Can I Become The Enemy?

I’m twelve years old.
I start a list.
Whenever an adult wrongs me in any way, I write it down.
That way, when I begin the terrifying transformation from child to adult, I will never wrong children in the same way.
I keep that list updated through the years.
As a kid, my enemy is adults. As much as I want to be one, I’m sure that they are all screwed up.


I’m fourteen years old.
I’m a full-blown teenager.

I cry – so much. I spend my nights in my high school dorm scribbling in my diary, poetry, anger filled paragraphs. The lack of space is stifling me.
I’m so lonely, searching for someone who has a mind that is like mine.
The adults in my life that should be my role models are telling me I’m not trying hard enough.
“The only thing I want in life is to be 18,” I write, tears hitting my pillow one late night.
Because adults are not told that they don’t know what’s right, adults aren’t told that they are not good enough.

I’m fifteen years old.
I don’t want to be an adult.

Adults are broken, hurt, distrustful. Adults think they’re better, smarter, more clever. They’re just overgrown teenagers with more power.
My grandmother is sick, and everything is scary. None of the adults are telling me what is going on.
“Screw everyone,” I write.


I’m sixteen years old.
I’m a counselor in a day camp. Two little girls that are my campers are fighting angrily about something. Something so deeply stupid, I can’t even stand it.
I separate them.
They cry.
I look at them with disbelief. “Kids are so ridiculous,” I think to myself as I turn away from them.
I don’t know where my diary is.


I’m eighteen years old. 
I still want to be older. Eighteen is not old enough. There are still so many people who don’t believe in me. Who don’t believe in the youth.
I write on my brand new blog: “Why do I have to spend my life waiting for someone to take me seriously?”

I no longer count the days until adulthood, because I am starting to realize that nobody is an adult. But as I walk into my classroom, as I walk through a park, as I babysit my nephews, I realize I am the adult in each of these situations.

As I cuddle with my nephew to tell him a story, he shows sensitivity and wisdom far beyond his years.
As I listen to my students speak, see their hurt and feel their frustration, I am reminded of the days that I sat at their desks. The anger I felt at those who felt like they had any sort of authority over me.
Real anger. Justified anger.
As I sit at a teachers meeting, I look around in disbelief, the feeling of having snuck into somewhere I don’t belong is overpowering.
I am a child. These are adults. These are the enemies I spent my life fighting against.
How did I become one of them?
As I enforce rules I know are important, my heart breaks, knowing that I am the adult. I am the adult that does not need to explain her actions, who should be spoken to respectfully, who can not cry and show her own weaknesses lest it lead to that respect fading away.
I am torn.
I still feel like the child I was, yet time and experience is forcing me into a role I never thought I’d take on.
I begin to recognize where children err. I understand that teenagers often make bad choices.
I can’t commit, I can’t cross that bridge. I read the list that I began writing when I was twelve years old, and I am reminded. I am reminded that the pain and anger of a child are no less important or real than that of an adult.
I am reminded of the time I told someone that I was having a bad day
when I was a teenager.
The response I received was “How can you be having a bad day when you don’t have to pay taxes, worry about finances, or go to work?”
I am growing older.
I’m never going to be an adult.
My heart carries the child I once was, the teenager I just was, the person I am becoming  – and I’ll never let all these parts go.
I will keep looking at my diary, remembering those nights, that pain – I don’t want to be the adult who makes others feel that way.
Sometimes, it won’t be my choice.
Sometimes, you’ll have to follow someone else’s rules. You’ll have to take extreme measures to educate.
But I won’t be the enemy.
In High School I wrote a letter to the future me.
I wrote
“You might think you’re high and mighty, Future Me, just because you
are older.  But your past is important, almost as important as your future.”
As each day passes, I age just a little bit.
I hope I gain wisdom, experience, and responsibility each and every day.
But even more deeply than that, I hope that I never let the child in me down.
Because every voice is important. Every tear-soaked night is okay.
Every soul deserves to know how valuable it is.
Every heart deserves to know that it doesn’t have to wait.
There is no better time to be who you need to be.
Adulthood will come. But when it does, it won’t change anything.
The power is in the youth.
Don’t waste today.
Blog Post: 16/52
Featured Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

