My Birthright trip is looming. I leave a week from Wednesday. I'm at the point where I'm asked, "Are you excited?" at least once a day.
I hesitate every time.
I was born and raised in a tight knit Jewish community in Miami miles away from where my dad grew up and down the street from where my parents met. Everyone knew everyone. I didn't go to school with or know kids who weren't Jewish until 7th grade, which was the year of my bat mitzvah. Shortly thereafter, we moved to Dallas. Our second day there, I found a KKK notice on our lawn. I brought it inside to my mother; she screamed her head off and said we were leaving. We stayed for five years. I spent the first one crying every night for my beloved Miami until I realized we weren't going back. I gave in, joined BBYO, and again my social life was defined by Judaism. I knew no other way.
I decided to step out of the box in college and join the all-American sorority, in which I was the token Jew and that was always good for a laugh. I dated a Jewish boy whom I truly believed I'd marry (nope) but for the first time, religion did not dominate my extracurricular activities or circle of friends. My best friend was (is!) Catholic and took me home for Easter our senior year. I loved every minute of it. A large banner reading "HE IS RISEN" hung outside of the church which reminded me of living in Dallas because we had a neighbor who put up the same sign every Easter. A month later I graduated college, said goodbye to the guy and moved to New York.
I thought that of all the places I've lived, this would be the easiest place to be Jewish. I was wrong. It's been the hardest. I'm such a different person than who I was in high school and I don't care what anyone says, meeting a good Jewish man in this city is no small feat. I had ten girls at my birthday party last year. One was Jewish. This year I'll have more girls, but the Jew to Wasp ratio won't change much. It doesn't bother me. I love my social life and I'm so comfortable where I am, but my how things have changed.
We don't talk much about the actual title of this blog, so here it is. My clothing isn't as Waspy as it once was, and I'm not as Jewish as I once was. I'm terrified about going to Israel. I've never felt more sure of who I am but I've also never felt further away from my religion. And as content as I am, that just doesn't feel right. I'm really hopeful that this is just what I need to reconnect and find the happy medium between the two that I so desperately crave. And I will be bringing my Brooks Brothers shirt and my Lilly Pulitzer wrap. Because no matter what happens or changes, I still am and will always be the Jewish Girl in Wasp's Clothing.