a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

MLK Day 2017

Posted on: January 14, 2017

1-19-martin-luther-king-ftrThere’s a lot of (completely valid) talk going on about this week’s black-ish episode regarding drumpf and black folks’ response. Anthony Anderson’s monologue was powerful and, unlike everything else this week, it didn’t bring immediate tears to my eyes. Instead I felt my mother come through my body and out of my mouth and I said things like “humph, mmm, uh-huh.” He spoke the truth that Black Americans have felt since the election results came in and how we’ve felt on a daily basis since forever in the United States. But it was Laurence Fishborne as Pop, talking to Junior about MLK’s “I Have a Dream Speech” that spoke most to me. And as we approach the Women’s March on Washington, King’s speech, also given during a march on Washington reminds me; I really hate Martin Luther King Day.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Dr. Martin Luther King was a marvel. He was a man who inspired a movement of people to fight for the civil rights that were owed to them as citizens of this country. Though he wasn’t the first. There were dozens of men and women who fought next to him who were left out of our history books. More than that, there are hundreds of thousands of men and women who came after him who continue the work even to this day. I don’t think that one day is enough to begin to cover the magnitude of King’s work and legacy. If we spent the whole of the day reciting all of King’s work we wouldn’t even come close to covering the vastness of his written words and speeches. He was a complex man who struggled in the fight for freedom, in his life, in his marriage. He was a son, a husband, a father. He was more than one speech and yet we are comfortable whittling this great man down into a day. For most MLK Day is simply a day off work, for others it’s a day of service, and still for others it’s a day to pat ourselves on the back for the accomplishments of a couple dozen Jews a generation ago. What happens the other 364 days of the Year?

As Jews we puff ourselves up with pride noting the Jewish folks who “marched at Selma” with King. But Selma was one march, one day, one summer 60 years ago. Why are we so fond of clinging to this image of King with Heschel with such passion and not as passionate about marching with black and brown folks today? Why are we so quick to cite the Civil Rights Movement but not quick to talk about ways in which our Jewish communities perpetuate racism and pervasive images of Jews as white folks? Why do we look back and not forward?

Since the election over 1000 instances of racist violence has been reported. Swastikas spray painted on homes, on Jewish headstones in cemeteries and at Jewish institutions. Just last week dozens of JCCs received bomb threats. We live in a time where whiteness can no longer mask ones Jewishness, white skin does not equal freedom because to the rising numbers of blatantly racists skin color is irrelevant if you’re a Jew. And as Jews we have the responsibility of our tradition in tikkun olam to fight against oppression every day, not just on MLK Day. As Jews we have a responsibility to act in the way some did in the 1960s in our lives today, right now, this year, rather than continuing to hold up that space in time. It’s overwhelming and it seems like it’s too much, but we always say never again. Well, never is now.

The day after the inauguration over 300 marches will be taking place in the United States and aboard. These marches will make history and our grandchildren will learn about them in history books and tell our stories. It is my hope that like King, we continue to march when the cameras aren’t rolling, we continue to speak out for those who don’t have a voice when no one is listening, and that we continue to live as our authentic selves, demanding freedom and equality until our dying day.


Praying With Our Legs in 2017-Cross Post

Posted on: January 9, 2017

I wrote the following blog post for Repair the World about the idea of praying with our legs in 2017 (and the next 4 years) with the upcoming trump administration and the world of hurt it’s already raining down.

Yes, I said legs, not feet.

Hundreds of years before Heschel talked about praying with his feet when he marched with Dr. King, Frederick Douglass, a black man and former slave, said he prayed with his legs when talking about escaping slavery for freedom. MLK Day and Heschel always has me a little hot, it’s infuriating that we post pictures of King and Heschel on that famous mark, it’s annoying that I get the most inquiries to write and speak during MLK weekend and Black History Month (which is not why I wrote this, Repair and I have a relationship and have been collaborating for several months). It is my hope in writing this article that as Jews we are inspired by King and Douglass and that we don’t just say words, but we are driven into action.