It’s Been 5 Years

Five years.
Five years since I last saw my Bubby, laying in the hospital, my tears falling on her cheek as I said goodbye.
Five years.
Five years since I laughed with her, shared my stories with her, discussed what was happening in the world with her.
Five years.
Five years ago I was only five years younger, but it feels like so much more.
They say time heals, and it’s true. It does. These days, I can think about my Bubby without tears falling. I can talk about her without my voice cracking. I can even visit her without my heart feeling like it is going to climb out of my chest.
It’s taken five years.
Yet, time does not return. Time creates distance. Time deepens the chasm. Time is cruel.
Because as I grow older, I yearn for Bubby more. I wish for her to be around to chat with. As I grow older, I realize how much more I would be able to appreciate her as the adult I am turning into, and I am broken hearted that G-d couldn’t allow that to happen.
It hurts my soul to know that the last time we spoke, I was only in my second year of high school. It was before I switched schools. It was before I graduated. It was before my first job, or my second job, before my blog, before so, so much growth.
It hurts, even more, to look forward into the future and see the space grow, the time build a deeper distance.
As I take steps into my future, as I begin to see the faint outlines of my story, it breaks my heart that Bubby is not a main character.
I know, it is blasphemous to say these things. I know that I should be a voice of bravery and hope. A conviction to the belief that we will be reunited very soon because the alternative is unthinkable.
But it’s hard.
It’s hard to be in the unthinkable and to be able to imagine a world where the pain is a bygone memory.
As I look into my future and think about the idea of my future husband and children not getting a chance to get to know my Bubby, it is a harsh reality that meets my eyes.
Because I have her inside of me, I have the memories, I have her smile in my mind’s eye, but how will they have it? How will they know who I come from? How will they know who they come from? How will they understand the level of privilege that comes with being one of my grandmother’s descendants?
It is up to the living to ensure that although Bubby is missing from the family photos, she is not gone. It is up to her children and grandchildren to make sure she is a continued part of the every-day conversation. It is up to those of us who knew my Bubby to ensure that her legacy stays alive, that she is emulated in our actions, thoughts, and behavior.
That is what our future will build their foundation on.
It’s been 5 years.
They say that time heals, yet it seems like the healing is often the most painful part.
Blog Post: 11/52

Featured Photo by Julien Laurent on Unsplash

Is G-d Crying Too?

