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Naaseh V’Nishma Moments

Mishpacha Contributors

“Naaseh v’nishma,” some proclaim in a blinding moment of clarity, and take on Torah. Six remarkable men and women share their moments of truth.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Bring Me Home It started in the mountains of Guatemala. My sister and I had embarked upon a year of backpacking; our wanderlust and youthful energy sent us to far-flung countries that pulsed with adventure. That day, sun streamed into the beaten old truck and dappled the dusty seats. I looked out at the endless green hilltops, and thought there’s something bigger than what I know. It looked like I had everything — a loving family, an Ivy League school waiting for me in the fall, a huge circle of friends, good looks. Traveling at 18 was the ultimate cool, and I was surrounded with veteran free spirits and adventure seekers. But as we weaved through Central America, and then on to the beaches of Tel Aviv, I started looking hard, trying to ascertain if those indomitable explorers were happy. 

I’d see glimmers of a sad reality that would chill my bones, even in the most humid summer air; the vacancy in the backpackers’ eyes hinted at deep sadness and their laughter bordered on hysteria. Though I had a sense that there was something greater out there, I could not find it on the white sandy beaches or in the emerald jungles across the globe. I started university with a desire to grow. Bored of parties and social drama, I focused on learning, declaring myself an English major and Jewish studies minor. I joined a Jewish group on campus and started reading books by Rabbi Akiva Tatz and Rabbi Lawrence Keleman. I became active in Hillel and enjoyed weekly Shabbat dinners. Yet, at a certain point, I couldn’t push myself further. My egalitarian, feminist upbringing was engraved upon my psyche, my dreams of becoming a high-profile professional consumed much of my headspace, and I enjoyed dressing and acting in the manner I’d been socialized to appreciate. Then, Yom Kippur came. 

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