As Baal Teshuvas, we had done everything right, even choosing to make aliyah so we could guarantee our kids a Jewish education. That dream dashed after a year completely opposite of what we’d expected, we came back home to a bad economy and dwindling savings, a good chunk of which went to a year of yeshiva tuition for our older kids. It was that year back in the US that I began seriously questioning everything. I couldn’t understand how people could do everything right, and still have to suffer. There was no logical god-centric reason why our little family, unable to get decent paying work in our professional fields, was facing the possibility of losing our home. Yes, we had the requisite college and graduate school degrees, the training, the experience, and the exemplary resumes. But God wasn’t with us. When we finally admitted that we might need some temporary financial assistance to hold us over until we had steady work, my faith was already waning. It was with a mix of shame and anger that I called social services in order to find out how to proceed. How could we have done everything right and still be forced into poverty? My rabbi told us that we can’t always understand the ways of God. But that wasn’t good enough for me. If there was a God, I thought as I prepared yet another tight budget meal of pasta and sauce for our family of six, he was horrible and ineffective, and he had no place in my life. I was done.
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