Joy In The Blessings To Come

Iyyar 18, year 5777: Wow, has it been a while or what? So many things have happened in the past month that I am very thankful for. One of which being my graduation from college with a Bachelor’s of Science. Preparation for this has evidently kept me very busy.

Perhaps more importantly though, I’ve signed the lease to my own place! This is a step that I never thought I would get to in the past, due to my extremely difficult family dynamic and my struggles with mental illness. However, I got here, baruch Hashem. I am so excited to observe Shabbat and other holidays freely, and distinguish my home as a Jewish home.

Finally, my Rabbi has put me on the official conversion path. I will soon be taking four classes, writing eleven papers, going to numerous events, and living out Judaism in my daily life. Though I’ve just spent the past four years of my life at university, I’m excited to get to work on this rigorous study, and so honored to be a part of a tradition engulfed in intellectualism.

Anyway, because I’ve been absent on this platform for a while, I’d like to give a short rundown of how my first Pesach went. In short – wonderful. A friend and I were invited to a Anarcho-Communist queer Seder held by the Chaverut Shabbat Collective. There were over 20 people there of varying genders, leftist political views, and backgrounds in Judaism. The Haggadah, compiled by the collective itself, contained modern tales of revolution and revolt that related back to the original content of the Haggadah. An orange was also included on the Seder plate to represent queerness and femininity as a valid presence in Judaism.

During the four hour Seder, I learned an immense amount about the value of a passionate Jewish community and how the struggle for justice has been at the core of Jewish identity since the beginning. To know this makes me feel like I am meant to be part of the this people, as many aspects of my identity are the targets of oppression and the value of repairing the world is ingrained in me.

In addition to that, I learned three other very important things: one, singing the Dayenu is unexpectedly exciting, especially when you speed up at every verse. Two, it’s still pretty fun to drink grape juice the whole time and watch everyone else get drunk. Three, I hate horseradish.

Today, it’s Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day after the first day of Pesach. This day is a break from mourning and a day to celebrate. It is also a day that I will be spending with my hyper-conservative Christian family at a church that I feel very uncomfortable in.

However, I will attempt to focus on the joy of my own path with Hashem and the beauty of the weather outside.