Monday, January 24, 2011


I have been doing quite a bit of thinking lately, about my life, what I am doing now, and what/where I want to be in the future. I have been saying for a very long time that I want to make aliyah.

My late husband, Barry and I had planned to make aliyah. We thought we might be able to do so after his youngest finished her Shana B'Aretz. But, unfortunately, that was not to be. My beloved Barry was taken from me before we could realize that dream.

But while that was a dream that we both shared, it was not a dream I lost -- in fact, after his death, the dream became more intensely desired. In fact, I had opened a file with Nefesh B'Nefesh in late 2009, thinking I might be able to make aliyah in August of 2010. But that was not to be. Upon being viciously sued by his ex wife and his four daughters, I had to put my plans on hold. They attempted to ruin me, to take away from me any and all chance of my ability to make aliyah, to live a comfortable life.

That litigation is finally coming to a close. Thank G-d, they did not succeed. Much happened in the intervening year, most of it really amazing, and wonderful. I know that Hashem's hashgacha pratis was the source of all my blessings this past year. My moving to Baltimore, being closer to my brother and his family, making all these amazing new friends, finding a nice apartment, and work that I enjoy, and belonging to a wonderful shul -- all these are the results of His Divine Providence.

About a month ago, I re-opened my file with Nefesh B'Nefesh. I am once again attempting to make aliyah. It is going to be quite an adventure, I can see that already. I am working to reawaken my ability to speak and understand Hebrew. I am teaching myself new words, working to increase my vocabulary. I am reading and perusing sites in Hebrew to acclimate myself to READING Hebrew.

I am also considering another change in my life. It is one that is not going to come easy to me, but one which I think I have to make.

Since mid summer 2010 I have been going contra dancing, several times a week. I love the dancing. But after about five months of dancing this much, I began to experience pain in my right hip/leg. I have a congenital "deformity" in my right side: the leg rotates outward more than it should, and does not have enough interior rotation. But despite this I walk normally -- because I trained myself to walk with my foot straight forward. The problem is that this means that under normal circumstances my leg muscles are working overtime to keep my leg straight. But when I dance, I am adding to that, to the already overstressed muscles, and they tire out quickly and become painful for me to move on. I saw an orthopedist about this issue and she told me that this can be fixed. She said it can be fixed either through physical therapy, or through surgery. She suggested we try PT first. So, I began PT several weeks ago. I have seen little to no improvement. Quite honestly, even though I believe that my physical therapist, Bill Amos is fantastic, I am skeptical that several weeks of PT can fix what is a congenital deformity. I expressed this to him and he understood that.

Now, if PT does not work, then that means I would need surgery to fix this. But, do I really want to do this? What I have been considering is this: to simply stop dancing, either altogether or just not so often. I know that if I stop dancing I will not have this pain. And then I would not need surgery. It will also be easier on my pocketbook. Dancing costs money: gasoline for my car, the wear and tear on my car (it is an hour each way for the Sunday night dances), and the fee to participate in the dance. Plus, even though I have health insurance, it is not going to cover 100% of the cost of the PT I am undergoing, nor will it cover the entire cost of the surgery. I do not really have the funds to deal with this. Plus, undergoing surgery in the coming year could impact my plans for making aliyah, negatively.

The downside to not dancing for me, is it takes me out of the social realm that I so enjoy, it also eliminates a strong source of physical exercise for me. Dancing, for me, in the past year has been a form of therapy for me. It has given me joy, and feelings of happiness and self esteem. All that is important to me.

Now there is yet another consideration. It is one which, I believe, many of my friends, family, and acquaintances might negate. It is this: the dancing I do is social dancing, mixed dancing -- men and women. In the frum community (religious, Jewish, orthodox) "mixed dancing" is generally frowned upon. We are told it is "assur" - forbidden. I do it anyway, with my own reasoning, and justification for why it is okay. Yet, I wonder - is Hashem telling me something when I feel pain after dancing? Perhaps all my justifications for this are for naught. One of my strongest justifications is that I need the exercise (I do) and I am not particularly good at doing exercise that I do not enjoy. But I LOVE dancing, ipso facto, I will DO IT!

So, it looks like I have some decisions to make. I would LOVE for any of my friends reading this to weigh in with their thoughts and suggestions. One thing: please do not suggest ZUMBA. I hate that.

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