Friday, July 1, 2011

Revisiting Last Friday's Post

Last Friday's soapbox moment got a lot of attention. Worse, it got a lot of sympathy, proving that I'm not alone. However, I want to clarify what prompted me to write that post because of some of the reactions in the comments.

As you should all know by now, I'm studying for two bar exams. I just finished law school and immediately packed up and moved to New York City. I was told by a previous beit din (that I am not working with now) that I had to move to NYC or Los Angeles in order to go forward with my conversion. All because I'm single and of childbearing age. I wasn't allowed to go forward with anything in my conversion for over a year now, being left to my own devices and without rabbinic guidance. That's a large part of why I got frustrated enough to begin this blog last October to hold myself accountable.

I had to wait to graduate school in order to move. If this conversion weren't in my life (or I had been satisfied with my conservative conversion), I could have stayed where I was already living or chosen another town. Instead, I had 2 choices: LA or NYC. I made my choice, and I moved. The conversion is the first thing on my mind, not the bar exams, not setting up my apartment, not even looking for a job. I haven't sent out a single resume, much to my dad's dismay.

I just turned 27. I can't date until after I convert, which means a very long time until I'm married. Being Southern (and all the stereotypes that has), I am already a "late bloomer" as far as marriage and family goes. Worse, living in a community with many singles, anyone who interests me and happens to be older than 22 isn't going to stay on the market long. I get to see the "good ones" plucked up while I wait. That's frustrating, both emotionally and physically. I'm only human, after all. 

On the other end of the seriousness scale, I can't figure out how much money to spend on my kitchen right now because I will have to replace almost everything (since so much kitchen stuff can't be kashered) immediately after my conversion. If that is going to be two years from now, I would like to get decent quality kitchen items. If it's 6 months, I should buy the $3 pots at Walmart. It's amazing how paralyzing such a seemingly trivial decision can be.

In short, some days I feel insane. The famous stress of bar exams has only made this worse.

Seven weeks into my New York life, I was very behind in my bar exam studies (less so now) and I don't even have furniture. I put off my bar studies and jumped into learning halacha as much as I could, and to the detriment of my other responsibilities. I pursued the conversion by spending an inordinate amount of time shul shopping. I was so READY to move forward with my life, and I finally had the ability to do so after more than a year. Yet I was still moving at a snail's pace. But after a standstill, a snail's pace was still welcome.

All this sparked friends, family, and even rabbis to tell me to put the conversion aside and focus on my bar studies. What? That's crazy talk. With every day of someone telling me my priorities are misplaced, I became more frustrated and more alone. 

I still feel that way. But now that I've written my post last Friday, I feel better because I got some of that frustration out of my system. And now I'm finally scared enough of the bar exam to shift my priorities there. After all, it's only a month more delay, right?

Lech lecha and lech lecha and lech lecha.


  1. Hugs!

    I wish I could offer more comfort. Try not to worry, though, about your "expiration date." I remember not that long ago, I found myself coming out of an abusive marriage with two kids and nothing. I was in my thirties and struggling to repair the credit my ex ruined. I resigned myself to living the rest of my life alone, just concentrating on raising them. I mean, what a catch, right? Divorced, broke mother of 2 small children...

    Just as I'd reached a place of acceptance with what I had, two beautiful children and a fresh start, G-d brought the most amazing man into my life, someone who loved not just me, but my children as his own and who loved taking care of us. I believe that G-d put me through what I lived through in my marriage to prepare me to be the person this man deserved and to fully appreciate him.

    Perhaps G-d is making you wait because he has someone that incredible reserved for you and he wants to make sure you are ready and that you will appreciate him?

    Hugs and good luck on the exams!

  2. I just subscribed to your blog recently...and thought you had already finished your geirus. After this post, I'm thinking you haven't completed it??? Good luck and keep us posted. Shabbat Shalom.

  3. Technically, I haven't even started my geirus process!

  4. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    What does that mean, you "haven't even started"? You're so good at networking; I can't believe you don't have a list of recommended rabbis that you haven't yet contacted. That doesn't sound like you. (Actually, it sounds like me. I have an inordinate fear of making "cold" phone calls that borders on phobia.)

    Ask whichever rabbi you'e working with what you should do about the pots.

  5. Since you are most likely to marry a returnee to Jewish observance, or perhaps another convert, your age is not such an issue - from my perspective you are very young. Most prospective partners are going to be a similar age to you. Also, regarding starting a family, you can get married at 20 and wait years to have children, or get married at 30 and have children immediately. I'd be more upbeat in your situation, being a professional with good looks, you shouldn't find it so hard.



  6. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    Given that your entire life IS on hold during the conversion process, your anxiety is real. However, I think gerim in their 20s have an advantage over others their age in that they have made serious life choices already and can deal with the concept that choosing one thing means un-choosing another. The illusion of unlimited horizons in all areas handicaps many successful youngish Jews from being able to commit to marriage on a deeper level.

    Besides, Darling, you're good-looking, you're smart but not intimidating, and you're funny. As my daughters and their girlfriends say, "They (the boys) will be standing in liiiiine". (בעזרת השם)