I have always been a fan of Chaka Kahn, most recently enamored with Taylor Swift and resolved that yes, BeyoncÃ© can in fact sing. I guess I feel that I’m keeping up with the “new” – but what about the “old”? I am unabashed to admit the Barry Sister always, get me up doing the hora, and Yossela Rosenblatt (of blessed memory) is without doubt the man I want to hear chanting or belting out a few, if the urge arises. This is yet another example of how I merge or, shall I say, coexist in both worlds.
My closest friends would wonder how and why I didn’t let my child watch television, or go the movies, yet I must confess I haven’t missed an episode of Mad Men.
So what gives? Who am I? Even my clothes don’t correctly identify who I think I am. They serve to confuse anyone who knows me. When I lived in Lynn, Massachusetts, I was president of Mikva B’not Yisrael there. I believe these questions are asked before the person realizes that I have a deep profound love of Torah and are simply wild about the Creator.
So why don’t I have the typical religious demeanor? I am one thing for certain – a walking dichotomy. Some people call it hypocrisy. I don’t. I light candles to bring light into the world and my home. I believe 100 percent that God determines when every leaf shall turn and, of course, who shall live and who shall die. I never forget to do the Sh’ma before I retire, and I work extremely hard on doing the right thing day to day.
My house is strictly kosher, yet I have had to explain to my child, as it became clear to her I wasn’t covering my hair, that I am doing the best I can to keep God’s wishes, and God realizes that I am not perfect, only He is. I also have told her I do not stay in one place. I am constantly moving forward to do mitzvahs, even the ones I find difficult.
It was not so long ago that I wore a micro mini skirt to an orthodox rabbi’s house, unaware of the laws of modesty. I had not the faintest idea that my black fishnet stockings, pumps, and miniskirt might make him and his wife blush. In retrospect, I’m glad it happened though, for that was my entrance into a new world, a frum world, the world I chose to give over to my daughter because of the purity and sensitivity of it all.
I walk both paths comfortably, the one I hope to have my daughter inherit would be the one that adheres strictly to halachah, but sometimes cranks up the Aerosmith.