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

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 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

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

What it means to be me

August 1, 2010

To start off with, I know this blog is boring, which is probably why I don’t get any readers at all. But I find it therapeutic, so it’s fine by me.

So I’m at a crossroads in my life right now. I attend a Reform synagogue, but I feel like an Orthodox Jew, in the sense that I see the Halacha as binding, and that I believe that G-d gave Moses the Torah, et cetera. I want so bad to go to an Orthodox synagogue, to do what they do and feel what they feel, but I’m afraid that if I become Orthodox, so many things that I love will change.

Right now I’m apart of a swim team that I love, and apparently it’s not very Tzniut. I’ve got mixed reviews on this though, and I am so confused by it all because some people say that it’s still acceptable to be apart of, as long as no one else there is Jewish (and they all attend a Christian school, so I’m sure that they’re not).

Also, I’ve had a boyfriend that I’m very in love with and have been for a year and a half now, and apparently, that goes against Negiah (because, of course I hold hands with and kiss my boyfriend, et cetera), and plus, he’s a gentile! And I just love both of these things (/person) so much, and I don’t believe that G-d could honestly want me to give it up.

I’m just so confused. Because to be orthodox I would have to follow all of the Halacha (most of which I’m already trying to do), and I’m sure I would have to follow the Laws, including keeping Shomer Negiah and Tzniut (I already started dressing tznius, GO ME!!!).

I mean, but there is kind of a way around both. In the way that I can swim around people if they’re Gentiles (and I’m sure that they are, plus I know for a fact that they aren’t looking anyway, because everyone’s too focused on themselves. Plus they don’t associate with “newbies” like me), and, I could see myself marrying this boy (as young as I am). So, aren’t those kind of ways around it?

Oh, Hashem! I am so confused! I want to be Orthodox, and maybe I’m just sorely mistaken, but I was sure that both of these things were things that I have to abide by in order to be Orthodox. The rest I can do, but I just can’t give up these things, and honestly, I don’t believe that G-d would want me to.

I feel so selfish and stupid for even saying it though, because I should want to give it up for G-d, but I mean, I would, I just don’t think that he honestly would want me to give up the two things I love most (and writing, but that’s not breaking any Halacha’s.)

Maybe I’m just a stupid, silly teenager, who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, which is exactly why I’m trying to get into contact with the local Orthodox Rabbi and perhaps visit his congregation.

Also, some other new things: I’m thinking of starting a website for Jewish teens (because really, there aren’t many good ones). I’ve already come up with a name and a concept, and I just have to get my other computer hooked up when I stop being so lazy (it has all of my Dreamweaver, Adobe, Flash, and Fireworks programs on there) buy a Domain, and get started. I’m so excited!

Also, like I said before, I’m keeping Tzniut! Go me! I got four long sleeve under shirts (black, gray, white and cream. all very versatile. I’m going to get more later), 2 knee length skirts, 1 ankle length skirts and some clothes that I  can layer, all as a treat to myself for my big decision. And let me tell you, it’s been a hard one. I mean, I never dressed slutty (I always dressed nicely), but let’s just say that I didn’t leave much to the imagination, if you get what I mean. So this is a big step for me, especially living in the Florida heat. And although a big part of me feels amazing about it, a smaller part of me, a nagging part, keeps saying “what are others going to think,” or “I look like such a dork!”, et cetera. It’s hard, and it’s only been a couple of days, but I think it’ll get easier. I hope it’ll get easier.

And I’ve now donned my yarmulke full time (I didn’t feel right wearing it when I looked like a gentile, and not a proper Frum girl). I love it!

I mean, it’s a big rush of feelings, all of it, you know? I’m trying to teach myself to learn and follow the Halacha, and while it’s so hard, and sometimes I don’t think I can do it, it’s so rewarding.

My next halacha: trying to get my lazy but up before dawn to recite the Sh’ma, and the other morning prayers! While I do daven all of the time, I have a harder time doing the set ones. And while I know I could get a lot of flak for this, I don’t want to do the set ones. I mean, I understand doing the Sh’ma, because that’s required. That one I’m fine with because it’s so pretty anyone and it’s what I start with to feel connected, but as for the others, I feel closer to Hashem when my prayers come from my heart, and not from a book. And, to my understanding, the prayers were written as guides anyway, to help aid those in prayer. But I don’t need them when I can just speak from my heart. It helps me to feel closer and more connected, and reminds me that I am truly G-d’s child. I feel like an imposter saying someone else’s prayers. So while I will get up early to recite the Sh’ma (I’m going to try to start doing that beginning this week), the rest of the morning prayers I’ll leave up to myself, and maybe sometimes use the one’s in my Siddur, when I’m not feeling inspired or too up for lengthy morning prayers ( I can better handle the afternoon and evening one’s, when I’m actually conscious).

(PS. To clarify why I want to go Orthodox, because I want to be more observant, which I know I can do on my own without changing synagogues, but I also want to be around religiously like-minded people)

With love always,

The Jewbie

So I was in a car accident last night. My mom was driving my friend and I back to my friend’s place so that she could get her sleepover things together. As we were driving back home, one of those huge tractor trucks that carries all of the cars (I don’t know what they’re actually called, but they’re huge and can either haul many cars). Well anyway, this one didn’t have cars on it, but it was still really heavy.

It was two in the morning and we’re driving down the road, when this huge truck pulls up behind us in the left lane (we were in the right) and hits our bumper pretty hard. It sped up and then hit us again, intentionally pushing us off the road (the truck ended up in the right lane and stayed there). If it hadn’t been for my moms quick thinking, we probably would’ve either A) flipped or B) ran into some gates that we, at one point, got really close to (they’re apartment gates that enclose apartment complexes). We ended up on the sidewalk, going pretty fast. But my mom did this maneuver that saved us from getting hurt worse.

The weird thing is is that the side of our car, which got hit the hardest (and it was pretty hard), didn’t have any damage done to it. No dents or even a little scratch. Although the drivers side mirror was hit and some of the plastic around it is coming off, and the left back light near the bumper is smashed in and shattered, but for the most part, the car was just fine, and it shouldn’t have been. We all thought is was going to be messed up, because of how hard we were hit but it was fine.

Another weird thing was that my mom wasn’t supposed to be taking us to my friend’s I was. And Lord know’s that if I had been in the same position as my mom, driving as we got hit, then my friend and I would have either been really hurt (we probably would have flipped or crashed, because I, with less experience then my mom, wouldn’t have been able to think as fast) or worse. It was really chance that my mom took us, she decided it on the spot. And they’re are some really other chance-y things that I won’t go into, but the point of this story being that I have never felt closer to G-d before last night, because we walked out of that situation unhurt and without much damage to our car, when it should have been the complete opposite.

It’s kind of weird how these things work out, you know? They make you appreciate your life a little bit more, and they bring you closer to Hashem, which was probably the point. He kept me safe but made me realise that I needed him.

Love always,

The Jewbie

I’m a sixteen year old Floridian trying to find my path in this world, with the helping hand of G-d and the Torah.

I’m just another Jewbie, meaning that I’m new to Judaism, in a sense. I am a Jew, because my mothers family is Jewish, but I’ve never had a chance to study it before now, and let me tell you, I’ve never loved something more.

This is my trials and tribulations (actually, it hasn’t been that hard. I just really love that phrase) in my life and on my path of Judaism. I’m hoping to introduce you to my world, my religion, and my love of (kosher) food.

Love always,

The Jewbie.