As I’ve written about before, I’ve become more observant and the next step I’m taking is a Modern Orthodox conversion. I now live within the local Jewish community and inside the eruv, I go to a ModOx shul and most of my friends with in the community are very accepting. I’ve said it before and I say it again the community I’ve moved into is utterly amazing. Every thing a new person to a community going through a conversion needs is here. People that are willing to answer every dumb question or teach you the song way of benching on Shabbat, even letting you do Ha’Motzi at their Shabbat lunch table and wanting me to lead benching, Treating me like the “certified” I soon will be. Seriously haven’t encountered any bad instances with the people. Now davening ahh that’s a different story but I’m sure that at some point in every converts story they’ve got at least one story about having to “out” themselves as not officially Jewish in the Orthodox shul. Mine happened 2 Erev Shabbat’s ago; picture it July 4th weekend 2016, everyone is on vacation and its time to daven Mincha, I’m already running late, I show up at shul at 7:10 thinking its started already, NOPE people are standing outside, looking for all those who are walking slowly because of the stifling heat here in the south. I walk into shul and they’re counting 7, 8, 9, only need one more person says the gabbai, I’m number 9 and I have to walk up to him and say No you actually need 2 more because I’m not halachicallly Jewish, my reform conversion doesn’t count. I see the angst on the gabbai’s face not wanting to “out” me but really having no choice but too. Finally 3 men show up all at once and MINYAN. But it’s too late for me not to be outed. I don’t care because only a few people didn’t know and they happen to be people I have interacted much with. I will tell you that that and the following Shabbat’s have definitely strengthened my resolve to get the conversion process under way. That process will hopefully be started this month and my Beit Din will be convened so I can see how long this all going to take. I’ll keep everyone posted and I’ll definitely be keeping at least a written journal as well as this blog.
Yeah Yeah, I know I said I would post more frequently but, my life is really pretty boring NORMALLY, but this past month has been INCREDIBLE and Hashem is the one who made it all happen and Instagram. If any of you follow me on Instagram or my business page on Facebook, y’all already know what I’m gonna talk about, if not hold onto your seats cause its gonna get wild on here.
First great thing that happened, I follow a lot of kosher chefs on Instagram and one happens to have a radio show, I commented on one of her posts because now in all 3 major NYC there is Fresh, Good, Kosher food available for purchase. AMAZING right? Well being that I love to cook, eat (kosher only) I know I’ve kept y’all out of the loop. Anyway I commented that I was a flight attendant that keeps kosher and literally within an hour I had an email from her and an appointment to chat with her. We finally chatted a few days later and we set up a time the next day for me to be on her show. Let me just say I was nervous as anything but she is such an amazing host and so easy to talk to too, my time on the show went by so quickly and I enjoyed doing it so much. You can listen to me here.
So that was amazing thing one, amazing thing two is a little more crazy. As y’all know in May it’ll be a year since I took the plunge and finished my journey to become a Jew, I know I’ve said it before and I really have become more observant in that year and with that I’ve been thinking about doing another conversion. I don’t need to hear the bad things, “Oh you don’t think your Reform conversion is good enough,” or “But they won’t accept you because you’re gay.” or “It’s so strict.” Let me just start by saying yes, it is strict but I am already doing most daily things already, I do think and know that my Reform conversion is enough and luckily, hopefully, I’ve found a supportive rabbi that is going to sponsor me. Also the community and shul that I’ve been going to, everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I was invited for Shabbat dinner at someone’s house who I had just met the shabbat before, When I was upfront about my conversion their response was “Absolutely no problem, not only was my conversion interesting to everyone there, my job dominated the conversation as well. Being a kippah clad and Observant Flight Attendant is really a conversation piece. Not only was it shabbat dinner but someone in the community had a new baby boy and in the Orthodox world the friends or family of the new father throw what’s called a Shalom Zachar, basically just another reason to party. Keep in mind I and the other 2 male guests didn’t know the new father nor his family that was throwing the party only our host knew them. We all walked in and it was like we were all part of the family. Get a drink, sit, sing, eat, here’s a shot, eat, There was cake and candy and alcohol (everything under the sun) Single Malt Scotch, this was my drink of choice, and High end Tequila, which I did not partake in, I don’t do well with tequila. The next day, Shabbat morning, I ran into my dinner host and his family and one of the female guests, who also happens to be new to the community and as it turns out is from New Jersey as well and had to do a sort of Beit Din, because her mother converted and when she passed her conversion certificate couldn’t be found. She also happens to be outgoing and started introducing me to more and more people. One thing led to another I was being invited to lunch at the Rabbi’s house, and a Purim Seuda at another family’s house. Needless to say I’ve been very warmly welcomed into the community and look forward to moving into the area and really become a member of it.
