Hila Luxenburg
Hila Luxenburg Hila Luxenburg is 29 years old, mother of Uriya and resident of Alon. She is a personal coach, coaching groups and individuals in changing eating habits and personal empowerment. Sunday 7.12.14 No comments 11583 views

Yearning to Be Me

I grew up in a religious Zionist home.

For years I would get up in the morning, put on my long skirt and appropriately modest long-sleeved shirt, pray, attend the Bible and Judaic studies classes, which we were required to study at the highest level for matriculation. I was an active member of the Bnei Akiva religious youth group and kept the Sabbath.

One could say that I conducted my life like any other religious girl, except for one thing – I didn’t feel any real connection to the whole routine that I was so accustomed to doing.

This lack of connection was very frustrating.

The society in which I was raised believes in the following axiom: if you are not religious, you must be a less good person. The last thing I wanted was for society to perceive me that way, or worse, to have an inferior perception of myself.

And then the struggle began. A long, deep struggle. The struggle to bring what is good and right back to me.

After all, if I don’t feel a connection to the proper path, I am apparently doing something wrong.

I will never forget the morning prayer services at my high school, when I looked with great envy at my classmates - their lips moving, their eyes closed, their bodies swaying back and forth or from side to side – creating a sense of tremendous spiritual ecstasy. That spiritual connection that I so yearned for.

Perhaps I wasn’t closing my eyes tightly enough? Maybe if I swayed a little more? Maybe I should say the words of the prayers out loud?

I tried everything. One morning after another, but nothing changed. The words of the prayers retained their alien feel.

This sense of frustration continued to grow during my Judaic studies classes, in which I found myself studying many Jewish laws and wondering why they were so important, these foundation stones of Judaism, which we meticulously observed – the lenient ones and the stringent ones. To me all this practical observance seemed to be missing the main point.

I completed high school with harsh feelings. The greatest conflict of my life remained unresolved and I felt far from good.

Quite by chance, after high school was over I found myself delaying my army service and enrolling in the “Ein Prat” social leadership training program in the town of Kfar Adumim.

Ein Prat is a pre-army program that combines studies from various disciplines with community involvement. One of the main characteristics of the program is the ideology on which it is built – religious and secular students living and learning together.

For the first time in my life, I sat with a group of people and felt that I was not less good than them.

For the first time in my life, I saw that I was evaluated as a person and not based on the length of my skirt.

For the first time in my life I felt like Hila.

Pleased to meet you, I’m Hila.

I am not a religious person, but I strongly believe in the nation of Israel and the wonderful story of the Jewish people.

I do not keep all of the commandments in the Bible, but I am a deep believer in the Land of Israel as the Jewish homeland.

Today I can say this with confidence and inner peace.

 

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