Goodbye

I’ll be honest. I had no idea how to start this post.

How do you say goodbye to something that has been a huge part of your life for the past year and a half?

How do you explain to hundreds of followers that for your own sake, you’re taking a break which you wish you didn’t have to take?

How do you tell the world in general that you’re not giving up on your dreams, but you just need to put this particular one on hold?

There’s no easy way. Jewish Thoughts has been a massive part of my identity since I started blogging in summer 2016. As I’ve explored my faith, this blog has been by my side constantly, and I feel that it has grown with me, becoming home to my eclectic and often imperfect thoughts and feelings. This website and its followers have been with me as I’ve experienced highs, lows, and somewhere in-betweens, navigating the loss, heartbreak, opportunities and blessings of my life.

I am a writer and always will be. I am in no way stopping writing- I might as well stop breathing. But in the meantime, I am taking a break from Jewish Thoughts. As many of my friends probably know, the past six months or so have been especially trying for me, and there have been many times when I’ve felt unable to carry on. I feel that I’ve been lacking in motivation and that the quality of my posts has decreased lately. Not only is this a writer’s worst nightmare, but I am dealing with a number of issues right now which require my full attention and for this reason I made the difficult decision to leave this website.

There’s a part of me which can’t quite believe I’m stepping away from this website. In many ways, it feels like a failure, but I want to reiterate that I’m not giving up and never will. In the meantime, I still intend to submit occasional articles to magazines and websites, because my writing genuinely is everything for me and I hope to eventually make a career out of it. I may also post periodically, or return to regular posts when I feel ready to do so, and I sincerely hope that this break will be an exceedingly short one.

I’m eternally thankful to the person who inspired me to begin blogging, and to the one who encouraged me to keep writing when I needed that support the most. I’m also grateful for all the amazing people I have met through this website and am convinced that I have the nicest, kindest followers in the world, who made blogging such a joy for me. Additionally, I would like to thank the fascinating and inspiring people I have interviewed for this website over the years. Finally, I want to say thank you to my friends who have kept up with this blog via email and Facebook. There are way too many of you to name individually, but you made it all worthwhile.

While I take some time away from the world of blogging in order to put my life back together, please do reach out if you wish to keep in touch. It’s truly been an amazing journey.

Award Nomination!

B”H

I am exceedingly grateful to Mozer, the creator of an amazing blog named Hasidic for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Through poetry and musings Mozer has brought a number of fascinating discussions and questions to the forefront of my mind, and I would recommend his fantastic blog to all of my followers. Here are the rules of the award;

1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Mozer asked me the following questions;

1. What are you most afraid of?
I’m afraid of many things, from losing someone I love to being killed in a fire, but I suppose I am most afraid of change.

2. What are you most proud about yourself?
I’m not a proud person, but I am proud of what I’ve achieved over the past year or so, given the circumstances I’ve been living with.

3. If you can change something significant in your life, what would it be?
I would want to rid myself of the depression which has blighted my life for the past decade.

4.What was he silliest thing you’ve done?
Attempting to ice skate last year. It was one of the most painful and embarrassing things ever.

5. You eat heavy breakfasts?
No, I don’t.

6. If you need to do with less food or sleep which would you rather give up?
I would definitely give up the food. I want to lose weight and I need a lot of sleep to function.

7. If you can meet anyone that’s alive today, who would it be?
The person I love, who I haven’t seen for a few weeks and whom I already miss.

8. Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Definitely an introvert.

9. What is you best post (in your opinion) and why?
‘The Gift of Life’- later renamed ‘The Power of Saying Thanks’- because it was published by my favourite website, Chabad.org!

10. Do you get drunk ever?
Only if there’s a whisky kiddush at shul…

11. What inspires you?
The people around me who have kept going despite their hardships, and who have made me want to keep going, too.

Now for the eleven random facts about myself, which- believe me- I’d rather not share!

1. I want to get paid to write for a Jewish magazine or website.
2. I prefer being with a small group of people I trust than in a large crowd.
3. I only listen to Jewish music.
4. I study the Tanya every day but don’t feel I understand it.
5. I’ve changed my mind about marriage and want to get married soon.
6. I’m definitely addicted to Facebook.
7. I love going to shul on Shabbes.
8. My friends accuse me of acting like a stereotypical Jewish mother.
9. Have lived in the same house all my life.
10. I spend most of my time indoors.
11. I believe that prayer is a very powerful tool.

I would like to nominate another 11 blogs for the Liebster award so that they can take part, too.

