Rough Week

I had a rough week last week and didn’t end up hitting any of my “goals”.  I was planning shabbat with my boyfriend and it was going to be a big deal.  I mean, for me, it was going to be a big deal. We weren’t going to do anything extravagant, I was just happy he was willing to participate in my expression of faith even if it is totally different than his.  I took it as a good sign (see my last post: re children) that he would be supportive of my need to practice and pass on.

Unfortunately we never managed to meet because of a death in the family (on his end).  I’m much more familiar with Jewish funerals although I’ve been to other religious ones, I’ve never been to a Catholic funeral.  Fortunately I was prepared for an open casket because, as I said, I’ve been to other funerals from my non-Jewish side of the family.  Still, there’s protocol I don’t know and he hasn’t told me.  I realize he’s very busy.  I’m just trying to tell myself not to get upset, that it’s not about me and I just need to show my support.  The actual funeral service is tomorrow.  Hopefully I can make it through without any missteps.

That’s all for now. I need to try to take my mind off of things.

-E

 

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I’m Back!

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written.  While I was gone I’ve been facing a challenging search for a job to work during daytime hours to supplement my coaching.  I’ve also had some health issues, nothing too serious though and I’m recovering nicely.  I’m going to try to get more serious about making better choices now that I’m (gasp) twenty-six.  And most excitingly, I’ve moved!  I have a lovely little apartment with my dog and am 100% in love with having my own space.  It’s a little out of my price range now, so I’m dipping into my savings but if the job prospect turns out I will be at the very least breaking even. (Boston is expensive, there’s no two ways about it).

The day before my birthday I sat down and wrote some goals in my notebook.  I wasn’t trying to commemorate growing any older at the time, I just wanted to use a new multi-colored pack of sharpies to do something.  My goals were financial, job-based, and fitness but also a large chunk of them were faith-based.  Naturally, those are the ones I want to talk about here.  My Faith-based goals were, in no particular order, as follows:

1: Attend Services more often

2: Build a relationship with a Rabbi

3:Learn how to make some traditional dishes (confession: I really can’t cook very well!)

4: Take Hebrew classes

5: Save $ for trip to Israel ( I missed the age window to be eligible for birthright!  I’ve intended to go for the past five years but I’ve always had some commitment that I couldn’t miss)

6: Learn about raising Jewish children.

These are all pretty self-explanatory, except for number six which, for me at least, requires a lot of explanation.  No, I’m not pregnant nor do I intend to be in the near future.  Actually, I’ve never had any desire to have biological children.  Since I was a small child myself I wanted to be an adoptive parent.  I guess it’s sort of a weird quirk of mine.  Nevertheless, I want my children to be raised Jewish.  It’s absolutely the most important thing to me. I’m going about it in a way that seems far from traditional.  For instance, if I had children of my own they would be Jewish just from their inheritance.  I guess I don’t feel like a child has to physically come out of you to be your child.  I know people definitely have differing opinions on this and all I can say is live and let live.  That said I had a very… unconventional upbringing and I don’t feel prepared at all to raise a child in the traditions of my faith.  If I was in a relationship with a Jewish man than by all means I would share the burden but the fact is that I am not.  While I cannot tell you that I will marry my boyfriend one day I could see us having a long future together and I would never in a million years ask him to convert. He is supportive of me and accepts, if not understands, my deep connection to my faith and that is really all that I need. Parenthood is definitely something that is far off for me but I want to be prepared.  I feel that the greatest gift I could give my future children is bringing them up in a strong faith and a community anchored by common values and beliefs.  So I begin my journey of learning how to become a Jewish mother.

 

Well, I’m certainly long winded today.

More on this later …

 

-E

 

I Did Something Really Scary…

So for a long time I’ve been wanting to try Krav Maga.

Honestly, I don’t have any “noble” reasons for wanting to try it.  I’m not really trying to live a healthier lifestyle or defend myself or anything.  My reason is pretty silly actually.  I just want to feel more hardcore.  I used to be quite the athlete but since becoming a coxswain in college I haven’t (and I know this is an excuse) had the time to workout.  I know anyone can have time if they make it, but that’s just my problem.  The time that could be put aside for working out, I’m already putting aside for playing a sport! It’s just that I don’t actually get any fitness benefits out of playing my sport except for the odd occasion when I have the opportunity to erg with the team.

The other reason, and it’s probably a bigger one, is that attending fitness classes where I don’t know anyone sends my stress levels THROUGH THE ROOF.  It doesn’t have to be fitness classes, actually.  It can be anywhere. Heck, if I don’t arrive at services at Temple at the EXACT right time (not early enough so that people will want to chat but not late enough that people look at me when I walk in) I can’t go in.  This also serves to explain my rare temple attendance.  And you can forget about staying for the meal.  The idea of that is enough to make me want to hide under my bed and never come out.

So why in the name of sanity would I sign up for a Krav Maga class, especially when I could just look up videos on youtube and do them in my own living room where there are no other people?

Honestly, I am still asking myself that.

But since I already paid for it I feel like I have to go.  It’s a week from now, so hopefully I will still feel that way next Tuesday.

Until next time.

 

-Emmie

Tzniut/ But you don’t look Jewish!

