She is 23, she has a 2 year old, but a husband who does not treat her right and so she is currently separated from him. She is ready for a change. Maybe she will move to New York to be a model, maybe she will continue her studying, she does not know yet. All she knows is that she is religious, “but to be religious you do not need to be crazy! You are religious your own way and you do not need to impose your ways onto others.”
I meet her in the Jewish Quarter in the afternoon. I make eye contact with her and “it is love at first sight,” we speak for half a second and I can tell she has something to say to me, something she has not told anyone she did not know before:
“I do not want to be so religious anymore. I want to be free to find my own ways and feel closer to G-d and not the ones imposed to me by her very strict husband and the community I live in,” she said.
“There are so many questions I have about a life after death, I am just confused and the Rabbis I have asked could not give the answers I needed to hear.”
She is strong-willed and motivated to see something else and find her way in this life. She is the 10th of 14 children, her mother was born in British Guiana from a Christina family. When she was two years old she moved to New York where she later became religious and met Devora’s father, an orthodox Jew from Sweden. They have been married for 40 years and tonight I met them while they were on their way to a date in the “new city,” they seems so in love still and so at peace. Their grand-daughter playing on their lap, they did not hesitated once when Devora had to leave her husband to take her back with them. She found herself a job as a secretary at the Court House and she spends the afternoon with her daughter Tair. Her soon-to-be ex-husband does not come around much, “he just does not make the effort,” she says.
She is not sad, though. She feels liberated. She is finally able to move on and not have to feel entrapped in a reality that was not hers.
She smiles at me and tell me not to go. She wants to speak more. She wants me to take her photos for when she will be a model in New York City. I tell her for that she has to probably loose the techel, she says ok…
I tell her, the afternoon light I have been waiting for all day is over now, we have to re-schedule.
She says nods and then hugs me and tells me she is so glad to have met me. She wishes she had met me three months ago when she was leaving her husband for the second time.
I knew we would connect from the moment I saw her. I knew we would be friends. She is a free spirit like myself who sees religion from a higher place.
Devora and I will go out. We will continue our conversation on life, love, religion and life after death, maybe in Jerusalem or maybe in Brooklyn who knows, what matters is the time we shared today was unexpectedly perfect.