1. Safek
2. Cooking For The Time Challenged
3. Kool Kosher Kitchen
4. Meir Weiss
5. Beauty Beyond Bones
6. Code In Fig
7. Vika Herbs
8. Coming Out Of The Exodus
9. Jewish Books Are Awesome
10. Rebecca Radish
11. Alicia

And finally, here are eleven questions for you to answer;

1. When did you start blogging?
2. Why do you write?
3. What is your favourite holiday or festival?
4. What is your greatest ambition?
5. If you could have any one thing what would it be?
6. What was the best day of your life?
7. What is your favourite season?
8. Do you enjoy reading?
9. What is your job?
10. What is your favourite recipe?
11. What makes you want to wake up each morning?

Thanks once again to Mozer for his nomination, thank you to all of my readers, and thank you to those who have inspired me to keep writing.

Fifteen Minutes

Towards the end of this turbulent weekend, I look at the clock and learn that I have fifteen minutes to write and publish an article. What can I write in fifteen minutes? What can I write, when my mind is whirring with the events of the past two days, my heart breaking, my conscience being pulled in different directions?

I can say thank You.

It’s so easy to get caught up. Caught up in the unpleasant events I’m experiencing, caught up in mental anguish, caught up even in the mundane activities of an average day. Caught up in the fifteen allotted minutes in which I must write and publish. On a day like this, I work hard on gratitude. I think of all the things I’m blessed with. I think back to the fifteen minutes, and suddenly, they look like a gift, not a limitation.

Fifteen whole minutes, and I can share my thoughts with the entire world? Fifteen minutes, dedicated to my own words? Fifteen minutes, in which I can thank G-d? I am positively blessed. I am lucky. I am alive. And above all, I have learned something new. I have learned of the power held by those fifteen short minutes, and I know, in the future, I will be taking 15 minutes a day to think upon what I have been blessed with.

Thanks

Today, I checked Chabad.org’s “The Jewish Woman” website and found my own article- “The Power of Saying Thanks” there. I had known for a while that Chabad were publishing me, but there’s no feeling quite like seeing your own words on your very favourite website. I was momentarily speechless, then elated. Mostly, fittingly, I was thankful.

I’ve worked hard for this moment. I’ve submitted more articles than I can remember, written more words than I can remember, spent more hours then I’d care to admit. And finally, I’ve done it. It’s a small victory, I admit it. Being published on Chabad.org. It’s not like I’m in a book or a magazine even, it’s not like I’m suddenly famous or admired.

But that doesn’t matter. I’ve achieved my personal goal. And yes, I’ve worked hard, but I know that I wouldn’t be celebrating this moment if it weren’t for a number of amazing people. My friends who have supported and helped me. My family who have been there for me. My rabbis who have encouraged and listened to me. Above all, I’m grateful to the editor of the Jewish Woman, Chana Weisberg, and also to my Chabad rabbi, with whom I shared my articles before I even started this site, and who read and commented on my work while juggling a million other things.

And I’d like to thank you, you who is reading this now, for helping me along the way. Thank you for everything. My article can be found below, and I request that if you enjoy it, you take a minute to comment on the link, so that the article gains popularity on Chabad.org. Sharing on social media is also greatly appreciated. Once again, thank you.

http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/3677091/jewish/The-Power-of-Saying-Thanks.htm

Are You Inspired?

Sometimes I worry that my readers think I sound like a broken record.

It’s true that I talk about my favourite topic an awful lot. Almost as if every time I read something about it, I feel the need to post it, to interpret it, to shout it from the rooftops. What topic is this? Ahavos Yisroel, of course. Love for your fellow. I don’t think a week has gone by where I haven’t written about it.

I’m not the most popular blogger ever- and I’m ok with that. But I know someone’s reading this right now. You are. I’ve published 310 articles, soon to be 311. And if even one of those inspires you to spread love- to show ahavos Yisroel- then those hours of typing were worthwile. Because that one act of love, dear reader, could trigger the arrival of Moshiach (may He come speedily and in our days).

And so, I leave you with these words from the Hayom Yom;

There is no one for whom to pride oneself. We must toil strenuously. With patience and friendliness we can prevail in all things, with G‑d’s help. With a denigrating attitude toward others and inflating our own importance we lose everything, G‑d forbid.

Here’s to another 310 articles.
And here’s to the coming of Moshiach.

Jewish Blog Recommendation!

