Living the internet’s web as a Jew

This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about ever since the mass gatherings around the world condemning the use of the internet for religious Jews. Apart from the exceptions where the internet is allowed to be used for your profession, the internet was officially ‘banned’. Although, I do work in the realm of the world wide web,…

We are a Jewish museum

Being in Jerusalem makes me want to dance around my apartment and cry with joy. The energy in this large shtetl is of a big fat Jewish family – loud, loving and somewhat hostile all at the same time. Experiencing Israel, and Jerusalem specifically, was definitely one of the main influences for bringing me onto…

The three weeks of mourning and simcha

Everything that goes up must come down. That’s science. Judaism says everything that goes down has the equivalent potential to go up. Our biggest national tragedies and our biggest personal weaknesses can be catapulted into our biggest simchas and achievements. And so the three weeks of national mourning is fast approaching, when the energy of…

Train truths: sociology of public transport

I’ve been catching public transport most of my life. For the last five years it’s been a daily train experience. And an experience it is. It’s a microcosm of society stuffed into a small space. Forced proximity. Survival of the fittest at its best. Most people don’t like public transport. I do. As a curious…

Onion meditation

I must be going insane. Not only have I quit my awesome job, need to pack all my stuff that I’m thoroughly attached to, am losing my apartment and leaving my family, friends and community, I’m now also going to yoga and meditating. This is definitely a sign that I’ve lost the plot! But somehow…

Breaking up to opportunity

It was sparked by a question: “what are you doing there?” Maybe no one has asked me so directly before, or maybe I was too afraid to ask myself. But I heard the message and realised that I was deep within my comfort zone, hiding. Now change has become the answer. Sometimes we have to…

Are you caged or are you free? The source of your intentions, words and actions.

We’re all caged to some degree. We’re caged by our history, our circumstances, our memories, our comforts, our poverty, our society, our families, our fears, our loves, our minds, our clothes and even our bodies. Boundaries, security, but also hiddenness, fragmentation. There’s a part of us, our neshamas, our souls, that is the untouchable part,…

Judaism, the limitless religion

To most people the word religion conjures up ideas such as restriction and obligation. As baalei teshuva we’ve heard it all before from our parents: “why would you want to limit yourself”, they ask rhetorically. And herein lies the profound beauty of religion. True religion that is.  Hold on to your seats.  True religion is…

Knocking at Your wall (a poem)

At the wall of memory and redemption, Can You hear the knocking: The cries, the pleas, the prayers, All knocking at Your wall? Ahavas Yisrael at Your wall.  So many nations, colours, languages. We come from all ends of the earth, linking arms and intentions. Can You see us knocking on Your wall? We plead…

Emunah in being single

Being single on Valentine’s Day has always been hard. You hear it all around. The jealousy is rife when those around us receive gifts and glow from their special someone. There’s extreme joy in the air and extreme bitterness. For many Valentine’s Day is a reminder of what they don’t have or haven’t “achieved”. It’s…

Kiss of Fire: shomer nagia in dating

So the title comes from one of my favourite Louis Armstrong songs: a provocative tango. How appropriate. I can just picture a smokey dim lit room with women and men dancing intimately together in their enticing clothes, trumpet sounds and deep vocals vibrating through them. Been there, done that. One benefit of being baalei teshuva…

Judaism is One. Jews are Many.

This post is about Judaism: what it is and what it isn’t. I’m going to be very blunt because quite frankly its time to make this really clear. You can call me ‘ultra ultra orthodox’, you can call me ‘unaccepting’, you can even call me ‘discriminating’. It’s all semantics. Literally. One of the things I…

Opening your heart to love

For some it’s an obvious extension of who they are. They’re emotionally open, daring. But they’re also sensitive. They feel the ups and the downs more. The air carries with it much potential and much disappointment. Life is a roller coaster. Few of these people can learn from the downs and use them to build…

Closing the Circle: the Star of David

Hashem works with such beauty. Majesty really. I’m going back to Israel after an absence of 6 years. It would just be a holiday but really it’s something a lot more meaningful. You see, I’m coming full circle. The first time I came to Israel was on Taglit Birthright, just to please my family. It…

Jewish religious slang dictionary for beginners

So you’re new to Judaism, to exploring who you are as a Jew, and you walk into a bar. Ok maybe not. You walk into a Jewish shop or synagogue, and “them religious Jews” are speaking in a foreign language, or so it seems. It’s not easy to feel included when you don’t understand every…

Get out of my way or stop and listen?

Can you hear it? No? Probably because you’re running too fast, too tangled in your own thoughts. It’s all about you. Yes, I do it too. It’s the “get out of my way” syndrome. I’m a fast walker. I walk with a purpose, to get somewhere, to do something. There’s nothing wrongs with that per…