Friday, August 9, 2013

#BlogElul Bless

What a wonderful topic to see as we go into Shabbat--after an interview with a student today, I let her know what this blog was about and she replied "You're too blessed to be stressed." [Shout out to Amy B.--now I'll know if you read this or not!]

I'd say for the most part she's right. In the last year and a half, I have been blessed in many ways and begun a transformation into the person that I'm hoping that I'll become one day. Hard work, dedication, and a sense of humor have led me to where I am today.

While stress sometimes has a tendency to take over (leading to what Andy refers to as my "stressball" moments), I find myself better handling adversity than I used to...taking things in stride and realizing that finding a quick and appropriate solution is more successful than stopping to analyze the reasons behind the problem. And it's true...there have been lots of problems along the way. But there are blessings that come from those problems--they lead to memories which shape the person who I am now.

At Hillel Institute, in a professional networking session, we were all asked to share what brought us to the position that we are in today. The questions that we were asked were:

  • What led you to work for Hillel today?
  • What elements of your work do you, or do you hope to, find most meaningful?
  • What energizes you about your work? What is most challenging?
  • How is your Judaism informed by your work?
As my mind started to race, I wrote the following and shared it with the group. Some asked for me to type it up and share it, so here it is. My problems, my solutions, my memories, my blessings.

If I had not been a Jew in a school with no Jews
If I had not lived in my synagogue as a second home
If I had not gone to Jewish camps for eight years, for three years, for one as staff
If I had not worked in synagogues since the age of eight
If I had not written my college essay on "How Judaism Shaped Me"
(yeah, I was that person)
If I had not arranged songs for my Jewish a capella group
If I had not added a second major in Judaic Studies
If I had not decided to get a degree from Gratz College
If I had not applied to rabbinical school and been rejected
If I had not taken two years to study in yeshiva
If I had not taken on Beth Sholom Temple Youth Group
If I had not pushed every program and boundary and fundraiser
If I had not persevered through interview after interview after interview...
Then I wouldn't have made it to Oregon...

Or have gone to Israel (TWICE!) in six months

Or have driven a 12-passenger van in the snow (read: ice)
Or have delivered matzah ball soup throughout campus
Or have understood how a 12 or 13 hour day can fly by
Or have scaled two mountains in two days
Or have read Torah for my students in Jerusalem for their b'nei mitzvot
Or have spent every day this summer in an air conditionerless office
Or have designed newsletters every week that go out to 500 (but are read by 200)...
But I did. I did it all.

And in doing so, I am lucky enough to be living the vibrant Jewish life we seek to create on campus.

And I am all the better for it.

#Tooblessed--maybe. But knowing what to do with all those blessings? And working on keeping them coming? That's the job now. Each day, moment, memory is a blessing. Make sure you're making the most of them--because everything happens for other things to happen.

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