Monica Rozenfeld moves to Brooklyn with two roommates — a Catholic and an observant Jew — and they each seek understanding of what it means to be religious.
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Finding My Jewish
Is it ironic that the most Jewish thing I do is contribute to a Catholic website? I once did a lot more. I worked Jewish, I freelanced Jewish, my entire social life was pretty much Jewish. Not so much the case this year, and I’m kind of relieved.
Some of you who have read my blog in the past know I went on this sort of religious rollercoaster. From not growing up religious at all, to wanting to marry a rabbi and wear long skirts, I pretty much tested the waters wherever I could. And then a funny thing happened, I went back to exactly how I always was and who I always wanted to be, and couldn’t be happier.
In journalism school, where I am now, we don’t exactly get to go home early on Friday to prepare for Shabbat, or take off for non-high holidays such as Sukkot as we did in my old job. While Farrah participated in Sukkot services and celebrations, I was working on a video for class about cat callers. It became clear to me that by doing what I love, something else will have to give.
I look at the successes of my teachers who without a doubt do not regret taking a job that has forced them to give up something else, at some point. They believe that their job, by telling stories and informing people, is their way of giving back. As one girl who I interviewed told me, “You do this every day? What an amazing way to live.”
The other day I found out that two fellow students wrote a story on Sukkah City and got it published. Part of me felt a little like Wait, that’s my territory! I’m the one who writes the Jewish stuff. But then I realized that’s not what I’m here for. I’m not in school to write more Jewish stuff, about stuff I already know. I’m here to expand who I am and get myself outside what started to feel a little like suffocation by living only in a Jewish world, and not the entire world. I hope that’s not offensive.
And so I left that “world” and for the first time in a very long time feel opened to what comes next. For the first time in a while, I’m not worried about what I will do with my life, how religious I should be, how I will make money, etc.
As my one teacher said, “Do what you love and money will come. And if money doesn’t come, at least you will be doing what you love.” I don’t know what’s holier than that.