Let’s start this off with being ripped off: Mall-style.

I went to the mall a couple days ago with my mom. While she shopped and returned some things, I went down to the food court to grab a quick bite to eat. I saw this gelato place and they had this yummy-looking gelato/crêpe meal thing (gelato+crêpes? DELISH. count me in!), so of course I had to order it. Well, the lady rang me up, and said it was $4.96. I wasn’t paying attention, so I forked over the two $5’s in my hand, and she gave me back $.04 in change. I noticed I was missing a $5, so I told the lady that I thought I accidently gave her two $5’s. She argued with me (and I’m not a very take-initiative type of person) so I ended up just walking away with a crappy gelato-crêpe and $5 dollars less in my pocket. Moral of this story: TALK TO THE MANAGER. I could’ve used that money for coffee or something.

Next: School & Winter vay-kay (vacation for all of you not “hip” or “down” with teen lingo). So I finished off my first semester as a college freshman (and my first semester as a high school junior!) with a lot of success. I met so many cool, new friends, I had awesome classes and amazing professors, and I’ve had such an awesome experience so far. I’ve also been way more busy lately (thus the lack of blogging) what with school and interning for PunkTorah, and friends and all. But I’ve had SUCH an awesome semester!

And last but not least (sorry for the short post!): Michael Franti & Spearhead have become my new go-to favorite happy music, and I think it should be yours, too.

 

With so much love spanned over a great length of time,

The Jewbie

but I’ve been SUPER busy with school lately. But, here’s my latest post for PunkTorah:

alk about it in the way that HaShem is King, and we are all his children, and we would not want to be presented in front of the King in anything less then the best, and we would not want to act in a way that is disgraceful to him. I’ve also heard it being said that “all of the best things come covered, such as diamonds in dirt or pearls in seashells”. I love both of those analogies, because they are both very true and put Tzniut and why we honor it in a realistic and understandable view.
But try telling any of that to my fellow peers. No, I’m not talking down about them and there attitudes or clothes (and lack thereof), because I find myself in the same boat as them. From Goyim to Jewish teen, we all have our problems with how we are viewed, and dressing “modestly” doesn’t boost our popularity status up to the level we would all like it to be at.
In today’s society, we value ideals, and the ideal woman does not go around hiding all of her assets, and the ideal man is free to look at woman as sexually as he wants. But is this always right? Should we value external beauty more than internal beauty? Unfortunately, that is exactly what we’re doing by showing “just a little more skin”, without looking at how it makes others perceive us (including Hashem).
I’ve recently had my own struggles with being Tznius. At first, I loved the idea, and I was very excited to start dressing more conservatively. I ran to the store and bought a few shells (shirts that are either long sleeve or sleeveless but have a high neckline and are used under everyday shirts to cover up more than regular clothes might) as well as a few knee-length skirts. I explained to my closest friends that my more “modest” style of dress was due to my beliefs, and for a while, I felt content. But then, I started to feel resentment. I hated the high necklines and hot long sleeves. I hated that I could no longer wear my “cute clothes” and that I could no longer look “fashionable” (my clothing is something I pride myself on). I felt self-conscious, like everyone was constantly examining and judging me and thinking that I was, oh, dare I say it, lame. It was horrible, so I stopped. I pushed my shells to the back of the closet, and my long skirts only saw the light of day occasionally. Well, until yesterday. Yesterday, I put on my long black skirt (I’ve never worn it before due to my brain telling me I’ll die of embarrassment as soon as I walked outside) and a nice shirt, and I felt beautiful. I felt more beautiful then I had in a very long time, and apparently it showed, as I got a few compliments. So I did the same thing today, dressing conservatively, hoping the experiment would get the same results, and it did. It felt amazing and empowering and like, for once, people were paying attention to the things about me that really were beautiful instead of the parts of me that society deemed “beautiful”.
Now, I know that no where in there did I talk about how I started acting more conservatively, but that’s just because that part was simple. I no longer cuss (at least, I’ve brought it down to an absolute bare minimum, and I only will do it if no one’s around and I get hurt really bad), I don’t talk about topics that some of my fellow peers would deem acceptable (such as talking about one’s, er, assets, for lack of a better term), and I try to act more mature. I won’t go to the parties that “everyone” is going to (you know, the typical high school “cheap alcohol/unsafe sex-fest”), and I also don’t act in a way that would be deemed as degrading or disgusting.
But I digress. Tzniut has changed my perception about things a little bit. I feel closer to Hashem, I feel more spiritually connected to the world around me, and I feel, well, I feel more beautiful. I feel like I no longer need to go out of my way to impress anyone besides myself and Hashem, and that sometimes, fashion isn’t everything (even though you can find a TON of cute clothes that are perfectly modest, but you know what I mean).
To me,Tzniut is about self-worth. Our bodies are G-d’s gift to us, and by dressing and acting more modestly, we are in turn doing our best to take care of that present. You wouldn’t smash a gift someone gave you just because everyone else is doing it, right? So why would you degrade the one that the greatest person (for lack of better term) of all gave to you?
Appreciate and love yourself like Hashem does, and in turn, others will learn to do the same for you.

With so much love and respect,
Kristin the Jewbie

(P.S. I just want to touch on something real quick, only because I know many girls feel like there is a “double standard”: men have to follow Tzniut just as much as woman do, we just don’t notice it as much because there’s is more internal, then external.)

Where have I gone?

September 20, 2010

Well, I’ve started writing for Punk Torah (punktorah.org) and you can check me out on the Rants page. Yes, I’m not as anonymous anymore, ahaha. But I’ll be keeping a blog here and a blog there. (Also, sometimes I may get repetitive, just bear with me)

Here was my first post on the site, and I hope you guys like it and still keep up with me! :

“I always hate writing things for the first time, because my introductions usually end up sounding like a instant replay of those occasional glimpses of Alcoholic Anonymous meetings I see on the fake cop shows I watch obsessively:

“Hi, my name is Kristin the Jewbie, and I have an addiction to blogging.”

You can all now repeat back to me, “Hi, Jewbie,” while curiously scratching your heads as to why I came here and how the heck did I earn myself a moniker so silly as “The Jewbie”.I’d like to say it’s all a funny story, (cue the dim lights and the spotlight swinging around to settle on me, while 50′s style music plays softly in the background) but let’s be honest here, it’s really not a funny story.

Let me start at what I’d like to consider a good place to start, which isn’t necessarily the beginning, but it’s an explanation of why I’m here, and why you should read my blog (and trust me, you should).

So to begin things, I’m sure you’re wondering why I call myself the Jewbie, and if you’re not wondering, then you should be (you might be starting to notice by now that I’m a little demanding. Trust me, it’s my mother’s and my boyfriend’s biggest complaint about me, except they use the sweeter, more endearing term “brat”). When I started my blog Jewbie,I wanted it to be completely anonymous, and so I needed a good moniker for myself so that I wouldn’t have to go by “anonymous”. I chose Jewbie because, in a way, I’m new to Judaism.

I was born a Jew, because my mom’s family is Jewish (we have many Cohen’s, -berg’s, and -witz’s) but my mom converted to Christianity when she was younger, and is therefor not observant of Judaism (but we all know the old saying, that you can be baptized by every priest in the whole entire world, but once a Jew, always a Jew) so I didn’t grow up in a Jewish home. I took it upon myself, though, to start learning more about her family’s faith, and lo and behold! It fit me perfectly. So when I found that it was the religion for me, I decided to start attending shul, reading all the books I could get my hands on, and (very soon) taking classes on Judaism. So, I’m a newbie to Judaism in a sense, thus “Jewbie”. Now that you now how I coined that nickname, let’s get on to bigger and better things, such as who I and what this blog will be about.

I’m a 17-year-young aspiring novelist with a knack for saying and doing the most inappropriate things at the most inopportune times without meaning to (my friends expressed that I need to clarify this statement, so: such as laughing when I’m being yelled at, which happens often, surprisingly). I’m also trying to define who I am and who I want to be, the biggest problem being my “Jewish Journey”, as I like to call it, and what it means to be a “good Jewish girl”. I’m hoping to share my experience with “traveling the Jewish road less taken”, and my journeys in my now Jewed-up life (yes, I do have an uncanny ability to make everything revert back to my Jewish-ness). This is going to be about my travels in the Jewish world, ranging from the B’nai Mitzvah class I’m hoping to attend this year, down to my thoughts on Halachic laws such as Tznius (and how I’m having a terribly hard time following them).

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them, and, until I catch you next time:

With more lovin’ then you’ll ever know what to do with,

Kristin the Jewbie”

I may be just writing this as a tool for procrastinating even further on the essay I’m supposed to be currently writing, but I’ll continue anyway, because this is something I feel very passionate about (and by the way, this is going to get messy in parts. I was meaning to write this as an essay about “coming out of the closet of ‘Jewishness’ in a sense, but for some reason, it seemed to get out of hand).

