Memoir

A Rosh Hashana Story from Boro Park

A Rosh Hashana Story from Boro Park

This isn't a representative story. It's not a story with a lesson, a moral, or even a theme. It's just ...
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Hachana l'Rosh Hashana 5780

Hachana l’Rosh Hashana 5780

I let the memories wash over me -they chill me and I shiver.I want to live, I want to loveI ...
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Hataras Nedarim

Hataras Nedarim

the whole world is openfor your pure delightnothing's forbiddenon this holy night אין אסור - כולם מותריםNothing is forbidden - ...
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Why Children's Books Make Me Cry

Why Children’s Books Make Me Cry

CW: emotional abuse, intersex I've been preparing for the fall 2019 semester this week. A few days ago, I wrote ...
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Why I Skipped the Fourth Night of Chanukah

Why I Skipped the Fourth Night of Chanukah

CW: abuse, graphic moment of PTSD Last night, I wrote a Facebook post. I started writing it as a brief ...
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What's In a Name

What’s In a Name

Step 1: Get birth certificate from parents' basement. Fill out form. Go to courthouse. Find out this is not enough ...
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2005-02 Play 9

The Exhilaration of Teenage Rebellion

Originally published on Tales Out of Bais Yaakov. A few years ago, my sister was in her BY high school ...
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Just One Shabbos

Just One Shabbos

The very last time I visited my family was Shabbos zachor, the shabbos before Purim 2017. That shabbos was a ...
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Smiling with Clenched Teeth

I wrote this piece over two years ago. I no longer go home, and I no longer clench my teeth, ...
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Of Joy and Friendship and Acceptance

Of Joy and Friendship and Acceptance

I often share stories of difficulty and pain about "going home XO." Here's one of joy and love about seeing ...
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What I Would Say to Parents of OTD People

What I Would Say to Parents of OTD People

About a year ago, I was contacted by a rabbi I knew. He had been invited to speak at an ...
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Ma Nishtana

Ma Nishtana

Why do we do this, Tatty? Mommy, please tell me why. And why do we say this, Mommy? Tatty, please ...
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Conduct Manuals

Conduct Manuals

Miss Greenberg wanted to play on that princess idea and design the newspaper as a manual for how to behave ...
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Deputized Adults

Deputized Adults

The title of this post comes from a friend's comment. She was having trouble putting her toddler to sleep and ...
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A Passing Failure

A Passing Failure

This is a story about many things: about anxiety, about mishaps, about academia, about family... It's a story of success ...
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Look, Ma, No Faith!

Look, Ma, No Faith!

The rain fell lightly as I left the City College Writing Center and headed to the train. It was a ...
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"I Feel Like Esav"

"I Feel Like Esav"

On my second Purim "out," in 2015, I taught in the morning, and then went to Brooklyn to be with my ...
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Chasing My Spirit

Chasing My Spirit

As part of my blackout poetry / text rehabilitation efforts lately, I decided to use pages from my old siddur ...
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Oh, the Clean Impure Hands!

Oh, the Clean Impure Hands!

After months of repeated pleas to spend more time at home, the wayward daughter has come back for a weekend ...
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A Father's Love

A Father’s Love

Late November 2013. Chanukah was early that year and didn't coincide with the Christmas holidays. I was nearing a final ...
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My First F-bomb

My First F-bomb

FYI: There's a lot of the "f-word" in this post. In case you prefer not to read that word, or ...
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Tatty, Shep Nachas - Please?

Tatty, Shep Nachas – Please?