As I shared before I’m now on my own for the first time in 34 years. It’s been about a month and so far it’s been freeing. Also about a month ago I started speaking with someone and made plans to meet up since we live in different cities. He is Jewish as well and also converted he is much younger than me, but he seemed to be more put together than most 34 year olds, and was very mature and knew what he wanted. Things started getting hot and heavy over Video chat, and I started getting feelings for him. I opened up and told him about things I usually don’t so early on, I felt a connection with him even just over text, we had a lot in common and I could see things going further with him, but alas he didn’t feel the same towards me. It also all went down while I was flying and on a very long day with little rest the night before and I took it harder than I thought or even expected. I haven’t dated anyone for a very long time and I very rarely open up to people but again I was enamored with all our things in common and went for it. I will recover and hopefully find somebody who really is my beshert. He did get me thinking about many things that I hadn’t given a second thought about, some are huge life changing things and some aren’t per se just topics that I didn’t think needed to be changed just because I’m Jewish now and that maybe I do need to change or think about not doing them anymore. And now that I have finished my conversion I ready to get back into the dating scene. Hopefully within the next few months it’ll happen, only Hashem knows. I’ve been working on the weekends this month and so Shabbat has been observed either traveling or on another day. Now before I get lambasted for not properly observing the sabbath on Friday to Saturday, this month my work schedule has not allowed me much flexibility, unkess I pay a hearty sum to another flight attendant to change trips, and well I just can’t afford it. It has been different and not in a good way, although I love my job and wouldn’t or couldn’t do anything else working on Shabbat has not been fun. I understand clearly why Jews have shabbos.
Some of the things that “the guy” got me thinking about is keeping kosher. While my kitchen is a shoe box, literally, I’ve been slowly separating everything. I have 2 sets of silverware, cooking utensils, and sponges. I don’t have any dishes yet but soon I will and there will be 2 different sets. It hasn’t been easy let me tell you. I’ve mixed sponges by accident and used a fork that is for dairy with a meat dish but hey I still new at it and we all make mistakes. For any of you that have a Trader Joe’s nearby they have an amazing selection of kosher products. Like amazing selection, they’ve become my new favorite store.
I’ve also taken a break from my side business JetSet Organics while I moved and got settled into my new place. But I’m gearing back up and taking again. If you haven’t checked it out yet please do, visit Facebook.com/JetSetorganics. I use every product I make and I’ve seen huge changes in my skin. Also you may have noticed that I added a tab at the top for my business. While there aren’t any posts yet on that tab there will be as soon as I start taking photos of products as they’re being made.
I know I know, it’s been way to long since I posted last, like 4 months long. A lot has been going on and since I’m laid up again with my sciatica issues I figured I may as well write a post. Since the last post I’ve got my Organic skin care line off the ground and have been marketing it like crazy. I’ve transitioned over to the new company in November and I’m now based in Denver, CO. While not bad the commute is somewhat long and tedious. Going to work is fine because I can go in the same day that my trip starts coming home is well tough. I recently had to take the red eye back to Atlanta and we were delayed and so by time we got here it was like 6:30 in the morning, I literally slept the whole day and night. I am enjoying work for the most part and haven’t had any run ins with bad or obnoxious colleagues. Knock on wood. I think everything is finally calming down on that front. About a week ago was the final flight for my original airline, the night before the final flight I cried like a baby, a whole mix of emotions and adding on top the pain in my leg and back made it worse. The day of the final flight everyone was posting their memories and good stories. None of the war stories that would have shined a bad light on the company. The send off was amazing and from all the airports we still flew too.
I celebrated my first Chanukah and fried up latkes and had a few drinks with some friends on the first night. I brought my menorah on my trip, each overnight I was on I lit the candles and said the bracha’s and posted photos to my Facebook page. Some hotels had windows that seemed specially made for my menorah, like the Hyatt House in Denver that my friend made me stay at cause her house wasn’t ready yet, had a small window that was higher than normal and had a big sill that fit the menorah perfectly. I even had the lady who runs the crash pad I stay at in Denver asking a ton of questions and wanted to light the candles with me and was sad when Chanukah ended. Almost all my passengers would wish me Happy Chanukah either during the flight or while they were getting off.
Although I originally thought that my conversion would be done by now it seems that I still have a little more to go. It could have to do with the fact that the class only met what seemed like 5 times during the fall semester which while we did go over all the material there was no mention of what we needed to do to finalize our conversions. It is fine though sometimes I think “what will I do when I don’t have to attend these classes every week” and I’m finally a full fledged Jew. Soon though it’ll be done and I’ll be one of the tribe. It gives me just a bit more time to finalize everything, like my Hebrew name and to write my paper on why I want to convert and where to get my Brit milah done.
While I don’t do resolutions with the secular New Year ever because I think and know that they don’t last, I have decided to take my health more seriously. I’ve been making bone broths quite frequently and I’m trying to eat more organic and clean whole foods. I’ve realized that while processed foods are convenient they do so much damage to our bodies. Ive been reading a lot about a whole food diet and I’ve been taking some things and making them in “Kosher” way. There don’t seem to be too many kosher real food followers so it’s definitely going slow. I have also been working on more products for JetSet Organics, like soaps and scrubs and new packaging, I also have a new logo designed and ready to go. This is going to be the year that I devote more time to it and make it a money maker for me.
