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.
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.
Well yall it’s done, I met with the Beit Din dunked in the mikvah (a pool), and now I’ve been introduced to my community where I did my conversion. Everything went very very very quickly after I had the little chat with my rabbi. So quickly that my first Shabbat as a new Jew I didn’t have time to plan a party. I like to party and by party I mean have a good time and drink some wine and nosh and kvell, look at that I’m already using Yiddish. LoL. My conversion date and second birthday is 17 Iyar 5775, May 13, 2015 it falls within 30 days of my real birthday so now I can actually say I get an entire month to celebrate my birthday. Why not right!! So here in Atlanta the community (read everyone but orthodox) mikvah has been torn down to be replaced by a new, improved, fancy and inviting mikvah, and as such the orthodox community here and pretty much every where else will not allow anyone but the orthodox to use their mikvah lest there be some rebbe somewhere that should not agree and so I had to use a regular pool, however this pool has been open all year round and had been in contact with the appropriate amount of Living Natural waters to be considered kosher in the Reform viewpoint. We’ve had a lot of rain in the past few weeks. Also I did dunked naked and with out jewelry on it was less than 2 hours after I had showered and shaved. My rabbi also watched all 3 dunks to make sure they were kosher, and made sure I pronounced every word in the 3 prayers I said. I may use the new one when its opened after the High Holidays, and have my rabbi there to really make it kosher. Tonight was the night that I was introduced officially as a Jew to the synagogue I belong and there was a ceremony, and I had to speak a little bit to the congregation about my journey. Nerve wracking, it was. Anyway so my rabbi had myself and the other guy that also converted hold a Torah scroll and say the Sh’ma at the ark in front of everyone. I don’t know if it was the rabbi’s pre planning or just Hashem showing me that I’ve done the right thing but today is May 30, June 1 starts Gay Pride Month, rainbows and such will be abounding for the next month well the Torah scroll that I held, on its dressings had rainbows on it. Just a little something that made me smile even more. As soon as the video archive of tonight service is up I’ll post it and you can check it out. Ps. don’t watch my little speech, I didnt have anything prepared and was flying by the seat of my pants, you can tell my sweating. I’ll try to scan the papers my rabbi gave me, it has the ceremony in writing. After service everyone was coming up to me and the other and wishing us Mazel Tov and congratulating us. Next up on my calendar is my birthday trip next weekend then my birthday on Thursday and then moving the following weekend, then back to work and reality. Now that my conversion is complete and I’m officially Jewish, I’m single so if any of my followers that know of any nice Jewish guys I’m looking and I travel for free and so can my partner (on standby).
Pesach is behind us, mourning is with us now and Lag B’Omer is on the horizon, and so are Bar b que’s and hair cuts. This year I cleaned my house for Passover and refrained from eating chametz for all of Passover. Seven whole days of no bread, no crackers, pretzels, flour, pasta or rice. I don’t know how I did it especially flying for 4 days the chol ha’moed, but I did and I survived. Now we’re 24 days past Passover and in just a week it’ll be Lag B’Omer and we’ll be celebrating and bbq’ing up a storm and cutting ones hair and SHAVING. Oh I can’t wait to shave, 24 days of not shaving and I have a new respect for those hairy men, you know the ones who have a 5 o’clock shadow at noon. I’m so glad that I don’t grown facial hair in hours. The first seven days were bearable but week 2 stunk, my face itched like crazy and was all red because I had been itching it, week 3 has been ok some itching here and there but it doesn’t look scraggly anymore and only a week left and I can’t wait to get rid of it. Now I know most “reform” Jews don’t follow the custom of not cutting one’s hair or not shaving but I wanted too this year to see if I found meaning it. I have found meaning in and will probably do it again next year. But I just hope next year it won’t itch so much.
I have also decided to leave my current living situation and be on my own. It’s a big move, not with belongings, but emotionally. I’ve lived with my current roommate for a total of 8 years. We’ve both grown, we’ve been through hell and back. Fights, hugs, crying, laughing, epidurals, severe back pain, boob jobs, quitting smoking, boyfriends, fiancées, a merger at work and almost a bankruptcy. Some were from me and some were from her. 8 years is a long time, a lot of memories and stories. It’s going to be hard and who knows what the future brings, all I know is in a month I’ll be living on my own for the first time in my life. 33 years is really long. In 33 years I’ve never been on my own, I’ve always had someone living with me. From my parents and sister to 9 other roommates when I first started flying to now just one and soon none. It’s scary and exciting at the same time.
