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Hand lighting Shabbat candles in silver candleholders next to a challah

It’s June 2009. I’m approaching my friend Malachi’s home for Shabbat dinner, and I have no idea what to expect. I’m wearing a green dress shirt, which is odd, because I rarely wear green, but it goes well with the dark green satin yarmulke that the fine folks at a nearby synagogue gave me when I told them my Friday evening plans.

Malachi invited me over because he knows I’m Jewish. Well… Jewish-ish. Some of my ancestors were German-Jewish...

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The author stands behind a wooden podium in front of an AVODAH sign

“As a Jewish woman of Color…” is how I begin most conversations these days.

Because of my intersectional identity, I am in both predominantly Jewish and Black spaces quite often and find myself having to explain my Jewish identity to both groups of people. There is a huge “element of surprise” about my Judaism from both identity groups, often with lots of questions.

I find this a bit unsettling, but I seize the opportunities to talk about both what it means to navigate Black spaces as a Jew and to navigate predominantly white Jewish spaces as a Jew of Color. 

I grew...

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Two people holding hands over mugs of coffee

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 15 years since the day that changed my life forever. On June 11, 2003, I met evil personified: I was on bus #14 in Jerusalem when an 18-year-old terrorist, strapped with explosives, boarded my bus and detonated them.

But a bomb was not enough for him. He loaded that bomb with nails and shrapnel with the singular goal of inflicting as much damage and pain as he possibly could. He killed and maimed many people that day; 17 innocent people, including all those sitting closest to me, were murdered, and more than 100 more were injured, myself...

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Woman wearing a blanket and working on a laptop computer while sitting on a couch

The Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Introduction to Judaism online class is an engaging, comfortable, and thought-provoking experience.

My motivation for taking the course was my long-held fascination with the story of the Jewish people. Also, my Jewish partner has a strong connection to her Jewish identity and I want to share her cultural understanding, as well as share with her a common spiritual language. Conversion is a deeply personal decision, and it was helpful...

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Woman holding Torah scroll open with left hand, pointing at text with yad in right hand

Did you ever find yourself on a path, not your intended path, but it turned out okay, or maybe even better than just okay?

When I was 13, in our predominantly Jewish neighborhood only a few girls had a bat mitzvah. I attended several b’nei mitzvah of male classmates and found the services incredibly boring, probably because I was totally clueless about what was going on, but the evening parties were fun and a chance to dance and flirt with cute boys.

Like many of my generation who came of age in the 1960s, I went...

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