My husband, Daniel, and I have a running joke. You’ll get it if you are or have been involved with kollel/yeshiva life. Even if you haven’t, this may be universally entertaining. There are three things a respectable, religious, Jewish man can do with his day: Learn in Kollel, Do Kiruv (community outreach), and/or Go Into Business.
When we got married, we moved to Jerusalem for the famous Shana Rishona or first year of marriage- a good thing for many reasons. Our first year of marriage turned into 4 1/2 where my husband earned his rabbinic ordination at the Jerusalem Kollel of Rav Yitzchak Berkovits, shlita. So, learn in Kollel? Check.
When I was single I worked in many capacities for Aish NY, taught in a conservative Hebrew school, and volunteered for community outreach organizations whenever possible. I love the idea of spreading Torah’s wisdom and values to enrich Jewish people’s lives. I’m in good company and, as a matter of fact, The Jerusalem Kollel’s primary objective is to enable young rabbis to go out into the assimilated (and not so assimilated) Jewish world and make a positive impact. With that in mind, my husband and I moved to South Central LA where we worked with students at USC (see http://www.thiswaytoeden.tumblr.com for our activities there) for two years. Kiruv? Check.
It was an exciting and challenging two years but when our time came to a close we wondered…what’s next? We’re still trying to figure that out and my husband has applied and interviewed with the whole gamut of organizations including but not limited to campuses, synagogues, schools, and outreach centers. The bottom line is that the universe post-economic-crisis has changed dramatically and non-profits suffered irreparable(so far) hits. The kiruv jobs that were available weren’t what we were looking for and the one that was…they didn’t hire anyone in the end for lack of funding. So…what’s next? Going Into Business seemed like the next step. But what is this “Going Into Business” business anyway? Gold? Oil? Commodities? Stocks? Certainly not a blue-collar job! So elusive, mysterious, and seemingly lucrative. If we were no longer dedicating our work hours of the day toward learning or spreading Torah, making money may not be so bad. But my husband and I still haven’t figured it out. We have nothing against this Business all the orthodox Jewish men are involved with but we can’t seem to find the front (or back) door. We’re still looking though and if we do find the Business, I’d like our lives to be meaningful nonetheless. That said, I figured I’d document our post-Kollel, post-Kiruv lives as a fun or sadistic case study of building a Torah life outside the Kollel/Kiruv enviable bubble.