Monday, September 13, 2010

conflicting identities

Since starting college, every fall brings with it a little bit of dread. The chagim (Jewish holidays) which are supposed to be filled with meaningful contemplation, community, and celebration seem to instead be filled with stress, guilt and juggling. I hate the fact that for a solid month, I feel like neither a good Jew nor a good medical student. By trying to find a compromise between my identities, I simply fail at being either. The saddest part is my disconnection from sukkot as it is totally my favorite holiday but seems to get overlooked by the post Rosh HaShana & Yom Kippur catch up games.

Since it is very apparent that I'm no longer on the professional Jew track (there was a period of time where I seriously considered becoming a Rabbi), it seems to be time to re-conceptualize my religious identity. What does being observant mean to me now? Now that I am without my progressive-trans denominational-intellectual Jewish community, now that chabad is my only walk-able option, now that I am a busy med student who never has enough time, and now that my kavinah (spiritual intention) seems to be elusive at best. Now, what is meaningful for me?

Goals for 5771: (0) Spend some time reconnecting with and reformatting my spiritual identity. (1) Work on broadening my Jewish community in this southern town that I now call home; especially by expanding my circle of liberal-queer-intellectual Jews. While I already know most of the people that fall into the above category, I need to put more energy into really making these people part of my community. (2) Revisit what being shomer shabbos means to me. (3) Make more of an effort to connect with my inner Jewish mother. I miss having people over for shabbos and holidays. I miss taking care of others in my community. (4) Follow through on my plan to volunteer with the local chevra kadisha (people that do burial preparations) as a means of connecting my conflicting identities. (5) More text study! I miss text study.

No comments: