Epiphany

So… I’ve been thinking (yeah, dangerous I know). Ever since my latest discovery with my heritage and the timing of everything, I have been really *REALLY* assessing things in my life

I have had a recurring image in my sleep over the past week or two – the four of wands from my tarot deck. The meaning of this card is completions, harmony and from that new beginnings. Passover was on Tuesday – the main meaning of this is to commemorate the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The Israelites release from bondage.
fourwands

Now, given all this and the general sense of dissatisfaction I’ve had with things, I had a bit of an epiphany. The different paths I’ve travelled have all contributed to who I am and what I believe, but none have *totally* fitted me.  Catholicism, Paganism, Buddhism and Judaism – I have taken so much good from all of them, but I have also experienced disappointment with either people in those communities or some of the teachings themselves. I have love for those four paths, they have directly contributed to who I am. But I can’t keep shoving myself into a round hole when I am a square peg. So I’m going to stop trying. This of course is no straightforward feat, but it’s a start. By nature, we humans feel this almost absurd need for labels. So I am determined to go label-less 🙂

This epiphany was my exodus from spiritual bondage you could say.

So as a believer in God/dess/Creator – Happy Easter/Chocolate Day/Long Weekend.

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Well…..

My Rebbetzin politely suggested I take my daughter to a class tailored for “girls like her” (IE not attending a Jewish day school) that will be more in tune with where she’s at in her life. So in other words, like me, she questions everything and it’s making my Rebbetzin uncomfortable so she doesn’t want to Bat Mitzvah her anymore.

Since my Rebbetzin asked me do that, I haven’t attended Shul. I haven’t been to Shul in about two months I’d say due to not only that, but finances restricted me paying $9 in toll three days a week ($27 a week) to attend for both days on Shabbas and Torah class. I’m very disillusioned with the community and think that, after Pesach, I _MAY_ contact Newtown Shul again and see if I can start attending there. Newtown was the first Shul I was associated with when I started my journey two years ago, and they were certainly the most welcoming. Never questioning my legitimacy. They also have a full time Rabbi now and Kabbalah classes that I would be interested in attending. To be honest, they’ll be my last ditch effort. If trying to fit in there fails, I’m done. I will walk away from being an observant Jew and just fumble along on my own till I find a niche where I belong somewhere 😦

Purim

Its Purim tomorrow. And I’m not doing a thing to mark it – well apart from eating Hamentaschen for breakfast and davening. I’m just not “feeling” Jewish lately. Even my daughter is feeling apathetic about her Bat Mitzvah and being Jewish. Ironic really considering that in a few weeks, on Pesach, it’s my second anniversary of being an observant Jew. But my life is just so “meh” in so many ways that I’m just numb.

Anyway, for those celebrating it – Happy Purim

Never Good Enough

I truly think once my daughter is Bat Mitzvahed, that’s it, I’m done. As long as she’s a recognised “legitimate” Jewess then I’m happy.

I have found from conversations I’ve had with other Orthodox Jews that I am just not good enough or “Jewish” enough because I’ve questioned the interpretation of the halachic law of a man not being permitted to hear a woman daven or sing. Or rather, I’ve challenged that the onus is on the woman. It’s all in relation to the apalling treatment of a 17 year old Orthodox girl in Israel who performed, in frum clothing, on Israel’s “The Voice”

Full article here – http://www.yourjewishnews.com/Pages/jv1546.aspx – apparently the video itself has been blocked *rolls eyes*

My opinion – which was ASKED for by the way – is that the community were overreacting and that using this halachic law in this way is akin to saying a woman is responsible for a man’s penis because he can’t control himself. And I think that’s a steaming pile of bullshit, and I said so (much more civilly and eloquently than that). And I have been told that, in essence, I am not being logical but “emotionally displeased” (which I bloody well am and I said so). The underlying tone is one of “you’re Bal Teshuva, why do you think you’d understand halachah?” The response one person gave me was “Alizah (and I ask this in good nature- so please don’t take offense) – would you say you follow Jewish law (to the degree you know it to be) to it’s (sic) utmost? 

Of COURSE I don’t follow it to its utmost. I’m Bal Teshuva. I’m playing catch ups to make up for about 35 years of not being raised observant. He knows this of course, and he knows it’s offensive otherwise he wouldn’t have prefaced his comment with “don’t be offended” He turned a conversation over whether or not the community over reacted, to one of whether or not I am qualified to have an opinion. Which really REALLY pisses me off.

And I’m finding this attitude to be more prevalent with other Jewish people. And I’m really wondering why the hell I bother. Yes it’s my birthright to be Jewish and to practice the faith. But no I do _NOT_ have to tolerate being treated so poorly by other Jews just because they had an observant upbringing or Jewish education. Who says they’re better than me and can look down their nose at me? Certainly not HaShem. He warned against it in the Torah. Some of the most important people in our history weren’t Jewish. Ruth wasn’t. Why is it ok to look down on me? Someone who is observant, keeps kosher, dresses modestly, acts modestly and davens two to three times a day? I don’t point this out because I deserve a medal. I’m pointing it out because I’m following the laws as best I can. But if that’s not good enough, well, I may just take my bat and ball and go home. 