The next four years will change American history, it’s up to us if it’s for the better of for the worst. Below is how I ended my blog post, a list of action items if you will. Read the entire post here.

The following list is incomplete, but it’s a good place to start for white Jews looking to make racial and social justice a focus beyond MLK Day.

Take a personal inventory; who is in your life? Do you have friends who are people of color? Do you have friends who are Jews of Color? If not, why do you think this is?

Take inventory of your Jewish community. Is your synagogue truly welcoming of Jews of Color? Are the materials printed inclusive in language?

Give to organizations able to do the “big work.”

Volunteer with organizations who are doing “community work.”

Join social justice groups with stronger leaders of color. If you’re not a POC, be sure to do more listening than talking.

Speak up. Racism and racial discrimination is all around us; in the jokes we hear, in usage of derogatory words like “gyp”, and it’s our responsibility to speak up when we hear these things.


As Jews we always say Never Again. Well, Never is Now

Just an FYI

Posted on: December 8, 2016

Talking about, pointing out, shedding light on, calling out, being honest about the over 1000 new and rising instances of racism, antiSemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia in this country since Drumpf’s election doesn’t make ME a racist or a hateful person.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it all day every damn day until the day I die on my fucking blog so help me G-d because this is MY blog: this country has ALWAYS been racist. President Obama didn’t “create racism” and Donald Duck Drumpf didn’t either, but what DDD has done is create an American where it is increasingly acceptable to be a flat out racist and it’s ALWAYS been this way, we’ve just chosen to be blind to it. Well, I’m not blind to it and I’m not going to let it just happen or be quiet or polite about it.

So if you’re reading my blog and you don’t like what you’re reading please carry on your way. No need to email me or find me on social media.



First He Came for the Muslims

Posted on: November 17, 2016

 Yesterday the Huffington Post reported that drumpf is considering registering Muslims.

Hell, no. Fuck, no. Not this time, mother fucker! Not today, Satan, not today.

drumpf spent his entire campaign promising to build a wall to “secure our boarders”, he promised to prevent all Muslims from entering our country, he promised to register Muslims living in the country and his top advisers went on national television to say that the Japanese internment camps were the “model” for what they had in mind for Muslims. he’s aiming his guns at women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, the press and news media, and the environment.

This is our time to truly stand together as human beings to say NO MORE! Maya Angelou once said that you should believe the things that people say, and in this moment I believe what drumpf says. The Shoah did not start with gas chambers, it started when a demagogue was elected to government and within six months of his election Jews started to be “registered”.

We’ve seen this before and we know how it ends.

drumpf has put out a hit on black and brown people and the disabled. he’s made it clear that women are pieces of property that are easily disposed of, his vice president-elect barely understands how a condom works and wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and de-funded Planned Parenthood, an organization in which on 3% of services are abortions. he’s made it clear that victims of sexual assault “make up stories” and don’t deserve justice. drumpf has promised to build a wall and to deport anyone who is in this country illegally, he’s even gone as far as to say that only people who have committed crimes will be deported (pst, being undocumented is a crime in this country). drumpf has threatened reputable newspapers like the New York Times for libel (for simply stating facts), he’s said that “stop and frisk” was a gold standard and has an eye to appoint a racist and bigot to his staff. he has also said that climate change was invented by China and recently said that pesticides don’t harm people. There are talks of him rolling back the Clean Air Act and other environmental protection laws. The list of his promises goes on and on and serves no human being.

I believe he will try to do every one of these things because he says he will. This is not the time to sit back and wait. We cannot “see what happens” or “give him some time”. As Jews, our history reminds us that when they come for one of us, they’re coming for us all. 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, but over 10 million people died; the Roma, LGBTQ people, the disabled, opposition party members, Lutherans, Poles, etc.

