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.

Posted in Daily Prompt, Uncategorized


Maybe it is because of the picture that was with the prompt, but I am thinking about the moon.

When I think of the moon, I think about Jewish holidays. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. I know approximately what the moon looks like, based on the what the date it. I think about what time of year it is based on the holiday that is upcoming.

I am able to look back at who I was and where I was a year ago. With the coming and going of the moon, brings the coming and going of a year.

The moon is interesting though. The moon is constantly changing, but changing in seemingly the same way,  over and over again. The moon stays the same, while everything around the moon changes. There are times that the moon might look closer (or might actually be closer)- but at times we will still see all of it, and a few days later see none of it.

I think about myself and change. I think there are different types of personal change. I feel like up until this year, my life was static. I had the same job, same school, same apartment. I knew what was happening around me. Yes, I grew up throughout the past five years, had interesting experiences, but I had those things to ground me. I had that constant in my life.

All of a sudden in the past two months (but really the past year) everything has changed for me. I no longer have the consistency of the moon in my life. I quit my job. I moved out of my apartment. I moved to a new country. I started a new program. I had a relationship. I said goodbye to my friends and community. Everything around me has changed.

As much as there is nice in consistency, there is also power and beauty in it being missing. But I know that this too is just a phase. Soon, I will get into some sort of routine again. It might be just for the year, but it might be for longer.

So here is to time without the moon, till I am able to find the moon again.

I like this idea of trying to write based on the prompts. I am not sure that I will do it every day, but I think I will try, at least over the summer.

Posted in Decisions, Life, Uncategorized

My Heart is Breaking…

My heart is breaking…

This time next week I will be in the air on the way to the US. This is my last Monday, waking up in my bed, in my apartment. It is my last Monday for I don’t know how long, being here in Israel.

Last night my closest friends took me out for an adventure night. It was clear how much they love and care for me- and I am just going. I tried to be in the moment, but every so often I just sat back and thought to myself that this is the last time that is will happen, and that I am really going to miss them.

The guests were:

  • My brother- the person I worry about and care most about at the table. I know that it is not my responsibility, but I feel bad that I am leaving him on his own. It is because of me, not because of his choosing, that he will be living alone. He will be alone for holidays, alone when making decisions, alone when good and bad things happen…and it is because of me. He all of a sudden has added stress because I am choosing to go…
  • R- Someone I have been friends with since I as 13. She has become part of my family. She is the person that I call on if I have a fever and need something. She is the person I call when things are going bad, good, crazy, ect. And this relationship is mutual. I am going to miss being able to just walk 10 minutes to go to her house, or out for coffee. I am going to miss her meeting the people that are in my life, and miss meeting the people that are in hers. I am going to miss our yearly movie, Yom Ha’azmaut traditions, and just having someone be there.
  • A & H- A and I met in 2003, but have been friends since 2004. It is amazing to me to have college friends here in Israel. Even more amazing that one of the closest people to me is from that time, even though college was all the way in Baltimore. She and her husband have become a couple that have taken me in. They are a place I go to confide in. A place to drink. A place to joke about halacha. A place to just feel love.
  • F- my roommate from the past three years. She is way more than a roommate- she is a family member. I remember when we spoke about living together, that I was nervous because I thought that she was a bit weird and anti-social—and how could I be wrong. She has been the best roommate that I have had since college. We are able to complement each other. Through everything that happened in both of our lives last year, we were able to both be there for each other. She too is part of my tornado of change- she decided to quit her job, and is looking for something new and different to do, potentially in a new city or maybe even a new country. I’m going to miss having a roommate that feel like family.
  • D-what to say about D. D is shuk boy. The boy that has been involved with everything for the past 6 years. The boy that was my chevruta. The boy that was my shopping partner. The boy that started traditions that filled my year. The boy that when things were going badly in my life, took time to drop everything to come and sit with me, and remind me (or at least try) that I am able to fight and I am smart. The boy that I felt so much for, but when talking about it didn’t want any more than just being on the periphery of my life. There were many times that I thought about dating him- that I could see him wanting to be with me, and I saw how well we got along- and then he would date someone else, or clearly tell me he was not interested. He liked having me around, but didn’t/doesn’t think about me in any other way (or at least doesn’t let himself see that/act on it). He is definitely one of the people have been closest to me, and me to him. I do feel bad that I am just leaving him. It is going to be strange and sad not to have him around all the time.
  • A- Oh A… the guy I started dating 6 weeks ago. The choice that I can’t figure out if it was the stupidest thing I have ever done or the most life changing thing I have ever done. This party was the first time that he met my friends, and not just any friends, but those that I am closest to- the ones that are practically my family. It was his choice to come into that, he did not have to come to the party at all, and I would have understood. The more we are together, the closer we become, and the less that I don’t want him in my life. When I think about saying goodbye to him, my heart hurts and it makes me want to cry. It is crazy that in such a short amount of time someone can become so integrated in someone’s life. I like him being in my life. But of course, he needs to be here and I need to be there. We both want the other to join us, but by asking that of the other person we are asking them to give up everything. If I were to stay in Israel, then I would be giving up getting smicha, something that I have been working towards for the past 6 years of my life. I have one year left…And if I ask him to move, he can’t work in the US, and I am asking him to follow me across the world to a city that he doesn’t know people and doesn’t have a job that he has built up, just for me. I wish that this was an easier decision to make.

So I am grateful that I have people who really love and care about me in the world. But it saddens me that I need to leave them, for a time unknown. It saddens me that my choices, which needed to be made for myself are deeply effecting and changing the lives of people around me. Once again my heart is torn…. I want to be here with those that I love/who love me, but I want to go to where I can finish my learning and do what I feel is my calling.

I pray that I am making the right choices and that I don’t come to regret what I will do.