Top 10 things I’ve learned living in Utah for almost a year now (!!!!)
By Talia Goldberg, Community Shlicha
1. Utah is probably the greatest hidden secret in the United States. In the winter, there is great snow to ski, and in the summer, there are awesome cliffs to climb. It is located within a day’s drive from the most amazing National Parks.
2. Everything needs a permit. Whether you want to park in a certain spot, or you want to go backpacking. I moved into my apartment and on my first week I got a ticket for parking across the street from my building. I didn’t see, or understand, the sign that said I needed a permit to park there for more than 2 hours. I also would never have thought that parking my car and sleeping on public property would need a permit. Permits. Permits.
3. Big, large, huge. I don't think that I have ever seen a drinking cup as large as the XXXL Big Gulp cup at the gas station. I must admit, after a year here, I love the pricing for it. It's $1 for liters of coke! That would cost so much more in Israel. I am amazed at how large this country is too. At first driving for an hour seemed like a long drive, now driving 6 hours straight sounds perfectly normal to me.
4. Hello American Judaism and thank you for being a part of my life. Hello to the Jewish life of choice, the Jewish life that doesn’t live with the allusion that all people in the world are Jewish and know what a challah is. Living here made me understand so much more about the world, about the diaspora, and about different kinds of people. I love that. And I love being Jewish friend to all I meet.
5. I want to say that before moving here I knew nothing of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but coming to know so many has put their kindness deeper in me. Living in Utah allows me to see how their culture promotes giving, not just to donate money. I have seen that this Church asks their followers to put their time and skills into their community and I find that amazing. I'm proud to be their ally.
6. Keeping politics aside, America has the strongest economy in the world, such a strong army, such a large population, and so much technology. But very few restaurants I walk into will have a vegetarian option. To me, “having to order the the eggs without bacon,” is not a good vegetarian option. (Are we back in the 40s?)
7. Antisemitism exists pretty commonly. I will not get over that.
8. Jewish nonprofit organizations around the USA are doing such an incredible job. There are so many organizations that I never heard of before I moved here, like Hillel, JCC, and Hadassah.
9. People show their of love Israel so much more here than me or any Israeli I ever met. And here I definitely stand ashamed. People here have taught me why you can love and appreciate Israel even if you never lived there. I have also seen how much you can support Israel and help its people. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
10. Utah is a family. And will forever be a huge part of me. People here try to make an impact and I want to spread that out into the world.