All week I’ve been re-posting instances of hate that have been cropping up across the United States and Canada since drumpf was declared our president elect (500 and counting) and I will keep posting them. Many times people have said that the ugliness should be burned, that the signs should be thrown away, the spray paint cleaned off. And I agree, no one should have to see these hateful signs. And I think we do need to see them because they’ve been hiding in plain sight for decades.

Contrary to idiotic Republican belief, racism didn’t start because of Obama. Racism planted it’s seed in these lands the second white explorers docked on this continents shores. It was, for a time, loud and ugly and permeated through our states and then it became quiet, relegated in our minds to “backwards” places like the South or rural towns. Not so. It’s always been here. Racism is in the hidden confederate flags of our friend’s homes, our crazy “older” grandparents. Racism is in the suspicious look we give when a brown person boards the plane, in not wanting white daughters to date black boys. Racism exists in our schools when black boys and girls are seen as threatening and incapable of learning. Racism exists when we say, “all lives matter!” or “blue lives matter!”. Racism exists when we scoff at a school system giving students off for Muslim holidays. Racism exists when “that family” will bring down the property value or when moving into an “up and coming” area. Racism exists in assumptions we make on someone based on their skin color, when we clutch our purses when a group of black men walk by. Racism killed Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland and Eric Garner and the hundreds of thousands of black and brown bodies killed in this country at the hands of police officers who weren’t held accountable and the court systems who let them off spanning back generations to the Jim Crow South.

So look at those signs in your “liberal” neighborhoods. See them. And fight against them.

Today my Action Step was to call my congressmen to oppose steve bannon’s appointment. What’s yours?




Your Safety Pin Can’t Be Your Only Action

Posted on: November 14, 2016

Safety_PinSince the election the British “safety pin movement” has take roots in the United States, and for some folks it feels like the wrong move. Some news sources are saying that it’s a silent protest of drumf, others are saying that it’s meant to show marginalized people that the wearer is an ally, some are just doing it because it’s cool and what people are doing. My question is why people are people really wearing it. Is it to make the wearer feel part of a movement? Is it to make the wearer feel like they’re doing an action? Is it to make the wearer feel like they’ve done something in this time where it seems like there’s nothing to be done?

(psst, there’s plenty to be done).

It’s my understanding that the safety pin is meant to show that the wearer is prepared to be an ally to a marginalized person come what may. To me that means that if I am on the bus in Seattle and the person next to me starts swearing at me, calling me a nigger, etc. that you, Safety Pin Wearer have signaled by wearing your safety pin that you will help me. This means that you might come and sit next to me to ask how I’m doing, ask about the weather, distract me from the man harassing me.

By wearing a safety pin you are signaling to the woman wearing the hijab that you are there to support her, to be an ally for her. So that means that maybe you smile at her if you’re waiting in line behind her at the market perhaps you ask how her day is going.

To me it seems like the LGBTQ Safe Space stickers in places of business that signal to an at-risk person that they are safe. My only concern is that it means so many things to different people that I wonder that people aren’t prepared to do what the symbol means.

I’m aware that folks of every race and religion are wearing the pin, and I get that not everyone has the ability to take to the streets in protest. For folks who feel hopeless in this time wearing a pin is an incredibly easy thing to do.

It just can’t be the only thing. It has to be a step, not the end all be all. There are many “action” items that folks can do from the comfort of their home, here is my incomplete list.

  1. DONATE! This week I’ve donated to RAINN, an organization that helps victims of sexual abuse; CAIR, an organization educates the general public on Islam and advocates for Muslims, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and a local immigration rights organization.

    Donate and encourage your friends, family, colleagues to do so as well.

  2. MARCH! Many cities are holding local marches on January 21st in protest of “president” elect drumpf. There’s also a National March on Washington planned for the same day. Almost every day cities are holding local protests. Can’t march? Perhaps donate to the organizations who are marching, bring protesters hand warmers, coffee, food. Maybe help someone who wants to go to the Washington March by making a contribution to their flight.
  3. USE YOUR VOICE! The reason we got to this place isn’t only because a 50 million people voted for an asshole racist fuckwad, but because we the people have allowed injustices to go on without raising so much as an eye from our smart phones. From the Flint water crisis to militarized policing of brown and black bodies to Standing Rock we let this happen. Every time we laughed at a homophobic joke, a racist joke, an Islamophobic joke, an antisemitic joke we let this happen. Because it didn’t touch us personally we chose not to see the hatred build and now we’re stuck with it.

