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 Life

Where Should I Move? (The NY Apartment Hunting Edition)

It is the end of the July and once again this year I need to move. I need to move out of the apartment that I am subletting by the end of the month. It is crazy to me that it is already the summer– at times it seems like only yesterday that I saw this place. It was the middle of winter. I had just arrived back in the US. And the summer and future seemed so far off.

This time last year (at least in the Jewish calendar) it was about 5 days before I moved to Australia! Oh how a year has passed…but that is for another time.

As I will be staying in NY for another year, I must find a new place to live. I need to move out, basically this week, as next week is Tisha B’Av, and then I fly to Columbia for two weeks on the 3rd of August, and the guy I am subletting from comes back the 14th.

I have so many thoughts playing out about where I want to live. So far nothing has stuck out and made me feel like it would be home for me. But as of right now I have narrowed it down- although I still don’t feel sure.

I am debating about living on my own vs. living with roommates.

Living on my own is great. I have my own space, I can do what I want when I want to. It is my mess. It feels more adult, I am almost 32 (if I can’t have a place with a significant other, I might as well be with someone else). But on the other hand, it is more expensive and can be lonely.

Living with roommates could be good. It is cheaper. I don’t need to buy a whole apartment worth of furnishings (I have nothing but clothing and some books, so I would have to buy EVERYTHING). I would also not have to deal with the annoyance of setting up internet and bills. These past couple of months in NY have been quite lonely, but if I lived with other people I would be able to meet their friends (and hopefully even become friends with them). But the apartment wouldn’t be mine, I would be entering into someone else’s home, and try to figure out their rules and how things run. I would not be able to have people over whenever I wanted or do what I wanted all the time.

But maybe that is worth the money…

In short I have 4 options:

A. A studio that is $1950 a month (yay NY pricing 😦 ). It is actually a decent size. It has a laundry. It is on the first floor. [Down sides: small, studio, 18% yearly rent as commission…]

B. A friend’s 1 bedroom apartment. 5th floor with an elevator. $1950. Nice apartment, the living room is really big. [Downside: NO LAUNDRY]

C. Girl’s apartment (2 other girls). $1550 a month. Elevator, doorman, laundry room. Large apartment, has a porch, light, the girls seem nice. [Downside: one of the girls has been there for 8 years- not sure how I feel about entering into someone’s space; they could say no, which then could mess up getting D or another option if they don’t tell me quick enough; I’m worried about living with UWS girls…; I am worried that I might want people over and they won’t like it]

D. Guy’s apartment (2 other guys). $2100 a month. Elevator, doorman laundry IN THE APARTMENT. Really large bedroom with a toilet. Large living room, great kitchen, porch, lots of light. Guys seem nice. They already sent me an email saying they want me to take it. [Downside: The price, it is really expensive….; stigma of being religious and living with guys]

So this is what it is. Choice D told me they want me. I think I am leaning towards C (really only because of pricing- if they were the same or even only $100 difference I would go with D), but C I need to give me an answer, and NY apartments go super fast, so if I ask for a day for D, they might not give it to me, and if C says no then I am left with nothing.

I am also worried that I am “down grading” by going from my own place to a shared place, and if I have the option maybe I should go with that…even though having my own place has not really brought me all that many people into my apartment.

Ok, so if anyone is out there reading this, and if it makes sense at all- WHAT SHOULD I DO? (I kinda have to talk to people in the morning EST).

Posted in Dating, Life

Just Lying There Being Held

It has been about a year since I have been held. A year since someone wanted to be that close to me and just lay there. I know that I missed it, but I didn’t realize how much.

I am not someone who dates often, even though I want to. I’m not someone who gets asked out often. I’m not someone who notices being hit on or people checking me out.

When a friend approached me and asked if I would sleep with him- not have sex- to actually just sleep in a bed with him, at first I laughed. I thought he was being funny, both in the request and the fact that he asked me. His reasoning was that he was lonely and he missed touching people. I also secretly wished that I had the guts to say that was what I was missing, and to just go ask someone I was close with to fulfill that need.

