She was walking home from shopping at the shuk the other day and I followed her. I was taking frames of her from behind with my film camera hoping she would turn around and see me. Then I got to the end of my film and I had to stop to change it. That’s when she saw me and we started chatting.
After few sentences, it turned out she graduated from University of Colorado *(so did I) in 2004 with a B.A. in Psychology, which means that for two years we may have even taken some classes together since that was my minor in the first part of my college career… what are the chances!
Today we met at her house, while she was doing yoga. Yes, she does yoga too and she also lives two blocks away from my house. Lots of things in common. I guess this is just the rule of thumb in Israel.
Her new name is Sarah (before she became religious it was Kari) was born in Los Angeles California from a hippie mother who could not take care of herself, let alone an infant. So her brother, now Sarah`s father, and his wife adopted her to live in a more stable home in Saint Louis. She went to school in the liberal and hippie town of Boulder, Colorado where she learned among feminist movements and freedom rights parade.
One day speaking to her parents, they told her that man and women do not really touch in the Jewish religion.
“I was appalled and immediately found it a sexist comment, especially coming out of my father’s mouth,” she said.
But little did she know that she would go back to Boulder after the holidays and started learning more and more about Judaism and the halacha to later make the decision to live more by the Torah teachings.
“I was one of the first people on my street to put a mezuza` on my door during college,” she said while drinking some maple scyrup, lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper of an old tomato jar in a Boulder-style kinda way.
Religion changed her life for the better. It made it more fulfilling.
“When you limit yourself, especially if you were coming from a place of total freedom, then limitations become a help on the way of structuring your existence. You become the Masters of limitations,” she said smiling.
Now, it’s also true that, although she is religious and mother of four beautiful boys already, she is still asking many questions about her choice of becoming orthodox every day.
“It’s about feeling free to express yourself within the limitations given to us,” said Sarah. “Right now I am dwelling with keeping my head cover all the times, I do it, but it’s very difficult for me. What is more me? Me with the head cover as my husband’s wife or me with hair in the air? ”
These limitation help your life, but they take a while to fully accept and live by in order to fulfill the true potential of life, she said. “I am constantly learning and adjusting to a different and more mature version of me every day.”
Sarah does not have only one rabbanit who inspires her to grow and learn, she takes inspiration from everyone around her, especially her sister Carley, who is everything to her.
“My sister is my Rabbi,” she said.
She also has a wonderful adoptive mother, while unfortunately her “birth mother” as she calls her, has not contact with her birth mother, she only knows she is a homeless in Saint Louis.
Yet, she is so grateful to have been given the choice in life and have found an adoptive family that have always took care of her so she did not have to end up on the street like her mother who unfortunately keeps refusing Sarah father’s help.
But, thank G-d she has a blessed life surrounded with caring men, including her four boys and her husband Pesach.
Not to bad for a Buffalo*-kinda gal!
*A Baffaloe called Ralphie is the mascot of CU Boulder. So everyone who ever went to CU is automatically names a Buffalo.