Hanging out in the unknown

I was a very impulsive child (and an impulsive teen and young adult!). I remember very vividly my Savta (grandmother) would always tell me “savlanut!”, which means “patience!” in Hebrew. It was hard for me to see the long term-I like instant satisfaction, immediate reward, imminent action. It’s hard for me not to take action, or to sit on my hands and wait once I have set things in motion (for those into astrology, I have a ton of Aries in my chart, which for me explains a lot).

I’ve come to almost half-way through my time in Israel and I’m thinking about what my next moves are. I love this country so so much. I just spent a week traveling around with my mom, who’s here visiting, and my sister. It’s such a beautiful country, with such a rich history. I love the Jews here, the Judaism, the spirituality, the different ways of practicing, the presence of God (physically, in language, in practice). I love speaking and learning Hebrew, studying new and ancient texts, connecting with people for whom Judaism is such a central part of their being, as it is for me.

I want to stay longer. Right now, at this moment in time, I desperately want to stay longer. I want to learn more, I want to become more fluent in Hebrew, I want to meet a mate, I want to grow more spiritually, in my practice, in my beliefs. I want to establish and cultivate meaningful relationships with people who have similar values. I want to feel supported by my country, my city, my community, to be in a place where Judaism is embedded into the fabric of life. I want to be able to see my family here, get to know them even better, celebrate simchas (happy occasions) together.

And yet…I miss my mom. I miss my dad. I miss my friends. I miss my car! Life in the US is more comfortable, materially. And more comfortable because I grew up there; I know how things work, I can go to the post office and only spend an hour, not half a day. I speak the language, I know the norms, and it would be, on one hand, very easy to go back and on the other hand, extremely difficult.

I will leave this year of studies with a graduate certificate in Jewish Studies, to complement my BA and MA in Religious Studies. I love learning, and am thinking about possibly doing a PhD. My grandfather was a Conservative rabbi and conducted a lot of research for a PhD on Jewish identity, which is something I am fervently passionate about. Do I want to finish the work he started? Do I want to be in the academic world? I feel pulled to Hebrew University. I desperately want to study there, but can I? Is it worth it? Can I afford it? Should I get another degree?

Perhaps logically it makes sense for me to go back to the States, get a job, and gain experience, but that doesn’t stir my soul, doesn’t pull my heart strings.

So Ma La’asot?, as we say here in Israel. What to do? Well…nothing! There’s nothing I can actually do right now, or know right now. All I can do is hang out in the unknown, put my feelers out there, do research on programs and opportunities, make lists of qualities that I want in a life, community, work/learning environment (as my genius father suggested), and then DO NOTHING. Do you know how hard that is for me!? But this will be a practice in letting go, in having faith, in knowing that whatever power that is greater than me, that I strongly believe in and work so hard to cultivate a relationship with, will give me signs, lead me in the right direction, wake me up to possibilities. So I am waiting. And watching. And praying for signs. And just being comfortable in the discomfort. Welcoming the not knowing. Because I don’t know everything. And I can’t just do enough things to make the answers appear. But I can have faith. And patience. And make this a practice in mindfulness, and compassion towards myself. And breathe. Can’t forget to breathe!

Originally from my blog Enlightened Judaism