Even though at first I laughed and said no, slowly we have begun just being there for one another. A few weeks ago we had a Shabbat meal that was just the two of us, and the next day he came to my house and spent the whole afternoon with me, in my bed. It was weird at first that he was there- but then in some ways even weirder when he left. The apartment was quiet again. I didn’t have someone holding me.

July 4th the two of us went to the East River to see the Fireworks. We walked all the way down to the river and stood there, close but not touching, watching the fireworks with thousands of other people. We didn’t talk or touch, but I knew that he was there.

And then there was this Shabbat, where he was at my house again all afternoon. Once again we were laying in my bed, this time instead of just laying side by side, he put his arm around me. Weirdly it was something I wanted to happen, and so I didn’t even squirm when it happened. I had been thinking about him for the past few weeks. I don’t think I am attracted to him, although I am very much not repulsed by him. We have both been clear that we don’t want to date each other, but neither of us have anything else going for us, and there is a level of trust. It weirdly felt normal.

And so,  I just laid there savoring the feeling of being touched.  Feeling the heat of another person. The pull that feels like someone wants you just where you are. The light touches that remind you that you have a body and someone else is also interested in it.

via Daily Prompt: Savor

Posted in Life

On Seeing Old Friends and Starting a New Life

For the past week I have been up in Canada. My primary reason was to see my roommate from Israel. I missed her when I was there for Pesach because she was in Nepal on an internship.

Throughout this year we have had a whatsapp group (again I am so grateful for the internet), so we have been mostly in touch, but once again I am reminded the great differences of being in the presence of a person and just being able to talk to them. I really missed hanging out with her. I forgot about how she acts around people, what are her quirks, what is our dynamic when we get to be with one another.

She also had a very difficult year. For her, it was the loneliness and difficulty of living in a rural village in Nepal. Working with new people. Having some difficult situations with those people and literally having no where to go. She was faced with great poverty. She had to walk up mountains to get work. Went through weeks without running water- meaning there was little to no showering or washing clothing. She lived in a country where no one spoke her language, and she did not speak the language very well (if at all). Before I left Israel we spoke about her applying to this program, an dhow she wanted a new adventure. She wanted to be able to get out of her comfort zone and push herself a bit more. It definitely did that- but potentially did it too much.

I was happy to be able to see her and be with her as she transitions back into the everyday. I am also greatly saddened, because in only a few short weeks she is going back to Israel to be with our friends. The whatsapp group that was mostly outside of Israel, everyone but myself will be back in Jerusalem. It is hard for me, as it is already happening, there are less posts on the group, because people are able to see one another. They are hanging out, having shabbat together, or actually in the same physical space. So once all four are there, I know that the messages will come even less frequently. I know that everyone will continue moving on and growing and changing. Just they will all be together, and I will be doing that in NY…

Posted in Daily Prompt, Life

Sunny Days

It’s been a while, since I’ve been happy and had a really great week. Since finishing school about two weeks ago, I’ve been having a mostly enjoyable time, seeing friends and exploring things in New York.

I get to wake up (for the most part) when I want to, which then also lets me stay up late and not worried about getting home at a certain time.

I went to the Cooper Hewitt Museum, which is a really nice design museum. I really want to go back for their Thursday night cocktail parties.

Yesterday I went to MOMA with friend’s of mine from Australia. This was my first time there, and we just had a good time. The security people are surprisingly funny and nice- so if you go, I suggest chatting with some of them. Just ask their favorite exhibits, it’s one way to find cool things in such a large place. We also went to an interactive lecture on one of the exhibits, called “Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction” , which was really great. It was really interesting to see and think about the role of women in the “man’s world” of art as well. How there are many women who waiting for their husbands to move so they can have a name for themselves; or women who needed to push just to be noticed; or how even in the art world women need to prove themselves more than any man, even if they are just as good, if not better. It was interesting to see how some even used “women’s” material to create new things, to take control of what society gives them and to change them and make it their own.

I found a festival of accordion playing, called Accordions Around the World at Bryant Park. There were multiple circles throughout the park of accordion players, switching to a new player every 15 minutes. It was actually quite cool.

