11 Years On

Today marks 11 years since I stepped out of the mikvah at Tiferet Israel as a newly minted Jew. I marked last year with a ceremony that also marked the end of shloshim for my mom. I reflected on how much my relationship with the community had changed and how instrumental they were in holding me up during the worst time of my life. Going through the Jewish grieving process helped me tremendously. I was allowed to completely let myself be overtaken by the grief for a period of time and didn’t have to worry because my friends and community held me. But I was also gently pushed back into the world and reminded that my mom would not be pleased if I just gave up. I don’t know how I would have coped without that structure and especially my friends and Temple. 

And this year? Well, it’s been quite the change. I got married last month in a Jewish ceremony at Temple, my second home. Mom’s first yahrzeit was marked during our honeymoon, but overall it wasn’t the overwhelming and emotional day I was expecting. I think that was perhaps because I have a strong support system, made even stronger by the addition of my husband, who has been a rock for me, and his family. I’m also expecting a baby, which I’m so excited (and kind of scared) for and cannot wait to start guiding her through the Jewish year and milestones. There was a time when I thought I would never have a chance to raise a Jewish family or go through certain lifecycle events and I’m so grateful for this. 

It might seem dramatic, but Judaism saved my life. It’s certainly opened up my world and expanded my family. The community has held me through the most joyous times and the darkest times. It hasn’t always been perfect, nothing is, but it’s been exactly what I needed.

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