a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Heading to Pardes This Summer!

Posted on: May 11, 2016

15 days ago I launched a Go Fund Me Page to help with my travel expenses to Israel this summer.

If you’re a regular BGJ reader then that may sound familiar. It’s kind of crazy to think that it has been almost 5 years since my last trip to Israel. And it feels like it just happened. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous. Unlike the last time, I’m not going on a trip that is laid out for me with stops along the way at scenic views or areas of historical interest. This time I’m going with my big girl pants on, my first trip solo for the purpose of gaining a better grasp of Jewish texts.

My last few posts about Judaism have been about the disconnect that I’ve been feeling; a disconnection with the faith that five years ago I was so enthralled in feels a bit distant. It’s not foreign, we did host 17 people for Pesach this year and leading was sort of like getting on a bike after a decades long hiatus. I started off a little wobbly, unsure of the language, the content, the heart of the seder and by the end I felt it, my Judaism, pulling tugging at my heart strings.

If I’m going to be the Jew that I want to be, I’m going to have to work at it. And what better way to work at it than to fly across the ocean to the Middle East and spend three weeks learning Jewish text?

I’ll be doing the summer session at PardesĀ and so far that’s all that I know. I don’t know where I’ll be living, really. Or even how I’ll get from the airport to Jerusalem. I don’t know anyone who will be studying there when I will be, although another amazing Jewish leader of Color, Tony, will be studying at Pardes for the year and has his own Go Fund Me Campaign going to help out. (Go give him some shekles!). I’ve never been anywhere other than home for longer than 10 days and I’m not sure that I will actually like it. And I would be telling a bold faced lie if I said I wasn’t a teeny bit concerned about going to a place so continually fraught with conflict. Not to mention leaving my wife for almost a month.

But, there is this … pull. A pull for better connection to Judaism. A pull to be fully surrounded by and immersed in Jewishness. The desire to be in a Jewish country that runs on Jewish time. The desire to work on myself while I work on my Jewishness.

And then there’s the work.

I want to make an impact on my Jewish community, and I hope that my education this summer will help further that work.

I’m only writing this one post (okay, maybe one more) asking folks to consider investing in my Jewish education. If you have the means, please take a moment to click over to my Go Fund Me page (don’t forget about Tony’s) and make a donation of $1, $18, $36, $54. If you can’t, please consider sharing this post with a friend, rabbi, Jewish institutional leader, or family member who may be able to.

If you want to read about my first trip to Israel, check out this post, this one, this one and this one.



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