Busted Halo

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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September 10th, 2010

I’ve been learning more about Judaism from living with Farrah and Monica, but feel that I haven’t been able to express my Catholic identity and share that side with them. While Farrah was saying morning prayers yesterday for Rosh Hashanah, I realized I should pray more. Often, it’s the hard times that you ask God for help, but it shouldn’t be that way.

Last week was a rough one for me. Three of my closest friends and family members wound up in the hospital. It’s times like these that shake up one’s faith and you can either turn to God or feel hopeless on your own.

I’ll admit I don’t go to church every Sunday, but I do pray and thank God for my blessings when I remember. This time, however I needed to devote more attention. rosary beads

Where does one even begin?

When its people who had such a major impact on your life suffering, you tend to find the right words.

While it may have taken some time to find the words, the closure I felt was indescribable and though I know I can’t cure either of my friends’ sicknesses on my own, a prayer never hurt anyone.

Do …

September 8th, 2010

After I got over the bacon, light switch, Passover thing, I started to really get into the whole moving in together thing.  I thought about cookware, bedroom setup, odds and ends we’d have to buy.  In addition I realized I forgot a small detail.

Mezuzah on my bedroom door, purchased in the market in Tel Aviv.

Mezuzah on my bedroom door, purchased in the market in Tel Aviv.

“Hey Annie, do you know what a mezuzah is?” I asked over Gchat.  “I don’t think so…what is it?”

“Well, it goes on the doorpost and has a prayer in it and is put up for protection,” I tried to explain as best as I could.  When Annie asked if she’d be able to see the prayer, I had to tell her that it’s on parchment enclosed in a case, and of course immediately took to Wikipedia to explain when I couldn’t.  Thank G-d for the internet.

Once Annie understood what a mezuzah is and its significance, she was totally cool with it (and she realized the connection between the mezuzah and one of the 10 plagues in the Passover story).  And I professed my love for her and appreciation of her understanding.  It made me wonder, though, what if Annie had asked me …

September 2nd, 2010

Friday night was, for the first time in a while, a much-needed night for Shabbat. And while I had plans to go to an 80’s dance party with my one roommate Annie, I still had to ask Farrah what she was doing for Shabbos.

Photo Credit: Sam Felder

Photo Credit: Sam Felder

“I’m going to dinner at this really cool family’s house. Want to come?!”

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I looked for a Shabbos outfit that could somehow translate to 80’s in case I could milk both events for the night. My unruly, curly hair worked out either way.

I got to dinner at 9 pm (Shabbos starts late in the summer) with Stella in hand. About two dozen people were in the apartment, waiting for dinner to start. I was immediately taken back to all the times I kept Shabbat, and how meaningful they were for me.

With phone off, reciting prayers I can only recite with transliteration, good food and meeting new people, I forgot all about the 80’s party I planned to go to, and wasn’t all that upset to miss it. It was past midnight when I left, walking home without thinking about taking the lazier …

August 25th, 2010

Growing up Catholic, I’ve come across the word Kosher a few times in my life but never really knew what keeping Kosher entailed. My aunt once requested Matza from our local supermarket and I was directed to the Kosher aisle and that’s been my only encounter. So, when Monica informed me that our roommate, Farrah, kept Kosher and showed distaste for anything bacon I thought it’d be easy enough. Boy, did I have a lot to learn.

The day I moved into the apartment I realized my dishes and silverware had to be kept separate from Farrah’s as well as my pots and pans. Imagine my distress when I thought I used one of her frying pans to cook dinner. Luckily, it turned out to be Monica’s and Farrah told me if I accidentally used something of hers, just let her know. The worst that happens is I get another dish and she buys a new one. Easy enough.

Last weekend my friend Wendy visited the apartment and we quickly learned the hard way what Kosher means. When making pasta, Wendy dumped the hot water into one of Farrah’s bowls in the sink. Farrah ran in screaming, “STOP! What are …

August 25th, 2010

bacon-lightswitchesIf only it were that simple. If only considering to live with a non-observant Jew and a Catholic was only about not cooking bacon in the apartment and keeping the light on in the bathroom during Shabbat.

I spent an hour on the phone with Monica gauging Annie’s love of bacon and her knowledge of the rules of the Sabbath. Even before my kosher-keeping days I’ve had an aversion to bacon. Once, while staying with a friend and her then boyfriend, I sat on top of their couch with my head hanging out the window while they made Sunday brunch: eggs and bacon. While complaining about my bacon-induced nausea, Monica confessed her distaste for shrimp after a college roommate had Costco-sized cravings. Okay. No shellfish, no pork. Check.

“But what about Shabbat?” I asked. Would Annie find it odd that I wouldn’t turn the lights on and off from sundown Friday till nightfall Saturday? “Annie is the nicest, most easy-going person. She won’t think you’re crazy,” Monica reassured me. Okay. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. Until, of course, I was left with my thoughts and over a week later it dawned on me – what about

August 20th, 2010

You may have been following my adventures at Rendezvous with G-d, from covering a website for religious Jews seeking extramarital affairs, to interviewing Muslim women and their views on wearing veils. You might remember stories about my personal life, some of which were so personal I chose to later take it down. And today, I close a small chapter of this blog, and open a new one as I move out again. This time I am moving to Brooklyn with a (non-practicing) Catholic and (semi) observant Jew. And more difficult than finding the apartment, might be how to live in the apartment with such varying religious traditions.
So meet the girls who have decided to take this interreligious journey with me. They too will now be contributing to Rendezvous with G-d, as the three of us use our day-to-day living as material for this blog. What will happen if one of us forgets and breaks an important law during Shabbat? Will we get scared of the religious man torching our kitchen in order to make it Kosher? Will one of us become more, or less, religious during this experience? These are all the questions we ourselves are curious to …

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