Dear G-d,

I’m trying to reach out. I’m trying to force past the stone wall that is inside my heart. I’m trying to reach my soul, the soul that has been weeping for days.
I’ve been weeping for days.
Just a few days ago, you took a soul from this earth, a loved soul, a soul that was accomplishing beautiful things.
I did not know him.
But his illness made an incredible impact on me.
G-d, I know you remember. For the weeks that he was sick, I was gaining strength in my spirituality. I was becoming a better person. I was more focused. I tried to think positively, something that does not come naturally to me. I tried things I’d never done before in Judaism. I started a small Chassidus study group with friends, something I’d wanted to do for a long time.
His illness, and the hope I felt that I could create some change, pushed me to do so many things. Good things. Things that felt right.
And I was so sure. Like so many, I was sure that I was making a difference. I felt the words I said in my siddur, in my tehillem, my actions, I felt them go straight to the sea of prayers filled with the prayers from everyone else. I saw the sea rising, turning the situation in our favor.
There was not a single doubt in my mind that he would pull through.
Because I trusted. I trusted you, G-d. I trusted that you would look upon your children, your precious, sweet children, and recognize what was happening. You’d see how something that is known for producing so much evil, the internet, had produced so much good. You’d see how thousands were committing to being more connected to their Judaism, people were taking steps forward, and in this process, G-d, people were falling in love with you.
For the first time in months.
For the first time in years.
For the first time, ever.
But then…you broke that trust.
You refused to allow us to witness a miracle.
I won’t speak for others.
I’ll speak only for myself.
But G-d, I have never, in my life, felt this type of anger towards you.
Perhaps it’s because I am lucky. I have never been faced with such a hidden revelation.
A human life is likened to an entire world, and I have never seen that so clearly. He was one man, one man that united an entire world, one man that is being mourned by strangers.
Wouldn’t it have been easy, G-d?
Aren’t you all-powerful?
Aren’t you the one who chooses which way our lives go?
Couldn’t you have given us this?
If our reality was different, G-d, I would not be angry.
The words in my siddur would not be tasting like sawdust.
Going the extra mile in my Judaism would not feel like a marathon.
Yet you chose the reality.
You chose this reality.
If everything I have ever learned is true, G-d, I know you are weeping too.
I know the punches we throw mean nothing and everything to you at the same time.
I know that for each one of our hearts that break, your heart comes apart a little more.
I know that the pain we feel is your pain too.
And as I open my siddur, against my will, and as I pray to you and praise you, against my will, my soul bursts through. And I know that this is why my soul lives inside of me.
Because when doing anything for you is against my will, my soul has no choice in the matter. My soul clings to you, desires you, lives for you.
We don’t know the bigger plan, and that truth fills me with agonizing pain.
You know the bigger plan, yet something tells me that even with that knowledge, you are filled with agonizing pain as well.
You are covered in wounds from our hot tears. From the shards of our broken hearts.
Because as we cry, you gently hold us in your hands, ignoring your pain so that you can be there for ours.
When we drift off to sleep, that is when you weep, filled with a misery that can only come from the knowledge that to get us to the greatest good, you must put us through the greatest pain.
I am furious with you, G-d.
Yet I pity you.
And as I cry and search for the comforting embrace, I offer you my shoulder.
Because I know that this is not something anyone wanted. Not us. Not our souls.

Not even you.