Every seventh grade in my elementary school put on a concert. Classes were paired up, and each pair sang a ...
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Crossed Legs and Bouncing Feet

Crossed Legs and Bouncing Feet

Originally published on Tales Out of Bais Yaakov. In seminary, we didn’t wear a uniform. Our skirts, however, were still ...
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Clothes Make the Person... Or Not

Clothes Make the Person… Or Not

When I started wearing pants, I was sure everyone in my life would know what a huge change I had ...
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Base Spirituality

Base Spirituality

Originally published on Tales Out of Bais Yaakov. There is a long stretch of Yom Kippur davening describing the avoda ...
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#tbt Losses and Gains

#tbt Losses and Gains

My first Rosh Hashanah "out," I felt utterly lost. It was the first yom tov I wasn't celebrating with my ...
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Lullabies

Lullabies

My mother used to sing us to sleep with a wordless lullaby. We called it "ay-lee-loo-lee," because those were the ...
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Hormonal Teenagers

Hormonal Teenagers

I think about this incident every so often and cringe at how clueless I was - about how friendships worked ...
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So I Say a Little Prayer

So I Say a Little Prayer

I found a digital journal I had kept for about a year in 2013, the year before I left home ...
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#tbt: January 2014

#tbt: January 2014

The first time I wore pants that weren't pajama pants, for like a week or more I couldn't stop admiring ...
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Assembly in My Honor

Assembly in My Honor

Originally published on Tales Out Of Bais Yaakov By the time I hit eleventh grade, I had the system down ...
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Peeking in the Windows

Peeking in the Windows

When the summer got warm, the kids would all drag out their bicycles and pedal up and down the block ...
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Think Kindly of Her

Think Kindly of Her

Every so often, I do something I would not recommend for anyone - I access all the emails my mother ...
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Shidduchim Escapades (Part 3)

Shidduchim Escapades (Part 3)

In Parts and , I reach age 21 and go on my first shidduch date. The final installment of the ...
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Goyishe D*ck

Goyishe D*ck

For a while after I left my parents' home and religion, my parents asked me to visit more often. They'd ...
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Shidduchim Escapades (Part 2)

Shidduchim Escapades (Part 2)

In Part 1, I waited a while before dating and then went on a date with "Moshe," didn't want to ...
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Calendar-Juggling Revisited

Calendar-Juggling Revisited

A while ago, I wrote a post about how difficult it had been for me to juggle two calendars in ...
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Shidduchim Escapades (Part 1)

Shidduchim Escapades (Part 1)

[shidduch (plural shidduchim) = match / arranged date; shadchan (plural shadchanim) = matchmaker; shadchante (plural shadchantes) = female matchmaker (though ...
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Kosher Water

Kosher Water

As I refilled my water bottle from my school's water fountain today, I remembered this incident: When I started college, ...
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Borderline

Borderline

Note: I absolutely loved my host family, and I loved my experience with them. This story is about one of ...
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That Time I Almost Ate Non-Kosher Food but a Goy Stopped Me

That Time I Almost Ate Non-Kosher Food but a Goy Stopped Me

For three years of my City College experience, I worked as a tutor in the college's writing center. I was ...
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Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts

I was still religious in college. At least, that's what I told myself. I like to think that the first time ...
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Force Fields

Force Fields

I grew up with the idea that some spaces are off-limits. Of course, places like government buildings and construction sites are ...
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Harry Potter

Harry Potter

I remember overhearing a conversation during lunch in seventh grade. A few girls were arguing over how to pronounce "Hermione." ...
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Journal Memories

Journal Memories

Another heartbreaking entry from my Israel 2012 journal. The most heartbreaking part is I know that I wrote this in ...
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2012-07 Israel 204

July 2012

In my memory, my mother was always supportive of my plans to go to grad school, to get a PhD, ...
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November 2005

November 2005

In twelfth grade, I was chosen to go to Baltimore for the annual Bais Yaakov Convention. The Bais Yaakov Convention ...
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2000-2001

2000-2001

My seventh-grade English teacher gave us a lot of creative assignments. I don't have all the stories I wrote in ...
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May 2014

May 2014

TW: sexual ... something? Five months out of my parents' home, five months since the first time I wore jeans ...
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December 2005

December 2005

The two seminaries I had applied to (besides Bais Yaakov in Boro Park, which I applied to only to get ...
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October 2006

October 2006

I had graduated high school, and headed off to Cleveland for seminary. I was happy to be going to Yavne, ...
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2007-2013

2007-2013

Moving out of my parents' home was a long process. 2006, age 18: I thought about the "older singles" I ...
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Fall 2014

