a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Mezuzahs Every Where!

Posted on: December 14, 2011


One of the first things I noticed when I got off of the plane in Tel Aviv was a mezuzah on the doorpost of the jet bridge.  I noticed them when I went into the passport screening room of the airport and then in the room to claim baggage.  They were literally on every doorpost in every place we stayed.  From our Bedouin cabin to the Art Plus Hotel in Tel Aviv.  There are mezuzah on doorposts in, NYC and Brooklyn to be sure.  There are entire blocks in Ditmas Park/Midwood that have mezuzahs.  There are mezuzahs in my office and several in my own apartment.  While there are lots of mezuzahs, they’re not as common place.  I used to play a game of “Mezuzah or No Mezuzah” they seemed so infrequent. 

Despite all of the injustices, violations of human rights, and constant battle on secular/religious fronts-Israel still holds a piece of my heart.  In five days it will be one month since I left on my trip.  There are rumblings in the works that could bring me back to Israel much sooner than I anticipated, to do really amazing work with the Ethiopian Jewish Community.  Doing this work would mean a lot of things.  Logistically, it means writing letters for scholarships and grants, it would mean another Send Erika to Israel Fundraiser.  It would mean figuring out what to do with an apartment, a life, and a cat that would need to be put on hold fo five months.  It would also mean seeing parts and people in Israel that I didn’t see while I was there for ten days.  It would mean learning about a group of Jewish people who are pretty much foreign to me.  It would mean changing how I live my life day to day in NYC.  It would mean living and working with people in a community that is so different than everything I know to be true.  I’d learn and speak in another language, I would live in a Jewish community where for once, my skin color would not be the minority.  With that realization, comes the realization that just because I may look the same, I am very different.  It would mean uprooting my life and doing something I have never done before-living a completely Jewish existence.  In A foreign country.

Am I going to do it?  I’d like to.  Can I do it, I hope so.

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