a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Never, ever read the comments…

Posted on: May 25, 2011

I always have to remind myself that.  Lucky for me, I screen comments that come along and all of you frequent commenters are amazing.  I still get a little pit in my stomach when I see a new comment alert on my Blackberry until I recognize the name and the pit fades away.

Yesterday the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary ordained it’s first openly gay female rabbi, Rachel Isaacs.  This evening the story is on the Jewish Daily Forward’s Sisterhood blogas well as a link on Facebook.  Before actually reading the entire article I tweeted it and shared in on Facebook because I was so thrilled and shocked that it’s taken the Conservative movement that long.  I’d just spent last Monday in an Orthodox shul, listening to frum lesbians, under the watchful and accepting eyes of the shul’s rabbis and the Conservative movement only this week ordained an openly gay woman?  Reason 100 that I’ll continue to pursue a Reform conversion and apply to a Reform rabbinical school and observe in a “Conservodox” way. 

So, I get through the article on The Sisterhood and the first comment is one of, well, hate.  Misunderstanding, confusion, intolerance…all words that, to me, translate into hate.  So I go back to Facebook to read the 16 comments and what do I read.  More Hatred. 

Yesterday morning I woke up bright and early and had an hour-long conversation with Goldie Goldbloom.  Like my conversations with Rabbi Andrea Myers, I hung up the phone with a sense that all would be right in the world.  I can’t give up information about my interview with Goldie because it’s promised else where but, I will say something she said that touched me.  Goldie said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the stuff that the things the”Jewish Community/Jewish folks/Etc.” say that are negative isn’t what God thinks-it’s what they{people} think.  She doesn’t care what you or I think, she only answers to God.

Today in conversion class we skimmed the surface of Jewish Mysticism.  It’s only an hour and a half long class but what I gathered,and the kind of God I’m most comfortable, with is a Jewish Mystical idea of God.  That God is everything.  God is in me, in you, in the computer I’m typing on and in the apartment I live in.  One of the most amazing passages in the Gospel of Thomas, not canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, shares the same idea.  That Jesus’ message was that God is in everything.  I don’t read Torah for the way that it is written because it was written thousands of years ago for a society that does not exist today.  Rabbi L always reminds us that there is still meaning in the text and urges us to find that meaning.  There is a passage in Bere’shit that always touches me.  I have a connection to Bere’shit 1:26.  It says “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  If God made us after God’s likeness then aren’t we all God?  Gay, Straight, Queer, White, Brown, Black…isn’t it all God?

12 Responses to "Never, ever read the comments…"

Saying “never,ever read the comments” made me want to read them. I hope those people are just trolling and don’t actually think and believe the disgusting s*** they wrote. What the hell is wrong with the world? Seriously.

I don’t even know, Jezel…it’s really awful. I feel like people say stuff on the internet because they’re cowardly. The times when people have said effed up stuff to me that I’ve actually engaged in dialogue have been assholes in my face…I’d rather have you in my face so I can look you in the eye when I tell you off than hiding behind your computer screen.

Ha, me too.

Grrr…I meant I wanted to read the comments.

Hey Erika, I just saw that you posted this on facebook, and I wanted to point out to you that when the article says “When the Conservative movement changed its policy five years ago” its referring to JTS changing its policy in order to admit openly gay rabbinical students 5 years ago. Women have been ordained as rabbis in the Conservative movement since 1985. It’s still not like that makes the Conservative movement ahead of the modern times, but in terms of comparing it to the Orthodox, I still think they are way ahead of the game.

you’re the best! Edited :)

I’ve been following you for some time but I must say that I disagree with you on this one. Being a Jew in Greece entitles me more than my fair share of negative comments but this has only helped me in understanding better of who I am and where lies the value of my writings.

Hi Abravenel,
Thanks for joining the discussion :) I agree with that, I think that reading the negative things helps me to better navigate my Jewish life, they help in ways to shape my Jewish identity but they also infuriate me, frustrate me, anger me…

In trying to think like a more mystical Jew, I’d like to say that I have to remember that these folks are God…but on the other hand, I’m a New Yorker and I more than likely think, these folks are asshats!

Though, I do see what you where you are coming from. I watched a documentary on Jews in the diaspora…they took crews to places where Jews lived and were driven out of- Greece was one of the places they visited. Some of folks there were… unpleasant to say the least.

Thanks again, for joining the discussion. From Greece no less! I hope to hear from you more!

I am also of the mind that God is everything and everything is God. I’m currently trying to get through a little bit of Spinoza who took it to a more radical (I guess you could say?) degree. Most would say his view isn’t at all Jewish and his community ousted him for it. Some insist his view is entirely atheistic but I don’t believe that to be the case. It can go either way, really.

‘ve also looked into Artur Green’s Radical Judaism: Rethinking God & Tradition and Jay Michaelson’s Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism though I have neither in my possession currently.

I guess for me I don’t really care if the Orthodox (or more right wing Conservatives) don’t like lesbian or female Rabbis. That is their opinion, they are entitled to it and they should live the way they think is best. I just don’t make myself a part of their world.

Thanks for the book recommends, Dena! I’m SO broke right now, it’s bonkers but I will gladly add those to my giant list of books in my Amazon wishlist

I also agree with your statement, “i don’t make myself a part of their world”…I wish I could be like that. I try, but I just get so pissed off. But you’re right and echo the conversation I had with Goldie.

I always try to get books from the library before I purchase. We have a great Jewish library here but for some reason I can’t get myself to just go!

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