The last 2 years I've done this thing called "10Q". Between Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Jewish day of atonement) are the 10 days of awe—10 days where we are meant to reflect on our past year and all that we have done, things we are proud of, things we might want to improve on, and the new year to come. 10Q is a website that sends you 1 question on each of those days. They send the answers into a virtual vault and send them back to you preceding next year's days of awe. I recently received my answers from last year and they really have me thinking about where I am now and where I'm planning to go in this next year. The answers are private, but I thought I'd like to share my answers. I really encourage people to sign up for the 10Q! They never send me spam emails and I think it is important to take a little time (like say, 10 days perhaps?) to reflect on ourselves.
Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
I graduated this past year. Finishing a college degree is a very surreal thing. I'd think "well, here I go. I'm done". But when I actually sat down to think about it, I realized what a great accomplishment getting a degree is. I feel a new sense of confidence and pride ink self for accomplishing something like this.
Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you're especially proud of from this past year?
I'm glad to say that when I initially think about it, I can think of things I'm very proud of from this last year before I think of the things I wish I had done differently. I think that everything I wish I had done differently are things that I learned to do differently from those experiences. Ultimately I've had a very strong year when it comes to development and success. I'm happy and thankful for that.
Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?
My dad retired this past year, which was a really big deal for our family. Although both if my parents share our financial burdens, my day's income was significant. He also was paying for my college and took a big risk by deciding it was time to close his businesses. I think generally it was the best decision. He is a lot happier and our family is adjusting to the changes. My brother and I are really being forced to learn how to support ourselves and my parents are getting to build the next phase of their life.
Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?
The escalation last November in the Gaza Strip, resulting in Operation Pillar of Defense in Israel, really solidified a lot of things for me. It pushed me to take on a serious role with my Israel advocacy and showed me that I am really capable of this job. It showed me just how necessary what I do is. And most of all it was the first time I felt a taste of the fear that Israelis experience. I found myself calling my friends, making sure they were ok, praying none of them would be called up for reserves, that rockets wouldn't hit their homes and that they wouldn't be sent in anywhere. Loss of life became a much more real thing, even though I was all the way in America.
Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? "Spiritual" can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.
I had the privilege of traveling to Israel this summer and visiting the Western Wall was an extremely spiritual experience for me. It hard to explain the feeling, but I felt the divine presence, and the presence of the Jewish people in my entire heart, soul, and body as I touched the stones and prayed. All of my anxieties about my faith seemed to melt away in that moment.
Describe one thing you'd like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?
I'd like to be able to speak Hebrew twice as well as I can now. This should be possible if I achieve my goal of getting back to Israel in early 2014 and doing some sort of program with a language learning component.
How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?
I want to try to really find a better way to cope with my depressive episodes. People live with conditions like this, but I want to do more than just get by.
Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2014?
This past year was my first full year of real Israel Advocacy work and training. I want to keep that momentum going this year. I want to be the best Israel Advocate.
What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?
My friends and I are all leaving where we are for new places (again) and I'm afraid to start in a new place with people who don't know about my craziness, my depression and anxiety, or just about me. It is scary to find a new community to be accepted into.
When September 2014 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you'll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you're at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?
I hope that I will be in some place even better than the place I am in now. I don't like to put such concrete measures on myself, so I'm not sure how improved I'd like to be, but I know I hope to be improved. Every year I want to move closer and closer to happiness.
What are your predictions for 2014?
I'm going to get myself back to Israel very soon and do something productive. I am going to do something that will really fulfill my heart and soul. Israel provides me with so much love, and I feel like I'll find more of that in all forms during my time there.