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

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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

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

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

I think if you just read that title of (most) of my blogs, you would know what it’s about without even having to read it. But once again, it’s not like I have any readers anyway.

So I found a new show to love- Rookie Blue. OMH, if you haven’t watched it yet, then you definitely need to, if no other reason then because it’s my absolute, all-time favorite show now (excluding Make It or Break It, Bones, Being Erica, 30 Rock, Lie To Me, Degrassi, etc, etc, etc).

Also, I am hungry, and I’m craving a Big Mac (without cheese, of course. But even without cheese,  it still isn’t kosher, is it? I am so confused by that) and some fries. And a medium Dr.Pibb, no ice, please.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go talk to the Rabbi at the Orthodox Shul that I’ve been trying to get a hold of for a bit now. He said he’d meet with me at 9:30 am, which is fine, it just means that I’ll need to wake up at 8, and so hopefully be asleep by 12 tonight (I don’t like driving when I’m too tired). I am extremely excited, except I think he’s Chassidic, an I don’t want to offend him by wearing the wrong clothes, and Chassidic’s seem to dress even more conservatively then the (apparently basic) Tznius laws that I abide by. So I’ll be wearing an ankle length black skirt, a cream colored long sleeve under shirt, and a white, collared button up shirt on top. I’ll be sweating, but it’s respectful.  I’m so excited to go, though. I’m so excited to finally be doing something that I feel is right, religiously, and hopefully maybe I can get some guidance from him and learn how to follow the Halakha (/mitzvots) more closely (is that even correct grammar?).

So, four more day’s (I’m leaving Friday morning) until my trip to New York! Then when I come back, I have to go to my high school, get my book voucher, go to my college, get my ID and Parking Decal, and then finally, run from campus to campus to get my textbooks for each class. Then, I’ll need to do some last-minute school shopping, and mentally prepare myself for the New World I’ll be walking into. Twenty-one more day’s until my first day of school, ahem, College. Wish me luck!

With more love than you’ll ever need,

The Jewbie

Shabbat Shalom! Except I haven’t gone to temple in a good three weeks, and honestly, it’s making me feel really weird. I really need-not want, but need-to go there this week.

So, the surprise party went pretty awesome. These last couple of stressful days have led up to a really amazing couple of hours, and I think my moms boyfriend really loved it. You should have seen the look of surprise and sheer happiness on his face. It was so great. And there was so much delicious food and drinks, and so many people and I loved it.

It only turned sour when my boyfriend wanted to go home and I ended up acting like a brat about it (I was just so tired already, and I was stressed out from this week, and it was just a topper. I had been looking forward to it, and him leaving just topped off the shitty week I  had been having, excluding the couple hours of the party.) And so we ended up fighting, or rather, I was being mad and crying a ton and he was just taking it, and it stayed like that for a while. I cried the hardest I’ve cried in years (and that’s saying a lot, because I’m a crybaby) and for proof-I’ve had puffy eyes and a stuffy nose for the last couple of hours.  I mean, I was bawling like  a baby, it was pretty bad.  But we made up and I’m going to go see him tomorrow (or rather, later today) and get a milkshake at Steak & Shake probably.

I could never tell you how much I love that boy and how I always want to spend every single second with him, it’s insane. And what’s even more insane is that it’s been about a year and a half and I still get so excited to see him, like tonight, I can’t go to sleep because I’m way too excited to see him tomorrow.  Is that sad?  I mean, a year and a half next week and I still get butterflies, giddiness and super excited, everything. I just absolutely adore him so much.

So I’m breaking the mitzvot of being Kosher, because I’m eating a sausage. Trust me, I feel disgusting, but it’s so good! This is my last one, I have to promise myself no more pig-related foods after this. Except maybe those toasted pork & beef raviolis that are calling my name from the fridge…but after that, NO MORE!

Have you ever noticed how much better food tastes after you get done crying and being sad? Food is so much more delectable after that. Maybe sadness and self-pity heightens the flavors? I don’t know.

So I’m breaking out, again. My face was so clear for a while! And now, my pimples are back and are making my face their home once again, probably for good this time. Maybe I just need to live somewhere where there isn’t much humidity, because I think all of the water in the air is clogging my pores and making it so much worse. I HATE FLORIDA SO MUCH. I really shouldn’t say that, no, I just dislike you immensely, Florida. IMMENSELY.

Well, I’m off.

With more than the adequate daily recommended amount of lovin’,

The Jewbie

I feel you in my heart, and I don’t even know you.” -Nineteen, Tegan & Sarah

I love that song. I don’t know why, but not many people share the same passion for Tegan & Sara that I have. I think that they are either coming, or just came to Orlando. I wish I could(‘ve) see(n) them.