When I first started this blog, I was passionate about my “new-found” faith (if you want to know why it’s in quotes, read my first blog entry and my “about me” page) and I was elated to finally found something that resonated with me. I tried so hard to “be a better” Jew and become more observant. And at one point, I was doing just that. I was getting into my religion, I was davening everyday and attending shul every weekend, and I was making an effort to read the Torah. I was trying to keep Kosher, I was excited to celebrate the High Holy Days, and I was making trying to be tznius. I was doing my best to become a better Jew, and now, all of the sudden, I’m just “normal” again. I don’t do anything, besides wear a Star of David, to give away the fact that I’m a Jew. I’ve decided that this is no longer. My “Ne Year Resolution” (seeing as Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year) is going to be a better Jew. I want to take a new mitzvot on each month (maybe even sooner if I get it down sooner then that). I think I was just feeling too overwhelmed before taking them all on at once. So I will try again, slower this time.

But I’m detracting from what this was supposed to be about.

I’m having trouble coming out of the “Jewish Closet” (as silly as that sounds). I mean, people close to me know that I’m Jewish, and certain others know, too, but I’m afraid to actually go beyond that, for whatever reason, is beyond me. I don’t know, I guess I’m just afraid of all the comments I’ll get. I mean, I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. I’m afraid that if I always wear my Star of David, people who hate Jews won’t want to talk to me, purely because of it. Or if I change my Facebook (for example) religious beliefs to Judaism (right now it’s “Jewish” in hebrew) then some people might say stupid stuff about it either to my face, or behind my back.  I’m really afraid of the flak I’ll get, but I don’t know why. I mean, I’m entirely too proud of my religion in the way that I love it so much, and I’m proud to have “found” a faith that fits perfectly with me, but I’m scared to share what I am. I admire those that can with little effort or care.

I think the whole OneShul and PunkTorah thing will really help me find my place a little more.

I’ll finish this later, and to tide you over until then, I’m giving you my love,

The Jewbie

but I thought it might be a nice break from all the religion I talk.

Anyway, as some of you might and might not know, it is the High Holy Days. They actually started with Rosh Hashanah on last Wednesday, the 8th, and they’re ending at the end of this month with Simchat Torah. But Yom Kippur is fast approaching, and I haven’t bothered to even think about trying to be the best Jew that I can be, this High Holy Day season. Which is pretty terrible. I didn’t get a chance to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with my mom being in the hospital and all, and I can’t celebrate Yom Kippur (it’s too long of a story to go into length about right now) but point being, I’ve been a terrible Jew on all accounts. I mean, I’ve hardly evened davened, for Hashem’s sake! Okay, well I did daven twice on the way to swimming and a friends house, but that was all. How horrible is that? And I’ve totally collapsed upon myself in the how “tznius” dress thing, and I don’t even know what to do with myself.

I think for right now I want to grow in my faith by reading the Torah (and TaNaKh) and learning it to the best of my ability before I even try to follow the mitzvahs (besides praying and [trying to] keep shomer shabbos) or identifying with a movement. Also, I’m trying to get involved with this new Shul called One Shul and it’s run by PunkTorah (check them out here: http://punktorah.org/). They are an AWESOME online shul with people from every movement and they all come together and daven, celebrate shabbat, etc., online. It’s amazing. I’m hoping to maybe write some stuff for them. Please check them out and donate!

Anyway, this was just a blog  to try to make myself feel better for being a terrible Jew but it’s not helping unfortunately.

With so much love I just might burst,

The Jewbie

Bonjour!

September 12, 2010

I’ve been feeling kind of bad because just as I was getting a ton of readers, I got overloaded with school work, swim practice, my social life, and my mom ending up in the hospital. So I’ve been busy. My sincerest apologies, loves.

So like I was saying, my mom ended up in the hospital, borderlining have a stroke, but she’s doing fine now, and I’m very thankful for that. It’s really hard to see a parent in the hospital because in yours eyes, they’re supposed to be invincible, and this just brings us to the reality that they’re not. It’s a weird reality.

