The Past 3 Months

The Past 3 Months

I haven’t written in a long time. I’ve been dealing with my own health issues, trying to get my mind and body right. At the beginning of 2017, I aimed for no smoking, daily meditation, exercise, healthy eating, and limiting stressors. A month in and I’m still smoke free (100 days total now). I’ve started daily exercise, which amounts to about 30-45 minutes a day (including walking). I had a great 10 day stretch filled with healthy fruits and vegetables. However, the last two weeks have been filled with unhealthy snacks, endless takeout, and plenty of wine / beer. I’m trying to hop on the healthy train again and reprogram my brain to resist that post-work bag of chips. Meditation and mindful practice has predictably suffered (it hasn’t happened) in response to the continual stress from my day job.

As you’ve surmised, this blog (and my personal blog) have fallen by the wayside. I have done a few things that dovetail with the theme of the Religious Journey. For one, I’ve written a few articles (to be published) by the Chicago – CAIR Chapter. I hope to craft an article talking about the biggest misperceptions of Islam and how non-Muslims can truly become allies. There is a Mosque blocks from my house. I hope to engage the Imam, attend a service, and hopefully attend some adult education courses. Faced with the climate of bigotry and intolerance stemming from the actions of the President, it is the duty of all Americans to fight against that tide. I am not doing nearly enough, and know I must do more.

Secondly, I’ve been attending (whenever possible) Intro to Judaism classes at my synagogue. I am slated to join the Volunteer Choir, gearing up for a May concert that jazzes up classic hymns. I’ve tried my best to light candles on Shabbat, pour a little wine into the Kiddush cup and buy loaves of Challah. We hosted 25 people for Chanukah, and made every item from scratch. It was deeply rewarding to host so many loved ones, treating them to homemade Jewish culinary favorites, saying the prayers, and having the next generation of family light the candles. Here too though, I haven’t done my part to become involved in the social justice. I haven’t gone to service in months and certainly have not created my place within the Jewish community.

I’ve placed my bet with the Jewish people.. I am on track to have my Beit Din (panel), Mikvah (immersion), and symbolic Bris (circumcision). I identify as Jewish, and am living as a Reform Jew, although I would like be more observant and involved with the Jewish community. At the same time,  I still have the same curiosity for other religious practices as when I started. My desire to visit a Coptic Church hasn’t dissipated. I hope to check out a Gurdwara. I want to go to more interfaith activities. And I hope to make this blog back into what it was when I began – a survey of religion through direct experience. Here’s to a better 2017, and more engagement with the many religious groups that call Chicago home.

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