Just a quick response to a couple of my comments.
In terms of if I’ve ever wanted to the "rebel" and become less religious... I have really never wanted to become less religious, with the exception of the fact that I ride on Shabbat and my parent's don't. But yes, I did go through my little "rebellious" state which is actually quite funny since it isn't very rebellious at all... once at summer camp in like the 7th grade my friend and I got a staff member to get us a pepperoni pizza. I don’t know if it was the best thing ever because the pizza place was great, because we were so used to eating awful camp food, or because it was rebelling but that pizza was REALLY good. Don’t try to tempt me now though; I’m over the whole pepperoni craving.
To answer Kara’s two questions: I write G-d instead of writing out the whole word because there is something in the Torah that says you shouldn’t take G-d’s name in vain and that you should never write or say in unless its in prayer, and several other notes about the do’s and don’ts. There is actually a lot of debate about if the non-Hebrew writing of the word should be included but it’s just something I’ve always done. In terms of alcohol, with the exception of Passover (when you can’t have anything with yeast, i.e. beer), any kind of alcohol pretty much goes, except for ceremonies. For prayers and ceremonies and the like the wine you use must be Kosher, and it’s marked the same way that Kosher food is. And it is more than just Manishevitz. But, for example, my mom will say Kiddish (the blessing over the wine) with Kosher wine and then switch over to regular wine, that’s perfectly fine (good question though).
Lastly, next week’s post well start going into why I have really loved being Jewish and my experiences so the answers to all those questions are coming. Thanks!!