Also, I got in touch with my childhood best friend. I met her in kindergarten, and we were best friends until I moved away in fourth grade, and even then we were best friends, but we started losing touch, and we stopped talking altogether when sixth grade came around. And I haven’t seen or heard from her since then, but I found her on facebook. Which was a real chance thing, because recently I’ve been looking up all of my friends from that time, and I ended up finding one of my old friends who I’ve known since preschool, and we lost touch to. And I talked to her, and I mentioned how I’ve been trying to find my other friend, and she ended up being friends with her (I know this is real confusing, lol. Sorry guys :/) So anyway, I added her, and now my friend and I (the one I met in kindergarten) are back in touch, and we actually hung out over the weekend, and the funny thing is, is that we still click. Like, we can still predict each others every move and it’s so nice to finally be talking again. I’ve been looking for her since we’ve lost touch, and I guess I’ve been spelling her last name wrong all these years, but it’s SO awesome to have finally found her. I’m happy to have her back in my life.

Well, loves, I have so much homework to do, and this is just my way of procrastinating.

Loving you till death do us part,

The Jewbie

Boy with a Coin

September 3, 2010

So I was listening to Boy with a Coin by Iron and Wine when I realized that I didn’t know the meaning behind the lyrics (I’m big on lyrics and hidden meanings). So I started to look it up, and I got all these different opinions that it’s about Death and Life and G-d, etc. One of the opinions that I read over made me remember the age-old argument about how, “If there’s a god, then why would he let us suffer? Why are there rapists, murders, and other injustices in the world? Why does he hurt us so?” So this thought got me thinking more, and I realized that it’s like a parent-child relationship.

I think that G-d is a parent to us, and like all parents, can only help us so much. Since he cannot physically be here with us, he gives us our own set of parents to protect and watch over us until we are old enough to leave the house. He gives our parents the responsibility of protecting us, since he cannot physically be here, and in that sense, parents are all little “gods” I guess you could say. But anyway, just like a parent, he can only protect us from so much. Mother birds push baby birds out of a nest to teach them how to fly, and that’s how G-d works. He gives our souls bodies to teach us how to live, and it is then up to us how we chose to do things. We can either let Him help us, and in turn become better people, or we can totally ignore him, which doesn’t make you a bad person, it just doesn’t help, just like it never helps to not let your parents do what they can for you to make your life easier. G-d isn’t negligent and doesn’t have bad parenting, he’s actually the ultimate parent in the way that he let’s us make our own choices, and only interferes occasionally (have you ever had those “miracle circumstances”? yeah, in those instances). Just like any good parent, he lets us fall on our butt a little to realize what we’re doing wrong (like a mama bird to her baby birds) but he protects us too, when we let him.

G-d gave us free will to do what we want, just like parents have to do once you’re eighteen. It’s then up to you how you decide to use or abuse that free will. A parent won’t save you from everything, just like G-d. It’s a good way to teach you about life, and how to live it.

This was a little confusing, and it may have sounded a little ignorant, but it’s just my perspective on things.

With so much lovin’ and so little time,

the Jewbie

Heyyyy everybody! Long time no see (or no see at all…?)!

Anyway, I started my freshman year of college yesterday (and my junior year of high school)! It was AWESOME. I have such amazing teachers. I have a Biology of Human Sexuality teacher that insists on teaching us with porn movies and who uses words such as “69” etc, I have an American History teacher who is very opinionated and can make history actually seem relatively interesting and understandable, I have an English (freshman comp) teacher that is HILARIOUS, a Sociology teacher who was absent today (so we watched a movie with a sub instead), and a World Religious Traditions teacher, that, although I will never meet him in person (because this is my one online class) he seems super nice and very interesting. So, yay! I’m so excited for college! I’ve also been getting from so many people that they are so proud of me because I’m only 16 (17 in a few weeks) and I’m already starting college. Hopefully I’ll keep loving it as much as I do now. It seems like a bit of work, but not the same as in high school where they baby sit you the whole day and give you busy work, but this seems like a lot of actual real work which I don’t mind and actually enjoy.

Also, I got moved up (finally!) groups in swimming yesterday, which means I’m finally with my age range (I only started in February, so I had to perfect my strokes a little bit with another, younger group of course, before I could go to the group I’m supposed to be in). It is way harder though. Two hours of continuous swimming, and then 15 minutes of drylands (stretching; it’s kind of like conditioning). But I’m so happy to finally move up groups, because I finally feel like I belong.

So, I’m off to go start a pile of homework.