So I was reading an article comparing Thanksgiving to Sukkot.  I’m going to spare us my take on that and move on to a different concept.  Instead, I’m going to skip straight to a concept that’s been weighing on my mind for years.  What the heck is a Jewish person supposed to look like anyway?

 

I’m a freckly, pale skinned redhead.  I’m short and thin.  I tend to look taller than I am because I’m long- limbed but just to be clear, I’m 5’3″.  I get a lot of Irish jokes, which is weird because I have not one drop of Irish in me.  (also a motivation not to wear green).  I do have a tendency to get offended when people tell me I don’t look Jewish. It bothers me on two counts.  First of all, I’m a very proud Jewish person so I don’t really love it on a personal level.  Second, when people tell me I don’t look Jewish they hardly ever mean it as a reflection on the beauty and diversity of the Jewish people.  They usually mean you don’t have a big nose or dark hair or insert other stereotype here.  (In rare cases, recently it’s been a “you don’t look like Natalie Portman or Gal Gadot” but obviously I don’t love being told I don’t live up to mainstream culture’s idea of a beautiful Jewish woman either!)

 

The other thing you should know is I’m a life-ling tomboy and athlete and on the religious spectrum, I fall just this side of secular.  Sure I pray from time to time and go to services and don’t get me wrong my faith is important to me but I’m not really anyone’s idea of an observant Jew.  I mean growing up my orthodox friends didn’t consider me Jewish.  Possibly leading to the weird complex I have these days about not being Jewish enough… but that’s another blog post.

Recently I’ve found myself leaving the house in floor length skirts and hoodies.  Maybe the whole combination is a little overboard in light of the “I-fall-just-this-side-of-secular” rant. The temple I attend falls just this side of conservative but the reasons I chose it have nothing to do with that and more to do with my overwhelming shyness (I’ll post more on why I chose the place I did later)

For some reason, its really been working for me. Even though I spend most of my time bumming around in yoga pants, t-shirts, and hoodies, when I go out I swap my yoga pants for a maxi skirt, and well, my hoodies are pretty modest as they are.  It’s not like I’m becoming orthodox any time soon, its just that somehow I feel more like myself.  This is a really weird concept for me and definitely not the last I’ll post on this but these are just my jumbled thoughts on dressing for now …

Shana Tova

First of all, I hate apples.

This, I realize, is irrelevant to any commentary on the larger picture of Rosh Hashanah, but honestly, an accurate portrayal of how I’ve been feeling lately.  Petty and irritable.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of job stress lately, mainly in finding one that actually pays the bills. I’m pretty consistently employed, but finding a full time job with decent benefits is more of a struggle.  I know at 25, there are a lot of people who will laugh at me for feeling burnt out and cynical and just DONE but it is what it is.

 

I’m not in the mood for making any relevant commentary or actual valuable reflections on my life tonight.

 

So

Happy new year. Here’s to hoping this one’s better than the last.

 

-E

Kosher-ish

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t really think G-d gives a crap what I eat. I end up keeping kosher at least half the time because I’m an extremely picky eater. There are very few dairy products I’ll actually eat, for example. There’s a lot more things I won’t eat but I don’t want to bore you to death. 

Mostly, I want to share a cool story. So I had this amazing history teacher in high school who would spend probably 25% of every class telling us stories. One of her stories,for what reason I could not tell you, was talking about certain seafoods and why they’re not kosher. Her explanation was sort of like this 

1: there probably wasn’t all that much seafood being eaten in the ancient near east unless you lived right on a coast( I don’t know about you but when I think of ancient near east, I think of desert . That said, I’ve never actually been to Israel so feel free to correct me on that) 

2: seafood has a lot of parasites. It has a high likelihood of making you sick if you don’t cool it right. 
Thinking about this stuff from an anthropological point of view is fascinating. Why would the people who wrote the Torah decide this is law?  

Just my two cents for the day….

The Why Behind This Blog

The Why Behind This Blog

So I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about my religion lately.

I never thought I was going to live through a time where being Jewish was going to be threatened. Recent current events (Charlottesville, the news , Trump’s ever changing administration) have made me feel just that. I am just the kind of contrary however, that if I feel threatened, you can guarantee I will be louder and prouder about my religion and my cultural heritage. I recognize that it’s not an insignificant privilege that until this point in my mid 20s I have always felt  safe and that no one has discriminated against me based on physical characteristics and that’s a conversation about race in the US that I’m not qualified to have.

So why this blog ?

 

Number one: while I am not one for rules I try to incorporate the values of my religious tradition into my daily life

Number two: because Judaism is a journey . I come from an interfaith family. There’s bad blood between my parents and it led to my siblings eschewing Judaism. We were never told to pick a religious tradition but I chose Judaism in honor of my grandparents and because even as a small child I have always felt Jewish. I will do a longer post on this eventually but today suffice to say that I am the lone Jew in my family and finding a Jewish community has been a struggle for me and something I am still working on.

Number three: because apparently conscious practice of Judaism has become an act of resistance.

This is my short list. I don’t have a computer these days, and editing on the phone is giving me a hand cramp so this is all I’ll post for now . Looking forward to writing again!

 

– Emmie