Dec 11, 2009

I'm Here to Start a Fire.


Me, in Caesaria, Israel.


I've decided, that after nearly a month (I'm a few days short) of not blogging, I'm coming back. Not with a vengeance or anything cute like that, but with a reaffirmation of my purpose. This blog has a purpose, and it's a greater purpose than tooting my own horn and sharing my story in an effort to turn a trick as a celebrity blogger. I'm not here to expose you all to the very fine details of my life -- you would be surprised, I'm sure, at the amount of things you don't know about me, specific life experiences that both shaped and altered how I arrived where I am today. But there are sacred instances and moments in my life. This blog isn't trying to make waves or "fight the man" with the name "Modesty," either.

But make no mistake: My story is unique.

In fact, all of our stories are unique. It is how we relate to these stories that makes us all seem the same. I posted about my experience with the beth din, and I had an outpouring of comments and emails and Twitter replies telling me how similar peoples' experiences were, or how they really understood what I was going through, or how they hope their own experience with the beth din will go smoothly. My story is unique, but it is relatable. We're all human, and we all have a story to tell. We connect to others through kernels or moments of the stories of others. Thus, we're all storytellers -- it's just that some of us are more inclined or motivated or passionate about writing them down so that others can experience that spark of familiarity.

It's that spark, that big world turned small, that I love about blogging. The world is a huge place, with billions of people, going about their business, searching ultimately for connections. We thrive on interaction and developing relationships and this is how we learn to understand one another. This is what I promote here, on this blog. I promote the building of connections and understanding through blogging my life. I'm not immodest about my experiences and my life, in fact, I try to be as honest as I can without harming the character of others. I also think I do a pretty damn good job at it.

The reason I decided to start blogging again, right now, even though my conversion hasn't gone through yet and even though all of the moving parts in my life are not certain, is because of a comment I got from a reader on my beth din post. The comment said the following: "I loved this post, thank you for sharing your anxiety and worry, I found it to be such a comfort." Now, there's nothing particularly earth-shattering in the words, but they're the words that have been echoed about a million times in reader comments over the past three and a half years that I've been doing this. The thanks, the relation, the familiarity, the fact that I give ease to the minds of others. It wasn't my original purpose with this blog, but as I moved and grew in my Judaism, it became that. And I am so proud that this is how it's turned out. So after reading that comment, I said to myself: "Chaviva, this blog is your passion, your therapy, your connection to the world, you must blog!" I considered this, along with Chanukah coming up (it starts tonight, don't forget to light the menorah BEFORE the Shabbos candles!), and I realized something.

What I do here, whether others agree or not, is bring light into the world in the best way I know how -- through words.

I can't change minds or opinions about my character and whether how I present myself on this blog is appropriate for a modern Orthodox Jewish girl, but what I can do is continue what I started. I can't really finish what I started, because it was never meant to be finished (much like the journey in Judaism is a perpetual one). I'm here to tell my story, discuss Judaism, and to light a fire in all of the people who come across these pages. It is not unheard of here at Just Call Me Chaviva for a Jew to be inspired by something and head to shul that week. If I can light that kind of fire in a Jew, then I think I'm doing some serious good -- I'm helping in the eternal effort to remind Jews to be proud of who they are, to be involved, to develop their Judaism.

So I continue. This is my story, a unique story, a fire-starter, if you will. Stay tuned for some comments about Israel, Chanukah, and how I'm feeling about my Judaism these days.

Chanukah Sameach v'Shabbat Shalom!

22 comments:

Becky said...

Welcome back! I've never commented before and only found your blog a few months ago but was sad when I read you'd be stopping for awhile. I converted to Judaism under what probably most closely resembles a reform conversion (the synagogue is unaffiliated with any specific branch) but have found myself looking for more lately and many of your posts have made me think about my Judaism in ways I might not have otherwise. So I, for one, am glad to see you back so that I'm challenged and spurred on to study by your ideas once more.

Anna said...

Welcome back! I haven't commented before either, but thought this was a good time to start. I missed your blog posts while you were on your hiatus. I am not Jewish, but I have several close friends who are, and I enjoy learning about Judaism. I have learnt heaps from your blog! Happy Chanukah!