Tomorrow is going to be a REALLY busy day for me, and yet I’m way to anxious to fall asleep, and I don’t know why. I have an orthodontist appointment in the morning (I have to remember to ask them about why my jaw is constantly hurting now, and I have to get them to pop my wire back in), after, I’m going to come home and eat lunch, then pick Tana up, and her and I have to go to our high school to get book vouchers, and then to the community college to get our books, and I need to get my ID and parking decal. I really need to remember to bring all of my papers, because I probably will forget. Then, I have to come home and clean in preparation for my mom’s boyfriend’s birthday party (the big six-oh!) and then, finally, I get to rest. I hope.

Then Friday is the birthday party, which I hope will be fun. Saturday and Sunday should be rest days (except I think I’m going to go to this “Taste of the JCC” thing on Sunday), and then next week starts another week that my mom insists I’ll need the full time for to clean, pack, and get ready to go on another vay-kay (vacation, for the lingo-inept). My friend wants to do a sleepover Monday night, and then I promised another one of my friend’s some time to make up for not being able to go to her birthday party tomorrow, and I also want to stop by the Orthodox Shul that’s apparently not that far from my house, and see if I can make an appointment to talk to the Rabbi.

Also, I just got my FCAT Writes score back, and, drum roll please, it was a…SIX! Yay! For those of my nonreaders (because I don’t have any besides my boyfriend and best friend) that don’t know what FCAT is, nonetheless FCAT Writes, well, it’s the really stupid test Florida gives out to make all of us feel like we are all really dumb for having to take such an easy and stupid test that Florida honestly thinks we will fail. They either give it to us because they think we’re dumb, or because they want to singlehandedly improve our self esteem by letting us think we’re getting really high marks on a “hard test” that’s actually a first graders homework in disguise. Well, anyway, I digress, FCAT Writes is the writing (obviously) portion of FCAT  and I got the highest score on it (of course, because I’m just such a genius. Aren’t I humble?) which is a six, out of, of course, you guessed right, six. But you’d have to be really inept to not make above a five, or at least a four. It’s so simple, and they give the weirdest, most irrelevant and stupid (I’m really great with my adjective usage) prompts such as (oh, and this one, might I add, is real unique) “Who’s your hero and why are they?” or, better still, “When you grow up, what do you want to be, and why?”

Really, Florida? Are you that creatively deprived that you can’t think of a better topic for us to write on so that maybe, maybe, it might be challenging or even- G-d forbid- interesting? Please, explain to me as to why I would like to lower my level of writing  ability down to that of a third grader’s so that I may answer your inane prompts that have really no relevance to my educational career, or to my life in general. And for another thing, what makes you so sure that I’m so keen on sharing my persona thoughts with you anyway? What if I wanted to keep to myself that secretly, Harry Potter is my hero and that when I grow up I want to be the Headmaster of Hogwarts? You can just take those prompt pamphlets that you so kindly killed many trees for and shove them up your tiny hiney. Thanks Florida, you were always such an important part of my education…NOT.

Anyway, I’m done with that rant. Sorry, I just really cannot stand what the educational systems have come to. They should make us want to learn, not hate it or dread it. Someday I’m going to run a class that kid’s look forward to coming to, that inspires them, and makes them love it (and that “it” is my love, and passion, English, which Florida so lovingly ruins in every aspect). One day, I will have a class, and I will teach kids to love to read, and to want to write. I will touch their inner souls with the some words that I have come to love, and I will show them that there are worlds upon worlds out there waiting to be created by their hands and pencils. Kids will be obsessed with anything reading or writing related by the time I’m done with them. It will be wonderful, I’m sure of it.

On an unrelated note, I got my hair cut today after -eek!- not getting it cut in a YEAR! I had to get two inches of dead ends off (ew), but it looks so great and healthy now. It is weird, because two inches is a lot, but I love it. I also went to this cool spiritual shop (I love those types of places) and found a pretty Mezzuzzah and Chai necklace pendant that I want to get.

By the way, when you get a chance, look up Tartsy on deviantart.com , you won’t regret it, promise. She’s amazing. In fact, one of her pictures is actually my desktop background, and if I had the money, it would also be a poster on my wall, but alas!-(to quote, well, basically EVERY news reporter:) in today’s damaged economy, none of us have any money. But who am I to talk? I don’t even have a job in the first place.

With much love,

The Jewbie

Tell me, where in the Shema does it say to fear Hashem and to instill fear in others so that they may learn to not love Hashem for what he has done for us, but instead fear him for what he may do to us? Nowhere.
So please, people, stop trying to coax others into your faith (whatever it may be) with fear. If your G-d and my G-d are the same, and he is loving, then why do you blaspheme his name and say that we should fear him lest he smite us, instead of we should love him because he gave us life?
Yeah, stop playing G-d and get over yourself.
Thanks a ton,
The Jewbie