While I was scrolling through SparkLife articles (avoiding my disgustingly large amount of homework), I came across a whole category on religion. That's when I found sksk3's article, Life as a Jew. And while she did a wonderful job, I felt there were a few things she missed about what life is really like as an Orthodox Jew. So, here's a bit more about what it's like:First of all, as a girl, there are quite a few restrictions on the way that I dress. I must cover my knees, elbows, navel, collar bone, and back, and I am not allowed to wear pants. This is called tsniut, which basically means modesty. And the reason for this, you wonder? Boys—it's all about boys. We girls have to dress modestly to keep the evil thoughts out of boys' heads (anybody else really wonder what goes on in there?).
For me, dressing this way isn't a problem—I feel better knowing that I'm not showing off too much of my skin. It's a nice feeling to know that guys aren't checking out my body; it puts me more in control. But that doesn't mean I like to dress like a nun! We Orthodox Jewish girls have our own styles; basically, we buy whatever happens to be trendy and cute, and then we tsniusify it. For example: everyone loves those cute, above-the-knee summer dresses, right? Right. Well, I like them too, but they're a bit too showy for my tastes and beliefs. So, I add a black or white long-sleeved shell underneath the dress, a pencil skirt to lengthen the hem, and a pair of tights for modesty. On top of that, I add whatever bracelets or hats I want to give it some flair!
Another thing I deal with every day are my beliefs. My religion holds that every human, animal, leaf, and spiderweb strand was created for a specific reason and purpose. Without that single spiderweb strand, the world would not be complete. Everyone has a mission, and since we don't always know what our role is, we have to make sure that we are working on ourselves spiritually and working to reach our full potential. Not so controversial, right?
But something that is controversial is our belief in hell—because Orthodox Jews DO believe in hell. However, in Jewish terms, hell is just a place for purification before going to heaven. And since everyone makes mistakes, everyone will wind up in hell (for a little bit). There are different levels of hell and different levels of heaven, growing more or less extreme based on your deeds in life.
But the biggest thing I deal with every day is the fact that I'm different. I dress different, I look different, I eat different. I act differently around boys, I celebrate different holidays, and I have different expectations for my life after high school. But I still view myself as a normal human being, and that's the hard part. A lot of people don't understand why I do what I do. People think I'm crazy for the strict rules I follow. But for me, these are the things I believe in. Following my beliefs gives me security, knowing that I'm obeying the God I believe in and that I can talk to him whenever I want.
Being Jewish isn't all about restrictions, either. There are so many wonderful things I get to do for my religion, and I know I can always ask as many questions as I want about anything that confuses me. And I'm still connected to the outside world—I still watch TV, I still act like a teenager. I may do some things out of the ordinary, but when it comes down to it I am proud of my religion. It is a part of me and has transformed me into the unique person that I am.
Post by: the_individualist
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