Tag : High Holidays

The Lilith Blog

October 10, 2018 by

Caught Between Skepticism and Yearning on the Holidays

Like a lot of American Jews, I have a complicated relationship to Jewish worship. Unlike most American Jews, it got complicated enough at one point that I wrote to a dog for advice. 

Now, Tango isn’t just any dog. He’s a very wise pitbull who lives with a very wise friend of mine, Margie, in St. Paul, Minnesota. And the occasion wasn’t just any holiday, but Yom Kippur 2014, when all I wanted to do was hide in my apartment for 25 hours. My friend Margie announced that her dog was starting a new career as an advice columnist (yes, this really happened). Did I want to ask him a question? I once went all the way from New York City to Hoboken to talk to a psychic. Of course I wanted to ask Margie’s dog for advice. 

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The Lilith Blog

September 6, 2018 by

My High Holiday Prayer: Stop Exploiting Jews of Color

About three months ago I invited over 20 Jews into my home for a havurah we call the Tacoma Shabbat Experiment. After my co-organizers and I finished leading Kabbalat Shabbat and the important bits of Ma’ariv, we sat down to a dinner that I’d prepared. I only planned for 20 people, and we had almost 30, but we found more plates, pulled up another table and folks sat on a hodgepodge of various lawn chairs and stools. Wine flowed, we tended to a pre-lit bonfire and folks meandered around the backyard my wife and I share with neighbors.

shabbat tableI was saying goodbye to one woman when a man I didn’t know approached me and asked what my connection to Judaism was. Slightly tipsy and really pissed off, I quickly reminded him that his question was hugely problematic. He leaned in to ask about Ethiopian Jews and Ugandan Jews, hoping for some validation. Instead of realizing his misstep he continued to ask my connection to Judaism, claiming to not understand my objection to his line of questioning. Thankfully, a white Jewish woman stepped in and I turned my back to him to continue to say goodbye to a friend.

This was not the first time a white Jew has questioned the authenticity of my Judaism based on the color of my skin. It was, however, the first time a white Jew had done this to me in my own home.

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