It’s not just some bastard online either. I’ve noticed the slight air of detachment at Shul too. It’s like most people just don’t know what to do with us (my daughter and I). It was awkward at first and I tried to compensate for it. But I refuse to do that now. I will not be a wallflower and not talk to anyone and stay out of the way to make others feel better. I am a Jewess, at Shul, partaking in HaShem’s commandment to follow his rules. If that’s not good enough for other Jews, screw them, I’ll do it alone. But I won’t just slink off like someone who’s ashamed. I’ll tell them why I’m leaving. 

I’ve had enough!

My Thoughts On Anti Semitism

What is it exactly? Most people think jt is open hostility to Jews and Judaism. And I thought that was pretty much the extent of it as well.  But my Rebbetzin got me thinking more on it after a lesson one night.

Anti Semitism has existed since the days of Ruth – well a lot longer actually, since the birth of the Israelites. Ruth, along with the counsel of her cousin Mordechai, thwarted the first attempted Holocaust , which we celebrate during Purim. The general definition of Anti Semitism can be found here – http://www.adl.org/hate-patrol/antisemitism.asp  However, Anti Semitism (and indeed any form of hate) goes much further than that, and is much more subtle and insidious. Years ago, whilst working for a govt agency (of all places) I was subject to a Holocaust joke that the people at work didn’t think I’d be offended by because

A) It wasn’t directed at me.
B) I was a friend so I should know it was just a joke. A play on words.

Today I had another slap when I read a flippant play on words and then examined the picture that accompanied it. My friends would never consciously denigrate my Jewishness and one was quite indignant when I explained it was a component of Anti Semitism. It got me thinking to my Rebbetzin’s teaching and how correct she was.

Racial jokes are almost always rooted in some form of racism. Most people who tell them on some level, usually subconsciously, accept it as being ok. I know I’ve been guilty of this and not realised.  In this day and age, with Anti Semitism rearing its ugly head again, we all need to be more vigilant about encouraging it. Currently, Hungary has an MP vocally demanding a “Jewish List” because a lot of Jews are troublemakers (according to him). Hungary was the last European country to be occupied by the Nazis and it appears to be the last to get rid of Anti Semitism. Or the first to embrace it again. Or to never let it die. Norway and Denmark have a high rate of Anti Semitism and it’s only growing. Sweden is somewhat less Anti Semitic but for how long?

Anti Semitism is anything that would willfully offend a Jew, be it hostile speech, actions OR humour.

This is true of any anti rhetoric be it  Jewish, Islamic, Aboriginal or Hindu. I have to watch my speech and so do all of us.

…….

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.

Cry and see how alone you really are………

2012 In Review

So I’m the only one left in my department – and that’s probably one for another 30 mins or so. Just waiting for a laptop I’m wiping to finish. I’ve been thinking back on the year that was, how far I’ve come (probably not that far to be honest), how far I need to go yet (a hell of a long way) and what, if anything I’ve achieved (mainly just to alienate and piss people off, but hey at least it’s something).

If anything, I’ve reaffirmed my commitment to being a proud, vocal Jewess and an observant one – even IF it’s bloody hard and I often carry the stigma of a Bal Teshuva. But I’m also NOT just a Jewess. I’m also a Celt, – Scottish and Norwegian blood runs through my veins and I can’t – and WON’T – turn my back on that either. The rich histort of the Highlanders and Vikings sings to me so I am also proud and drawn to that part of my heritage. And you know what? I can’t label what I am and I don’t WANT to fit into someone else’s pre-determined packaging.

So I won’t.

So too bad.

Moving on, I’ve finally found a job where I can sink my teeth into a role that is almost tailor made for me (Baruch HaShem). The people are great, my boss is awesome, and the money’s pretty good too. I’m very grateful and blessed.

My daughter is growing into a beautiful, loving, caring young woman and I am so privileged to be able to call myself her mother. She is preparing for her Bat Mitzvah (Baruch HaShem!) and is also proud of her Celtic heritage. I also have to accept she’s not a little girl anymore. It’s tough, but I am so proud of her. I’m grateful also that she LIKES me being her mother and still likes to have cuddle sessions. I really love my cuddles from her.

I’ve learnt to be even more adaptable and flexible than ever. Though my ex husband (Mini Me’s bio father) has been the constant source of my woes this year, he’s also been my biggest teacher – one who I loathe to acknowledge as such, but has played that role regardless. I can’t say I’ve reached the stage of altruism and have no feelings about him (I still would love to hear news of his impending doom), but at least I can pick up cutlery without struggling with the urge to throw it somewhere.

And finally – me. I’m learning (it will be a constant learning curve no doubt) to say “up yours” to other people’s preconceptions about who I am and who I should be. (In fact, I’m rather enjoying telling people where to shove it, possibly TOO much) I’m also starting to be a bit more gracious in accepting I will never be “normal” in regards to relationships and everyday life. I have no idea why and what’s in store for me. I still have the shits about it on an almost daily basis, but I’m not bitching about it all the time to everyone (just between “The Boss” and I). I have come to the realisation – as painful as it has been and still is – that I cannot look back, people change and sometimes, for whatever reason, people we love and who love us (or say they do) WILL do things that hurt us. And there’s not much we can often do about it. I am hoping 2013 is my Year of Acceptance.

Acceptance of life as it is.

Acceptance of people as they are regardless.

Acceptance of me as I am – flaws and all.