Also since summer is almost here, that means I’ve been on my conversion journey well over a year. Now I know it’s technically not that long but I’m talking about the class one takes while studying to convert. Today I sent my autobiography to my family, the one I talked about in my last post. I’ve received only good things back from them and I’m so thankful to Hashem that I have such an accepting and understanding family. As much as I don’t speak to my immediate family (mom, sister, stepdad) when I send them something important they are supportive. My aunts and cousins are and have always been amazing especially since my relationship with my immediate family is no longer. And of course my friends are my chosen family and are there for me always. I also set up an appointment to have the conversation with my rabbi to make sure he and I are on the same page and to make sure he thinks I’m ready. For some reason that was harder than letting my family read my auto biography, which it shouldn’t have been. With my work schedule, and the ending of the semester for class study, tonight was essentially my last class. But a new issue arose when I spoke with my rabbi tonight, next week the community mikvah closes while it gets rebuilt and renamed and so far there isn’t a replacement available from the orthodox community for the non-orthdox community to use. So I need to either have to hope an orthodox mikvah is made available or I have to wait until September for the new one to be finished. It’s a tough decision and one I hope Hashem will help with.
I know I kept my Hebrew names from you in my last post, so without further ado, they are Eitan Menachem.
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.
Just a quick post about something amazing that happened today at work, as I posted earlier I am now wearing a kippah at work, today started the 2nd trip that I’ve been wearing it. Well on my flight this morning I had a guy that’s probably around my age 30 ish, a Chabadnik and super nice. He comes up to me after my inflight duties and starts thanking me for wearing a yarmulke and how he’s never seems. Jewish flight attendant, and then he asks me if I’ve laid t’fillin yet today and when I answered no he asks if I want to and my answer was sure and I went on to tell him I’m not fully “technically” jewish yet and I’m doing a reform conversion and I don’t know how to lay t’fillin and I don’t read Hebrew and he says ” your Jewish,” chuckled and said yes. Well we go to the back of the plane and he then starts putting on the arm t’fillin and I’m saying the bracha. I went through it kind of quickly, but it was definitely spiritual and amazing. Continue reading
I wrote in a previous post that I was becoming interested in Essential Oils and DIY skin care, well I have taken it to the next level. Introducing Jet Set Organics; handmade, sustainable, organic, face and body, skin care. While I have to come up with a logo yet, I have opened an online storefront through Etsy. Right now it’s only 3 products, a lotion bar, eye serum, and pillow mist, there are plenty more products to come. I would like to put a Jewish twist on this venture, maybe Torah verses in Hebrew or in English, maybe a brief Talmud statement, or a prayer, or a Yiddish saying, Hebrew saying. What are your thoughts on how I can add a Jewish twist? Maybe one day they’ll even be kosher, but that’s a long way off still.
I started thinking about selling the products I have made already when a colleague told me that the lotion bar it let her try was amazing and I could probably make money by just selling to other Flight Attendants, but I thought to myself why just sell to Flight Attendants, the internet is full of busy people who want better, healthier, sustainable products, that just don’t have the time or patience to make their own stuff. I like making them, I work 3 days a week at my “real” job which leaves me plenty of time to do other things and I can maybe make a little extra money and hopefully take over the world, just kidding, but I would love to see this become a huge success.
Your can visit my Etsy store by clicking on the link to the right or etsy.com/
It’s been a few weeks since I wrote last, I’ve been on vacation since June 20th and have been at home in Florida, visiting with my Aunt and just chilling. Florida may be called the sunshine state but these past 2 weeks I’ve been here it’s rained pretty much everyday in the afternoon, sometimes just a sprinkle other times a violent thunderstorm. For example I was at at my aunt’s job yesterday and right at closing time the skies got black it started pouring, like sideways rain, and lightening and thunder that shook the building. One bolt in particular flashed inside her office and scared the living crap out of us, it took out quite a few electronics and really fried a computer at the sister office down the road. I have been down here since June 30th, I celebrated the 4th here, we went to my Aunt’s boss’ house on the St. Lucie river to watch the fireworks, Mosquitos here in north, south Florida are no joke. I have bites all over me, his house was covered by mosquitos and watching the fireworks was fun but not fun. Fun because we were the only ones there, we had unobstructed views of the St. Lucie stadium, Stuart and other people’s own fireworks, but not fun because we both were getting eaten alive.
We also went to this pretty cool historic site in Lake Wales, Fl, called Bok Tower. It’s the estate of author Edward Bok, it’s built on the highest natural point in Florida and has walking trails, gardens, coy ponds, orange groves and a Carillon;which is supposed to be the highlight of the estate. It’s 60 bells in a tower that play a concert twice a day. This is July, central Florida, sunny, and HOT. Not the best time to go but hey you live and learn. We also went to a place I haven’t been since I was a kid, Lion Country Safari, it’s west of West Palm Beach and it’s a drive through safari and nature preserve. It’s fun, you get to see a lot of animals that are endangered all in the comfort of your own air conditioned car. They also have a walk around section that’s geared mostly towards kids but adults can have fun too especially if your quick with your camera on your phone and snap a quick selfie with a giraffe.
