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

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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

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

Maybe it was just bittersweet.

It started off with little to no sleep, followed by an orthodontist appointment, where my orthodontist told me that my bottom teeth are moving along really well and are straightening out nicely, already, after only a month. I got my bands replaced (pink and aqua, yes, very unique, I know) and a new wire on the bottom. After, I picked up my friend and we went down to our High School to see if we could get book vouchers so that we could get our textsbooks. We couldn’t, so we ended up not going to the college, and we went to this really awesome frozen yogurt place instead and loaded up on our daily recommended supply of chilly treats. It was so yummy, and it was really making up for not being able to get my stuff done, all until we went to go start my car and leave, and my car stalled out. So here I am, freaking out, because I’m not where I’m supposed to be in the first place, I’ve never been stuck in that situation before, and I have no  idea of what to do to. Thank Hashem though because this guy jump started my car (although, long story short, I don’t think I really needed it in the first place), and then my friend and I were off. Ice cream ended up getting all over the passenger seat and my friend as well, somewhere along the way (she’s got a really good streak for really bad luck), but we got home safely. My mom kind of freaked when I told her about it (except I said I was at the school instead of the frozen yogurt place) and was super mad at me for the rest of the afternoon. I had to help clean the entire house, then wash the car (not so much as a punishment as much as it just really needed to be washed) and prepared for the party tomorrow (or, rather, later this evening). Things turned around a little though when my mom sent me to a restaurant to pay for the bill of the food that we’ll be picking up tomorrow, and because we frequent there a lot, and are really good friends with the bartenders and manager and some of the wait staff, they gave me some free food and drink (I was super starved) and I sat around and talked for a while with them, mainly because I had nothing better to do with my night (I was supposed to be at a party) and partly because I didn’t want to do any more work around the house.

So all and all, my day was, well, I don’t really know. There were some really great parts and some really sucky one’s. I guess it was an off day, but not in a necessarily good or bad way.

I really want to be able to fall asleep right now, but I’m way to excited for the party (I am so lame) and to hang out with my boyfriend all day, etc. He’s helping me make a really big Happy Birthday banner for the party and we’re going to finger-paint it (I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for that. I haven’t finger-painted  since I was like, five.) I also am really excited to eat all of the yummy food. I love food, especially when it’s in abundance and all mine for the taking. And I love parties, especially the ones where there’s an abundance of food (really, how do I stay thin?).

You know what I’ve started to notice? When ever I seem to start losing track of my faith and of G-d, some weird things start to happen (such as my car stalling, etc.). Not necessarily dangerous or bad things, but just like, little reminders I guess. It’s kind of weird, but helpful in a steer-me-back-on-track type thing.

Also, I’ve been feeling kind of weird lately because I’m not used to this new girl I’ve become. I’m not used to being so dedicated to something, and I’m not used to having something I so firmly believe in that I’ll try my best to follow it. I’m not used to dressing or acting this way or doing the things I’m doing, and it’s all going toward something I really believe in with all of my heart: my religion; my faith. It’s so new to me, and it feels like I’m a different girl. I want to “lazy-out” on it and just do what seems simple and easy (such as not doing all of these prayers, reading the Torah, dressing or acting modestly, etc.) but I’m really sticking to it and it’s surprising me. Part of me is a little disgusted by it (the old me) but a bigger part of me is happy to be becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be-a better me.  It’s new and it’s weird, but I honestly think it’s for the better.

B’Ahavah (with love),

The Jewbie