Somehow I Am Different

Narratives of searching and belonging in Jewish Budapest

Filtering by Tag: friendship

Day Eighteen of SIAD Blog Tour - Aryeh Gelfand

Today marks the final day, day eighteen, of the Somehow I Am Different Blog Tour. Eighteen, or chai, means life in Hebrew and is one of the most recognizable symbols of Judaism. Gifts are often given in multiples of 18, which symbolizes giving the recipient life or luck. The cheers “L’Chaim!” or “To Life!” highlights the joy and renewal in Jewish community celebrations.

I am honored to share Aryeh Gelfand’s poem about his own Jewish identity for day eighteen of this blog tour. Aryeh’s poem explores many of the questions that many Jews struggle through and are often fearful to express. The raw, honest, and seeking nature of Aryeh’s expression is a perfect culmination of all that this blog tour and Somehow I Am Different have aimed to represent. And if you really want to feel something, you’ll have to see Aryeh perform the piece in person!

My Jewish Identity

Being a Jew to me is everything.

It is to live in a state of dichotomous balance.

It is to be hated, feared, and misunderstood.

It is to be envied.

It is to live as Clark Kent, with his true form lying skin deep beneath the fabric that covers his true essence

What of those who wear the black and white and spit on the forces of modernity?

What of those of those ancient relics of a past ill-remembered and ill-understood?

Are they worshipers of a God long since dead, and keeping alive traditions that brought the fires of death on both themselves and all of humanity?

Or are they standard bearers of an ancient and subversive light unto nations?

Where is the place of the doubter? The non-believer? Those who claw at the dirt piling on to their face in desperate search of some fresh air to breathe.

Who gets to wear the armor of God?

Is it the soldiers wedded to tradition who thrust their pikes through the hearts and minds of those who profess not to believe?

Or are those who choose to live a life of not choosing. Not knowing.

Not being?

Where lies the truth in this world.

Why does it lie underneath piles of wet mud and is made up of lost, and broken dreams.

And Broken.

Broken.

Continuously broken promises.

Why are we as blind dogs, lead by the leash of reason, and myth, and preconception. Through this minefield of traps and holes, in which to fall?

Why is the norm to be lost, without a map?

But is to be lost? not to

be found?

It is too

a path to search!

Where lies the answers to the questions we all ask?

Or if we don’t should be asking?

I don’t know.

But we must be content to lay blinded in the dark.

Grasping at traces of lightning. As it flashes briefly, momentarily across the black sky.

Illuminating the truth. If but for one singular moment!

It is for these moments, for which we live.

For there is no truth. Only beauty.

And the wild seas of our tormented souls, in which we can find comfort.

Thank you, Aryeh, for sharing your search with us. If you have a reaction to this piece, please comment here or email apetersel@gmail and I will forward the question or comment to Aryeh himself.

Day Seventeen of SIAD Blog Tour - Naomi Rosen

On the seventeenth day of the SIAD blog tour, I am proud and excited to share an interview with my dear friend, globe-trotting change-maker, and fellow social worker, Naomi Rosen. Here's what Naomi has to say about Somehow I Am Different and her take on my journey to bring the book to life.

Day Sixteen of SIAD Blog Tour - Jessica Tamar Deutsch

If you aren’t already following Jessica Tamar Deutsch, now is the time. This three-page visual storytelling piece about author Alyssa and her Somehow I Am Different journey and spiritual questioning touches the surface of the awe-inspiring integration of art and spirituality that fellow writer Jess has developed as her trade. 

Jess’ work is raw, unique, reflective, and truly stunning. Thank you for sharing your talent and gifts with us for the sixteenth day of the SIAD Blog Tour, Jess! We look forward to your upcoming book release!

Day Thirteen of SIAD Blog Tour - Tracy Kopulsky

The beautiful Tracy Kopulsky, fellow Northwestern alum and leader of the ASB Budapest trip that led to the making of Somehow I Am Different, shares with the SIAD team today about her connection to Jewish identity. Check out her post here!

Day Eleven of SIAD Blog Tour - Lily Chang

Lily Chang is our personal superstar. Today she shares with the Somehow I Am Different Blog Tour snippets of her journey toward self-acceptance while fully accepting just how hard it is to put that journey into words.

Thank you for sharing with us, Lily! Check out her post here and become part of the conversation.

Day Eight of SIAD Blog Tour - Alli Lesovoy

Alyssa met Alli just about three months ago in their book club where they read and discuss about Jewish mindfulness. Alli has an immense impact on the values and trajectories of every soul she touches. Today, Alli writes post eight on the Somehow I Am Different Blog Tour about her own Jewish journey. Read with us and let us know what you think!

Day Seven of SIAD Blog Tour - Arjuna Jayawardena

I am excited to share Arjuna Jayawardena's post for Day Seven of the Somehow I Am Different Blog Tour! Learn about themes of religious differences and similarities, tradition and continuity, finding self in spirituality, community coming together in times of joy, and the art of asking ourselves important questions for our future and for the future of our world. 

Thank you for sharing your light with us, Arjuna!

Day Six of SIAD Blog Tour - Caz VanDevere

On this sixth day of the Somehow I Am Different Blog Tour, and Easter Sunday (Happy Easter all!), Alyssa is humbled and honored to share the thoughtful and brilliant Caz VanDevere's blog post on the development of friendship, changes in perspective, and challenging out norms. 

Thank you, Caz, for your kind words and for your support throughout this process and all others. 

Day Two of SIAD Blog Tour - Faith Brigham Leener

Today is day two of the Somehow I Am Different Blog Tour. We are so proud and humbled to lend the stage to Faith Brigham Leener, Co-Founder of Base and Educator at Base BKLYN and a dear friend and role model of Alyssa's. She shares insight into her experience with Somehow I Am Different and her wider experience of seeking and discovering her own sense of self and belonging her blog post today.

Thank you, Faith, for sharing your light and your story with us and with the readers of this post. May we all find the clarity that you have found.

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