I envisioned this blog originally as a space about feminism, but since no thought can enter my brain without first taking a trip through the Jewish/feminist/writer filter, I think I’ll post these thoughts.
Rosh Hashanah was hard this year. I finally made it to shul, guilt ridden, early Sunday afternoon, to hear shofar. I do not want guilt in anyway to be associated with my Jewish decisions, but it seems to have made it in there by osmosis, or more likely, by socialization. Regardless, I stood on the periphery of services watching people, wondering if they were connecting as authentically as they seemed to be, and if so, how? Every time I looked down at my prayer book, I felt lonely, and then frustrated, and then angry. I can’t remember if that’s happened to me before, and if it has, I don’t think it’s ever been so stark, so stubbornly refusing to move.
I’ve mostly been able to process those feelings: 1. The week that proceeded Rosh Hashanah was one of the more insane in my recent professional life. 2. Rosh Hashanah comes at the time of year when I most want to change everything about my life in the most irrational way. 3. No matter how much I might have wanted to fool myself into thinking otherwise, there are just certain parts of the Jewish community that aren’t right for me, the kind of Jew I am, or the kind I am becoming.
When I write fiction, I can, and often do, hide behind my characters. There is the place where I don’t, and so here they are, the things I have to look in the face while I’m hungry tomorrow: I’m not patient. I judge people when they make choices I can’t abide with my politics or my guts, which are really the same to me. I have so much trouble assuming good intentions. I don’t call people back. I get frustrated and then I lose perspective. I don’t treat myself well. I’ve been insincere, especially around my Judaism. There are people who, in spite of my best efforts, I cannot forgive, and that realization makes me exhausted.
I’m feeling a little more fortified on this eve of the eve, but let’s be honest: Yom Kippur is like going to the psychiatrist-whoever you were able to manage to convince yourself you were before gets blown apart the minute you walk into the office.