Now Playing: Bette Middler- The Rose
Today was an excellent Shabbat. I truly feel rested, which is more than I can say for some other Shabbatot that I've had recently. But today was just beautiful. For one thing, the weather is gorgeous right now. We've gone from the threat of snow and cold yucky gray days, to beautiful sunny 70 degree weather with clear skies and yummy smells of spring. How could you not be happy and content on a day like this?
Second, I finally cashed in on my "Sex & the City" day. Back in Septemeber, I paid money at a silent auction (for charity) to have a day of watching a "Sex and the City" season with four friends at my classmate's apartment (who own the DVDs). It took me a while, but we finally did it today. We had bagels and lox, tuna and egg salad, and hand-dipped strawberries and wine. It was exquisite. I decided to invite some girls that I truly enjoy and that I often don't get to hang out with.
The meal started off with us talking about very causal things. But then, we started talking about Palestinean and Israeli relations (because one of the girls took a tour of East Jerusalem yesterday) and things started to get a little heated. We talked about human rights, and America's involvement, and other countries interests in the Middle East. That's when I had this huge realization. There is conflict EVERYWHERE. Including at the lunch party we were having. We all had different opinions on the situation and on elements of the situation, and that's why these issues are so difficult to deal with. We are all human beings with our own opinions and ideas and it's hard to find a middle ground in conflict.
Then we began talking about 9/11 events and how that has changed America and even the way we think about the Arab world and the rammifications of that day. It was sad and heavy (on a day that felt very light and springy) but it was important. These things are important to remember and to bring up and to stuggle with. Otherwise, we just forget, and we become numb and lifeless.
It also made me think about an issue that i've been struggling with lately: Zionism. Last night the President of our college spoke to 100 high school American NFTY exchange students (EIE program) about Zionism, and I led a discussion group with about 10 students and we talked about the role of Israel in our lives. Although I was more than happy to talk about it, it's still an issue for me. I didn't grow up in a particularly strong Zionist household. Judaism was always important, and being concerned about the state of affairs in Israel was important in my synagoge, but the actual idea of being in, living in, or knowing much about Israel was never stressed to me at home, at synagogue, or even at camp. And I don't blame anyone for that...not by any means. But as a future Jewish leader (in a movement that is really trying to reintegrate Zionism back into it's agenda) I need to think about what Zionism and the land of Israel mean to me. For instance, I would come back here in a heartbeat...no matter what the situation may be like politically, socially, or religiously. I feel that it is my duty to support Israel and it's land and inhabitants in whatever way I can. And although I value people's opinions and different views, I no longer feel the need to completely listen to people's views on Israel if they've never been here, never lived here, and never experienced it's richness, beauty, hardships and struggles. I want them to experience it for THEMSELVES! I guess I'm beginning to realize that I am a Zionist. I support the building and maintaing of a peaceful Jewish state in the land of Israel. I think supporting Israel in every sense of the word is one of my biggest responsibilities as a Reform Jew and as a Jewish leader. And I think it's important to promote that idea for others.
So then, we started watching "Sex and the City". I forgot how much I loved it. We watched a few funny episodes (Charlotte's Jewish wedding is absoultely hysterical) and then we watched the last few episodes of the last season, that are a little more serious. And it made me think too (of course). It made me really miss my friends at IU. Particularly my friends Kari, and Karen, and Ashley and Jenny T. who were really my support for the past few years. The more touching episodes made me think of them. We were there for each other through a lot...lots of laughs and good times, and lots of cries and hard times. It really made me miss them.
There's this line in the last episode that talks about all the relationships that people have in their lives. "Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous."
And this made me so happy. Because I truly feel that. Living in a place that is so far from my loved ones has made me realize how important everyone is in my life. My parents. My brother. My grandmother. Michael, Phyllis, and David. My friends. My mentors. My life.
But I've also been able to experience new friendships...and even new loves. A new love of the unexpected and the unknown. A new love for my classmates and friends. And most importantly, for me. I've learned so much about myself this year, and I've really learned to love myself..in all ways. I love that I love it here. I love that I miss home. I love that I struggle with my life here.
And I know that by finding out who I am and truly accepting it all, the relationships that I have in my life will only get stronger. And people will love and do love me for the me that I love! And that's the greatest blessing of all......