Its my birthday and I’ll blog if I want to

Post by Melissa

Post by Melissa

I’ve started to write a few blogs recently, but feel like its weird to just dive back in after my hiatus without saying hello and giving some closure. So, I figured what better day than my 32nd birthday to do just that!

I had a very difficult pregnancy, then a very intense labor and delivery, and then got to snuggle an adorable baby boy at the end of February. He is quite possibly the cutest giant tiny human on earth (and I’m not the only one who thinks so). At this point, I am planning on not posting his photo or many stories about him on the blog, though I do occasionally post it in semi-public places online, the blog is more public than I’m willing to make his life right now.

In June we left Israel as planned, just days before the kidnapping and the subsequent turmoil and war. It broke my heart to be in CA and not in Israel, but alas – it was what it was.

We mostly spent our summer in CA with my dad, learning Gemara, visiting people and places in San Diego, and getting ourselves reacclimated to life in America. After two years in Israel, it definitely took time to get used to customer service, not bagging our own groceries, and having to check for food being kosher.

Also this summer we had the unveiling of my mom’s tombstone and the whole family was together for that, which is always nice – though I hate it has to be for such sad reasons. We tried to balance the sadness of that by the joy of spending the time with the youngest member of the family and remembering the cycle of life.

We did take some time to sign our lease in NY and then visit our friends and family in Denver, reconnecting with a place that meant so much to us for so long. And we took some amazing family photos and new headshots (as seen above) with our beloved wedding photographer/friend.

Our first Shabbat in our new community was my mom’s first Yarthzeit and yesterday was my first real Yizkor, so I’m now in a new phase post-aveilut. I’m trying to embrace all the things which reminded me of her and were too hard to deal with last year as ways of honoring her memory in the coming years. (This includes recognizing and celebrating birthdays, hence my acknowledging that in this post.)

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What now, you ask?

Well, we are finally living the dream.

D (who is now going by his Hebrew name, so shall hence forth be N as in Nachum) is now a first year student at Yeshivat Chovevi Torah (YCT).

I am also a first year student – at Yeshivat Mahara’t! (Surprise! Only not, right?)

When Jessica and I started this blog, N going to rabbinical school was the goal but it seemed far off, and then as life happened it kept getting pushed back – so its crazy to think that its finally happening. And that I’m doing it too.

Not surprisingly, having a high-needs baby and being in my first year at Yeshivat Mahara’t already keep my plate quite full. Yet, I find writing cathartic and good for processing my thoughts – so I’m hoping to post semi-frequently both here and on the JOFA blog, “The Torch,” but I make no promises on frequency or remembering to cross post the ones from JOFA.

I hope you all had a wonderful year, and a rejuvenating Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur. 🙂

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Have no fear, Hashem is here

Post by Melissa

I love change. I accept that the only constant in life is change. I can sing “ch-ch-ch-changes” with the best of them.  But sometimes it is just too much too soon with too little mental preparation.  Thats how I felt throughout this very tumultuous week.  So going into Shabbat, I knew I had to let it go or the anger, insult, and fear that had dominated my life would win and the optimistic Mel would lose.

So, as I lit my candles I took an extra moment to get into the spirit. I prayed that I could find the light in Shabbat and gain a fresh perspective. I knew that I needed to shift over Shabbat, or my “fake it til you make it” was going to fail.

As I read the parsha during Shabbat morning services, three little words struck me “ehyeh asher ehyeh” which translates to “I will be what I will be.”  This is what Hashem says to Moshe when he asks how to tell the people of their interaction at the burning bush.  If that is good enough for Hashem,  it should be good enough for me.

Perhaps these changes are Hashem’s way of helping me overcome my struggle to find a work-life balance.  Perhaps it is a hand up in regaining my focus on the more important parts of my life, instead of only being focused on my career.  Perhaps it is a slight push to help me on my way to being the best future rebbetzin I can be.

Perhaps what is most important in life is to be able to say I will be what I will be and to sit back and watch it fall into place.  To give up the control and the need to know, and just take a seat on the journey that is life.  To trust that Hashem has a plan for me, and I have nothing to fear.

For now, all I know is that giving up and stepping back seems like the best option to be happy, so its what I’m going to have to do. Time to just hand it to Hashem – again.

be the change.

Tonight* I had the opportunity to listen to a very inspiring speaker. This woman was living an uninspired life devoid of Jewish connection. She had one project which led her to another and one day while reading the newspaper she had an aha moment. She realized she could no longer wait for someone else to do something. She challenged us to think of what moved us in our lives and what we could do to really effect change. She shared a quote which provides her with ongoing inspiration: “You are the someone, everyone else is waiting for.”

I have never heard a room with ~150 young adult Jews be so silent.

Post by Melissa

I’m still thinking of my thing but want to extend the challenge to all of our readers….

What stirs you at your core? What will it take for you to be the “someone” everyone else is waiting for?

*I was so moved and inspired in the moment, that I wrote this post from my BlackBerry on the way home and emailed it to myself to post. It reminds me of the quote in the photo which I have loved for many years and can only hope to execute half as well as those who have gone before me.