Last year, around this time, I wrote about how different my situation was from year's past. Last year, at Rosh Hashanah, I was starting anew. It seems that almost every year, for the past four years, I've been doing something different.
In 2005, I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska, finishing up my bachelor's in journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I was attending a Reform shul, and I was preparing for my then-imminent conversion. I was seeing someone long-distance, sleeping a lot, and coasting through my senior year. My Judaism was unspeakably important to me, but it was a very different Judaism.
In 2006, I was living in Washington D.C., working at The Washington Post as a copy editor on the Metro desk. I'd been hired on there after an amazing summer internship. I was dating a Jewish guy, lamenting my inability to have Fridays off, and feeling a little lost without a community or a sense of who I was. I was studying the weekly parshot at a bustling coffee shop, and I was expressing my Judaism through my blog and through d'varei Torah.
In 2007, I was living in Chicago, Illinois, working at the University of Chicago in the department of economics for a tyrannical professor. I was working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I was dating my on-again, off-again boyfriend, eating decadently, and gearing up for what I thought would be an outstanding High Holiday season at a Reform shul in Chicago. I was still studying the weekly parshah, blogging, going to shul every Friday, and trying to figure out -- still -- where I fit in Judaism, and subsequently, who I was Jewishly.
In 2008, I was living in Storrs, Connecticut, starting my master's degree in Judaic studies at the University of Connecticut. I had just met a guy on JDate, was loving my classes, and at that point had realized that the only path for me was Orthodoxy and an Orthodox conversion. But those plans were on hold as I was living on campus, carless, and had yet to track down an Orthodox synagogue.
And now? In 2009? I'm in my second year of my master's program, still dating the same guy, still working on my Judaism (an endless and exciting process), and anticipating an Orthodox conversion in 5770. I'm unsure where I'll be at this point next year -- in a PhD program? Or maybe not? Living in West Hartford? Or maybe not?
Will I be Jewish? Always. Will I be learning? You betcha. Will I be in flux in my observance, assessing and reassessing how I live my live? Of course. It's the way I live my life. It's the Jewish way!
It's interesting to see how my Rosh Hashanah yearly posts have changed over the years, going all the way back to my days on Livejournal. I've definitely run the spectrum of Judaism, starting as a Reform Jew in Lincoln, Nebraska, and arriving as an Orthodox Jew in Connecticut. There's nowhere to go but up, up, and away in 5770!
So with that, a small reflection, I want to wish you all a Sweet and Happy New Year. Shanah Tovah, and may you have life, health, and happiness in the new year. May your families grow, your hearts be full, and your minds be at ease.
(Rosh Hashanah Day 1, Lunch Menu: Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Tzimmis, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Honey-Spice Cake, Couscous, Salad, Chumus, and Challah. OH YEAH! Oh, and our new fruit? Kiwi!)