We have a lot more in common than you might initially think. We are both moms, Jewish and wear funky glasses. I often drove past the campus of Sarah Lawrence College when I lived in Da Bronx, which was just a stone's throw from your school. I don't watch much television, so I am grateful to my mother for pointing out your appearance last week on "The View" where you promoted your book Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I sometimes describe myself as "Ultra Unorthodox" since I have difficulty in labeling my Jewish practice. I hope to read your book soon.
First, I commend you on your journey. I can not fathom the strength you garnered to separate from your upbringing. Kol hakavod (kudos) and a hearty yasherkoach (your strength should continue) on your accomplishments, as they surely are filled with overcoming tremendous obstacles. I am fascinated with the "Ex-O" (Ex-Orthodox Jewish) community, and loved attending Chulent gatherings on Thursday nights with my husband, Stango, when I lived in New York City. We met great people there.
Second, your poise and presence is so impressive. Knowing a bit about Hasidic life, I would never have pegged you as from Villiamsburg (Williamsburg). You seem like you could be a college friend who lived in The Towers in Madison (a private dorm where a lot of East Coast Jewish kids live...lest they intermingle with the cheeseheads, or local Wisconsin residents). Or, you could have been that camp friend who met me in the city for frozen yogurt at 40 Carrots in Bloomies' basement before this ridiculous Pinkberry-inspired froyo craze (alas, if they only made it cholov yisroel, J&J would be doing the community a service! Who knows...maybe there is something I don't know?).
In other words, you seem smart, contemporary, and with-it. Your interactions with Barbara Walters were nothing but professional and polished.
You mentioned that you have a lot of cultural catching-up to do. Feel free to check out my blog for a lot of really good cultural references! I'm no Jon Stewart, but a lot of friends like what I have to say.
Finally, as a fellow shvester (sister), I hope that you maintain a connection to your Yiddishkeit (Judaism). I would say the same thing to my real sister, Reba, despite the pain that I knew or didn't know about. Of course, it is all easier said than done, as the saying goes. I don't know how much contact you have with people like me, but I offer an invitation to you and your son to spend Shabbes mit mein ganse mishpucha (Shabbat with my whole phamily) here in Philly.
A zei g'zunt (Take care),