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)

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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

So I’m not going to write all of the extensive details about my trip because 1. I’m sure you’re not all that interested, and 2. I’m too tired and/or lazy to. So I’ll give a basic overview, and the parts that I feel like going into detail about, I will:

Day one: Got into New York

Day two: Went to visit and stay with cousins for the weekend. They have llamas, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats, etc. They took me to a conservative (borderline orthodox) shul for minyan, and although I was struggling to keep up, I loved it ( I actually got to see people put on a tefillin, it was pretty awesome).  We talked a lot about religion and views on Judaism.

Day three: Hung out and then went back to my uncle and aunt’s house around midnight.

Day four:  Went clothes shopping for my aunt and uncles 50th wedding anniversary that was going to happen  later in the week.

Day five: Went out to lunch with my cousin, aunt, and mom and then went shopping in this teeny little town.  I bought a Star of David necklace.

Day six: Went to this awesome food supermarket call Stew Leonards (sp?) It’s like a cross between Publix and Disney, mechanical singing animals and all. I should have taken pictures.

Day seven: Hung out alone, then went to hang out with some other cousins and their cute kids. Cooked a yummy dinner and ate it, of course!

Day eight: NYC! Where I saw plenty of pious Jews. Plenty of them. I had a wonderful day and I cam back home exhausted.

Day nine: Aunt and Uncle’s fiftieth wedding anniversary party. It was delicious.

Day ten:  Hung out, and then left to fly back to Florida in the early evening (but I had a  layover, so I didn’t get home until very late, and we almost didn’t make our connecting flight do to plenty of complications.) But the most important part of my last day was that I met a Hassid.

See, when I first came to New York, I had it in mind that I wanted to talk to someone that belonged to the Chabad movement, or was Ultra Orthodox. I prayed that I might meet someone and I tried very hard. And I finally did get to meet a someone,a man at an airport, and we started to talk about simple things-the weather of the destinations of where we were going, what my profession was (although I don’t have one yet, I am still in high school), places I’d like to see and places he had been, etc.
His line started moving to board his plane, and so we said goodbye and he started to move up. It was only then that I started to think to myself-“Jewbie (well, I used my real name, but you get that), you asked G-d to help you on your path, to guide you along the way. You came to New York hoping to get a chance to talk to someone that was pious, and here’s your last chance before you leave, and your throwing it all away just because you’re too scared to ask!”
Surprisingly enough, after I had gotten done fighting with myself like a madwoman, I looked over and realized that his flight’s boarding had been stopped. He started to talk to me once again, “looks like I’ll be here for a while”, which is what gave me the nerve to ask him. (The conversation below is more or less how the real one went, but I omitted a few things because I forgot what we talked about exactly):
“Excuse me, I don’t want to sound rude, but do you mind if I asked you a question?”
He looked at me a little reluctantly before answering, “Sure, go ahead.”
“Do you go to Chabad?”
“Yes, actually I do.”
“Well, I’ve always wanted to go there and I was wondering if it was nice.” I don’t even know what I was thinking as I said this.
“Yes, it is very nice.”
“Well, my mothers family is Jewish but she’s not observant, so recently I took it upon myself to start learning more, and I love it. When I became a little older and can understand it better and have researched me, I want to become more observant. So I went to Chabad where I live and started talking to the Rabbi to learn more.”
“Oh really? What rabbi? I might know him.”
“Rabbi Dubov.”
“Huh, Rabbi Dubov.” He looked like he might have known him, which made me continue.
“Well, someday I’d like to be more observant once I know a little more so I’ve been wanting to talk with someone who is, and I want to go to an Orthodox shul to see what living the lifestyle is like.”
“You should go to Israel someday. I went when I was younger.”
“I know, I would love to spend a year there!”
“You should, maybe go to school there or something. I was 17 when I went, and I wasn’t religious, either. But I turned out this way.”
It was about then that he ruffled through his bag and pulled out a business card for me. It was then that his flight started to board, so I thanked him, and he left.
G-d gave me the opportunity to talk to someone like him, I believe. I truly believe that G-d put this man in front of me so that I may continue along my path of studying and trying to be a better Jew once I feel ready to take on the task of becoming more observant.

