a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Help Send Me to Israel-4 More Days!

Posted on: September 13, 2011

In four more days I’ll have to let the organization know whether I will be able to accept the scholarship they’ve offered me, or decline. 

Here’s the E-Mail I received yesterday.

Dear Erika,

We are pleased to let you know that we are able to offer you the scholarship you requested in the amount of $2500 to attend the LGBTQ Israel Trip!

Please confirm your attendance on the trip by this Friday. Your flight information can serve as your confirmation. If this timeline presents a problem for you, please let us know. If you will not be able to join us, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can distribute the scholarship funds to other applicants in time for them to book their flights.

Please also respond to this email to acknowledge receipt.

We look forward to having you on the trip!


X (Name withheld)

Program Director, A Wider Bridge

And here is a look at some of my application answers.

I would be interested in a full scholarship.  I lost my job in June and have tried for the past four months to find work in nonprofit Jewish organizations, quite unsuccessfully.  Because of my unemployment status, at this time, I would not be able to make any monetary contribution.
If I was awarded a scholarship in this amount, I would (mark an “x” next to your answer):
        Definitely attend the trip. __X__
        Attend the trip if other factors outside my control permit (eg work). ____
        Possibly attend. I am interested but not decided. ____
The thing that most attracts me to this trip is (3-5 sentences)…
During my conversion process, I realized that I viewed Israel as a non-Jew, as a politically aware individual, as a humanitarian and had very strong and conflicted feelings about the state of Israel.  As a religious person, a spiritual person, and religious historian I have always wanted to visit the place that is the birthplace of monotheism.  As a new Jew, I feel an unexplained and unexpected pull towards Israel-I need to see it, feel it, smell it, and be.
Please briefly describe the current state of your Jewish practice and/or identity (3-5 sentences):
I converted in a reform congregation but have very conservative and sometimes orthodox leanings and observance.  There are many aspects about all of the denominations of Judaism that I both love and enjoy and that cannot understand and do not apply in my life.  I prefer not to put myself in a denomination box and instead live as Jewishly as possible.
Tell us a bit about your situation and why you are requesting a scholarship (3-5 sentences):
In June I unexpectedly was let go at work because of my desire to practice more observantly.  I took it as a sign to finally leave retail and work in the Jewish, LGBTQ, or Black community.  I have sent out at least a dozen query letters every day for the past four months and have had only four interviews.  I’m currently not working and having a scholarship would be the only way that I would be able to see Israel.  As I explore trips to Israel I find that there are rarely, if ever “Birthright” trips for Jews by Choice who are over 30 years old, which is unfortunate.  There are few artists (I am a writer) who can afford trips to Israel outside of Birthright trips or scholarship, when many of us, especially older Jews by Choice, feel that inexplicable pull towards the land and people we have joined.  Words cannot express my gratitude for the opportunity to receive this scholarship.  Thank you.

Where YOU come in

To the right there is a Paypal box where you can donate any amount of money over $5.  On average, I get over 200 hits on my blog daily, I have over 200 followers on Twitter and 129 Likes on Facebook.  If all of those folks gave only $5 I would surpass my goal.  Believe me, I know how hard the economy is right now, if you cannot give anything thank you for reading and please send this to at least one person.  If you can give, please do so ASAP and know that if I do not make my goal your money will be returned to you.  Thank you so much for your kindness and please forgive this Send Erika To Israel Marathon (it’s only this week).


*UPDATE*  Since my paypal account is new, it’s still being verified which I’m told will take 2-3 days.  If you’ve donated so far, don’t fret, I have received notification of your donation and thank you one million times one million times one million!

4 Responses to "Help Send Me to Israel-4 More Days!"

Sent $5 through paypal.

YAY! Thank you!

My husband and I are going on that trip! We’re contributing to the scholarship fund, but also happy to kick in some extra for one of my favorite bloggers. So hope you’ll be able to go!

Michael! How awesome would it be that you and I are in Israel together-blogging away about our big, gay, Israel trip! Thank you so much for helping out! It means a lot 🙂

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