Being Unapologetically Ashkenazi

Being a Jew who has skin shaded past the color described as olive–but is not Ethiopian–is a unique identity to occupy in American Jewish spaces. Continue reading Being Unapologetically Ashkenazi

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A Sheet Full Of Beans

Converts. Are we sorted into minhag, or customs of Jewish daily practice, like the youngest wizards are into houses by the talking hat at the Hogwarts School in “Harry Potter”? Do we get to choose, maybe with the roll of a dice? Or is it decided for us by a rabbi, with no input? It’s a big area of debate. But, for many worldwide, it’s becoming less and less of an issue as people just decide they want to take on a specific minhag. And, right around this time of the year is when that magical decision process seems to happen for many. Yep, it’s nearly Passover! Continue reading A Sheet Full Of Beans

How to Find Your True Inner Fashionista : First Know Thyself

I know who I am now more than ever, but how I got here has been quite the journey. Fashion for me was once my defensive mechanism against an oppressive society but now it embodies my entire essence. Fashion allows me to express myself with the images of happiness that I want to leave as a lasting effect on anyone I meet. I love to paint the world that may seem dark and sad with bright happy colors & exciting patterns so that people will never forget to smile. And no, religious observances levels are not a burden; but rather a springboard for creative inspiration with your wardrobe! Girls, your road to discovering your inner Fashionista begins with knowing who you really are! Continue reading How to Find Your True Inner Fashionista : First Know Thyself

European Family Trip Canceled

One of my favorite badge projects as a Girl Scout involved me learning about genealogy. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with learning more about my ancestry as well as where my relatives outside of the United States may be living today. If I had the money, I’d travel wherever I could to track them down and meet them and fill in the little gaps on my family tree–and there are many gaps, especially in Switzerland and Italy and, now, thanks to that deathbed confession from my one grandfather about our last name, France. But, even if I became rich tomorrow, I don’t see those trips happening.  Continue reading European Family Trip Canceled

Beloved Shas What Have You Done?

Being Sephardic I have a sense of pride when fellow Sephardim accomplish something of great importance in the Jewish world, and while I stress Jewish religious plurality and will argue those who don`t support this, I rarely stress for Jewish ethnic plurality. We`ve tried that since the foundation of Israel and what did we see? Years of discrimination till Sephardic Israeli youth formed a version of the black panthers called HaPanterim HaShchorim, who Golda Meir naively called not nice people after a meeting with their leadership.  Continue reading Beloved Shas What Have You Done?

A Little Perspective, Please

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted an article from The Jewish Daily Forward with the bold headline: “‘Selma’ Distorts History by Airbrushing Out Jewish Contributions to Civil Rights”. It may not be ladylike, but I immediately snorted at the use of the word “airbrushing” — which seemed to be an awkward alternative to the term “whitewashing”. But I mean, they couldn’t use that word in a piece that demands white people (Jewish and otherwise) their due recognition. I was honestly baffled at the presumptuous nature of such a sentiment.  Continue reading A Little Perspective, Please

Why I Refuse To Leave Judaism

There are reasons my friends (and sometimes my family) don’t get why I converted, or tried to do it a second time. And there are days, like today, when I recall this past Shabbat when someone ran behind me at a shul community dinner and snidely remarked “Nice blond hair!” and quickly hurried off before I could even see who they were. (I only know it was an adult female with the maturity of a ten-year-old because of the voice.) The question of why I converted is totally valid, and simply saying “I always wanted to be Jewish” just doesn’t seem to suffice sometimes. People said conversion would be rough. And, as I’ve stated in previous articles, I was told it’d be tough with family and gentile friends; yet, I found my problems have been mostly with members of the Jewish community far more often than with anyone outside it. Continue reading Why I Refuse To Leave Judaism