Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Patchwork Project Post

I am happy to inform you that I am part of a wonderful endeavor started by Akira of the Zinc Plate Press Blog http://zincplatepressblog.wordpress.com/

Below is the posting from the Zinc Plate Blog about the Patchwork Project:

"Zinc Plate Press is embarking on project to captures the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of Jewish converts. As a convert, I chose to become a Jew and lead a Jewish life, yet, I have also internalized a two-ness about my authenticity as a Jew. The Talmud talks about converts on a higher spiritual plain because we chose Judaism. It sure doesn’t feel this way, unless we are held to every standard that born Jews are not. If we are Jewish, we should also have the choice to transgress as Jews. We are human afterall. Sometimes I feel I’m trying to mediate a looming divorce between parents. “Look at me, look at me,” anything to distract Judaism from itself.
I always get the “What-a-nice-story” responses like I’m showing an adult my finger paintings. Converts couldn’t possibly understand the authentic experiences of being Jewish. We are talked about while we are in the room, we are advocated for like powerless beings, and decisions are made about the authenticity of our Jewishness, which can shake the foundations of our lives.
In a Jewish Week column, Rabbis Searching For Common Ground, a forum was convened to address the fragmented state of Judaism. Here is a letter I wrote:
Rabbis Searching For Common Ground exemplifies the old model of thinking among rabbis to fix the fragmented state of Judaism. What I found particularly offensive was when this panel discussed the plight of the convert. It’s as if we have no voice, we are spoken about in the 3rd person, and decisions are pondered about our lives like we are a burden to Judaism. It is time for such forums to include actual Jews-by-choice in the discussion. The forum was supposed to address the fragmented state of Judaism, yet not going into the community and actually asking Jews-by-choice to participate is very telling about how out-of-touch Jewish leaders are in assessing the needs of the diverse Jewish community. These “common ground” forums always end with the same comfortable assumptions and divisions.
It is time to hear from one of the silent minorities within Judaism. It is time to hear, in our own words, what we believe we contribute to Judaism and its future. It is time to organize around common experiences and speak for ourselves. Let’s decide our own history as Jews and plant the seeds for future Jews-by-Choice to nurture.
Zinc Plate Press hopes to capture what it really means to live as a Jewish convert in a religion that is deeply fragmented."

Please check out the Zinc Plate Press Blog...it is a very interesting and eclectic mix of photos, commentary and insight.

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