Today and every day, I am a Jew

Today I visited the local mikvah (ritual bath) and had a little ceremony with my rabbi and two other rabbis. This is normally something done by people converting to Judaism; however, one may choose to do it anytime for a variety of reasons.

My mother is Jewish, and therefore I am Jewish by birth. But I wasn't raised Jewish and never had a bat mitzvah, etc. I always longed for that piece of my life and felt a void as I was growing up. I met the Fuhrmans (dear family friends and neighbors) when I was 17 and that's really when my education began. I went to services with them, had Shabbat dinners with them, and they taught me so much. When I went away to college, I became close with a few of my professors who were Jewish, and I often went to synagogue with them. I also knew in my heart I wanted to marry a Jewish man and raise my children in a Jewish home.

When Dan and I got engaged, the rabbi we selected to marry us (back in New Orleans)wanted me to have a mikvah. I just couldn't wrap my head around that one. I felt as if he didn't consider me "Jewish enough" to marry Dan. I ultimately refused to have the mikvah for a myriad of reasons, mostly because the idea of it made me extremely uncomfortable (I was a lot more modest before I had kids---you have to get naked to go to the mikvah) and I also felt as if he was passing judgement on me. I felt that if I was making the decision to identify as a Jew, to lead a Jewish life and create a Jewish home, then those things should be enough. And on some level he must have agreed, because he married us.

Since then, it hasn't felt like enough, though. Perhaps it was the arrival of my children, or maybe joining the temple here in KC...I don't really know. I can't really blame the rabbi for it because he married us despite my refusal to have the mikvah over seven years ago. I guess it's been a feeling growing inside of me, nagging at me; a feeling coming from within---of not being worthy. I guess I just feel like calling oneself a Jew isn't something to be taken lightly. It's not a coat you just throw on. You have to earn it and wear it proudly. The number of Jews in the world is dwindling rapidly, and the Holocaust didn't help...I feel a powerful responsibility to learn for myself, teach my children, and be a positive Jewish presence in the world.

Today I went to the mikvah to shed my clothes and my insecurities. I let the water wash away all of my negative feelings and worries. I went there to begin anew. I met with the rabbis before and after, and they gave me a group hug.

Today and every day, I am a Jew.


Okay, will someone please explain the in-sync poopage?

Okay, why didn't the pediatrician warn me that my twin girls would often need to poop at exactly the same time?

Today, for example. They were eating lunch at the island in the kitchen while I was working on the turkey lasagna we're going to have for dinner tonight (in-laws are coming over). Lots of different things on the stove, right? Suddenly Abby spills her glass of milk. I order her up to her room (we have a bad habit of playing around and spillage is rarely accidental) and begin cleaning up that mess. Izzy announces she's done with her lunch and asks me if she can poop. Why she asks me I'll never understand---just go get on the toilet, child!!!! So she does. I'm mopping up the floor and Izzy calls, "Mooooooommyyyyy, I'm ready to wiiiiiiiiiipe," and I comply. We wash hands together and I return to the kitchen to check on the lasagna noodles, which are boiling on the stove top, and give them a quick stir. I think I hear Abby screaming from upstairs, so I go to the hallway and listen. Sure enough, it's another, "Moooooooommmmmyyyy, I'm ready to wiiiiiiiiiiiipe," and up the stairs I go. We wash hands together and I race back downstairs but not quickly enough---the pasta water has boiled over and made a mess. Oh, and the dog is whining at the front door because he needs to go out.

And did I mentioned before this all happened we'd gone grocery shopping and Abby had a meltdown in store. We came home to play outside for a bit, and nothing made her happy there, either. That's when we went inside to have lunch.

They are napping now, but I am dreading wake up time.

In other news, I officially registered with http://www.terracycle.net/ today to begin my own juice pouch recycling brigade. If you are reading this and you live in KC, I'd love to take your empty juice pouches and put them to good use!!! I am going to see if I can put up a flyer at the girls' school and maybe one at Jazzercise. I've recruited a few friends and am going to chat with my new neighbors as well. My kids don't drink juice, but they do drink the Capri Sun Roarin' Waters (flavored water). Terracycle will take Capri Sun, Honest Kids, and Kool Aid pouches (note: not juice boxes). There's no rush since I have to accumulate 100 pouches before I can mail them in.

Anyway, I guess that's about it. It's a beautiful day here and I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!!!

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