a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Are We There, Yet?

Posted on: June 15, 2011

A few weeks ago I lamented that conversion classes were coming to an end and that I’d have to fend for myself.  Well, it’s happened.  I’m feeling a little out of sorts Jewishly as of late.  Not regret or remorse but anticipation.  I always try to remind myself that patience is a virtue.  I like to remind myself to relish this time of being in between non-Jewish and Jewish.  I try to cherish these moments of longing for Judaism and not yet being a Jew.  On the other hand, I’m sick of waiting.  I flipped forward my calander and discovered that Rosh Hashanah is later this year-not until the end of September-four months away!

I feel like I’m in the back seat of the car on a long road trip with my sister annoying me whining to my parents, “Are We There Yet!?” Shavuot has come and gone-I didn’t celebrate as much as acknowlege.  I was sure I scheduled myself off but instead worked both days.  I did, however, over-induldge in dairy products and read the Book of Ruth from my pocket Tanakh.  I grumbled and pouted on the train to work while I read the short book and when I finished I felt a little lighter, a little better.

Ruth never whined “Are we there yet.” she just did.  I’ve said before that I don’t believe the all the Books of Torah or people in Torah are necessarily historical portrayals of people who lived, breathed, and walked the earth.  I find that most stories, especially “impossible” stories like the Arc and the Belly of the Big Fish are there to teach us lessons.  I think they’re great parables more than historical accounts of real people.  There are a few exceptions to this Erika Rule of Understanding Torah and Ruth is one of those exceptions.  Unlike rain for 40 days and nights I can actually imagine, without compromising my questioning mind, a woman whose husband died.  I can comprehend a woman feeling loyalty to her mother-in-law as her family.  I can hear her words, “Your God will be my God.”  Is it because I’m a convert and all converts relate to Ruth.  Possibl, but I don’t think that’s it.  I love the fact that she is strong-willed and obedient at the same time.  She’s not a push over but she listens to Naomi which turns out to benefit her in the end. 

I’m trying to be like Ruth.

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