When Karen was only 5 years old one of life's great questions already started to bother her. “Why did I come to the world” she would ask. Karen received many varied answers but none of them satisfied her. “So I kept on asking” she relates. “The last place I believed had my answers was Judaism. I was very curious and very opinionated and I had just had to know everything.”
But the one answer she received was to look for satisfaction from her work. Karen relates: “If you have so much time to think about so many serious things it's a sign of your bored so just take out a good book or do something creative.”
As a child she always smiled when being offered these “creative solutions” but the older she got the greater the void inside her grew and her questions demanded answers. Karen says: “I had many thoughts about death and I couldn't stand that feeling. I remember that I could look at myself in the mirror and think that I'm some sort of Martian. I didn't understand: How can the world continue just to go on and how we could live here with all the tragedies around us, having all these questions and nobody stops for a moment to think what is really important?”
Were you looking for answers at this time?
“Not at all. I was very afraid to tell people what I was feeling. I was sure there were no answers to these questions. I was sure that I was the only one troubled by these questions and that I had to work on my thoughts.”
Life continued in this way but meanwhile in the midst of her self-search many more things made that great void in her heart even bigger until she decided at age 25 that she would never get married. Karen relates: “I thought to myself: What is it good for, one night in a beautiful dress? It's true I wanted the intimacy of marriage but I didn't believe it the whole institution of marriage the way it looks in the secular world. I promise you if I would have gotten married then not being religious, it would have been a purely reform wedding.”
I looked up to heaven and I shouted from my tears ‘if you send him to me I promise to repent’.
When she felt flooded with feelings of isolation Karen decided to silence those thoughts by taking a trip to South America by herself. This was something way out of her character to do. “When I came back to Israel I went to live in Tel Aviv and even with all the sadness always there, I decided it doesn't matter what happens. I'm going to live my life to the optimum, to feel, live and enjoy every moment!”
“Even there God did not leave me. Life just smiled at me and I had a lot of Divine Providence watching over me that I can't even explain. I became an art director in one of the foremost advertising agencies and I got addicted to my work. All that interested me was just to be successful and how to make myself happier.”
“For five years life pleasantly flowed along but then without preparation an awful feeling of emptiness came over me. Even today when I remember that feeling, it still hurts me. I found myself alone in a large apartment empty of people, which was rare, and I felt that the walls were closing in on me. I remember crying my cries of loneliness out loud to the heavens and even though I didn't really know God I found myself saying to Him: “Enough already! I can't stand being alone I can't be without a total and all-encompassing loving relationship.”
“Then I said the next statement: if you send me him I promise you I will repent. Then I started back paddling. I immediately said: No, no, and actually no! I cried into my pillow till falling sleep. I don't know why I said what I did at that time. I was the last person who would make such a statement. It was as if someone put those words in my mouth!”
“But there was still something there the whole time. I would say thank you and light candles every Friday before Shabbat. Even as someone not religious it was clear to me that I had to say thank you and be grateful and that nothing was self-understood to be taken for granted. Having good friends, an amazing house, a supporting family, and good work. Specifically because I found everything in the world to be so fragile, I understood that as long as I have these things I should appreciate them and say thank you.”
And was lighting Sabbath candles something from your home?
“No it was totally my own initiative. I believed even if it doesn't help, it for sure can't cause any harm.”
“A few days after my strange statement about repenting if G-d brought me my husband, Adam came into my life. He worked in a delivery company that our company worked with. Our first conversation was about if I believe in God, Karen repeats and when I told him I believed in many different things he gave me a miniature high speed Hidabrut course about the differences between me and the table. At that first moment I understood the difference between me and the table is a soul beating inside me. I was in shock from what I heard, it really scared me!”
So how did you react?
“Originally I immediately told him don't even bother, I'm not repenting and doing teshuva. But speaking to Adam and seeing the world around us all sinking did their part. We spoke a lot and I heard lot of things that I didn't realize I was thirsty to hear. Adam advised me to watch Rabbi Zamir Cohen and Rabbi Yitzchak Fanger’s lectures on the Hidabroot channel and one day the picture became clear to me. It was clear to me this is the real truth.”
When that happened, feeling great thanks to Adam who told her about Judaism, she jokingly said: “Let's get married.” It was a joke but in every joke there was a little bit truth and that's exactly what happened. “Three months later we were getting married.”
Didn't Adam propose to you?
“Yes he actually did but it was totally unexpected. The astounding thing was that the day I was humming to myself “Lecha Dodi- let us go to the bride” is the day that he proposed to me.”
So you knew he was going to propose?
“I didn’t really know but I can tell you this: At the time I started to work on myself with something called “guided imagination”, and though I had no apparent match on the horizon I told everyone I was getting married this year. It was clear to me that it had to happen, so I said it to believe in it and I believed in it to make it happen.”
Karen and Adam got married 6 years ago in the Tel Aviv Great Synagogue. Since then they were blessed with 4 sweet children: Yishai, a five-year-old boy, Shirah Amalia, a four-year-old girl, Yehudah a three year old boy and Barry Abraham a-half-year old boy. Karen works in her own art studio that she calls ‘Dosa’ which means ‘religious woman’ in slang, the derogatory title given to her when she embraced Judaism. Keren gushes: “My studio is one of my greatest loves in life and almost every artistic expression that I make through it, strengthens the attachment between the religious and non-religious. G-d opened for me a giant opportunity and hasn’t disappointed me for believing in him. When I was fired after I refused to work on Shabbat, looking back I see how everything was just for my own good. I relied on G-d that it would be good and He actually made it good. G-d gave me the biggest hug possible!”