Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Being Jewish is Splendiferous.

I love this photo in a way that cannot be put into words!

The most frustrating thing about life, is not having enough time to blog. Those of you who know me know how therapeutic this blog is for me. It keeps me sane when the rest of the world is spinning at light speed around me. So for the past few weeks, I've been running on adrenaline, planning and emailing and trying to make sure all of our bases are covered as new wedding-like things get thrown our way. Luckily, probably the most difficult part of the planning process is done -- we've booked a hall! Amen. It was not only the cheapest, but also the nicest. It includes everything (including booze), save the DJ and centerpieces (which I am more than happy to create myself!). Now? Dresses and invitations and wedding registries and LEARNING. Yes, lots of kallah-style learning with one of my BFFs in West Hartford.

The reality of the engagement really set in last night at the L'Chaim/Engagement Party/Vort that Evan and I had at our good friend's home. Dozens of people came, some sporting beautiful gifts and others booze. There was more food than could be consumed (we came home with a lot of a cake, some cupcakes, veggies, dips, frozen goodies, and more!), and laughs like you couldn't imagine. One of the best parts? A friend from the community that moved away last year while I was away in Middlebury at Ulpan actually came to the event. When he walked in the door, I plotzed! This guy, I mean, he's hilarious. It was the perfect highlight to an already wonderful evening. My professor also showed up with his wife, which was a hefty surprise. A good friend of Tuvia's drove up all the way from New York and brought our rabbinic intern with her, which also meant so much to us. People from both of the shuls we frequent in the community came, and the l'chaims were bountiful. There was singing, and conversation, and jokes. I took plenty of photos to capture all of the happiness that bloomed as the night went on. What else is there to say? I felt so loved. Tuvia and I barely spoke the entire night, as the guests poured in and we had so many kind things to discuss with people. In fact, one guest even gave us a piece of artwork with our names on it. Talk about feeling loved!

It's amazing to me, and almost difficult to truly understand, how truly beautiful the Jewish family is. The community is something unlike anything I've ever experienced. Those of you who grew up in the Jewish community, especially the Orthodox one, have no idea how disconnected and un-warm the rest of the world is. It blows my mind, every day, how connected, tied together Jews are to one another. No matter where you go, there's this ready-made family there for you. That's something special, something unique, something truly splendiferous. Had I not found myself within the Jewish family, I think my neshama and subsequently my physical body, would have sputtered out and drifted away a long time ago. I would have lost myself. Sometimes (a lot of the time) it's overwhelming to be in the Jewish community -- it's meals, simchas, shabboses, yom tovs, and every event planned in between. The socializing, the love, the hugs, the constant flow of welcome, for someone like me coming from the Outside World, is emotionally exhausting in the most beautiful way. To be honest, I wouldn't want it any other way. For all of the nights that I just want to sleep, but instead spend hours talking with friends after a meal on Shabbos, not sleeping until 12:30 in the morning, I am thankful and blessed.

What a life, eh? What a life. More photos below in the slideshow!