Now I know for a fact that I have quite a few posts in me about a favorite saga of mine, namely life in frummie Brooklyn. So I figure maybe I should explain how I wound up here.
I'll start off by admitting a dirty little secret, namely that until a few years ago, I had consciously steered clear of Brooklyn. In all my years of visiting the Big Apple, I had chosen to spend my time in Manhattan, with a day here or there in the Bronx (Zoo/Botanical Gardens) and a few Shabbosim in Queens. I mean, my mental view of Brooklyn was of a place plain and suburbanish, like a lamer version of Jersey. And, as a girl who had grown up and lived almost exclusively in cities, why would I choose to go to a suburb, when I was vacationing and had the city to explore?
It was a series of odd events that introduced me to Brooklyn. One long weekend a few years back, I came for vacation to New York with my girlfriend. We did some shopping, she visited family, and I made the rounds through some shidduchim I had lined up. As Hashem would have it, one guy I liked more than the others (no, he didn't turn out to be my husband), and we ended up seeing each other every day for the rest of my trip. The day my friend and I were scheduled to fly home, the shidduch and I planned to meet in the morning for coffee. But upon ringing him that morning, I was faced with a dilemma: he told me that he was going to Brooklyn to do his weekly shopping. Did I want to accompany him?
What was I going to do? Tell him that I didn't go to Brooklyn? I could imagine my ex-Brooklynite friends back home, laughing their heads off at the thought of me taking the Q train. Of even contemplating the trek out to Flatbush. Wasn't I the girl who, 24 hours before, had told my girlfriend that I wouldn't accompany her to Crown Heights, because I don't do Brooklyn? And yet, when he asked, I said sure, no problem.
Imagine the sweet irony I felt when we got off the train on Avenue J, and I saw all the shops, and all the shuls on Coney Island, and all the restaurants, and I was...hooked. I mean, I didn't delude myself- Brooklyn was no Manhattan, it was not even Toronto or even Vancouver. But it felt like a vanilla milkshake on a summer evening- both rejuvenating and satisfying. It smelled of spiritual opportunity. And what I had been longing for that past year, what I had been sensing deep down in my gut, was my need to live in a place that offered me a chance to continue growing. I felt that the wonderful community I lived in, as very special and unique as it was, did not offer me any more room to grow. I was stagnating, if you will.
And so, like that, I decided to take a chance and move to Brooklyn. Tune in to future postings to hear about how living in Brooklyn has given me an expanded perspective on frumkeit.