Posted in Life, Uncategorized

I Am NOT Ready

Rosh Hashana starts in about 2.5 hours, and I’m sitting here and am completely not ready (Ok, so I showered, but that’s about it).

I’m supposed to speak and I HAVE NO CLUE what I will be saying. None. I haven’t prepared anything. I haven’t had the time (or taken the time or had energy for the time) to prepare both myself for this day and for looking into something to say. My first year out of yeshiva and as a Rabbi, I feel like I know nothing for the holiday.

This year has been so topsy turvy for me just on a personal note (not to mention the world at large). It started in Australia and ended in Colombia. I was in New York. I received smicha. I moved apartments. I started a job. I applied for a job. And now just as I am starting to settle into things, the job I applied to, that I thought didn’t want me, might want me- and that scares me, a lot…

I started a job in the hospital. I know that I know what to do. I know that I am capable to doing it, otherwise they would not have hired me. But there are times that I feel over my head and just not ready. I am knowingly putting myself in a position to open up and be vulnerable (yes, I know that is probably a great thing for me – but still is scary and makes my heart beat fast). There are things that I know I will see more of, and to be honest I’m not really sure if I know the right things to do, how to be comforting, how to be present, how to help families grieve. Just the other day I was in a room with a family as their loved on was gasping for air, even though she had an oxygen mask on. I stood there with the family. Praying, holding them, just being present for 45 minutes. As they watched their wife/sister/daughter gasp for her last breaths. I left the room because I didn’t think I had anything more to say. I look back and in some ways I think it was the right thing, and in other ways, I think of all the things I could have offered. Ways I could have been more forward. Prayers that could have been said more loudly.

Starting next week I will be on call on my own. ME- the ONLY chaplain in the entire hospital for a few hours. And only a week later THE ONLY CHAPLAIN in the ENTIRE HOSPITAL ALL NIGHT!!! Am I really able to do the right thing? Am I the right person? Am I old enough for this… (I guess that is a different reflection)

And then I think about the world. I think about the hurricanes that passed through and the one that is currently passing through. I think of the earthquake in Mexico. I think about all of those who have lost many friends, family and community members. I think of all of those whose house and worldly belongings have been destroyed. I think of those who are sitting in shelters or have no electricity while the storm is happening. It is here that I CRY OUT to God, and ask WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!

And then I think about those who are fleeing their country because of fear of being killed. And I think about all of those who were masqueraded this year. All of those who died by the hand of another person…I think about the governments threatening to create a war that will murder millions upon millions of people- just because. I think about the government wanting to take away health care, in ways that seem like they want to do it, just because they are able. I think about all of those people who are afraid that they will be killed or hurt because of their skin color, their religion, their ethnicity. For those who are afraid that they will have to make the choice between having a home and getting healthy. For those who will start dying in a 1rst world country of diseases we have cures for or things we are working on. It is here THAT I SCREAM TO GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!

I am not ready for Rosh Hashana. I am not ready to stand before the King of Kings. I am not ready to stand there and be reminded that it is the day of judgment. I am not ready to think about what should happen next. I am not ready to read the Unetana Tokef- the prayer that reminds us that this is the day that is decided how the world will look in the upcoming year.


So this ends in a prayer- may this year be a year of peace and tranquility. May You guide the leaders of this world to do good instead of create harm. May all those who have felt loss, find comfort. May those who feel lost, find their way. May those who are ill, find a full healing. May our world return to a time of beauty and hope. May this year be a happy and sweet new year!

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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, Uncategorized

Feeling Whole

I want to feel whole again.

I want to feel excited about prospects of what I am doing.

I want to feel like I’m not just floating along waiting, hoping, wishing, praying for something better to come my way.

I want to feel excited to tell people what I am going to be doing. That the new things coming up in life are good and great.

I realized yesterday that most people don’t know that I have a job for next year. Even now, in June, I am unable to bring myself to talk about the fact that I will be in NY for another year. I feel sad about posting it on Facebook. In some ways it is in the hopes that something else comes along, and then no one needs to know about the changes in my life – but I know in my heart of hearts it won’t change.

Only yesterday I took a job a camp. I will not be teaching Torah like I usually do, I will be working in a cooking class, and through that teach Torah. It is not the job I want. It is not the staff that I really want to be part of. But I had no other options for the summer. When I thought about having an entire summer free I froze. I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself. And now I am sitting, and I need to write an email to the person I am subletting from, telling him that I will in deed be moving out at the end of the month- and I am second guessing my decision. Maybe I should just bum around for the entire two months of the summer – even though I know in my heart of hearts that I will be miserable with nothing to do for that long. My friends have jobs and so no one will be free during the day time.

I need to find somewhere to live next year. And not only do I not know where I want to be or if I want to share an apartment or be alone- I still don’t know which hospital I will be working in, so I can’t make any real decisions.

I am finding that it is hard to live in the present, because I know I need to live in the future as well. That what I am doing next year is ONLY for a year. It is temporary. Everything right now is temporary and changeable. I just wish that there was something that I knew would be the same.

So here I am. Almost with smicha, the thing I have been working towards for so long. And I think I feel more lost than I ever have.

Posted in Uncategorized

An Onion Dip and Tater Tot Day

Today was an intense day- but I’m not really sure why.

I woke up and got to school and there was just too much of something in the air. It was a space that was hard to breath in, but that early in the day there was nothing really to place it on. If anything I was productive. I sent out three emails that I had to send, all dealing with the horrible word — the future. But I did it.

I don’t know why but I was on edge. Everything was too loud. And people were too close. And I had to figure out a scheduling thing. And I had to figure out a title for a class that I will be teaching this Shabbat.

