a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Archive for August 2012

Ask Erika: Nailing Down a rabbi during the Chaggim

Posted by: erika on: August 30, 2012

The chaggim are a particularly interesting time of year for rabbis who are extremely busy gearing up for the busiest time of year. Catching and holding their attention is not only hard, it’s close to impossible. Yet, it was right before the High Holidays in 2010 when I first approached a rabbi about my desire […]

Ask Erika: Orthodox? Reform? Conservative? Just Jewish.

Posted by: erika on: August 29, 2012

Receiving e-mails from you is one of the best things of this “job”. I don’t, in any way, consider myself an expert in conversion or Judaism. I started writing this blog to get my thoughts about conversion, Judaism, race, identity, etc. out of my head and into a safe space. I hoped that people would […]

Events in Lansing, Michigan

Posted by: erika on: August 28, 2012

There have been a lot of seriously messed up things happening this year. Too many school shootings, a hurricane en route to New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina and now a Michigan State student was beaten unconscious by two Nazi-loving KKK members, yet it’s not a hate crime.   Sending prayers into the world […]

My name is Erika, and I’m an Ashkenazi Jew

Posted by: erika on: August 28, 2012

I love Syrian cooking, I make a mean hummus, I eat kitynot on Pesach and yet, I’m an Ashkenazi Jew. As much as I try to deny it, as much as I’ve fought against it the truth cannot be denied. I may “look” Sephardic (or simply not what one expects an Ashkenazi Jew to look […]

Talking about Race with Jewish Children of Color

Posted by: erika on: August 22, 2012

Last week I had the privilege of getting some work done in regards to creating Jewish communities that are inclusive, diverse and welcoming for all Jews. Three of us sifted through amazing diversity websites like Keshet looking for inspiration as we started to sketch the blue print for what will become a game-changer in the […]

One Year

Posted by: erika on: August 17, 2012

I’m feeling very reflective today. It’s my one year Jewish Anniversary. This time last year I was making my way from the Upper West Side Mikvah to Congregation Rodeph Sholom to receive the Torah. I’m actually quite overwhelmed with emotions. I spoke with my sister via e-mail yesterday which has me feeling many different things. […]

Awkward Black Jewish Cross-Post

Posted by: erika on: August 16, 2012

Maybe you’re at a restaurant, or at the grocery store, or just walking down the street and BAM! another Black Jew! Do you walk up to them and say hello, or is that weird? Do you wave hello? Do you exchange phone numbers and invite them to Shabbat dinner, or are you awkward? I’ve often […]

The Mitzvah of Mikvah

Posted by: erika on: August 14, 2012

Tablet’s Allison Hoffman wrote an amazing piece about Mikvah today that has me thinking about which mitzvot we, as secular Jews, embrace and those we do not. Mikvah is one of those that I wish I could embrace in a  more regular way similar to Orthodox women…it just seems unnatural. I’m not heterosexual, therefore laws […]

Shalom in the Home

Posted by: erika on: August 10, 2012

I’m making Ethiopian for Shabbat dinner tonight for a couple of friends. I hope your Shabbat is restful and delicious. Shabbat Shalom!  

What’s Inspiring Me Today

Posted by: erika on: August 9, 2012

I’m still deep in the throws of new home drama. I spent the whole of yesterday in my apartment while my landlord/plumber worked for 6 hours-no exaggeration-on my pipes. I suppose I should be grateful to have a kitchen sink and bathtub that drains efficiently and quickly rather than standing water, but it was not […]


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