    Don’t do nothing, don’t despair, use your voice to call your elected officials and demand that they protect the rights of ALL Americans. Something as small as noticing that your child’s school only celebrates Christmas or that the books in the library aren’t diverse is a step in the right direction.

  4. CHECK IN! Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers who are marginalized folks if they’re okay. I have been incredibly moved by the people who have reached out to me to ask how I’m doing. The thing is, if you do this it’s your time to listen, not to commiserate, which can be incredibly hard. After they’ve told you how they’re feeling during this time of unrest your job is to tell them that you’re there for them, and to show up when they need you. Your job is not to then go into how you’re feeling.
  5. RACISM IS REAL, DON’T HIDE FROM IT! Talk to your kids about racism. This can be incredibly scary for parents, especially white parents, but you owe it to your children to talk about race and racism because they already know more than you think they do. I read somewhere that by age three a child already knows the “order of the races”. Which means that by three your child knows that it’s better to be white.
  6. FIND SOME NEW FRIENDS! After you’ve talked to your kids about racism (keep talking, btw) re-evaluate your friend group. Do you have only friends who are white? Are all of your friends the same religious group as you? Are the only POCs in your life the help?
  7. DON’T GET COMPLACENT! It’s only week one, ya’ll. Shit is going to get real real in January and shit will only get worse before it gets better once the drumpf takes office with his cronies of racists, bigots and antisemites. Life may not change for you, and if that’s true all the more reason to visit the above suggestions.



Yes, All White People

Posted on: November 12, 2016

Dear White People,

Yes, all of you. I need you to do something. I need you to sit in your discomfort of this black woman saying that you (yes, you) are going to be okay.

In your white skin you can and have lived with a world of privilege. You can walk down the street and no one will clutch their purse or walk on the other side for fear of you.

In your white skin you can get a cab at any time of the day or night in any city anywhere in the country.

In your white skin you can look at expensive purses, watches, jewelry (or shop at the local Old Navy) without looks of suspicion or be followed.

In your white skin you can sit at a lunch table with people who look like you.

In your white skin you can watch any television show, movie, commercial and see your face. You can pick up a magazine and your face will be on the cover, faces in the advertisements will mirror your own.

In your white skin you can walk into Duane Reade or Walgreens or CVS and find makeup that will match your skin and hair products that will wash and style your hair. You can walk into any salon and you will get your hair done.

In your white skin you can send your child to any school and not worry that they’ll be the only one that looks like them. You can read your child any book and your child will see their face. You can buy any toy, any baby doll at any big chain or small town toy store and your child will see their face.

In your white skin you can go to any doctor any where and the doctor will not prejudge you, your health, your weight simply by looking at you and before reading your chart.

In your white skin you can turn in a term paper and it will not be assumed that you have plagiarized it.

In your white skin you can attend an elite preschool, grade school, prep school, high school, university and no one will assume you got in on scholarship or because of your white skin. Your professors will not question your place there or patronize you.

In your white skin you will not be disadvantaged at an interview before the first handshake.

In your white skin as your possible anger, fear, frustration over this election subsides and life continues as it did before you will be able to laugh with the late night television hosts about the buffoonery of the asshat who is the president elect. You may not hesitate to hold your partner’s hand when you walk down the street. You may not hesitate walking alone at night in your neighborhood. You will go out to dinner, to the movies, to PTA and your life will be as it has before because of your white skin.

In your white skin it will be business as usual by the end of this week. For many, it already is.

In your white skin you can marvel at the new Red Cups at Starbucks, wonder what’s for dinner, make plans for the holidays.