So if you haven’t already take a look at my pages facebook.com/jetset-organics and squareup.com/market/jetset-organics
That’s it for now, my medicines are kicking in and I need to take a nap. Hopefully I can blog more often as well.
I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a post and thats because, I just haven’t been in the mood to write and also since I’ve started my new business Ive been researching and testing out new products. So let me catch y’all up on whats been going on. The High Holidays are over, this being my first year observing them, let me just say WOW, what a whirlwind of emotions. I became a member of the shul that I am doing my conversion at in early September and have been volunteering at all the things they’ve been hosting. I have said before that I am very blessed with my job and Im able to change my schedule and so I was able to move a trip around and have all of the Days Between off. The Days Between refer to the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. It went from celebratory on Rosh Hashanah to somber on Yom Kippur and its definitely a moving experience. I did fast on Yom Kippur however I didn’t make it the whole 25 hours. Unfortunately I calculated the time wrong and started later than I should have, i was invited to a friend from shul family’s house for a break the fast and it started earlier than I thought and so I wasn’t going to wait an hour more from when I got there. Myself along with her sister, and father were still fasting and their time ended at 5pm, I waited until 5:30. And there was so much food, smoked salmon, bagels, kugel, blintzes, merlot cheese and crackers, egg salad, tuna salad, some smoked white fish that I didn’t eat and I made 2 Challot, One apple stuffed and one regular, I saw my friends family yesterday at Simach Torah and they told me they’re still eating my challah with their breakfast, it’s that good.
Yesterday was Simchat Torah, a time to celebrate the ending of one years cycle of reading the Torah and starting the new year’s cycle. My shul is apparently the liveliest in the area and so it was pretty full with visitors and they also hold the ceremony for all the little kids that are starting religious school. They took out all the Torah scrolls and had a band playing and everyone who wanted to, was able to hold and dance around and take pictures with a scroll. It was a quick Shabbat service then it was all about having fun. It’s also the end of the holiday season, until Chanukah.
With the start of the new Jewish year, I decided to seek and got approved to wear a kippah at work. So now I wear one literally everyday. This past week was the first trip wearing it to work and it went great. Yeah, sure I got a few head turns when people first realized I had on a yarmulke and was going to be working their flight but also I got quite a few compliments from passengers, and people were friendlier even when there were delays, but maybe thats just because my crew and I were upbeat and happy. I even had a few people wish me a happy new year when they were getting off the plane. I wear a suede kippah which may not have been the best choice, since I’m hot natured and sweat a lot, but I wanted to wear one and it was the only one I found that is the right color that matches my uniform. Once I go over to the new company and start wearing different color uniforms hopefully I can get other color kippah’s approved.
I mentioned a while ago that my current airline was bought and that I would be going to training for the new company at some point, well I was planning on waiting until the absolute end when they had to pull me kicking and screaming. I changed my mind in august and I will be leaving in about 2 weeks to go to training, it’s kind of stressful and nerve-wracking, there is so much to get done in a short amount of time.
My new skin care venture has started off pretty well and I’ve gotten a few orders that have also kept me busy. I’m in the process now of working with a friend of mine designing a logo. I have decided on what it’s going to be, and it’s going to have a Jewish and aviation flare, it’s really cool. I’ll reveal it in a few weeks once everything is finalized.
Also here in the south it was just Gay Pride, they do everything at a different pace than the rest of the country, It was also my first time ever walking in a parade anywhere. I did it with the Jewish continent comprised of 35 different Jewish Organizations. I was the sole representative from my shul. Next year I will be heading up the group from my shul and hopefully it’ll be bigger.
Well that’s enough for now, I’ll write some more this week.
I am now half way into the class for converting, our last class for the semester was yesterday and because some of the people in my class are at the end of their year we talked about where we were in our journey’s and it got me thinking. I have been doing “Jewish” since November of 2013, I like to think I started out little by little but as I look back I just dove in head first. I started off by not eating pork and shellfish and doing shabbat, going to synagogue every week, not eating meat and dairy together, praying before I eat and saying the Shm’a only before going to bed, I also make challah for the most part each week and light the candles.
Now I say the bedtime Shm’a from the ArtScroll orthodox Siddur, I try to say the Modeh Ani when I wake up and the other morning prayers, I wear a kippah on most days and some days I don’t even remember I have it on. I still don’t keep kosher and I have not laid T’fillin although I have been looking at buying them, I have also tried the ritual hand washing in the morning, I do feel a connection there and I may start doing it more.
This time of reflection has given me an opportunity to really think about everything. It’s also forced me to think about how I will continue to do “Jewish” in my daily life once the class is over. I’m still glad I started this journey, I am ecstatic about being and becoming Jewish and cannot wait for the day that my conversion is complete and I dunk in the mikvah. I can’t picture myself being anything other than Jewish.