Sitting Shiva for Elizabeth Wurtzel

Elizabeth Wurtzel

The year was 2003. America and Israel were fighting their respective endless wars, and as per the tradition of my Orthodox Jewish community I left home to grow my soul in the holy dirt of an Israeli Yeshiva. The transition trashed my fragile personality. Leaving Brooklyn stripped the meager armor I accumulated and left me confused by violent homosexual thoughts, unprotected from unexplored regions of self-hatred, and sickened by vivid day dreams of suicide. Life was suddenly plague-of-darkness level dark and I had no words but inarticulate howls. I was terrified to tell my parents, scared to let down my rabbi (his counsel would be to find a therapist who would not turn me away from God), and frightened to push away my friends. Each day to cope, I huddled, still clothed, into a spiraled scrawny mass on the dirty bathroom floor, crying into a warm amniotic sac of shower water and my tears. It was bad. 

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