Sunday, January 31, 2010
What do I do now?
In the process of applying to be at BCI I've learned that it is a really special program, and something I'm really hoping that I'm given the chance to participate in. I had never heard of BCI before my friend started to work for the program, and now all of a sudden numerous important people in my life are raving about the program, sharing their stories about all that they learned when they were participants many summers ago.
I wasn't sure if I could really afford to not work for a summer, and I also wasn't sure if I would get out of doing another Jewish summer program. The last few years of my life have left me very confused Jewishly. My Jewish identity used to be something I was very sure about. I was a Reform Jew. There was nothing about that identity that bothered me. In fact, I embraced it and loved it (and found a wonderful community to call home.) I developed leadership skills at Kutz, in NFTY, and in my synagogue. I loved the idea of 'choice through knowledge' and spent much of high school acting on that idea- making educated choices about how I wanted to practice my Judaism.
College exposed me to so many different ways of practicing Judaism. I've always loved ritual. Suddenly, I found myself exploring communities that practiced Judaism using rituals I was not accustomed to using. I was so eager to learn and tried to soak up all that I could. Now I find myself always floating between different communities, torn between who I used to be and who I think I want to ultimately become.
I now feel like I practice Judaism in a way that so many people in my life don't understand. It frustrates me and makes me sad. How do I explain the peacefulness I get from shutting off my cell phone and turning off my computer each Friday afternoon? How do I explain the joy I get from singing my favorite Shabbat songs or praying during services? How do I explain the feeling of connection I feel from being in a community of people that (for the most part) just get it? I don't know how to explain how much things like Shabbat mean to me, if it doesn't mean anything to others.
I love the fact that I'm at the point know where I can honestly say that I think of my Judaism as beyond the dividing denominations. Now I am just totally confused about how to figure out what kind of Rabbinical School I want to go to, what kind of Rabbi I want to be, and ultimately, what kind of Jew I want to be.
I feel like all of this confusion can't be good for my head...