This week I went dancing THREE times! I went to my usual place on Saturday night, and then went to the first two days of midsummer night swing. I got to dance with some really great people. The first night was swing dancing, which was a lot of fun. But the second night was salsa, which there was even more spirit. There was an “after party” when it shut down, in a tiny park right across the street from Lincoln Center.

I even met someone- not really sure what if anything will come out of it. But on Tuesday night, at swing dance I caught a guy’s eye and asked him to dance. We started talking, and one dance turned into a number that I don’t even know. He even took my number that night. And then last night, in the giant crowd of people I saw him again, and once again we danced together. I don’t know if he will call, but it was kinda nice to meet someone, even for the short term.

And now it’s almost the weekend and July 4th. Next week I’m off to Toronto, mostly to see my former roommate from Israel, but now I will also be teaching a class. At the end of the month I’ll be teaching in Atlanta. And it looks like I will be going to Columbia (the country) at the beginning of August. So even though I am still waiting around to find out which hospital I will be working in, trying to find a new apartment, want to be dating, miss Israel and my friends– things might be starting to work out.

via Daily Prompt: Sunny

Posted in Rabbinical School

The Big Day

I’m no longer a rabbinical student!

After 5 years, I am now allowed to call myself rabbi. After thinking that such a thing was never possible, it is now real!

It was not easy and there were a lot of tears that came with these past years. A lot of fighting. Of standing up for myself and others. Of finding ways to push myself and prove that I am able to do this job. Of being broken, really broken, and finding ways to slowly put myself back together again- maybe into something else. I am no longer the same person I was (although I do hope to get back some of my old optimism and drive).

Even though this was not mentioned at the chag hasmicha, one of the things I am proudest of is being able to study at a high level in Hebrew. I was able to learn and interact with the text in their original language. I was able to write exams in Hebrew, and still be able to pass. My teacher saw me as someone who was smart and capable.

I was seen even as a student as one who can be a halachic decider. I was encouraged to take my skills and think through problems, and give my own answers. I learned from my teachers not only to look at the law but to also look at the person, to look at the situation. I know that my drive is to be lenient, but I have been able to prove why those leniencys  are legitimate.

The Chag Hasmicha was beautiful and full of joy. There were 400 people that attended in person and an unknown amount that attended virtually. The room was buzzing and just excited to be there. All the anxiety that I had going into it left. Each of us graduates spoke, each in our own voices.

I had so many friends that were there. My friends were finally able to meet one another. I had teachers there. My family was there. I had students there. I did feel like certain people were missing, but I knew that they would not be able to attend as they were so far away.

I’m still in shock that this actually happened. And now I have the summer to explore NY. I have nothing really planned until I start my job at the hospital (minus finding a new apartment).

One of the rabbis who spoke gave one word per person- my word was vision (or visionary. He added after the ceremony that other words he thought of were confident and poised). After so long of hearing what I wasn’t good at, it was interesting to hear this very positive and strong qualities being called out in front of others. That it is not just myself who notices my confidence, that it is something that comes through. And that he and others see my vision- which I really hope I never lose.

I really do hope that all of the pain and hurt lead to something positive. I hope that I don’t fully loose my hope, ambition, vision or drive. I hope that I don’t lose my love and ability to work with the law.

I’m still a bit overwhelmed, and it is weird to be going around with this newness about me. I both want it to change me and I still want to be me. But for now I’m just going to see what happens.

Here is my speech:

In a bracha that I wrote for last year’s musmachot, I said “none of us got here by chance or because it was expected of us. We are here because we felt the desire or the need or the compulsion to do this with our lives, even if when we were children it was not a possibility. “  

Each of us here today felt the need to fill this role. We pursued our studies of Torah, despite all who said we can’t and shouldn’t. We chose to be pioneers, going into unknown, potentially dangerous territory, knowing that we will forever be creators and innovators. We follow in the paths of the “firsts” who came before us, those who chose to defy what is expected of them, those who were strong enough to ask why not, those who also were blessed with support from their family and friends.