The High Holidays are coming up, and you know how there are the Jews that only attend Shul on the High Holidays? I’m the opposite. I attend Shul every weekend, but I not the High Holidays. Well, this is my first year going to shul, and I don’t have the finances (being a teen and all, with a mother that isn’t observant and denies her on Jewish Identity) to attend the services, which I’m actually fine with only because I can just celebrate at home, which is (according to my research) how it used to be. The High Holidays were once a time that was mainly celebrated at home and not at the synagogue. So I’ll just do my own little service here, complete with the prayers and everything (but of course not the ones that need a minyan). I think it’ll be nice and more fulfilling. But that’s not saying that if I do get a chance to go to synagogue, that I wouldn’t go, because I definitely would.

Last but not least, I am stressing for the start of school next week.

Fin!

Je t’aime,

The Jewbie

I’m baaaack!

August 23, 2010

Bonjour, mon amies!

I’m back in the Florida heat, and school has started up again. All of my friends are back in class, and I’m waiting until next week to start mine (long story, refer to other blogs to get the background). I did get to visit my high school for a little bit today, to pick something up (which it turns out they didn’t have yet), and I saw some of my friends, which was pretty awesome.

New York was amazing, by the way. I’m too tired to tell how everything went, but I will later.

Au revoir  à plus tard, et avec beacoup d’amor (rough translation, since I haven’t had french class in a couple of months and am therefor a little rusty),

The Jewbie

Tefillin and Tallis

August 16, 2010

I just got the best gifts I have ever received. They have such a huge significance, that it made me cry when my great uncle  gave them to me. He gave me my great grandfather’s (on my mother’s side) tallis and tefillin! I mean, I’ll probably never use the tefillin just because while I can see tallis and kippahs being used by women, for some reason I can’t see tefillin being used for women. Besides the rocking chair my great grandfather made for my grandfather (on my dad’s side),  I have never received anything that previously belonged to a family member. Especially not something of such meaning that has such a relevancy to my life right now. I mean, here I am, trying to find my place in this world and my path in Judaism, and I get this amazing gift that I just cannot believe I have been given. I’ve never met my grandparents besides a grandmother on my mom’s side who I don’t really talk to, and to have been given something that was once theirs makes me feel like I have a connection to them that I never had before, and to be given something with such significance to them, and that is so relevant to where I am right now, the feeling is just beyond words. For some reason, it has fueled my desire to continue along my path of Judaism (not like I was going to stop) and to better understand it and find my place in it. It has given my faith a really big, new, fire because I feel such a deeper connection to it. It’s awesome.

On a side note, I’m having a lot of fun in New York.  I’ve gone to go meet all types of family members, and I’ve made some really great memories. I met a distant cousin of mine (5th) and we (my mom and I) stayed with him and his wife for a couple of days. They have llamas and sheep and dogs and cats and chickens, and pretty much everything. It was pretty cool. It was also pretty cool to meet family members that are observant of the mitzvots. They taught me quite a bit in the couple of days I stayed there. And tomorrow, I’m going to go with my great aunt, mom, and cousin to some small town with an apparently awesome little Judaica shop. I’m very excited for that. And I’ve also gotten to have shabbat dinner (only my third. Can you believe that? I’m going to be working on being shomer shabbos in the next couple of months, maybe when the high holidays come up) which was awesome. And I went to a conservative shul (for morning minyan), and it was pretty cool to see what they did (and to go to a morning minyan and recite the prayers, although I couldn’t read the hebrew in the siddur).

So all and all, I’ve had an amazing vacation so far (and it’s only going to get better, I hope!) to add onto an even more amazing summer vacation.

Well, I’m off to go learn the prayer for donning the tallit so that perhaps I can wear it to shul next week.

Ahavah Olam,

The Jewbie

these next ten days, only because I’ll be in New York and I don’t know how much Internet time I’ll have. Not that anybody was reading these posts anyway.

Barchot veTefillot,

The Jewbie

I am in no way straying from Judaism, I’m just not going to make a big decision and decide what sect of Judaism I’d like to be defined as, because I do not think that I am old enough to handle a decision like that. While I will still try to be observant on many levels (shomer shabbos, kosher, tznius, reciting the Sh’ma, etc.) I am not going to sit down right now and say that I am definitely Reform or Conservative or Orthodox, and I’m not going to be obsessed with that until I can clearly look into each path and I have grown older and wiser and more certain of the decisions I am making. Plus, right now, it’s really not that important to decide right now anyway. My observance is what matter, not my label.

Now, onto other matters.

My boyfriend has been feeling a little under the weather for the past couple of days, so send out good energy for him, please :)! Also, I am going to New York soon! Please wish me a safe flight, and a good time.

Also, I just learned about Jew in the City (jewinthecity.com) who is the really funny, really helpful and insightful Orthodox woman who answers questions and dispels myths about the Orthodox lifestyles. I’ve gone on a watching-all-her-vid’s and reading-all-her-answers rampage at the current moment.