In your white skin you can already sleep. Or as someone told me yesterday at Yoga Teacher Training, “already start to feel better!”

In your white skin you can let your kid play on the street without worry.

In your white skin you can pump gas without being harassed. You can go into your place of worship and not find it vandalized.

In your white skin you can wear proclamations of your faith (a crucifix, perhaps) and not want/need to hide it.

In your white skin history books tell your story, the line of white presidents returns.

In my black skin this is not possible. It’s not possible for my sisters in hijab. It is not possible for my brothers who wear turban. It is not possible for my gender queer and gender non-conforming friends of color. It is not possible from anyone with brown skin.

So, white people. Yes, all white people. You have a responsibility to yourself, your children, your family and your community to NOT let yourself fall back into your life.

You have a responsibility to teach your children, your family, your community that the work doesn’t end because your life returns to normal. You have the responsibility to talk about issues of race and racism and hatred and sexism and rape culture and xenophobia and bigotry and bullying and Islamophobia, and antisemitism and misogyny with your children and the MODEL that these are things you do not stand for.

You have the responsibility to check in with your black and brown and queer and disabled friends next week, next month, next year and the weeks, months and years that follow.

You have the responsibility to act with your wallet and donate to funds that help people of color, women, children, undocumented citizens who will live in hell for four years.

You have a responsibility to continue to be angry, scared, worried. You have a responsibility to ACT when you see discrimination, when you see white normative dominance in your life. You have a responsibility to speak out against racial, ethnic and religious injustice. You have the responsibility to work.

Your job for the next four years, if you are truly heartbroken at the result of this election, to consider what it would be like to give up your white skin and all of the privileges that come with it. You cannot do this, obviously. There’s no way for you to wake up black tomorrow. But, you do owe it to all the rest of us to consider it. And you owe it to yourself and the rest of us to never forget how you felt on Wednesday morning; that fear, that anger, that terror, because we can’t.

We never have.

What To Do With Your Liberal White Rage

Posted on: November 10, 2016

white fists in the airTuesday night was a shock to a lot of us. After Florida was called for that racist bigot who might be the president elect I went to bed. I watched from my phone as the race continued to tip in his favor and I somehow fell asleep. I slept until my wife came in and snuggled me.

“Did he win?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she responded.

In the last 24+ hours I’ve cried bitterly, desperately, angrily. It isn’t a shock that the United States is racist. I knew that. I guess it’s best described as disbelief. I just didn’t realize the full extent of the racism. It is that disbelief that I’m seeing across my Facebook timeline, and some white folks (and some brown folks, too) have expressed their anger, sadness, frustration and solidarity while others have said things like, let’s come together, let’s try to love, let’s give it a chance. When POCs have responded with how hurtful, dismissive and frustrating sentiments like these are I’ve seen some white folks get defensive.

I get it. This is a shock to a lot of people, and that shock is unsettling and everyone should feel the feelings they are feeling. We also need to realize that the feelings of other people may night quite align with yours.

Be upset.

Be fucking pissed off.

Be sad.

Be angry.

See rage.


Feel hurt.

Feel let down.

Hold your kids tight. And get to work.

For too long we’ve believed that this place or that place we live in is Liberal so it’s okay. I live in X and everything is fine here. My friends, my spouse, I don’t think that way and everything is okay. I’m a feminist.

Whatever your reason for sitting idly while others worked, protested, gave of time and money and sweat, now is the time to get off of the sidelines and to join in the fight.

I cannot bleach away the blackness of my skin. I cannot straighten the kinks of my hair. I cannot hide my pussy. I am exactly what you see. And for half of this country I am what they hate. And I have to walk these streets in a body they hate.

Two dear friends said things to me that I disagreed with. One, in dismay at a homophobic attack, said it’s unfortunate because where the attack happened was a liberal area of LA. Another said that we should fight hatred with love, a sentiment Dr. King based his non-violent platform on. I disagree with my friends.