Fall 2014

It had been a good few weeks since I had last visited my parents. Things were strained between us, what ...
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October 2016

October 2016

My brother's vort was a happy time. Mixed in with the happiness was a lot of tiny details that caused ...
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March 2014

March 2014

Sadie (not her real name), a girl I had known in college, was coming into town, and she messaged me ...
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December 2013

December 2013

My first semester in graduate school was almost over. I had become ever more aware of "shuttling between two worlds," ...
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Summer 2012: Part 3

Summer 2012: Part 3

In Parts 1 & 2, I plan a year abroad in the UK (which doesn't end up working out), and ...
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Summer 2012: Part 2

Summer 2012: Part 2

In Part 1, I started planning a year abroad to complete an MA in the UK. In middle of the ...
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Summer 2012: Part 1

Summer 2012: Part 1

Once I had made the decision to pursue a PhD, I attended a number of grad-school application workshops during my ...
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August 2014

August 2014

I remember the first time I realized what "I totally support your life choices" might actually look like, coming from ...
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Fall 2011

Fall 2011

In my senior year of college, I spoke to my advisors about doing a semester abroad. I found a program ...
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May 2016 (2)

May 2016 (2)

In the last few months of 2013, the last few months I lived at home as a religious Orthodox Jew, ...
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May 2016

May 2016

One of the hardest parts about going to family events in the first years I was "out" was that my ...
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June 2014

June 2014

I was in Exeter, UK. I had jumped at the chance to join a summer program, partly because it was ...
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December 2011

December 2011

In the fall semester of my senior year in college, I took a French class. It was a lively class ...
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Frummed Out

Frummed Out

In twelfth grade, I applied to the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, through Brooklyn College. The Macaulay program includes a ...
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March 2014

March 2014

I sat in the English lounge, reading for class. I kept glancing down at my legs - in pants! It was still ...
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February 2014

February 2014

It was the first time I could stay for my program's Friday afternoon events. I had moved out of my ...
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Memories and Memorials

Memories and Memorials

When my grandmother passed away, I wanted to be with my family. Understandably. I went to the levaya, I went to ...
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Singing My Heart Out

Singing My Heart Out

Last year succos, I went to my parents for the first days. My brother and sister-in-law were there with their ...
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Pocketed Away

Pocketed Away

The first big yom tov after I moved out of parents' house was Pesach. Most of my family still didn't ...
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Swipe Left

In honor of my brother's wedding tonight, here's this story from my cousin's wedding two years ago: --- "It takes ...
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Intrusions

Intrusions

It was a random day, probably a Sunday. I was sitting in the kitchen with my mother. I was about ...
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Shabbos and Academia (Part 2)

Shabbos and Academia (Part 2)

In the first installment, I made arrangements for shabbos when I was scheduled to present at the National Conference for ...
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Shabbos and Academia (Part 1)

Shabbos and Academia (Part 1)

In my junior year of college, my professor suggested that the paper I'd written for her class was good enough ...
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Pantsless

Pantsless

My mother and sisters often shop at Macy's which is right near the CUNY Graduate Center, where I am quite ...
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Nothing But the Truth...

Nothing But the Truth…

A lot of decisions need to be made in an instant, when you're coming home OTD, when you're navigating relationships, ...
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Klaxon Screams

Klaxon Screams

My family wanted me to spend time with them, even after I moved out and completely left religion behind. And ...
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Farshtelt

Farshtelt

(Farshtelt - Yiddish for "dressed up," "disguised.") Purim - a time to dress up and pretend to be someone you're ...
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Bad Influence

Bad Influence

It's a truth universally acknowledged that someone who found liberation will try to liberate others. Or at least that's the ...
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Dress-up and Play-acting

Dress-up and Play-acting

My uncle passed away at a fairly young age. He was sick for a few months, went into a coma ...
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Juggling Calendars

Juggling Calendars

When you're OTD and trying to spare your family's feelings, you juggle two calendars in your head all the time ...
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Lesser of Two Evils

Lesser of Two Evils

My mother may have thought I was cutting my wrists for a while. Partly as a cliched version of an ...
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