Have you ever wanted to read about the struggles of conversion to orthodox Judaism, through the eyes of someone who’s actually going through it? Are you interested in a first hand account of the trials and tribulations, the judgements, the difficulties, the learning, the triumphs, the joys- every little aspect of it, in fine detail?

If so, I have the blog for you.

Just click the link above and started reading. As a baalas Teshuva- a Jew born into a non-observant home- I can relate with the author in many, many ways. Except for her, it’s even harder than it was for me. Every time I see a new post from her, I applaud her courage and strength in the face of an amazingly gruelling process. I hope that you feel the same way, too.

Jewish Blog Recommendation

I’m always looking for inspiration. Sometimes, it comes from the strangest places; scraps of fabric, mundane conversations, even comments on social media. Other times, though, it comes from probably the most predictable source; other writers. And so, I’d like to introduce my readers to a fellow Chassidic blogger who has inspired me no end. Through a mix of divrei Torah, poems, and prose, he has provided me with ideas for countless articles. Please check out his blog by clicking on the link below!

Click Here!

1,222

My website has been viewed, in total, 1,222 times.

That’s not a lot of times.

Many of my fellow Jewish (and non Jewish!) bloggers have had many more views, and many more visitors, than I have. But still, looking at that number, I feel inspired. 1,222 views. 471 visitors. I wouldn’t say I feel proud. I could, and should, be doing much better. If I worked harder, I could have achieved more than this in the time I’ve had. But that’s life. You have to multitask, sacrifice your work or hobbies, give precedence to other aspects of your day. But once again, this figure brings me back to an important lesson in the Torah.

Words are a very powerful tool. In many ways, they’re more like a weapon than a household appliance. Because they can be used for a Holy battle, the battle for G-dliness, or they can be used for evil. Swords and knives have slain thousands of righteous people, but also served to defend the righteous. And so have words. The laws of loshon hora exist for a very good reason; quite simply, words can either save, or kill. And upon realising that nearly 500 people have read my work, I am reminded of the responsibility I have in my hands.

Okay, so I’m not a very popular writer. It’s debatable if I’m even a good one (I don’t think I am). But I am still responsible for what my readers see, what they think of it, how they act upon it. And I can use this power to encourage the destruction of Jewish values, the degradation of society… Or I can strengthen their emunah. Explore the issues whigh are in their minds, too. Share my thoughts and ideas. And that’s what I’m trying to do.

Nomination!

I admit that I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award before. But firstly, you can never have too many nominations, and secondly, the questions are totally different this time round, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m massively thankful to the wonderful blogger kawaiipeachgrl who nominated me- even after I totally forgot to nominate her the first time round! Thank you so much for doing this. I’m also thankful to Okoto Enigma for creating this fantastic award.

If I’ve nominated you, the rules are as follows;

List the rules.
Put the award logo/image in your blog.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
Tell your readers three things about yourself.
Nominate 10-20 people.
Notify your nominees.
Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best posts

Next, I’ll answer Kawaii’s five questions for me, before introducing myself and posing my own questions to the nominees.

1. What is one place you would love to live in the future?

 
Central London. I know this sounds crazy, considering I already live there, but it’s the best. We have a great bus system, great tube system, loads of brilliant shops, free museums and galleries, and best of all my lovely shul.

 

2. How did you decide your blog name?

I’ll be honest. Ironically enough, I didn’t put too much thought into it! It was just “there”, on the tip of my tongue.

 
3. Do you have a favourite shop?

I do, actually. It’s this Judaica shop called Jerusalem the Golden. It sells Jewish books, gifts, cards and the suchlike. I’m also a huge fan of All Aboard charity shops as they support a number of great charities, such as Great Ormond Street Hospital.

 

4. Whats your favourite make-up brand?

Make Up Academy by Superdrug. Great prices- just £1 for a lipstick, which is pretty great when you have a load of books you want to buy. I also love Max Studio (by TK Maxx, I believe)- their lipsticks are really long lasting so I often wear them on shabbes.

 
5. What’s your dream job?

Difficult one. If we’re talking fantasies, probably something to do with Chabad. More realistically, writing. So how about writing for Chabad (and to add another layer of fantasy, being paid good money to do it)?!

Next, 3 things about myself. Firstly, I’m an Orthodox Jew (who’d have guessed?!). Secondly, I live in London, England. And finally, although I love my blog, I do want to write professionally one day- as a journalist or author. Now for my five questions for the nominees;

1. What’s one small thing you’re thankful for?
2. Do you prefer books or music?
3. What’s your best tip for successful blogging?
4. What was the best day of your life?
5. Do you believe in a Creator?

