Is There Balance Between Judaism and Being an Average Teen?

3 months ago Shayna Solkowitz 0

Do you ever feel like you’re living a double life? I do, sometimes.

How do you find the balance being a regular teenager and maintaining  a Jewish lifestyle with Jewish traditions? The truth is, I
personally do think I’m living a double life…I also don’t think it’s possible to live an equally balanced life. At this stage in my life, keeping Jewish tradition has overcome being the average high schooler. It’s hard to find any healthy balance, whether it’s friendships, relationships, family, or school. I personally think one of life’s hardest challenges is trying to figure out the perfect balance between things.

A lot of times I feel like two separate people. I have the one side who wants to enhance my Judaism. For months now I have been saying morning blessings in the car on my way to school, washing my hands before I even get out of bed, and for a little over a month, I’ve been wearing skirts to school about twice a week.  As of this week I’ve decided to wake up early a few days a week to daven Shachrit. That’s the part if me who wishes I went to a day school; who is ready to leave public school and go to seminary; that’s the part of me who decides that shomer negiah is worth it. That’s the side of me that’s constantly fighting my other side.

The other side is my public school, average teenager side. This side resents kashrut at the moment because I’m in a cooking class at school, and I get to make all this delicious food, but don’t get to eat any. This side isn’t a fan of Shabbat because Shabbat means no Friday night movie nights, no Saturday mall trips, and —hardest of all— no school sports. This week I was asked to keep track of the stats for the lacrosse team, and boy would I love to do it, but most games are on—yup!Saturdays.

 

I’ve always felt like I was missing something, everyone I know does extracurricular activities, mostly sports, and there are some I can do, but very few. Now, I LOVE Shabbat—I’d much rather have 25 hours to rest  than go to the mall on Saturday, or attend a movie on Friday night. . There’s probably nothing that I wouldn’t give up at the moment for Shabbat.

 

It’s definitely possible to be both a typical teen and a religious Jew. It’s not easy, but if I can do it you can too.

So, is it really possible to have an equal balance between Judaism?  I honestly I don’t think so. Judaism will always require more effort.. I feel like we’re always going to have to “sacrifice” something—food, our schedules, our lifestyle… But in this moment, and hopefully for the rest of my life, I believe it’s all worth it. It’s worth it giving up my Saturdays, it’s worth it saying no to chocolate chip cookies, it’s worth it because I know I’m apart of something bigger. Just because a balance isn’t equal doesn’t mean it’s bad.  And also…I mean come on, sleeping over ½ a day away every weekend, what can get better than that?