Sunday, February 13, 2011

Treasuring My Heritage Today

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

So Lucky to Be Participating First-hand in Jewish and GLBT Culture

This morning, a gay Moroccan guy who is just out of high school found me on Facebook through his bisexual female friend, who had found me a couple of weeks ago -- not sure how. I accepted the friendship request of both.

Within the same hour, I received e-mail from a friend I'd known when I lived in Chicago, Rabbi Benay Lappe, who was inviting me to enroll in a Talmud course at Svara, a traditionally radical yeshiva, i.e., one that is inclusive of openly G, L, B and T students and teachers.

The Moroccan guy's photos included cartoons that were super-anti-Israel and my knee-jerk reaction was to "unfriend" him and then I decided to steel myself and leave it alone. I have four generations of Israeli family and while I am disappointed by Israel at its worst, I love Israel at its best. I decided not to "unfriend" him because both of us have an opportunity to see each other as human, rather than as any sort of enemies.

Before any of these e-encounters occurred this morning, I was already feeling grateful this weekend for my bicultural heritage. Why? Pat & I saw "I Can't Think Straight" on Friday, which features a Palestinian Muslim woman from Jordan and an Indian Muslim woman, who meet in London and fall in love, which I doubt we'd have seen if we weren't lesbian -- wouldn't have heard of it, and it was terrific -- and then on Saturday, I met my mom, two older sisters, brothers-in-law, three nephews and niece for a scholar in residence program all day, by Rahel Musleah, featuring the Jews of India. Rahel taught us Jewish Indian tunes, showed us pictures of a world that's mostly gone, read beautiful memoirish passages and brought the world she came from back to life in the middle of a Reform temple in Stamford, Connecticut.

The movie on Friday, then the program at the temple on Saturday added so much richness to my life, and I'd also never have heard Rahel's program if I'd not been Jewish.

Thank you, God, for making me who I am and for showing me the cool parts of my identity along with the challenging parts.

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