Apparently, my odd version of religious observance is stirring increasing curiousity amongst some coworkers. My office is mostly observant, from American-style modern orthodox to Israeli national-religious to Beit Shemesh black-and-white to full on Charedi.
Me? I don’t really talk about my religious observance style much. I never really consider anyone interested, but the more people I meet here the more I realize everyone is interested. As a rule.
Well then: Yes, I wear jeans and tank tops. Yes, I live with my fiance. No, I don’t keep strict halachic kosher when traveling abroad. Yes, I keep strict kosher in the house. Yes, I cleaned the apartment according to halacha for Pesach. Yes, I plan on keeping nidah laws when I’m married. It’s true that I’m considering covering my hair. Yes, I believe it is a paradox to wear 100% real hair (or fake for that matter) in sheitals (wigs). Yes, a lot of Charedi-Jewish behavior trends piss me off. Yes, a lot of secular-Jewish behavior trends piss me off. Yes, a lot of middle-of-the-road-Jewish beahviors piss me off. Yes, I believe there is such a thing as an Orthodox homosexual.
The list goes on and probably gets more confusing but that is how I feel. There are practices I’d like to get better at. There are struggles I am a failure at but I still believe in the importance of tradition, halacha, religious observance, and belief. Even, dare I bring it up, a Jewish theocratic state.
One time in college, the Hillel director asked me to participate in a talk about Orthodox Judaism to students from all different backgrounds. I asked him why he’d want me to do it and not some my skirt-wearing shomeret negiah friends.
“Exactly because of the way you look. You’re wearing jeans and a tongue ring, but you keep Shabbat.”
I guess that works in pluralistic America; here in Jerusalem it just results in everyone feeling confused. And perhaps threatened.