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

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Let me just first ask: does anybody want to buy me Matisyahu tickets? He’s coming to the Boca Raton area (of course), and I ADORE him! He’s such an amazing singer. Quoting someone that said this before, “I love Jews that sound like Jamaicans”.

Also, I have this new fascination with sesame oil. I’m going to have to start posting some recipes of mine that I use with sesame oil. Something really simple, that I find delicious, is udon noodles with sesame oil and Ponzu citrus soy sauce. I ate a whole package of udon noodles in one sitting because I love them SO much with sesame oil and soy sauce. Yum!

As for temple, I went this morning (of course! Shabbat Shalom, btw), with my boyfriend. It was his first time ever going, and he actually liked it. He said he would go back again, which I found surprising but it’s pretty cool(: We made this deal that I would learn more about he things he loves, if he does the same for me. We read from the Siddur today at temple, and it was my first time reading from it, so it was nice to do that with him and not feel as uncomfortable when I got lost in the Hebrew transliteration.

So, tonight, my friend is coming over and she’ll be sleeping over tonight and tomorrow. We’re probably going to go and eat at Chipotle (yummy!) and maybe go visit some friends. I’m excited.

Well, I’m off.

Much 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

Today (well, yesterday)

June 20, 2010

Shabbat Shalom!

I guess it’s a new day, since it’s 2:13 in the morning, so I’ll refer to what I still think is “today” as “yesterday” if that makes sense. To make it clear: today=Sunday, yesterday=Saturday. So maybe I shouldn’t have started this off with “Shabbat Shalom” since Shabbat ended about six hours ago (thanks to the rainy Florida weather, which I have to admit, I love. And, I’m not being sarcastic when I say that. No, seriously, I love the rain; it’s so calming and tranquil.)

Anyways, I went to Temple this yesterday morning (see, I’m already forgetting that it’s a new day) only to find out the I was one of the only three people that had come (not including the Rabbi). Since you can’t have a sermon (I forgot the real world, so I’ll just use “sermon” here to replace it) with only three people (you need 10) we read the Torah portion and discussed it. This week’s was about Moses and the Israelites (of course) and took place when they were wandering the desert (of course), and of course, the selfish Israelites complained the entire time and needed a miracle to be preformed for them, once again, lest they loose faith (and again, of course). It was a great Torah portion. The Rabbi even gave me a book to keep, so that I can learn more about Judaism, and we had the Kiddush afterwards, and all and all, the service was well worth getting up early in the morning for. I loved it.

Last Friday night, I saw CHICAGO! which is only my all time favorite movie, but I got to see the play this time. Can you say fan-freaking-tastic? Best this ever, and it has been happily crossed off of my bucket list. My mom wonders why I have one of those at such a young age, so I’m jokingly calling it “before-my-braces-list” which isn’t a funny title, even if you did understand the meaning behind it, and with that, I have my next piece of news.

I’m getting braces put on in less then two weeks. You know, I’ve been wanting them for forever, G-d knows why, and now I’m deeply regretting the wishes spent wanting them, because in preparation for my braces, I have to wear spacers between my teeth (basically, rubber bands that are seperating my back teeth from one another because they’re so close, and there needs to be room to put my braces on). It’s killing me, I tell you. We just bought some Lays Kettle Cooked potato chips (are those kosher? all well.) and I can’t even enjoy them! Oh the horror, the tragedy!  Count down the days for me, people, until I am no longer allowed to enjoy other delights that I love so much, such as popcorn and corn on the cob. We will mourn for my loss together.

Since my teeth are killing me from my spacers, I’m thinking about making soup to eat for lunch tomorrow today (the only food that doesn’t seem to absolutely murder my poor teeth and gums). I found this tasty looking (and easy to make) recipe online that I’m going to try out (and possibly add some of my own touches to? you never know!) and I’ll tell you guys how it tastes: beef dumpling soup. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m hungry, or whether it’s because I have had an undying love for beef ever since I gave up my five year reign of vegetarianism about a year ago, but that sounds delicious.

While you’re waiting for the review on that recipe, does anyone have any suggestion on how to ease the pain of these darn spacers? Tips would be much appreciated, since I’m growing tired of constantly megadosing on Ibprofen every six hours.

Loving fondly and redundantly,

The Jewbie

(ps, all those cross outs were all the times that I forgot that today was a new day. It’s so confusing.)