It’s been just about two months since we started here in our new life. It’s been a really great, if incredibly stressful experience so far. We’ve had our ups and downs – since school started, we’ve done Welcome Week, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot (almost all the way through) and we’re about to get to Simchat Torah.
One thing the holidays have done, aside from make the entire staff more stressed out than we’d prefer, is to bring my own religious observance to the forefront. As with most of this job, if we’d had more time to prepare, I think it would have been an easier transition. For instance, I had been all set to begin covering my hair more consistently, knowing that the move to New York would signify the beginning of my husband’s career as a Rabbinical student. However, working on campus brings a whole other set of considerations. There’s already an Orthodox woman on our staff, and she operates in that role – Rabbi’s wife, mother, Jewish educator – and she’s good at it. For me, as Program Director? I probably need to go in a different direction. So, I decided on wide headbands for Shabbat, for right now. It makes me more comfortable, since I had gotten so used to covering, but is less intrusive than a full-head cover. At least, to me. Hopefully the students don’t notice it too much.
The other thing I hadn’t counted on was the difference of being in a smaller place. On one hand, working at Hillel, there are lots of choices and chances for Jewish observance – but sometimes that makes it easy to just float, rather than make definitive decisions about my own observance. In fact, sometimes, professionally, I’m required to float, especially on Friday night.
So, I float a little bit less securely at the moment, but I think that, in a way this too will help me with my religious life in the future – more experience won’t hurt me, at least this kind. And I look forward to seeing what the next few months will bring!