will think about what we can do better for the world. Look at the broken state of it all. Think about all of the bad- those who are hurting; those that are in need; those that are broken- and trying to come up with some way to rationalize it and find ways to try and make the world a better place.

But before we know it, that day is over. Then 6 days later is the day of love. Then 7 weeks later it is already Rosh Hashana…

And then the year has begun again. The holidays; the birthdays; the special events; the memories of where we were last year this time; the applying for what is next; the making decisions; the waiting…

The waiting for answers from others and based on those answers the hope that what is chosen is the right thing. Maybe it will be a choice for a year? Or two? Or 12? Or the next 50?

Who knows where I will be this time next year….



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, Overwhelmed

No Hate, No Fear, Everyone is Welcome Here

I donated money to organizations who are working on the ground. I signed petitions. I shared posts asking for people with specific skills. But still I felt passive. I still felt overwhelmed and powerless. But I don’t see myself as an activist or one who goes to protests. I so rarely speak about politics publicly.  I’m unsure of myself. I am a bit afraid of the crowds.

But I went to the protest and march in Battery Park yesterday. I figured even if it does nothing, at least I know that I did something. I stood up when I could.

So many times during the day tear sprung to my eyes. It was a very overwhelming and emotional experience.

There were so many people there. So many people fighting. I didn’t even have to follow my phone to get there, all I had to do was follow the people carrying signs. The workers for the ferry were saying “this way ferry, that way to the protest”. It was a real thing.

There were people who spoke about their personal stories of getting to America as a refugee; there were people who spoke about being undocumented and the fear of what will happen to them and their families. There were so many politicians who came out – judges, senators, congress people, and others who work for the State of New York and New Jersey. There were the politicians who said outright that this ban was stupid and that it is illegal. That they will fight until the fight is over, and encouraging the crowd to continue to go out and continue to fight. Senator Cory Booker reminded everyone that this will be a long and hard fight, we should know that, but we should never give up and give each other strength to continue the fight.

There were old people there, some where it was clear that standing was difficult for them but they were out. I found it amazing to see older women (I would guess 80’s) in pink pussy hats – still out protesting. There were whole families there. There were so many children of all ages. Some babies strapped to their parents. Kids on parent’s shoulders holding signs that they made and chanting along with the crowd. Pre-teens and teenagers standing with their parents in solidarity. And really – I didn’t see any kids complain or fuss. They were there. Their parents must have explained well or they just realized the importance of what they are doing. While watching them I thought to myself of what this is doing to them as children- what are they going to remember? Do they realize what they are really standing in protest about? How will the next generation interact with their government?

There was a sense of togetherness yesterday in the park. People were friendly. People smiled at one another. Really, I was not afraid of the crowd and really there was a crowd it was hard to move at times- but I wasn’t afraid. I know there were police around, how many I am not sure, but I felt safe.

Even though I have not lived in the US for over 8 years, this feels important. I feel like if I am here, I need to do something – I can’t ignore it. I think that really this is not only an American issue, this issue is taking place around the globe, just differently. The sanctions made by the president will (and are affecting) people from all nations around the world. America is a strong country, and if they are able to do such things what will stop other countries from doing something similar.

The speeches, the cheering, the sheer number of people standing there was really moving. I hope and pray that our actions will actually be able to create positive change. I hope that the checks and balances in our government will be able to get America back on track to being a country that people once again feel safe in; for it to return to being the home of the free and the brave.