Blog Post: 9/52

Feature Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

The Day the Angels Spoke Up

It was just another day in heaven, and a collection of angels had joined G-d in the human production wing for their day’s work. G-d was carefully putting together the day’s newest soul to join the world and laying down the final touches that the soul would now need during its time on earth.
The angels worked quickly and silently, passing G-d each tool and gift He required.
“Can you pass me the Free Choice from that shelf?”
The angels responded with a deep silence.
None of them made any move towards the shelves.
G-d looked up, His displeasure clear on His expression, “is something wrong?”
The angels all looked uneasily at each other. Finally, one, who had a reputation for bravery in the face of holier beings, cleared her throat and stepped forward.
“My Majesty, forgive me for being so out of line, but we have been watching earth and we can’t help but weep at what we see. Would it be so terrible to remove Free Choice from the human species? They are constantly making the wrong choices. The world is falling apart at the seams,” she looked around at her fellow angels for support “and we remember, we were there when you sewed each stitch so carefully.”
G-d turned His face away, and when He looked back, the angels were shocked to see tears falling from their King, who usually reserved His tears for when He was in His most hidden chambers.
The angels eyed each other, suddenly awkward and uncomfortable.
“I’m so sorry, that was so uncalled for,” stammered the angel who had spoken up, now seriously considering disappearing.
“No,” G-d spoke finally, a voice heavy with emotion “you speak the truth.”
The angels let out the collective breath they had been holding, though still unsure of what to do.
They hovered quietly, waiting to see what G-d’s next instructions would be.
“I know that you find yourself disappointed with the human kind.” He started slowly.
They all nodded, slightly ashamed. They all remembered each tireless fight between the angels and G-d, always born out of this sensitive topic. G-d always took the side of His people.
With a sigh, G-d opened the door to the human production wing, and the angels knew He wanted them to follow. They swept along the halls, following their King to the other side of heaven, where the Earth Observation wing was.
As the door slid open, the angels inside gaped at who stood in the door. G-d rarely stepped foot inside this wing, being that He was all-knowing and all-seeing and did not require the extra assistance that the angels needed.
They immediately moved out of the way, allowing access to all of the controls. G-d waited until all the angels had gathered.
Angels in the middle of other ethereal tasks noticed the commotion as they moved past, and gathered at the edges of the wing as well.
“I will allow a short break in our tasks because I feel that this is of utmost importance to discuss before we can carry on,” G-d announced.
Curious, the angel’s inched closer.
“I have been alerted to the fact that there is some dislike for the continued use of Free Choice for the human species.”
The angels that had just been pushing to get closer cringed and moved back. They looked around accusingly, trying to spot the angel that had sprung the leak.
“Everyone in this universe is my creation. Including all of you. It would do you well to complete each of your tasks and leave earth and it’s people to Me. But, because you have been discussing this amongst yourselves, I find that I cannot go about creating more humans before I clear this up.”
With that, G-d turned to the controls and began moving things around. The angels watched, nervously, as scenes unfolded before them.
Quickly, scene after scene unfolded of members of the human species, men, women, and children, making choices with their Free Choice privilege.
They watched as a father sat in his New York office, making the decision to sacrifice a promotion to be able to spend more time with his family. They watched as a child, three dollars held tightly in her chubby fist, made the choice between a new toy and charity, gifting the three dollars to a homeless man on the street.
They watched a mother gently discipline her child, despite how easy it would be to give in to his whims.
They watched as humans of all kinds across the earth continuously made the right choices, and as each time, that small part of the world was lit up with a joy and light so deep and warm, the angels could feel it all the way back up in heaven.
After a few minutes, G-d turned back to the angels, who stood, all smiling, much more relaxed. A chorus of “we are so sorry, of course, You’re right.” came from the crowd.
One voice stood out.
“Excuse me,”
The angels all stared at the angel who dared to differ.
“May I?”
The angel strode forward, her fellow angels recognizing her as the one who had spoken up in the first place.
They all eyed G-d, unsure of His reaction. He moved back, allowing her access to the controls.
She moved some things around and suddenly the room was filled with horrible images of mass murder, greed, and human cruelty.
The angels gasped, cowering.
“How can this be ignored?” the angel turned to her friends “We were only shown the images of the humans making the right choices – but what about when they make the wrong decisions? How can we allow them to destroy the gift they have been given? They are mindless idiots, making foolish, cruel decisions!”
“Stop!” roared G-d.
The angels stared at G-d, begging for an explanation. An answer. He only responded with deep, broken sobs.
Through His tears, G-d maneuvered the scenes again and the angels watched as two scenes unfolded before them.
They were the same scenes, but it was immediately obvious to the angels that in one scene, the human had Free Choice, and in the other, he did not.
In the scene lacking Free Choice, the human did not spend time wondering what to do. He did not even eye the wrong choice, or give it a moments thought. He efficiently and painlessly did the right thing and quickly moved on. Sparks flew, and the world warmed slightly from the good deed.
The angels sighed in contentment as they watched. What a beautiful, safe world it would be when Free Choice was no longer an option.
The room full of angels moved their attention to the scene with the human gifted with Free Choice. They watched as the human sat, making the decision. He made lists, and wandered far, seeking the counsel of others. Tears were shed, and a deep pain was felt in the midst of the indecision. The struggle seemed to be tearing the human apart.
“See!” cried out the courageous angel “Look at the pain of the human, a pain that would not exist without Free Choice.”
“Quiet!” roared G-d, anger flashing in His eyes.
The angels watched, breath held, as the human contemplated, and thought, and grew as he made the decision.
Finally, the human made the right choice.
The observation room exploded with applause, great big smiles spreading across the angels.
They watched as the world was engulfed in a spiritual fire that reached all four corners of the world, embracing all of mankind and refining the earth as a whole.
The room was silent again, for even the once courageous angel felt foolish now.
The difference between the two scenes was laughable.
G-d looked closely at each angel “Do you see now?”
They all nodded, quite humbled.
“There will be pain. There will be hurt. They will make the wrong choices. I created them – I knew that they would mess up.” Each angel felt as if G-d was speaking to them alone as He looked around the room “But how can we have a world in which no true decisions must be made? I can create a world as holy and pure as I want, but as soon as I wrote humankind into the script, I gave them the power to create a world that is holier and more beautiful than I ever could do alone. Yes, the path is filled with blood and tears. It hurts terribly each time they choose evil over good.”
Some of the more sensitive angels began to cry.
“Remember,” G-d said gently “they are doing the work that none of us could do. And as painful as it is for us, the pain for them is double. They are bringing the world to its ultimate completion.”
The angels wiped their tears, thoroughly chastised and humbled.
“Now, back to work!” G-d instructed, sending angels flying back to their stations.
As they filed back into the human production wing, the angels dared not speak. G-d took His place again at the table.
“Now, let us try this again. Can I have the Free Choice?”
The angels all clamored to be the one to pass it over. After much ado, it finally made its way to G-d.
He smiled kindly and placed it inside the soul.
He then gently wrapped the soul in its protective garments that would keep it intact for its tumultuous journey on earth. He placed it carefully in the arms of the angel handpicked to accompany the soul.
G-d leaned forward, and lay a soft kiss on the soul and whispered:
“My pure, darling soul…make the right choices.”

