Oct 1, 2013

Who Am I?

continued from previous post

I read an article by Malka Weisman about a girl with well-educated parents who herself was an ambitious student.  She had her sights set on an Ivy League college.  She worked hard and scored high on the SAT's in order to have a chance at winning an academic scholarship to a very expensive school.  She won the scholarship but her parents were still faced with hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay which they couldn't afford.  She took the SAT's again to get an even higher score and did all she could to achieve her goal.  In the meantime, she prepared to go to seminary in Israel.

She went to Israel and loved it and her classes.  But when she heard ideas that contradicted her secular educational goals, she chafed.  As time went on, she began to wonder whether her plan of attending a secular university was a good one for a bas Yisrael.

During Pesach vacation she received the exciting news that she had been awarded a full scholarship, but at that point, she wasn't that sure she wanted to attend it any more.  It was a wrenching decision, made after much agonizing, but she gave up the scholarship and decided to go to a program attended by frum girls.

Then she went back to the US and began to feel regrets over her decision.  People told her she had been brainwashed but she said nobody forced her to make this sacrifice.  She made it because she believed it was the right thing to do. 

"And I wonder, throughout all this, if I was really me when I made that decision.  'Me' is the academic girl who values education, who doesn't settle for anything less than the best.  'Me' is the girl who was accepted into the university of her dreams.  Who was the strange entity who 'changed her mind? If that was me, then who am I? Am I the person who was so excited to get accepted to my dream school, or the inspired seminary girl focused on the one, true, straight, Torah path in life? This is my identity crisis. Which person am I?"

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