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

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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

Tzniut

June 23, 2010

Tzniut is a Jewish law, that, according to wikipedia (yes, I know, not the greatest source for information, but for this it works) ” is a term used within Judaism and has its greatest influence as a notion within Orthodox Judaism. It is used to describe both the character trait of modesty and humility, as well as a group of Jewish religious laws pertaining to conduct in general and especially between the sexes. The term is frequently used with regard to the rules of dress for women.”

Basically, Tzniut covers dress codes, saying that men and women alike  have to dress modestly. Women wear womens clothes that cover a majority of there body, and men wear mens clothes that cover a majority of there body. Now, Orthodox communities and synagogues are mainly the only place in which you’ll find people strictly adhering to. You can also find this being practiced in Conservative temples, but not in the Conservative lifestyle (for the most part), and while it is practiced in Reform temples as well, it is not usually mandated, nor is it usually adhered to in daily life. But I’m not speaking for everyone in each of these communities, because everyone follows differently, no matter what denomination they follow, whether it be Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, et cetera.

I go to a Reform temple, and I LOVE it! They are so inviting and sweet and kind, and so accepting.  But from what I’ve observed, most Jews that identify with the Reform movement don’t really observe many, if any, of the 613 mitzvots.  Since I am “new” in a sense, to Judaism though, I’ve been teaching myself all of the stuff that I’ve missed  by not attending a Hebrew day school, or Monday night “youth group” or temple for the past 16, almost 17, years. And with that, I am very confused on which mitzvots each movement does and does not follow, or how they all celebrate, et cetera. So I’ve been relying on the Torah and books on Judaism to teach me how I should follow and practice. I’ve been reading over the 613 mitzvots and I’m trying to slowly incorporate each of them into my life, to the best of my ability. Now, some are harder than others, such as saying a prayer before many simple tasks (such as hand washing), and others are easy, such as knowing that G-d exists.

To get back on subject, I’ve been researching some of the Jewish laws, such as Tzniut, and while it sorta kinda isn’t a mitzvot (sort of), I want to try to abide by it, but it’s really hard to go all out and start wearing skirts down to my ankles and shirts down to my wrists, especially living in the hot and sunny state of Florida.  So, I’m going to try to follow the mitzvot that corresponds with Tzniut, which basically states  that a women shall not wear a mens clothing.

Now, this has changed in modern times, because women are always wearing pantsuits, jeans, and shorts. It’s what we do, but it hasn’t always been that way, of course. Before the 19th or 20th century, mainly before the 1920’s-30’s, you’d be a little hard pressed to find a women wearing a pantsuit and not being ridiculed by at least one person for it. This is why both the Reform, and Conservative movement, and even sometimes the Orthodox one, are becoming more lax on this law.

So, while I’m not going to go and totally throw away my skinny jeans and shorts just yet, I am going to try to incorporate more dresses and skirts into my wear, and keep my short and jeans wearing to a minimum, and wear them mainly when I’m going to be doing “dirty work” or going to a close friends house.

Apart of the  Tzniut law, also, is married women must keep there hair covered. It is also a mitzvot (correct me if I’m wrong) to wear a yarmulke. Now, women are exempt from this mitzvot, and some say it’s because women are naturally spiritually closer to G-d, and men aren’t, so therefore women don’t need to wear yarmulkes or tallits, as men do, but it’s becoming more and more popular in temples, mainly Reform and some Conservative ones, for women to observe both this law and mitzvot. Now, maybe it’s just because I’m trying to follow the mitzvots to the best of my ability, or because I love the idea of wearing a yarmulke, or even because I believe in being egalitarian, but I plan on (hopefully) crocheting my own yarmulke and start wearing it to Temple or when I’m praying. I also might either make (it might be too hard to make, with my little bit of expertise in crocheting), or buying a Tallit, because traditionally, you wear the two together, and many women I’ve talked to insist on wearing both together, even if the men in the Temple don’t.

Comment me with your opinions on the Tzniut and mitzvots discussed in this entry!

With much love,

The Jewbie