Showing posts from 2019

On Devarim, for Simchat Torah

Every time I experience a major shift in my life, I see my entire history with new eyes. I understand the events of my past as precursors to this moment, in ways I couldn’t have done before this moment, and so I tweak the story of my life, just a little. Over the course of the past few years, the story of my life as a seminary student went like this: I’m here to get credentialed as a religious professional. I’m here to unlearn the damaging theologies of my childhood. I’m here to learn how to be a scholar. Erm, I actually have no idea what I’m doing here. It’s only now that I’ve graduated that I can look back on the entire arc of my experience and tell you a new story I didn’t know before: I went to a Christian seminary in order to discover and ultimately convert to Judaism. This new story doesn’t overwrite the others—I’m still going to do some kind of religious or scholarly work, probably—but it gives the old stories new flavor and more nuance. The book of Deuteronomy is a sim

I Am the Possibility of Teshuvah

...Now you must void yourself of injuries, insults, incursions. Go with empty hands to those you have hurt and make amends. It is not too late. It is early and about to grow. Now is the time to do what you know you must and have feared to begin. Your face is dark too as you turn inward to face yourself, the hidden twin of all you must grow to be. Forgive the dead year. Forgive yourself. What will be wants to push through your fingers... --Marge Piercy, from "The Head of the Year" On September 19, 2018, I woke up thirsty. Even though I hadn’t had anything to drink since right before sunset, I only sipped enough water that morning to swallow some Excedrin. I knew that without my morning coffee, I would quickly develop a headache if I didn’t proactively take some medicine, and this was not considered breaking the fast. It was the morning of Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. The idea of earning Divine forgiveness for my sins through self-punis