Friday, January 19, 2018

No Man's Land

I've let this blog slip away. Unintentionally of course. Running after an active toddler doesn't let me have a lot of time to write, but I'm hoping to do more of that this year.

I'm in the process of working on a compilation of stories that I hope will be interesting to anyone reading this blog. This book is what I want to read, but I don't know if it's realistic.

Essentially, I am interested in how others define 'observant' for themselves, how they balance their identity with halacha, and how they decide what works best for them. I am looking for personal stories that discuss the intersection of queerness and Jewish identity.

I have a few people who have agreed to write something, and I've been doing a bit of reading trying to see if there is anything like this out there. Yes, there is Keep Your Wives Away From Them, but it's not quite exactly what I'm looking for. And I'm hoping to have positive stories, although from my experience and research, I'm not convinced it is possible.

Prove me wrong! If you or someone you know is queer and observant, I want to talk to you! This is just the beginning of my journey.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Thoughts on Being a Parent

So much has happened in the last year. I cannot get into everything. Shortly after my last post, I gave birth to a daughter, and it's just been a whirlwind year. My relationship with Emet has grown so much, and we have learned much about the world and each other.
I wrote a private journal entry last year about going to High Holiday services with a newborn. I couldn't stay in services for long because it was time for the baby to eat again. And I wasn't even able to go to shul on Yom Kippur because of a rough night and total exhaustion.
This year, I thought maybe it would be easier to go to services, but it was actually harder. I tried to read a bit to make up for not being able to be in services, but of course, the baby needs my constant attention while Emet works (for the synagogue).
Adina Kastner, in a recent article in Times of Israel, said, "Personally, I have never felt further from Hashem than I do right now. My break from davening and learning because of my busy life as a working mother has hurt my relationship with God...I want to find the strong closeness I had back in high school, when I punctually attended teen minyan every Shabbat. I can think of no better place to get reacquainted with the Almighty than at shul."
I completely agree and feel the exact same. When I was at Pardes, I was learning every day, connecting every day, davening almost every day, and participating in all the rituals I could. I felt incredibly close to HaShem. Since returning to the US over three years ago, I struggle to feel that same connection. Emet and I were part of a lively community in Denver, and we just haven't found the same ruach in services here as we had in Israel. It's hard to have Shabbat with a baby. We can't prepare ahead of time and then dinners are often quick so we can start her bedtime routine. We don't go to Kabbalat Shabbat services because she's down by 7. We sometimes go through the service on our own, but it just isn't the same.
I recently met with a StrengthsFinder coach, and one of the things we discussed was finding time to do something that engages my strengths. Learning is one of those. Since having a child, it's been hard to find time to engage in Judaism adequately. I am taking a step to carving out time to learn this year, and I hope I won't be disappointed.
We have talked about other ways that we could connect to HaShem and Judaism, too. We are planning to erect a sukkah with hopes of inviting people to join us for meals. I realized this year that we can't depend on others to jumpstart our connection. It is on us.

For any observant parents out there - how do you do it? How do observant families manage? How do you daven at all with a young child who requires constant attention? Babysitting is not always an option. Does the parent responsible for caring for the children even go to synagogue? How do you prepare for Shabbat and holidays? Please leave a comment below and tell me your secrets!

G'mar Chatimah Tovah. May you all have a sweet New Year.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

#BlogElul 8: Hear

Yesterday was Shabbat, so I didn't write. Today is Elul 8 and September 11. Hear.

I strive to hear stories of narratives I don't know. I strive to stop and listen to the world. This year, I want to spend time listening to my child, my partner, and my body.

Friday, September 9, 2016

#BlogElul 6: Believe

I believe in fate. Ever since I met Emet, our lives have been truly blessed. I believe that things are well, even when they don't seem to be. I believe that I have purpose, even if I don't know what that is, and I strive to be the best I can.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

#BlogElul 5: Accept

Today is the Hebrew anniversary of our wedding and the "official" due date of our baby. I'm accepting that baby will arrive when it's ready. I'm accepting that I don't know everything and I have much to learn. I'm accepting that the world isn't perfect, and so to be the best I can be, I have to accept that I am the one that needs to change. Either let it go and move on or make a change.