I was talking to a friend today about validation, and how I am so tired of validating people who are searching for validation. I know that it is mean to say, but all I want to do is shake them a bit and tell them to have some confidence. And her comment was, well that is because you are someone who doesn’t need it. I told her of course I need it, I just don’t get it. There aren’t people around me to validate me. I don’t have a luxury of relying on other people for those things, because they aren’t there or might not be. So yes, I need it – but I also push myself on my own.

And then at mincha there was singing. I didn’t want to sing. I wanted to go into davening from the beautiful words that were spoken. To go from that silence and continue into my own personal silence. But no – we had to sing – because one person likes to sing.

And then in class we spoke about class. About ways to make it better.

And then I was in the beit midrash talking to a good friend. And she started asking me about how things are, and I was honest, and slowly tears started filling my eyes. So I went to the bathroom – I didn’t really cry so I went back in. I then asked my friend how she is doing and she proceeded to tell me that she is going to have a double mastectomy soon. It is preemptive, but still pretty scary. And then someone turned around and asked me if I was on the page of Gemara we were on, and I couldn’t answer. I mumbled something about a friend. And she said it was ok that I wasn’t. And I said ok- and then I started crying.

I again went to the bathroom, but this time someone was there. And everyone in the beit midrash saw me, and everyone in the hall saw me.

I got a ride with a teacher and a fellow student. And the student and I walked and talked a bit. And there in the middle of the street of New York I started crying, yet again.

There are just so many things. My friend is going to go through a major surgery. I feel so alone right now – which I think I am feeling most strongly because yesterday I didn’t see or talk to a single person. I have no idea what I am doing next, and it is the question that everyone wants to know. All of this fighting and talking about the situation is really getting to me and just reminding me too much of the bad times and being helpless. I just don’t have the strength to hold it all together, and I don’t have the people I rely on to lean on.

And so when I went grocery shopping (I was planning on getting eggs, lentils and butter) I saw onion dip and bought it. It was a strange, but undeniable craving. It then hit me that I must also have tater tots – so I found the last bag of those too.

And so tonight was a night for onion dip and tater tots. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit of a better day.

 

 

 

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

My Non-Existent Bucket List

I don’t really have a bucket list. As I am at the airport waiting to move to New York (once again), I am thinking about all the things I did while I was here. Some were things that I had always dreamed of doing, and others were things that never even crossed my mind.

  • I got to go to Australia! Something I have always wanted to do- well really, I just like traveling. And even better, when someone else pays for it. 🙂
  • I swam in the Great Barrier Reef. (So amazing to see and be part of basically another world).
  • I walked through the Daintree Rainforest (I didn’t even know that it existed…)
  • I taught at an Embassy, with an Ambassador there. He even read my bio and introduced me. (Totally never assumed that would happen)
  • I was basically the assistant rabbi of a shul!
    • So maybe this is the biggest one of all. This is what I have been training for and wanting to do for years, and here I did it. I found a shul and a rabbi that was willing to trust and believe that I have the skills and knowledge to have this role.
  • I feel whole again. Two years ago broke me. Last year I was mending. This allowed me to feel myself again. I have my confidence back. I am not angry at the world. I know and think that I can do this thing that I want to do.
  • I got to tour the restricted area of Parliament. (It’s Canberra, how can I NOT know someone that works there and will take me on a tour)
  • I was told by a MP that my sermon brought tears to his eyes. He then told me to be in touch and if I have a blog or something, I should send it to him, as he would want to read it.
  • I went to cocktail parties and VIP events, where I mingled with international governmental officials.
  • I have multiple, close friends, that work for embassies and governments.
  • I danced in the rain without clothing.
  • I got to see kangaroos, platypus, echidna, emus, and possums (not opossums- they are a different animal.)
  • I saw the Sydney Harbor and Sydney Opera House.
  • I went to Bondi beach.
  • I have lived in my third capital city.
  • I went to an event and sat only three rows away from the prime minister.
  • I sat in the front of the shul, next to the aaron, in a big green chair (they made a small mechitza for me).
  • I ran a two hour teacher training on basic Judaism.
  • I taught school kids about basic Judaism.
  • I taught 2-3 adult ed classes a week.
  • I gave weekly sermons and wrote weekly d’vrei Torah for a newsletter.
  • I lived on my own.

I’m sure there is more, but I need to go to the plane.

So, here’s to time travel and moving to NYC- take 2.

Posted in Uncategorized

Going Outside

It is that time of year to go outside. A sukkah is built with it’s flimsy walls and ceiling, and we are meant to be there for as much as we can.

It is that time of year that I hold nature in my hands for seven days. I scrutinize an etrog and lulav, making sure it is to my liking. I take them in my hands for davening, and even though it is only for maybe a half hour (usually less), I finish that experience smelling like citrus.

I am used to this time of year being the beginning of fall. The time that leaves start to fall. Trees start to turn color. Trees no longer have their flowers. The air is starting to get cool again. This year it is the complete opposite.

It is spring time. The air is warming up (although it will be cold again tonight…) The trees and flowers are in bloom. Areas that used to be bare are starting to be full of green.

Every year it amazes me that Sukkot comes so soon after Yom Kippur. It was only days ago that we were in shul praying and fasting, and here we are going back to shul but without the trepidation. We are going to shul with excitment. Knowing that we will be singing hallel, waving our lulav, and in only 7 days dancing with the Torah.

It is the time of year that we go from our internal prayer and staying inside our homes, to being outside. Sitting with friends and family. Really listening to the world around us. Being part of nature.

Posted in Uncategorized

A List of Things

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

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

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