Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Ball Rolls On...

As I've stated on my aliyah blog, my husband and I had our first meeting with a Nefesh B' Nefesh representative. I left there confused, frustrated, insulted, and quite upset. This blog post wont be about the meeting or what I blogged about in that one. I wish to delve further into my story and my situation.

Like I said in my other blog, yesterday I was accused of being a delusional goy and an anti-Semite. I'm over my initial anger and feelings of being insulted. I forgive her as she was ignorant and I have faith that Hashem will handle it.

In the previous blog post on this blog, I mentioned that I had converted before finding out that I am Jewish by blood. What I failed to mention was that I was only 99% converted and that the only thing I lacked was the dip in the mikvah. However, there isn't one nearby that we could take me to in order to complete the conversion and then shortly after that was when I learned of my maternal heritage. Does this make me still a goy? Absolutely not. I am a Jew. Period. Regardless.

My husband and I follow the Lubavitcher Rebbe. As he had once said so eloquently, the soul was Jewish all along. My life is not without it's challenges. Jewish life is not extravagant. I choose to be conscious of tzinus. Which also gets us strange looks every time we go anywhere. I also have a strong sense of self respect and respecting others too. I wish I could say the same about the rest of my family. Sadly though, I cant. Matter of fact, the only two members of my family that accepted me when they found out pretended not to mind my way of life and my being Jewish. Since then though, they have kept their contact with me to a minimum and the rest of my family has stopped calling and sending cards at birthday times for me and my children as well as mine and my husband's marriage anniversary. We really have become very isolated. All we have is each other and so I cling to my little family very tightly. Just as the rest of us Jews cling to each other. I look forward to being surrounded by those of our own kind and can feel like one big family with our neighbors and friends in Israel once we have made aliyah.

Jewish life is likely one of the most challenging ways of life there is. There are MANY rules we must adhere to and we are glad to do so as to please Hashem and because we know it's what is right. We are his children and his chosen people. That's a privilege and a burden. As we all know, with privilege comes great responsibility. We have 613 mitzvot to fulfill. That's a lot of work for ONE lifetime but I strive hard to achieve as many of them as I can. It also helps that I am used to challenge as my life has been full of them ever since I was very little.

We have many holidays as well. All of which have different meanings and purposes. Today for example is a fast day. As I write this, I have had nothing to eat today, nor will I until sundown this evening. It's in honor of the risk of her life and prayers that Queen Esther went through on behalf of our people by appearing in King Achashveirosh court uninvited and unannounced to save the Jewish people from Haman's evil decree (as related in the Book of Esther, chapter 4). The fast also commemorates Esther's fasting on the 13th of Adar, as the Jews fought their enemies (see "Today in Jewish History" for Adar 13). No food or drink is partaken of from daybreak to nightfall by all adults (i.e., over bar or bat mitzvah age) . Pregnant of nursing woman or people in ill health are exempted from fasting.
This is not the only fasting day that we have. There are at least 7 fasting days per year. It's a challenge, but I am determined to complete my fast successfully. It's worth it as the blessings I will receive will be far greater than that of my short term suffering. I use the term "suffering" very loosely and jokingly in case you didn't realize that.

Life as a Jew will never be easy. That doesn't mean that we wont ever have fun though. Once in Israel going places and having fun I suspect will be easier to do than here. Especially since we live in the southeast of the USA right now, where we have to worry about bumping into anti-Semetic, modern day, white power, nazis where ever we go. While living in Israel will be much easier and better for us while I do bear in mind the fact that there will be people there who will hate us as well such as the Muslims and Palestinians. However by comparison to here, their numbers will be less than they are here.

You are probably thinking if things are that rough and that bad, then why would you want to be Jewish? Because it is who I am and what I am. While most Jews who were born Jewish, are jealous of the converts because they are usually more observant and know more about Torah and being a good Jew than they do. However, I am blessed that I am both. As I said earlier, I was born Jewish, however did not know it and had converted before finding that out. I feel as though I get to have the best of both worlds. Instead of just being a convert or just being a born Jew, I am a Jew that got to come home and that feels good.

It's time to point out the good points of being Jewish. Number one, we are G-d's chosen people. He gave us the land of Israel to live in which was designated just for us. It's a huge gift. We are blessed in that while when we screw up we are punished more strongly than other people. However, when we try our best to live a Torah life and abide by the rules and be the best Jews we can possibly be and help out our other fellow Jews, we are blessed immensely. One example is how as soon as my husband and I started living more as Orthodox, G-d began to open doors for us and point us in the direction of returning home to our given land. Not to mention, unlike christians who only get presents on christmas day which is one day, we get Hanukkah. Hanukkah is 8 days long and we give/receive presents on each day of it. So that's definitely a plus, especially if you're a kid.

Another blessing I have received is that of my baby boy. I am so lucky to have such a healthy and happy baby and a devoted loving husband and father to raise him with rather than be having to figure it all out on my own. As well as the fact that he has two older brothers who love him too. The only part that makes me sad is that my own parents and siblings don't want to be part of his life too. However, my in laws love him dearly as do we and my husband and I will do everything in our power to make sure that's enough for him as he grows up.

All in all, no matter how challenging things are and no matter how hard things get, I am Jewish and I am proud of it. I will continue to work to fulfill the mitzvot and live a Torah life. I hope to raise my children with the same goals and priorities once they grow up and mature. I can only hope to be a source of inspiration for them just as the Lubavitcher Rebbe of Righteous memory is for my husband and myself.

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