Well, I’m doing that AND trying to force-shovel food down my throat. Not good.

Well anyway, I might write more later, until then, yours truly,

The Jewbie

I’m at a crossroads,

August 10, 2010

I wanted so badly to be Orthodox, to go to an Orthodox synagogue and be fully observant. But I  have to say that the Rabbi there really dissuaded me. I don’t like that I have to prove that I am something to be able to learn there, or even attend certain synagogues.

I mean, I still believe in G-d of course, why shouldn’t I? But I’m becoming to have a different take on things. I want to learn more about Islam (not because I’m switching religions, but because I’ve been dying to learn more about it) and I want to learn more about other religions. I think I will stay in the sphere of the Abrahamic religions, and I’m going to stay Jewish, just because that’s who I am, but I want to learn more about other religions, like I used to do.

I mean, I want to be observant, I just don’t like the whole “prove yourself” thing. Maybe I just need to think about things better. I don’t think I’m going to pick a definite religion to follow until I’m older and can decide for sure what I really want to be. I’m not wording this right. I’m still a Jew, and I will still practice certain parts of it, but I’m not going to commit to anything until I’m older and can really be sure. I’m still finding myself, how am I supposed to know what I really want to do (and orthodoxy is just too big of a step for me at this age).

I guess I need to cool down on things and take more time to let it all sink in before I make any more major decisions. I knew that this would happen. I get so caught up, and then I get overwhelmed, and I don’t know what to do with myself. No more.

I’m sorry for this blog to be jumbled and one big rambling session, I was just saying things as they popped into my head.

Always yours,

the Jewbie

I feel you in my heart, and I don’t even know you.” (once again) Nineteen, Tegan & Sara

That song has always been one of my favorites. Not one of my friends likes it, except for me. I found out about it through my cousin when I went on his profile page a few years back and listened to it. It’s such a good song.

Speaking of my cousin, I miss him so much. I feel like I’ve had so many opportunities that I could have tried harder to see him, and I didn’t, and I feel like he probably now expects that from me. I just texted him to talk to him about coming up to see him soon, and I’m hoping he replies. I feel so terrible. I haven’t seen him in almost six years, and I miss him a lot. He’s always been one of my favorite family members, and I guess I’m just really upset that we never got a chance to see each other more.

On another note, I went to see the Rabbi at the Orthodox Shul today. He asked me a ton of question, which I didn’t mind answering, but when I’m tired and put on the spot I often stumble over my answers and don’t think things through so I also often say the wrong thing. One of the things that came up was “proving that I’m Jewish” with some sort of documentation of my family members that states that they belong to an Orthodox temple, etc. I guess if I can’t get it (my mom’s immediate family no longer goes to temple, and I don’t know if her other family members, such as the ones I’m going to visit this summer, go to an Orthodox temple or some other one), I’ll have to be confirmed. But I will most likely be able to get it, it’ll just take a lot of work, which is half of the fun, right? :/ Anyway, so we also talked about why I wanted to go there, how to follow the mitzvahs better (take it step by step. He told me this awesome old Jewish Proverb about how to go about it), etc. The way he made it seem was that I didn’t really need a synagogue to help me to become a better, more observant Jew, I had the tools I needed within myself and around me, and that if I attended his synagogue, it would just aid me in my learning process, I didn’t necessarily need to go there for anything (like Shabbat). But I guess I do need those documents as proof that I’m a Jew. I mean, I know I am, my family goes back for generations upon generations of Jewishness, I just need the proof for anyones else (such as if I went to a different Orthodox Synagogue, or asked the Rabbi to help me learn, or if I wanted to go on the Taglit Birthright Israel tour, etc) which is understandable. Unusual, but understandable.

So the Mizvots I’m trying to incorporate into my life this month (I want to take it month by month, maybe a new mitzvah each one?) are Tzniut (which I practically already have down, and I’ve been working on it for a bit, so that’s why I’m adding more), reading the Torah daily, and once I get that down, doing the morning, afternoon, and nightly prayers (which will probably the be the hardest Mitzvah for me to take on, only because I’m so lazy). I also want to try to start attending this “Basic Judaism” class that the Orthodox Synagogue has on Thursday nights, so that maybe I can get a deeper understanding, and add on to the multitude of stuff I’ve already learned.

ONLY THREE AND A HALF  MORE DAYS UNTIL I GO TO NEW YORK! Yayyyyy!

With love and a cherry on top,

the Jewbie