Anonymous said...

Chaviva, I can't believe that anyone would or could think that your blogging is immodest! Sure, there are plenty of immodest blogs out there, but yours is not one of them. You write with insight and thoughtfully about subjects that matter to many people. I'm truly sad at what must have been said to you. Please keep on writing!
Shira

N said...

Glad you're back :)

Ofir Hauptmann said...

What is immodest about this blog? That's insane. Glad you're back.

Gil said...

Chaviva
Your expression is important to us (your readers) and you as well. No where in Jewish thought is there a notion that the search for meaning is supposed to be easy and that all you have to do is pick up an Artscroll, read it, and then everything makes sense (OK Rambam says that about his books, but it clearly did not work). Instead -- you have to grapple with ideas and struggle to understand that which perplexes us all. Using your blog to express your thoughts and reach out to others is a PERFECT use of your writing and thinking skills -- and we all value it. Anyone threatened by it is clearly uncertain in their own faith or clarity of message. The notion that anyone frum is threatened by thinking or arguing is incredibly ironic. Pick up a gemara and read it -- it's full of thinking and arguing. We don't edit it away but preserve the conversation because we value the process of arriving at insight. And sometimes we find times when we agree with a position that we once rejected. So blog away and be the best Chavivia you can be. You blogging is part of your tefilah -- even the parts that are a bit irreverent.

Think about the part of tefilah that are irreverent: At the end of Yom Kippur we yell out "P'tach lanu Sha'ar" -- "open the gates for us, even though You God are closing them". We demand "Hashivenu Hashem eilecha vinashiva" -- "You should do the Teshuva (return/respond/repent) for us, then we'll do teshuva to you". Considering how many times we demand and challenge G-d in tefilah (and how Avraham, Mosha, Eliyahu, etc. did in the Torah), I think we have a national reputation of speaking up and speaking out. You are clearly one of us now -- so continue to speak up too. We are reading and supporting you in your journey - as it inspires all of up in our own journeys too.

hadassahsabo said...

Yay! Chavi is back!! Luv ya girl. Rock On.

Mottel said...

Welcome back. Blog wisely and keep us inspired.

Dr. Eviatar said...

So glad to have you back, Chaviva! I've missed reading your adventures ;-).

Shavu'a tov, Hadass.

elisabeth said...

yay!

SusQHB said...

Chanukah Sameach My Friend! Glad to see you bringing light again to all those who need a spark.

lirridum said...

glad ur back

shavuatov said...

Ah good. The world is turning on its axis again. Missed the posts, without a doubt!

rachel

Stephanie said...

I can't tell you how excited I was to see that you're back and blogging! Reading about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences about conversion and how you're growing in your Judaism have been immensely helpful to me as I do the same. Many thanks for continuing to share your light with others!
Happy Hanukkah!!

Chaviva said...

Wow, you guys know how to make a blogger feel loved.

I picked a horrible time to start re-blogging. Finals are keeping me BUSY as can be.

Stay tuned!

BookMoth said...

Never commented before, but really glad you're back.

A gitn Khanike!

Keep bloggin'.

Elianah-Sharon said...

I am glad you're back. Our journeys are similar and I find great chesed from your story. You spur me on.

Batya said...

b'hatzlacha

Katherine said...

agreed. b'hatzlacha, chaviva.

Bethany said...

I'm thrilled to see you back!

Mechelle said...

Hi,
I'm so glad you have kept on blogging. I also converted more than 12 years ago. I married 10 years ago to a man who is very interested in observing Shabbos. We have 2 girls now. Most of my husband's extended family do not observe Shabbos. It has been difficult at times to help others understand why we do it, and gain support and understanding. Somehow, my family gets it, mostly. We really don't want to be a thorn in their side or party poopers.
I started looking for blogs like yours to help inspire me to keep on track. Thanks for your blogging.

Chaviva said...

Mechelle -- thank you! It's readers like you who *keep* me blogging! It is difficult with the varying observances of my now-husband's family and my non-Jewish family, but we make it work. In the end, things work themselves out.

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