What’s the deal with me now? Where am I?
It should be interesting to look back two years from now and see where I was when this journey began. So I want to establish my current state of spirituality, level of observance, and what journey has brought me here today.
As mentioned in the ABOUT, I was raised in a pretty Reform household without much Jewish tradition except some basics: Chanukah menorah, Pesach (Passover) dinners, Hebrew School, trips to shul for special events, a bris or two, a Bat Mitzvah or 10 and of course, BBYO. I had a Bobe and a Zeide and a nice sized family with lots of cousins. Although we didn’t light Shabbat candles every Friday, thanks to my Bobe and Zeide – we were definitely JEWISH. My Zeide who would speak about being an Atheist, was also always cutting out articles about Israel out of the paper. He was a very proud Jew. My Bobe doesn’t keep kosher but would always ask if your new boyfriend was Jewish before ANYTHING else. Naturally.
As a kid, I always found myself explaining to someone that “Yes, you can be Jewish and Spanish too”, “Judaism is a religion, not a nationality” & “There’s actually a lot of Jews in Argentina”. It can be a little annoying when you’re a kid, especially if you don’t fully understand. As I grew up, I slowly became curious, and eventually FOND of our family’s interesting history. (I will write a book with all the details one day) The origins in Eastern Europe and Russia, the different migration stories and why who left when. How my father’s immediate family moved to Israel first before coming to the USA and how far back our love of Israel goes. It is all still truly fascinating to me.
Let’s move on to my early 20’s when a lot of us are just coming into our own. I lived life to the fullest on a mission to be FREE & INDEPENDENT. Sound familiar? I moved to LA, I strayed from the path (pretty far, I must admit), and was part of no Jewish community. I did not call home as often as I should’ve, nor did I check in on my family or wish anyone a happy new year on Rosh Hashanah. Towards the later years of my 20’s, I began to look for more meaning in my life. In short, something was missing. It took some time to explore this feeling; to learn to not fill such voids incorrectly. This part is a bit difficult to explain (perhaps as I continue to write this blog, I will find the words).
Nonetheless, I slowly “came back”. I started to realize that the “universe” – as a lot of New Agers and California babies call it, might just be another name for G-d. I also realized that although I went through an anti-religion time, and lots of “I don’t need to follow any rules to be a good person” rants – I have always been a SPIRITUAL person. I have always had faith in my heart. I have always felt that something is listening. I have always had a relationship with Gd in some way. And so, we RETURN. I have always been a soul-searcher and so I began analyzing my spiritual journey and went back to my roots. Back to what I knew & what makes me think of my Bobe and Zeide. I made my peace with Gd and began to slowly seek community, to slowly seek TRADITION. Not just any tradition; mine, OURS. What is in my blood. Basically, I love all things Jewish. Simple as that.
So here I am. Baking challah every week & covering my hair on Shabbos but still wearing pants to work and eating a cheeseburger to get through a depressing day. I am trying to find the perfect balance in my practice and everyday being. I am a grown woman who is fascinated by Orthodox because I am a traditionalist at heart. Because keeping kosher just FEELS GOOD to me. Because it feels right to cover my hair while I daven (pray). Because I still believe in the good of people, I believe in a higher being and am DRAWN to the lifetime of teachings found in the Torah.
Now, I never said I wasn’t a complicated woman. For I have quite a liberal & modern mindset that always struggles with my Traditionalism. I work in the Entertainment Industry and live in Los Angeles, for crying out loud! I like wearing skinny jeans! I just can’t live my life so strictly based on religion alone. I just can’t lean on one side of anything. I had children with a man who isn’t Jewish, I have to work on Saturdays…a lot, I like to eat out at restaurants and enjoy my friends’ cooking – it’s just my life.
So how do I add more practice and spirituality??? Where is the balance?