a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Manic Monday

Posted on: June 11, 2012

I’ve been trying to figure out how to move the blog forward in a way that continues to be inspiring, educational, fun, and motivational.  As I near my one-year Jewish anniversary I want to get back into blogging with more regularity so hopefully that will shine through.

Today I want to focus on some news happening in the Jewish community that is on my radar.

Over the weekend, at the Kotel, David Arquette aka Deputy Dewey became a man. He became bar mitzvah in Israel while filming a show for the Travel Channel. I can’t say that his pictures are not moving, but I wonder if my child could become bar mitzvah at the Kotel. The politics in Israel about who is a Jew and who is not are so steeped in beautiful traditions in some ways-like Arquette’s big day and filled with contradictions in others. If Arquette wanted to make aliyah, he most likely could but I most likely could not.

 

I’m not sure why Israel still holds a special place in my heart.  The trepidation that I felt about Israel hasn’t changed since my visit last November.  The awe and beauty that I’m able to see through all of the injustice and ugliness is still clear.  There’s a mystery there, a history, a pull that I feel that I cannot shake.  I’m currently waiting to hear about a scholarship for this year’s LGBTQ Trip to Israel.  If you’re interested in seeing Israel for the first time or for the first time with a group of LGBTQ Jews you should definitely consider coming on the trip with me.

 

News out of Israel regarding Sudanese immigrants continues to be bleak. As an American, it’s hard for me to weigh in with any real knowledge of the situation. This morning on Twitter someone referenced the SS. St. Louis, the infamous vessel that traveled from Germany to Cuba during WWII only to be denied entrance by the Cuban government.  The size of Cuba is substantially larger than the size of Israel yet, the refugees in need of asylum are in the same dire straights. The times may have changed but the story remains the same. So how can it be that in 60 years Israelis have forgotten when we’re told to never forget? Is it because these refugees are black and not white? If they had white skin would they be allowed admittance into Israel?  If the were white would they be rounded up and ready for deportation to a country that will surely die? Is life only precious if it is a Jewish life?  It breaks my heart each day as the news continues to pour in. Last week I got a real treasure-11 new books for free.  The one I’m reading now, “The Choice to Be” by Jeremy Kagan, I’m finding isn’t about becoming Jewish but rather being Jewish, taking on the mitzvot, bring yourself closer to Gd.  It’s been a great read and this morning I read something that resonates with the current situation in Israel.

The Talmud states that the Second Temple, the one whose ruins lie before us in Yerushalayim, was destroyed because of sinat chinam (baseless hatred). Yoma 9b

 

As the summer draws to an end in a few months it will bring with it the end of Pursue, the Jewish organization that gave me my first shot in the non-profit sector. The offices in San Francisco will close this summer followed by the New York office in late fall/early winter. Of the many Jewish organizations doing amazing work, Pursue is rare.  With a focus on engaging Jews in the 20s and 30s around social justice issues here in the United States it will be dearly missed.  A force to be reckoned with, the all-female team that has staffed Pursue these six years are some of the heavy-hitters in the Jewish non-profit world.  I am honored to have spent time learning with them.

 

Last, but not least I’m rounding out this Manic Monday with news from my current job with Hazon.  The Cross USA Ride launched two days ago-11 riders on two wheels pedaling from Seattle, Washington to Washington DC.  There’s still time to join the ride, donate to the ride or you can keep tabs on the rider by subscribing to the Cross USA Ride Blog.  Don’t forget-I’m looking for $5 a reader for my own 100-mile ride from Connecticut to NYC.  Donate to my page today!

 

 

 

 

3 Responses to "Manic Monday"

Why couldn’t you make aliyah? The Law of Return is different from Orthodox restrictions on marriage.

I didn’t know that-thanks Mike!

Erika, thank you so much for your very sweet note about Pursue. We loved having you on the team.

You’ll still have a little longer to enjoy though – we aren’t closing in NYC until the end of November! (SF is closing end of summer)

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