Liberal areas are no less a threat to someone who looks like me, to someone who wears a hijab, to someone who wears a kippah, to someone who loves someone of the same sex or someone who doesn’t conform to “gender norms”. We can still get shot, five people did, in “liberal” Seattle last night.

Love isn’t there when synagogues are vandalized, when churches are burned. Love isn’t in the bystanders who watch as a woman’s hijab is ripped from her head or when a woman is called a nigger. Love isn’t there when children scream “build a wall” to their classmates and teachers watch in dismay. Love isn’t there when we’ve told the countless people who are victims of sexual assault and rape that not only can your attacker walk free, he can win the presidency of our country. That’s not love. Complacency isn’t love. Love doesn’t get shit done, it’s obvious that hate does.

For too long we’ve lived in our safe bubbles with our liberal friends, our neutral friends, our happy lives while black and brown folks raged in Ferguson, St. Louis, Detroit, Flint, Standing Rock and other communities fighting for the basic freedoms we (I) took for granted.

What do you suppose happens after he comes for the Muslims, the Mexicans, the undocumented, the Jews …

When blacks exclaimed BLACK LIVES MATTER, did you say it too?

When LGBTQ folks exclaimed that we DEMAND EQUAL HUMAN RIGHTS, did you demand it too?

When Water Protectors exclaimed WATER IS LIFE!, did you say it too?

For too long folks with white (or light) skin have been able to blend in, to not make waves, not stick their necks out too far. If you’re feeling the things you’re feeling and you want to create change, do it. It does no one any good to simply sit with the emotions. And it’s infuriating for you to try to tell me how I should feel, I’m not trying to tell you how to feel. I’m asking you to take how you’re feeling, all of that anger, raged, despair frustration, disbelief and put it into action.


Fired Up and Ready to Go

Posted on: November 9, 2016

Angela Davis  Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Angela Davis
Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

A wise man said that during his election and I will admit that having a Black man sitting as President in these United States for the last 8 years I have been complacent. It is a historic fact that our country is rooted in genocide, slavery, bigotry, racism, segregation and sexism. Having a Black man with Kenyan roots and an African name as our President led to an existence of rose-colored glasses.

I am continually horrified by the militarized policing of black and brown bodies and the hundreds of deaths that result in the police whose duty is to protect and serve. But the police weren’t bothering me, or my immediate family. Even when it was close, it was happening over there.

And today, after a second fretful night of sleeping, I wake up to a nation where over half of my “fellow” Americans have voted for a man who ran on a platform of bigotry, misogyny, hatred, fear and Islamophobia. This man who has been sued multiple times for racial discrimination, who has several pending sexual assault charges and child rape charges. A man who publicly boasted sexually assaulting women and then defended his words. A man who said publicly that women who have abortions should be punished and that Planned Parenthood should be de-funded. A man who mocked a disabled person and called our Vets weak for having PTSD. A man who has insulted women and reporters and anyone who stood in his way. A man who wants to ban all Muslims from entering out country and wants to ID and track those who already live here. A man who called Mexicans rapists and drug dealers and who intends to build a wall and start mass deportations. A man who wants to repeal a health plan that covers millions of Americans who were denied coverage. A man who wants to repeal Federal Marriage Equality, thus taking away my freedom. A man who the KKK endorsed will be the president of the United States.

He’s not my president. A president is meant to unite the people, to bring them together, to celebrate differences and see them as beneficial. A president is meant to bring us into the future, not catapolt us into the past.

Last night my wife and I talked about what to do next. We could visit our family in Switzerland and stay for four years. We’re Jews, maybe we could make aliyah. The Canadian boarder is a few hours drive from our house.

In the end we’ve decided that we need to fight and I’m scared for my life. I’m physically exhausted and have cried violently and desperately. I worry for my family living in a state that turned Red with Hate. I worry for my parents who lived this before I was born. I worry for my wife and I and the children we want to have. I worry for my Muslim brothers and sisters and my undocumented brothers and sisters. As I walked to my car this morning I worried it would be vandalized, our house targeted. I wanted to take my Hillary sticker off of my car to avoid being targeted and possibly harassed, but I left it on and I’m wearing a pin today.

