a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Please Help Send Me to Israel!-3 Days

Posted on: September 14, 2011

What an amazing day!  I got my Paypal account up, running, verified and it’s ticking away, I’ve received two promissory notes, and at least a dozen donations today!  From people that I know and people that I’ve never met.  I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it looks like I’ll be making a trip to Israel based solely on help from people like you!  Not to mention that yesterday was the busiest blog day yet!  I am truly blessed. 

I’ve received a few e-mails with questions about this whole Send Erika To Israel Webathon so I decided to use it as a post.  I hope this helps to clarify what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and how you can help.  I appreciate those of you who have spread the word and donated your hard-earned money.  If you haven’t donated yet, I ask that you consider it.  If you cannot donate, please consider forwarding this information to at least one friend.

As I said yesterday, I’m not looking for giant donations.  Just $5 a person.  Thank you again for all of the love, support, kind words, thoughts, prayers, and forwarding and Retweeting and sharing on Facebook. 

Q-What happens to the money I donate if you can’t pay for a flight to Israel?

A-As you know, I’ve received an amazing scholarship to attend a trip to Israel that covers my accommodations while there, travel to different cities, and food.  As well as tours, etc.  The scholarship does not cover my flight to Israel or travel to and from the airport. 

If I do not raise the money necessary to get there and travel to and from the airport your money will be refunded.  I’m new to Paypal, but I noticed today that there is a 60 day refund.  If I don’t go, you will get your donation returned to you.

Q-I don’t have any money to give, how can I help?

A-I am the first person to understand how hard this economy is!  It’s been incredibly hard for me to live in NYC for the past 4 months without a job, hence asking readers, friends, and strangers for money.  If you cannot give anything, do not worry!  All that I ask is that you share my story, my FB Page, or this post with a friend and ask that they share with a friend, etc., etc. 

Q-Why is it important for you to go to Israel?

A-Israel has been one of those parts of Judaism that I’ve struggled with the most.  When I was talking about it during the conversion process with my rabbi I realized that I viewed the state of Israel through non-Jewish eyes.  Meaning, I’ve grown up knowing that the Holy Land existed as a Christian.  I grew up with its existence through history.  Into adulthood, my “issues” with Israel were always politically motivated and admittedly negative.  Even at my Pesach seder I had to remind my politically aware friends that when we talk about Israel in the seder, we talk about the people, not the place.

As I studied more and became more spiritually connected to Judaism going to Israel became important for me.  I didn’t want to go off of other people’s experiences, what I read in the paper or see on the news.  I want to see it for myself.  Experience it for myself.  I want to feel it, smell it, touch it and be a part of it, if only for a few days.

Q-Shouldn’t you be trying to find a job instead of asking me for money for this trip you obviously cannot afford?

A-Indeed.  And I have been, for 4 months.  Every day I send out resumes, I go into stores and fill out applications and the going has been tough.  The way I see it, if I get to go to Israel, it was meant to be since I am not currently working.  If I can’t go, then nothing will really change, I’ll keep trying to find a job.

Q-So if you don’t raise enough money, then what?

A-Then I don’t go, folks who have donated get their money back and the scholarship will go to another person. 

Q-Paypal freaks me out, can I send you a check?

A-You can!  Send me an e-mail at blackgayandjewish@gmail.com and I will forward my address to you.

Thank you again for reading, for your support, for your questions, and for your donations.  I couldn’t do this without your support and donations.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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