Much love as always,

the Jewbie

(ps, my friend now calls me “jewbie” because of the moniker I have chosen for this blog)

A couple things,

August 29, 2010

and yes, I know that I’m late on most of this. It’s not that I didn’t know about it when it was happening, it’s just that I was surfing youtube for the first time in a really long time and I was reminded of a few things, such as how there are some really crappy parents in this world. I feel so sorry for the kids that have parent’s like that. For example, does anybody remember the “Balloon Boy” incident where the parent’s kid, Falcon, allegedly took off (or at least they thought he did) in some weird looking balloon thing his parent’s built, but in reality he was in his house the entire time? Yeah, those people. The one’s that exploit there kids, and in case you weren’t quite convinced of that by that little stunts, or from Wife Swap, or the countless interviews they put their kids up to even though little Falcon was throwing up during one (and his father just looked at him like “Really? I’m trying to save our little lie that you and your six year old self almost destroyed and your throwing up? Wow,” here’s something that, if you haven’t seen yet, you should now and I’m sure it’ll convince you just fine that this people have terrible parenting skills:

Really? Did they really have their children say that kind of stuff? Jeez, I’m about to turn 17 and if I ever said any of that, I would be grounded fast then you can say “Not Pussified”. I’m surprised that CPS (Child Protection Services) haven’t been called on these people yet.

And on another note, I’m sure everyone remembers Jessi Slaughter, the 7th grader (no, really, I did the math and she should be in seventh, or possibly entering 8th grade) who became a Stickam stuck up and tried to gain fame by putting herself out there (if you know what I mean) internet style. She reminds me of a more annoying, obnoxious, younger version of Boxxy (if you don’t know who she is, look her up). And she has fooled her parent’s so well into thinking that she’s this poor helpless little girl, when in reality she is such an attention seeker, and I’m not saying that not everyone her age is, because for the most part, they are, but most of them don’t go to this length to get attention. I honestly, I don’t know whether I feel more sorry for the parent’s for having to put up with her, or for her for having parent’s that raised her to act like this.

Okay, I’m sorry for all that, I know it’s not my place to judge, but it made me a little angry to see people act like this. First, exploiting your own children, and then, abusing the internet in the worst possible way just to achieve fame.

I’m sorry for any bad grammar or run on sentences in this post, but when I’m angry conventional English is of no use to me (this coming from the aspiring novelist, of all people).

With so much love in hopes that you won’t end up like this,

The Jewbie

I don’t know who I am

August 26, 2010

or even who I want to be.

I mean, I know that I want to be a writer someday, but that’s a dead end job, so I’ll need to have a real job as a means of supporting myself, but I don’t know what I want it to be. I know that someday I want to be married and have kids, but doesn’t every girl? I also know that I would like to travel the world and maybe someday make aliyah (and that’s a big maybe). I know that I would like to learn Hebrew, and I know that I would like to strengthen my relationship with G-d. I know that I would like to become a better, more observant Jew. I know that I would also like to find out what my place in this world is. Someday, I want to be able to finally break my habit of biting my nails for good. I would also like to change someone’s opinion or view on things. Someday, I’d like to be known for something good, maybe something related to my writing? I would also like to learn how to cook exotic dishes, and I would love to grow my own herb and vegetable garden (maybe a salsa garden? I do love salsa!). I also know that I want to be the best person I could possibly be, but I really don’t know how to go about doing so.

And I don’t really know who I am, because I’m so fickle. One day I’m the sweet, nice, girl, and the next I’m just a mean, cranky, brat who takes their anger out on everyone close. One day, I feel connected to my inner self, and the next day I feel so lost and disconnected from the world. Yesterday, I felt Jewish, at home with my identity and proudly so, and today, I feel like a fraud. Somedays I feel connected to G-d, and other days all I feel connected to are my possessions and how I constantly want more, more, more. Last week I felt beautiful, and this week I feel gross.

I’m so fickle, and I’m always changing. It makes it extremely hard to know who I am or who I’ll ever want to be. And because of this, I just feel so lost. I don’t feel like myself, heck, I don’t even know how it would feel to feel like me!

Is this just a part of being a teenager? Because I feel like I’m looking all over the place for myself, and I just keep running into dead ends every where I turn. Should I hang up missing posters – “Lost: The Jewbie. Looks like: A Jewish girl from Florida. Reward for finding: A big, hug, and salvation from the chaos she might unleash if she remains lost. Please contact me if you happen to run into myself. Thanks”? I mean, really, I just keep searching and nothing is turning up.

If you happen to have any information regarding who I am, or who I could possibly be, please contact me ASAP, because this is crucial to my existence.

Thanks, as always, and stay classy Earth,

The Jewbie