I also fed it romaine lettuce, you can get somewhat close to them, he licked my hand as he was taking some of the romaine. It’s started pouring and we ended up standing under trees waiting for it to stop. The rest of the time was just spent relaxing and hanging out with my aunt.
I went back to work on Monday and I’m flying with a friend of mine on an easy 4 day trip. I have 9 days total to work this month and they’re all easy days.
I know I haven’t written in quiet some time, I have been lazy and busy. You’re probably thinking how can he be both but its true, for 2 weeks I was busy and didn’t have time to do anything, and the other week I was just lazy. See the week after I got the epidural I did absolutely nothing, I was just worn out from my back/leg pain. The next week I went to visit a friend for a few days in the midwest and from there I went directly to Orlando for my birthday and a beach party for the regatta team from my airline. I came home from Orlando and rested a little bit then got ready for my 6 days of actual work for this month. I am on vacation again this month and like I said earlier if I bid right I only have to work a few days. This month I had to work 6 days total, so I spent 2 nights in Las Vegas and then a night in Minneapolis and one in Kansas City. Now I am off until July 15th. My 2 nights in Las Vegas were not spent on the strip or old town, but at the hotel pool with my crew and drinks. We all kept this trip for that reason, and what we thought was an easy trip was made even easier when our first flight got cancelled. When this happens we fly just like regular passengers, and normally its done on my airline, but we’re going through a merger so it was on the other airline. Since we weren’t “working” we can do what we please during the flight, I just read and tried to get some sleep. I am reading two books by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, “Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer” and “Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice.” Both interesting to read but not the easiest. When I started reading, my crew member wanted to know what I was reading and once she saw the title it started the whole Why are you reading about that you’re not Jewish and you drink alcohol. So I had to explain I’m converting and the reason why I’m converting, and I then explain that Jews can drink alcohol, in fact on Shabbat we start the meal with wine and the ceremony of Havdalah we end Shabbat with wine, and even on Purim we’re commanded to get drunk, her response was “Wow sound like my kind of religion, but I’m a Christian.” I just said I know and that kind of ended the conversation about it until the next day when we got our crew meals and I of course gave mine away because, a. it was a Ham sandwich and b. they all had cheese on them and as I’ve said before I don’t keep kosher but I do follow Kashrut. My trip to Minneapolis was spent getting a pedicure at the Mall of America. It’s a big mall and for someone who hates to shop or be around huge crowds it’s not a place that I really enjoy. Hopefully I going to travel during my vacation if I can get my butt in gear, although I do have to be back in town next Sunday for a Habitat for Humanity build with my shul. Now that I am off for the rest of the month of June until July 15th I have to find something to do other than sit at home and do nothing.
Last weekend I wrote about having hurt my back, during the week I visited my doctors and got a chiropractic adjustment, and was scheduled to get an Epidural injection and that was today. When I get an epidural the rest of the day is just relaxing in bed and icing my back and normally I am still loopy from the anesthesia that I get, because these shots are no joke pain wise. Well today was different in a sort of long way, the nurse who put my IV in didn’t really know what she was doing, I have very good veins and anyone can get a IV started quickly, not her. It’s normally an hour procedure from triage to recovery, not today. I normally am really loopy and tired and worn out afterwards, not today. I waited an hour from triage to procedure, the IV had to be re done while I was laying on the table, but in like 3 seconds flat the new nurse had it in, flushed, and anesthesia halfway in, no bruise, no pain, no fuss. The injection in my lower back was painful and normally when I say it hurts they pump more drugs in my IV, not today. I had a 30 second “good” feeling which only covered getting the numbing agent in, it didn’t even help with the steroid that’s injected and that always the part that hurts the most. This was also the first time that as an almost convert, I had the chance to pray the Shm’a before a procedure. Since one never knows what can happen and I was getting general anesthesia, and I was nervous I did what any Jew should/would do. Pray to Hashem. The Shm’a, is known as the calling card of the Jewish faith, Why? Because it declares and affirms our faith in One God. As I was saying it I could instantly feel Hashem calm me down, and I felt re-assured that everything would be ok. I still had to wait a bit longer before the procedure after I prayed the first time, so I as I was entering the procedure room I prayed it again, and I again felt peaceful. I’ve only felt this way when I was at the Kotel; peaceful, at ease, reassured. Everything ended up going fine, I got home was a little bit in pain but I’ve been resting and taking my prescriptions, hopefully I won’t have another shabbat spent laying in bed. I actually miss going to the synagogue on Friday night.