And now, my ten nominees. I am very sorry if I nominated you before absent-mindedly; take it as a compliment, please. I’m also sorry if I forgot to nominate you. You can still do the award!

  1. Kool Kosher Kitchen
  2. Frummy Mummy
  3. Empress 2 Inspire
  4. Sableyes
  5. Vika Herbs
  6. Sabiscuit’s Catalog
  7. Coming Out Of The Exodus
  8. Tangible Triumph
  9. Cooking For The Time Challenged
  10. Rebecca Radish

 

 

And, the links to my ‘best’ posts (same as last time);

  1. Why Prayer Is So Important To Me
  2. Why Do I Write?
  3. The Rebbe’s Yahrzeit and the Mitzvah Of Torah Study

 

I hope I  haven’t forgotten anything. Thanks again to the wonderful Kawaiipeachgrl!

 

mystery-blogger-award

Blogging Award!

I never thought I was going to be nominated for an award of any sort, but I was reading my emails this morning when I opened one from WordPress, containing the latest article from Kool Kosher Kitchen, one of my very favourite bloggers. Towards the end of the email, my blog was nominated for the mystery blogger award. There are lots of rules which I barely understand, but I’m so grateful to her for nominating me that I’m going to have a go at it.

If I’ve nominated you, the rules are as follows;

List the rules.
Put the award logo/image in your blog.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
Tell your readers three things about yourself.
Nominate 10-20 people.
Notify your nominees.
Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best posts

I’m going to put the image at the end (if I can work out how). First off, thanks to Devorah from Kool Kosher Kitchen for nominating me. She’s an excellent blogger, a great cook, and an aishes chayill. I’m also grateful to the exceedingly talented Okoto Enigma who created this award, the first award I’ve ever been nominated for!

Next, I’ll answer Kool Kosher Kitchen’s five questions for me, before introducing myself and posing my own questions to the nominees.

Rain, snow, or sunshine?

A while ago I would’ve said snow, but now I realise it’s just a nuisance. I’ll go for sunshine.

 
Three words that define your life?

I don’t know if these words have to be connected or not. I guess not. I have to choose ‘busy’. Also ‘religious’, because my life centers around my religion. And finally ‘turbulent’, because things have been turbulent lately.

 

Your favorite place (room, city, country, beach, forest, etc.)?

Without a doubt my Chabad house. It’s a synagogue, with a prayer hall and a sitting room and a few other rooms as well. I love the atmosphere there and I love going there every week.

 
Your favorite drink (doesn’t have to be alcoholic!)?

Oh, I’m boring, so I’ll say water.

 
Your favorite type of music?

I used to love secular music, but I haven’t listened to a single secular (non Jewish) song in weeks. I’m kind of proud of that. I love modern Orthodox Jewish/Chassidic artists such as Shloime Gertner and Eitan Freilich.

 

Apparently, I’ve also got to tell my readers three things about myself. I really cannot sum myself up in three short sentences, but I don’t think anyone can. Firstly, my Judaism is the most important part of my identity. I wasn’t born into a religious family but I am now Orthodox. Secondly; I have only been blogging for a few short months, but I’ve always loved writing. And finally, for something less dynamic, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who reads my blog, both people I know in ‘real life’ and those who I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting. I’m going to nominate ten such people now. Just over half these bloggers are Jewish, but believe it or not I can enjoy non Jewish blogs, too. I’ll be providing a link to their blog in the form of a hyperlink.

  1. Cooking For The Time Challenged
  2. Hasidic
  3. Salma
  4.  Alicia
  5. Bellezza Corner
  6. Sweta Ojha
  7. Frum Girl Musings
  8. Rebbeca
  9. Confessions of a Baal Teshuvah
  10. Frummymummy

 

Everyone whom I’ve nominated is a great blogger and their work is important to me in some way. If I’ve nominated you, you don’t have to do the award, but I’d love it if you could. Now for my five questions;

  1. What were you doing this time last year?
  2. What moment changed your life in an instant?
  3. Who do you owe the most to in your life?
  4. What is your favourite part of the week?
  5. What is your favourite recipe?

 

And, the links to my ‘best’ posts (though really, who am I to judge?);

  1. Why Prayer Is So Important To Me
  2. Why Do I Write?
  3. The Rebbe’s Yahrzeit and the Mitzvah Of Torah Study

 

I hope I  haven’t forgotten anything. Thanks again to Kool Kosher Kitchen and I hope the formatting isn’t too terrible!

 

mystery-blogger-award