Recently I completed the tractate of Baba Batra. I wanted the completion of a mesechet to coincide with my receiving of smicha. Today I am both marking the completion of my formal studies and committing to continuing my studies.In the text of the siyum, we say:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אלקי, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁעֲזַרֽתַּנִי לְסַיֵים מַסֶּכֶת _____, כֵּן תּֽעַזְרֵנִי לְהַתְחִיל מְסֶכְתוֹת וּסֽפָרִים אַחֵרים וּלְסַיֵימָם, לִלְמֹד וּלְלַמֵּד, לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת וּלְקַיֵּם אֶת כָּל דִּבְרֵי תַלְמוּד תּוֹרָתְךָ בְּאַהֲבָה

We, thank God for helping us complete the tractate, and in the same breath we ask God to help us “to start other tractates and books, and to complete them, to learn and to teach, to observe and to enact and to fulfill all the words of the teachings of your Torah with love.”

So this afternoon, I say to God, thank You for helping me complete these years of study, and may this not be the end of my Torah learning. May You help each of us start new books, forge new paths, begin new jobs, and dream up new dreams, so that we will be able to complete, learn, teach, enact and fulfill all the words of the teaching of Your Torah with love.

My thoughts I shared on Facebook:

OMG (I can’t think of something better to start with) I’m a Rabbi!!
Way back when in college people would joke (mostly seriously) that I should become a rabbi. I always said that it wasn’t possible, and everyone would tell me don’t worry, you’ll find a way. Well here I am, 9 years after graduating college celebrating receiving smicha. [According to my father, in my 8th grade year book they said that I would be a rabbi- I don’t remember this though, I’ll have to go into the storage unit and check].
Even at this hour, I am still in shock and awe that today happened. The ceremony was beautiful and full of joy. I am so happy and lucky to have sat on the bima with such amazing women, and now join the women who have come before me, who will continue to do great work in the world.
There are so many people that I feel I need to thank (sorry if it is a bit rambly). Thank you to my parents who encouraged me to dream big and to try- even when it doesn’t exist. Who encouraged me to learn and engage in Torah, even if it wasn’t the norm. Who were the first ones to seriously suggest that I pursue such a path. Thank you to my siblings who put up (mostly) with my craziness and the craziness that comes along with having a sibling that “everyone knows”.
Thank you to my teachers- even those from way back in elementary school who taught be and showed me how to love Torah and learning. Thank you to those who pushed me and challenged me to try harder, to think more, to ask questions. Thank you to those who started me out on this path of smicha and those teachers who I was able to learn from, in the last few months. Thank you to the many chevrutot throughout the years- I know I would not think the way I do now if it wasn’t for learning from you.
Thank you to everyone who came in person today. It was amazing to see so many people from so many different parts of my life. [it was also the first time some of my closest friends from these different parts of life met each other, which is also crazy and cool].
I had a high school teacher there [who reminded me, that he said he taught us that in our life time we would see women receiving smicha) and a teacher from college. Friends from almost every place I have been since middle school, there were people from middle school, high school, college, Pardes, Australia, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Israel- and probably people I am forgetting.)
Thank you to everyone who sat by their computer and watched a live stream of the ceremony (or at least tried to). I know that you wanted to be there in person, and it means so much to me that you took out part of your day (or even the middle of the night) to celebrate with me [also, thank God for the internet].
Thank you for all of the amazing brachot, well wishes and support that keep on coming through on Facebook, email, text and calls. Thank you being with me during these past 5 (or 7) years of intense study to do this crazy thing. I don’t think I can ever express how thankful I am and how lucky I know I am, to have so many people, all around the world, from so many parts of my life- supporting me, encouraging me, and just being my friend.
As I said this afternoon, “I say to God, thank You for helping me complete these years of study, and may this not be the end of my Torah learning. May You help each of us start new books, forge new paths, begin new jobs, and dream new dreams, so that we will be able to complete, learn, teach, enact and fulfill all the words of the teaching of Your Torah with love.” May whatever is next only be for good.