Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm Here to Start a Fire.

Me, in Caesaria, Israel.

I've decided, that after nearly a month (I'm a few days short) of not blogging, I'm coming back. Not with a vengeance or anything cute like that, but with a reaffirmation of my purpose. This blog has a purpose, and it's a greater purpose than tooting my own horn and sharing my story in an effort to turn a trick as a celebrity blogger. I'm not here to expose you all to the very fine details of my life -- you would be surprised, I'm sure, at the amount of things you don't know about me, specific life experiences that both shaped and altered how I arrived where I am today. But there are sacred instances and moments in my life. This blog isn't trying to make waves or "fight the man" with the name "Modesty," either.

But make no mistake: My story is unique.

In fact, all of our stories are unique. It is how we relate to these stories that makes us all seem the same. I posted about my experience with the beth din, and I had an outpouring of comments and emails and Twitter replies telling me how similar peoples' experiences were, or how they really understood what I was going through, or how they hope their own experience with the beth din will go smoothly. My story is unique, but it is relatable. We're all human, and we all have a story to tell. We connect to others through kernels or moments of the stories of others. Thus, we're all storytellers -- it's just that some of us are more inclined or motivated or passionate about writing them down so that others can experience that spark of familiarity.

It's that spark, that big world turned small, that I love about blogging. The world is a huge place, with billions of people, going about their business, searching ultimately for connections. We thrive on interaction and developing relationships and this is how we learn to understand one another. This is what I promote here, on this blog. I promote the building of connections and understanding through blogging my life. I'm not immodest about my experiences and my life, in fact, I try to be as honest as I can without harming the character of others. I also think I do a pretty damn good job at it.

The reason I decided to start blogging again, right now, even though my conversion hasn't gone through yet and even though all of the moving parts in my life are not certain, is because of a comment I got from a reader on my beth din post. The comment said the following: "I loved this post, thank you for sharing your anxiety and worry, I found it to be such a comfort." Now, there's nothing particularly earth-shattering in the words, but they're the words that have been echoed about a million times in reader comments over the past three and a half years that I've been doing this. The thanks, the relation, the familiarity, the fact that I give ease to the minds of others. It wasn't my original purpose with this blog, but as I moved and grew in my Judaism, it became that. And I am so proud that this is how it's turned out. So after reading that comment, I said to myself: "Chaviva, this blog is your passion, your therapy, your connection to the world, you must blog!" I considered this, along with Chanukah coming up (it starts tonight, don't forget to light the menorah BEFORE the Shabbos candles!), and I realized something.

What I do here, whether others agree or not, is bring light into the world in the best way I know how -- through words.

I can't change minds or opinions about my character and whether how I present myself on this blog is appropriate for a modern Orthodox Jewish girl, but what I can do is continue what I started. I can't really finish what I started, because it was never meant to be finished (much like the journey in Judaism is a perpetual one). I'm here to tell my story, discuss Judaism, and to light a fire in all of the people who come across these pages. It is not unheard of here at Just Call Me Chaviva for a Jew to be inspired by something and head to shul that week. If I can light that kind of fire in a Jew, then I think I'm doing some serious good -- I'm helping in the eternal effort to remind Jews to be proud of who they are, to be involved, to develop their Judaism.

So I continue. This is my story, a unique story, a fire-starter, if you will. Stay tuned for some comments about Israel, Chanukah, and how I'm feeling about my Judaism these days.

Chanukah Sameach v'Shabbat Shalom!