(Since I can't remember if I've written about this before, and I may repeat myself, but), I've decided that this whole Jewish thing is nobody's business but mine. If you find out and you don't like it, too bad for you! Don't be friends with me! Simple as that. I don't want to know you if you think like that.
In case you're just finding my blog for the first time, here's a re-cap:
In August 2007, when I first moved to a major university to further this less-commonly taught language I'm into, I first went to the religious-establishment-catering-to-Jewish-students-on-campus. However, I later found out that the Rabbi did not want me at his Shabbos table until I brought him paperwork from a Rabbinic Authority confirming, or, re-affirming, my Jewishness as defined by Halacha.
Last I checked, the goal of this religious-establishment-catering -to-Jewish-students-on campus is to engage them, make them feel at home. Unless I'm mistaken, and this is a newly-instated policy, being told--through my rabbi 300 miles away no-less, when rabbi in question had lived 1 block from me-- that my Jewishness is not valid, why not tell me to my face instead of beating around the bush?! Time was spent tracking down my rabbi, having him phone me to tell me I was not wanted, when it would have been easier to tell me in person, since we're in the same city...
Curiously enough, I have another story about this rabbi. I found it strange and I haven't been able to find the logic behind it. Maybe you can help.
Before I was told not to come back, I remember one Shabbos in particular when I was talking to his children. One of them told me that their father helps drunk college students late at night. That he lets them sleep over in the religious establishment sometimes. What message does that send to the children? That it is okay to help random people, strangers, too drunk to get home on their own, on the off chance that they might be Jewish, but it is perfectly fine to shun people who want to belong? When you figure that one out, please tell me.
I also found out later that some of the Orthodox students attending the center were told of my situation, as well as other students who were asked not to come to dinner until their 'status' was verified. The Hillel rabbi told me to assume the first would make my situation known. But having that said that didn't make it any easier when it actually happened. And now everyone affiliated with any of the 3 knows because the rabbis have to make it known to everyone that there's a girl in town who's not halachically Jewish! Watch out! She's out to get with as many Jewish guys as possible! That was sarcasm, by the way.
That, plus in September 2008 the AISH rabbi and I sat down and had a chat. He told me that I can be friends with the Hillel guys, but I can't date them. I told him that I wasn't interested in dating anyone since I would only be here through May 2009, and to go through everything again is not something I would want to do again.
Besides, it's March, and I have my plate full right now, what with inquiring about how to apply horrendously-late to UK grad programs, on top of class and a busy work schedule! During a google search for field-specific programs, I found 2 schools in the UK that may be worth looking into (as I'll explain in a few paragraphs): University of Glasgow and University of College London.
I had sent general inquiries to secretaries at both schools and wasn't expecting a response. Well, what I received was the exact opposite! First, I received an email from one of the professors at Glasgow, who said that they would like to consider my application and asked if I would send a detailed CV. Then, in London, after emailing the departmental secretary and the independent study language coordinator, I received emails from an Admissions Official, plus a professor from the department who I could study with to do the independent studies! He wanted to know which tracks I'm interested in, and I sent him my CV too. If would be fantastic if one of the three schools: University of Glasgow, University College London, or University of Toronto, works out for me. I'd get to specialize in ethnic and minority studies how I want, and actually be able to work with a professor on them while pursuing an MA/MRes/MSc in a broader Eastern European Studies program. If one of the UK schools worked out, I could eventually get a job with an organization that focus on European ethnic and minority affairs. I could be a spokesperson for Liet Lavlut, or work at the European Court of Human Rights, The United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), or try and get policy pushed through at the (European) Commission so minorities in the region can have a voice to their problems.
Now all I have to do is wait and see what happens for September. ::crosses fingers:: Here's hoping something works this time!
So, in conclusion, this is the current academic plan for my life. If the school I'm currently at doesn't want me because my GRE scores or my grades aren't up to their standards, that's fine. There are other programs who may not mind my scores thus far. Religiously however, I'm comfortable where I am right now, and know where I want to end up. I consider myself a BT. Yes, I know I don't count to the Orthodox, but if they don't like me, that's their business. Don't-make-an-announcement-to-the-local-communities-and-have-me-be-the-last-one-to-hear-that-said-announcement-happened and I'll be fine. I know myself, I know what I like and know what I want to do with my life. I just don't know the odds of finding a guy who will want to come along with me for the ride, both academically and with the Orthodox stuff, what with the whole sheitel thing and wanting to keep Taharat Hamishpacha. Oh, and being Shomer until I get there. 'Just have to wait and see, I suppose. -sigh-
PS: If the UK schools work out, I'd get a cool accent out of it, too! Plus get started on my EU residency! :-D I wonder how many guys would be up for living in Europe...