It's a Jew Thing

What's it like growing up an observant Jew in a modern non-Jewish world? Read on...

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Little Wrap-up....

This is officially my last blog post for BUAD477... I am happy to say however that is isn’t my last post ever. I plan to keep up with the blog because of all the positive response and interest I have received over this semester. Thank you all so much for it!! I really appreciate all of your interest and the open-mindedness to learn about something new and ask questions, especially something that is so important to me. Please feel free to keep asking questions and checking back so I know what to keep writing about. My posts might not be as frequent but they will definitely be coming, especially if someone is asking questions about something.

Next, thanks to everyone for your comments along the way. They have constantly made me smile. Matt – thanks for your last comment. I remember you telling me a while back about your Israel trip and I think that taking a trip that includes learning about the troubling history of Jews in Europe (especially during World War II) is an amazing and meaningful opportunity as well.

In regards to your question about a career involving Judaism, I have actually thought a lot about it over the years so it’s really interesting that you should ask. As I have said before, I did staff a summer trip for USY and the organization has been a very meaningful part of my life, especially the bonds I have formed with so many kids over my years of working for NERUSY, so I have thought a fair amount about working for them in some way. It is so meaningful to impact these youth teens’ lives and to help them feel more comfortable with their Judaism and with themselves, as I was made to feel comfortable. I know it is going to sound really weird since I have been spending this entire semester sharing knowledge, but there are actually a lot of things I don’t know and a lot of things in terms of Jewish education that I would not be capable of. Also, it is just hard because my career goals in business are so different from my religious involvement. Should there ever come a time where I had an opportunity to incorporate the two, especially if it involved teenagers, I would definitely want to take advantage of it. Also, depending where the road leads me next year, I hope to find a way that I can balance my job with a job working for a local USY chapter (assuming there is a chapter near where I am).

Ok, well that is it for now. But like I said, please keep checking back for more from my crazy Jewish life and please keep commenting so I know if I should keep writing.

International's coming!!!

As of this evening it is official, before I pack my bags for my study abroad trip in Europe, I will pack my bags for a Holiday Inn in New Jersey and then for the Marriott in Downtown Philadelphia. That is because I will be staffing USY International Convention, as a staff member for NERUSY for the third year in a row, and it will be my fifth time attending total (I also attended as a member twice when I was in high school). Every year the convention consists of a four day pre-convention, with just the members from the New England Region USY (NERUSY) attending, then the “real” convention for five days. The convention is the one time a year when members from all 17 of the regions in the United States and Canada coming together to meet each other, make friends, take educational classes, help the community, and have fun. It is pretty insane since there are usually around 1350 people there, including staff. But it’s so spirited and fun. Having gone as a USY member I know that you really get to make friends from around the country and they are always in the nicest hotels.

My first IC (short for International Convention) was actually in Boston and that’s why I got to go – it was very inexpensive since it was right near my house and so there were no travel fees. After that, my senior year of high school I went to IC in Washington, DC and it was actually at the hotel where my parents had first met about 30 years before when they were at International Convention there (cute, I know). After that I had to miss a year because people in their freshman year of college are too old to go as members and are not old enough to go as staff members. Unfortunately that means I missed the amazing chance to spend nine days in Orlando, Florida, and since then it’s been in a “cold place” every year. But I have been there and have been really lucky to be a staff member (especially because I get these nine days for free and I get to spend time with the kids I love). So my first year as a staff member NERUSY enjoyed pre-convention in Montreal and then actual convention in Toronto (trust me it was pretty cold), then last year it was to Chicago for pre-convention and for IC.

So this year, I have just found out today I will again be a staff member accompanying NERUSY and I am extremely excited because, as you all know, it is “my girls’” senior year and therefore their last IC. This year NERUSY is spending pre-convention touring New York City but is actually staying at a hotel in New Jersey. Then we’ll move to downtown Philadelphia for five days of greatness and I am SUPER excited so I just had to share it with everyone!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

It was suggested that for my next post I write about the differences between when I lived at home and now that I live on my own, in terms of my Jewish practices. So what I could really think of was three big differences, which are as follows:

1. Keeping Kosher - Away at school I pretty much keep Kosher the same that I did at home with a few small differences. Since all of my roommates obviously don't keep Kosher I don't live in a strictly "Kosher Home" and the oven and such isn't Kosher because non-Kosher items are cooked there. But what I can do at home is good enough for me because it is the best option that I have available at this point in my life. Also, since it isn't a "Kosher home" if I go out to dinner and have leftovers I can bring them home and eat them later. At my regular house I can't do that because it would be bringing non-Kosher food into a strictly Kosher home. That might sound a little confusing but I can't really figure out how to explain it better than that.

2. Riding on Shabbat - As I explained in a previous post, my family does not ride in a car on Shabbat as part of our practice. Away at school I have pretty much stopped this practice. I don't for the most part understand why it was my family’s practice, which is probably part of the reason why I stopped doing it at school. Of course when I am at home I still follow my family’s practice of not riding on Shabbat.

3. Going to Services - At home I didn't go to services every Shabbat after I graduated from Hebrew School (which is when I stopped having to go) but I still went from time to time for Shabbat services, especially if there was a special event going on at the synagogue. And I would go to services on all of the Jewish Holidays... I didn't go to school on any of those days and I pretty much had to go to services, not that I minded at all. But here at school I never had a chance to really feel part of the Jewish community and I have really never felt comfortable at any of the services offered on campus. So, unfortunately, I never because as involved in Judaism on campus as I'd always hoped to in high school. I don't really go to services ever and I always try to go home or away from school for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover so I can observe the holidays in a place I feel a little more comfortable. It's a little to late to worry about that now though, since I am coming to the end of my time at Delaware and will soon move onto another stage of my life where I will have to again redefine the way I practice.

I think that's it for this time. My next post might be my last within the class period so if there is anything else you are really dieing to know about please let me know so I can write about it.
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