Friday, April 18, 2008

Not The Chosen People

More importantly, the choosing people. As in, na'aseh v'nishmah -- we chose. And, as in, we choose every day whether or not to make anything in which we believe a part of our lives, whether it's religion or being respectful of others or the decisions we make. Life is full of choices.

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All that you feel
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All that you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy
beg, borrow or steal
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
everyone you meet
All that you slight
everyone you fight
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.....

-Pink Floyd, "Dark Side of The Moon".


  1. i can't quite place you in the scale of religiosity...are you a Baal Teshuva?

  2. not a baal teshuva. I don't really fit into any neatly labeled boxes, when it comes to religion. There is wisdom from all over, and I appreciate that. My nationality is American (born here). My religion is Judaism (happy).

    My folks divorced when I was 2 and a half. My dad is MO. My mom is traditional (I have a former stepfather with whom I am not in touch, but he wasn't really into religion and was around from when I was 5 until after I went to college. My dad remarried an awesome woman when I was 13; they have my sister together. They are MO [I would say more via email sarahbtsd at yahoo , if you want].

    My mom was in the hospital a lot when I was a kid, and I didn't believe in much of anything for a long time. I was mad at God and felt religion was forced on me by my dad (I was a smartypants and left yeshiva after 2nd grade (due to unchallenging English curriculum), then went to prep school, then public school and eventually got a bachelor's degree. I'm still learning -- such is life).

    My mom's traditional, not a shul-goer. I went to shul in the men's section with my dad. When they sent me upstairs after I turned 12, I lost interest in shul, and I knew nobody up there. I wasn't believing in much at that point, anyway. (like I said, my mom was sick a lot)

    Some time during my high school years, a smart rav pointed out to me that religion exists independently of my father, so I've forged my own relationship with it, keeping the parts I like, not keeping the parts I don't.

    I'm now 31, living on Long Island, which has no shortage of Jewish guys but lots of them don't really dig Judaism (or if they do, they're more observant than I am, so I feel awkward trying to meet them, usually).

    I love music and camping at music festivals. I totally dig my personal relationship with Judaism, and I think that's a really personal thing for folks to figure out for themselves. I don't need initials (BT) to make my kitchen kosher so I can have my relatives who keep kosher over. I don't do what I do "because God said so," or for a good place in olam haba (to each his own, but it's not what will motivate me to do what I think is right).

    I didn't know mussar was a word for a long time, it's just something I work on. For everything I read with which I disagree, there's something with which I agree. I like a lot of Breslov philosophy, but I don't agree w/their take on masturbation, for example.

    I do my best to be tolerant of others as long as they don't tell me what to do or how to do it. I haven't worn skirts except at weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs since I left yeshiva. I hate being told what I have to do -- God sees me naked. Skirts are a social thing. I stay out of that social world, most times.

    I'd like to marry a guy who actually digs and cares about Judaism; knows the difference between being observant and being religious; is fairly tolerant of how folks choose to observe (or not observe). I like pirkei avos, a little tanya, pliskin, twerski, carlebach, the local chabad guy's nice, too. (and who loves music and isn't burnt or an alcoholic [no offense, alcoholics, I've just been down that road too many times] and stuff), but enough about me.

    Oh, wait, you asked about me. So, yeah, anything I do or believe or observe, it's my choice. I looked into it, I thought about it, God doesn't care if I do it -- I care if I do it. What do I do? Compared to some, not much. Compared to others, a ton. To me, just right, and that evolves. Goldilocks Judaism? Maybe. It feels right. Tikkun olam and being nice are a part of that. I'm me. I'm sarah.

    Does that explain it, a little?

  3. short answer: I was raised MO on Wednesday evenings, every other weekend and during the month of July. No category, no BT. Teshuvah is a daily and evolving, revolving, like Turn, Turn, Turn.