My Ancestors who fled ancient lands in the Middle East and the pogroms and Hilter’s regime, my Ancestors who were brought here in chains, those who fought in the Civil War for their freedom, those who fought for the right to vote and gave their blood, their sweat, their tears, their lives for me to be able to proudly and loudly proclaim myself as a black, gay, Jewish woman require me to act now. I’m ashamed at my complacency, that it took this for me to feel the urge to act. But that urge is a raging fire burning in the tears that stream down my face.

The path has been laid by black and brown bodies long gone and those who experienced the History I learned of in school books, my job now is to follow that path and forge new ones. I’m lacing up my boots and dusting of a black leather jacket. I’m picking out my ‘fro and raising my fist. I’m heading to volunteer, to organize, to give of my money, my time, my body because the next four years will require a fight from us all. It will require us to lift one another up, to stand shoulder to shoulder and to look hatred in the eye.

I am afraid.

And I’m ready to go.


Food For Thought-Tips for Shuls

Posted on: October 30, 2016

14853270_981667618336_7768744794894173703_oA friend I made at Pardes posted the “Food for Thought” (pictured above) on Facebook today and I thought (and commented) wouldn’t it be great if shuls passed these out for JOCs and Multiracial Jewish families? And instead of waiting for a shul to maybe do it, I thought I’d create one myself.

If you’re a member of a congregation, feel free to copy and amend this for your community’s individual needs.

At Congregation X our Mission Statement states that we’re an open, inclusive and diverse community, but it’s come to our attention that not all of our congregants feel welcomed in our synagogue. Here are some ideas about how more long-term and established congregants can live our Mission Statement and be more open and welcoming to our members and their families.

Avoid Saying: Are you Jewish?

Why: Let’s presume that if they’re in shul on Shabbat that they are Jewish. And if they’re not, why is it so important? Just avoid asking this all together.

Say Instead: What did you think of the service today?


Avoid Saying: Are you new here?

Why: They may have been attending here for years and you just may not have met them. Saying this may imply that you don’t think they belong here.

Say Instead: I don’t think we’ve met yet. My name is …


Avoid Saying: Did you convert?

Why: By asking someone who is a Jew of Color or member of a Mulitracial Jewish family if they’ve converted assumes that because they do not look like you that they’re not “really Jewish”. If you want to know more about them, ask a more sincere question.

Say Instead: Will I see you next week?


Avoid Saying: Do you know X, they’re also Asian. Or anything of the sort.

Why: Because two people share the same ethnic or racial background doesn’t necessarily mean that they know each other. It also can make someone feel as though you are singling them out for being a Jew of Color, which can be uncomfortable.

Say Instead: I’m so glad to have met you today! This is my daughter/son, …


What am I missing? Post your additions in the comments below!



An Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives:

In our hearts it is written, and on the streets it is sealed:
Who shall live, and who shall die
Who with hands up, who holding his ID;
Who while selling ciggies, who peddling CDs;
Who in cold blood, who by chokehold.

In the law books it is written, and in the courthouse it is sealed:
Who with a wallet, who with a BB gun;
Who in a project stairs, who in a police van;
Who in a parked car, who at the local bar;
Who with broken brake light, who on his wedding night.

Who while running away, who in an alleyway.

On the day of birth it is written, and on the day of death it is sealed:
Who a born suspect, who called derelict;
Who labeled predator, who forever debtor;
Who in a classroom of despair, who denied healthcare;
Who in cellblock clatter, whose black life still doesn’t matter.

In truth You are the Judge,
The Exhorter, the All knowing, the Witness,
Who Inscribes and Seals.

So why can’t tefilah and teshuvah and tzedakah
Make a damn difference


Like it? Then “Like it!”

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