Becoming Jewish
One Girl's Journey

Effervescence is a state of mind. It's about choosing to bring sunshine to the day.
Every person I meet matters.

If it's written down, I know it (If it's not written down, I don't know it)
If it's color-coded, I understand it (If it's not color-coded, I don't understand it)

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Some Emotional Turmoil

Some Administratia - Wow, has it really been a month since I've posted over here? My goodness. Of course, in the process of gathering all my thoughts, I had to give in to the inevitable: I write longer journal entries than I'm comfortable leaving in the native journal style on LiveJournal (LJ). So yes, I've gone to my "normal" method of posting on JournalScape and writing a short abstract or summary that is designed to make a nice short "flist" (friends' list) display on LJ. I hope that's okay with all of you.

Of course, you're welcome to comment on either side of the journal. The pro's of posting on the LJ side: I get an email telling me you commented. The pro's of posting on the JS side: You don't have to have an LJ account to post a comment.

Other advantages: If you'd rather use an RSS feed or get email notifications, I have both now with my combo-journal style. The RSS feed comes from LJ's tool set. The email notification works when you "subscribe" to the JS side of the journal. Either way, enjoy the variety of technological tools I have out there.

The con's of my dual posting style: I cannot edit the colors on JS nearly as much as I can on LJ. This blue-set is too dark for me, but I don't feel bright blue and bright yellow today. Ah well. *grin*

On to the meat of this post:

Being Hit On - One Sat morning I went to the bible study portion of synagogue followed by services. In services, I found myself in a Linguistics immersion program, on my own to keep up with the Hebrew. I actually did pretty well, although I was uncomfortable that I think one of the guys tried to hit on me. I didn't expect someone to say, "oh, you're single too? we should talk after services..." It made me a little nervous.

But then again, just this weekend I was at an SCA event and I had a completely different experience. A nice young merchant man was flirty and paid me much attention. We got into an interesting conversation when he asked me about my necklace (one SCA award, one magen david) by asking, "Are you Jewish?" I responded, "Well, I happen to be in the middle of converting right now." And as we spoke at some length, he was completely perplexed how someone could go from Christian to Jewish. He had no problem picturing a Jew converting to Christianity (he was clearly Protestant), and he asked the inevitable, "But how did you just stop believing in Jesus?"

I didn't really have a well-prepared answer, but I know this won't be the last time I'll be asked this. I'm still formulating my thoughts on the topic, so I'm sure I'll have more to say about this next time someone asks me. But then I was a little bummed that for the first time in a while, someone wanted to flirt with me (he even called me the "cutest one there" at the event), and I had a sinking feeling of "but you and I don't share the same faith."

Then There's my Emotional Response - I was listening to my "Fiddler on the Roof" soundtrack on my iPod the other day, and when it got to Tevya's song where he refuses to acknowledge Chava, who has decided to marry Fyedka, who's not Jewish. I was absolutely in tears, listening, because I started wondering about this dynamic in general. It's possibly not as prevalent nowadays, as in the tale of Tevya, but it's a possibility I'm inviting into my life. Of course, I'm single, so why am I worried about the pain of a child marrying outside my faith? But it struck a completely emotional core for me.

There are several friends of mine who have been raised Jewish. And a couple of them don't have a huge commitment to only dating (or marrying) within Judaism. I still think it's important we each come to our own conclusions, but I'm often perplexed, since sharing faith has *always* been a non-negotiable for me.

Of course, I deluded myself when I got married, years ago, thinking we shared the same faith when I knew deep down we didn't. *sigh*

Just a Little Depressed Sometimes - Normally I have either (a) no depression at all, or so little it's negligible, or (b) such a good skill at keeping up the stiff upper-lip that people actually begin to wonder if I'm ever sad about anything. Well, that's just silly: Of course I am. But I (fortunately, Thank G-d) do not have a problem with depression.

But that's not to say I don't get depressed occasionally about a few things.

Case in point: I attended My First Class in Intro to Judaism, which I jokingly call my "How to Be a Jew" class that's part of my conversion process. The first session we received our (giant) stack of books, and since we hadn't done any reading yet, the Rabbi's discourse was centered on his description of how "Judaism is all about the family." There are rituals for in the home, for the parents to teach their children, holidays celebrated at home and with family, synagogues that revolve around the family as community and community as family. [Okay, he didn't say that last phrase, but that's how I would sum it up. I like the phrase. Hmm.]

Anyways, there was this heart-gripping poignancy to it that hurt a little for me. I rarely feel "old" but at 39-going-on-40 and unmarried (divorced) and without children (besides my grown former step-kids, for whom I cannot do much)... Compound that with being the (soon-to-be-) only Jew in my entire family, I've been feeling very alone and adrift this past week.

Combine that with my own self-reflections about the relationships I have had over the years and the people I've been deeply attracted to but who did not reciprocate the feeling. I have often felt like I'm the perpetual "sister and best friend" to zillions of wonderful people, all of whom say "No, not you" when it comes to romantic interest. It's rough, because then I feel stupid being upset with G-d about it all, like "how dare I be upset about one missing blessing in my life when I clearly have the 99 other blessings in abundance?"

Now, I'm not writing this with any "please cheer me up" or "tell me someone is out there for me" nonsense, because that never really sinks in. I love you all dearly, but another heart-felt hug that says, "Gosh you're so wonderful" makes me all that more confused. If I'm so wonderful and adorable, why does no one fall in love with me? It's completely baffling.

Long Heartfelt Talks - I have owed several people apologies for snapping at a friend on Saturday night, and just losing it. Sometimes shouldering other peoples' stress when I'm not completely composed, is a bad idea.

But though I snapped for completely other reasons, post-snap I ended up having a wonderfully long and heart-felt talk with my two best friends -- Jeff, and then again with him and his wife Adrienne together. The weight of my currently single status and the loneliness of it made me an emotional wreck, and I finally ranted at length about my worries and honestly the pain of being single. There's nothing like already having high standards for dating and a partner some day, than narrowing the field even further by becoming part of another layer of minorities with my religion.

Jeff, however, had some powerful words of observation for me -- things I'll be chewing on for a while. For one, there's just the nature of the depth to which I pursue things. I'm not very superficial, and when I dig in, I really dig in. He expressed his admiration for this in me, and I'd never seen how I behave from my friends' point of view.

But we also spoke at length about the nature of religions in general, and he summed it up very well with, "Judaism is not for everyone." I've been slightly off-center when I recognize that my pursuit of G-d is not the same as some of my Jewish friends. And although I =know= we're each going to struggle and question and come to different conclusions, it's even tougher for me to face the "why isn't there anyone for me" issue when I think "this man or that man is not the kind of Jew I am" and I'm even more frustrated with being single.

But all that summed up to say: It's been a month filled with a lot to think about, a lot of reading I've completed, my first class session, and a ton of relationship issues. *whew* I'm exhausted.

But I'm okay.
* * * * *
Today's Blessing That I'm Thankful For: Jeff. Unequivocally, it's Jeff today I'm thankful for.

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