For several weeks now, I have felt as if I am teetering on a precipice, yearning to move forward, but wary of the future.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Even when we want something really badly, we still hold ourselves back. Why? Is it fear? Fear of failure, fear of judgment from those we hold dear or, even fear of what we would be able to achieve?
Several months ago, I made the decision to pursue the Rabbinate. As a Jew from an interfaith family (my Father is Jewish and my Mother is Catholic), I am very interested in making Judaism accessible to the modern everyday Jew, in all of his or her or gender-transitional or gender-neutral multifaceted glory. This past summer, I made the first definitive step towards this new goal, when I studied Hebrew at an immersion program at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Yet, I find that I have still not yet fully embraced this new identity as a wannabe-Rabbi, even while I work on the application for Rabbinical School.
Next month, I turn 24. Though that is not old, 24 is the first age that I did not plan for while growing up. I got my license, got a car, got a part-time job; got into college, changed my major, studied abroad, joined a Greek society; moved back near my parents, worked in a restaurant, decided what to do with my life. All of that got me to 23. 24 is both terrifyingly new and liberating. Without the expectations of childhood, I can mold myself into anything.
After reading all the wonderful stories left by our guests, I knew that I wanted to experience that absolute peace with the world and with the self that so many people find in the water here. I have scheduled an immersion for the day before my 24th birthday. That day also happens to be the first deadline for the Rabbinical School application. I am hoping that this will be the moment, the personal ritual I need, to finally let go of everything I thought I should be, and to become the adult I intend to be.
Laura Seide grew up in Franklin, MA at Temple Etz Chaim. After earning a BA in Classics at University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, where she was president of Hillel and a religious school teacher at Temple B’Rith Kodesh, she moved back to Boston in order to be closer to her parents. (They were quite happy.) Last year she worked at Kolbo, and this year she is the Development Intern at Mayyim Hayyim. She is currently applying to Rabbinical School for Fall 2013.