Blog Post: 5/52

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

When It’s Not Okay

After a weekend of really bad news, there have been a thousand and one thoughts flying through my head.

Many of them are about how G-d is just really really cruel sometimes, and that I’m not so cool with that.

There has been a lot of uncertainty in the country right now. I don’t care to join the conversation about politics because I have yet to see a conversation of that sort that leads to anything positive.

But there’s no denying that everyone is in a time of upheaval, confusion, a universal unsettledness.

There’s this poem I wrote months ago. I haven’t shared it. I don’t know why.

Maybe, because it was waiting for now.

Maybe, because when I wrote it, I somehow knew there would a time that it would be more important. More applicable.

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Politics have taken up everything, and by not wanting to talk about them, my inspiration for posts dried up. I had plenty to say, but nothing to share.

So here. Here is my poem. It came from the depths of my heart. I share it now, tear-stained but hopeful. May it reach your souls, embrace you, lift up your spirit and your heart.

This poem is because everything is hard. But everything is also beautiful.

To My Creator:

Are You there?

I don’t mean “Do You exist?”

I know that You exist,

I tried to believe that You didn’t once

but my soul taught me otherwise.

I know now that You exist –

You were there when I was born.

Are You there?

I ask that because I have a long list,

A bucket full of prayers

and I need You to focus.

Are You there?

May I begin by asking

that You remind me that

Believing in You

Does not mean that life is without

Stubbed toes

And mumbled curses

Bad days

And cold showers.

Believing in You

means believing those things have purpose.

Let me keep remembering that.

I pray that You give me the gift

Of being able to leave my comfort zone

without asking “Do I look okay?”

Give me the gift of walking out

Head held high

Letting the world take me as I am.

I pray that You grant me the ability

to change this earth,

To have Your words speak through my fingers,

To warm souls and mend hearts.

I pray that You allow me the joy of a soul-mate,

That I recognize when he is standing in front of me,

That You orchestrate circumstances 

To let us build a future

Without the pain it can involve.

I pray that You let my mind keep growing,

Let my heart keep caring,

Let my eyes still glance around 

Searching for someone who needs help.

I pray that You lift my head up when it begins to fall,

That You hold my hand when I’m ready to bolt,

That You continue to allow me life’s simple joys,

Like chocolate chip cookies,

and a sunflower picked fresh from the ground.

Allow me to write stories and poetry,

and let them all mean something,

except when they don’t need to mean anything

but comfort.

Let each of my actions hold purpose,

Let me not waste minutes and hours and days.

Let the depths of my hearts wants,

Like blessings to fall upon all those around me,

Be overwhelmingly plentiful.

Most of all,


When these prayers are not answered,

The way that I seek for them to be,

Allow me to come back,

And keep praying,

With open eyes,

and an open heart,

And the same sure belief,

that You are there.