Well someone does not understand halacha

March 21, 2014

I did a favour to someone who claimed to work for a small magazine in England. What I learned is that the person worked for Tablet magazine.

I didn’t mind that I was interviewed for something in England and I was slightly misquoted in another magazine (Tablet) which until last Thursday (was the Fast of Esther) I had not heard of as I don’t read e-magazines.

I didn’t mind that I was outed as transgender even thought the magazine published my name, age, and location (I live in a small town) making it a safety risk, luckily my google rank is likely higher than this article is likely going to get. Luckily also that my Orthodox yeshiva would not believe we were the same person anyway (and the few that do know my past keep it very very quiet both the transgender thing and the conversion thing).

What I did mind is the mentioning that I am a convert, which I had said was off the record since it had nothing to do with what the subject of the piece was. It is forbidden to remind someone that they were not always Jewish which it did by discussing my birth religion (age 0 to 8), ironically not the religion I was clergy in from the time I was 18. I was told to keep my conversion on the down low when in Israel and to NEVER mention the R word (Reform) since I act and live as an Orthodox Jew. For the record, one does not convert to a movement, one converts to Judaism.

The author had claimed that she did nothing wrong, but I expect Jews to follow Jewish law as well as secular law especially when I say don’t talk about something. I was a reporter and when I interviewing people and someone said “Don’t mention it” or “Off the record” I would find out exactly what they did not want me to say and I would not include it.

Now I will discuss being a convert, heck the address of this blog is LGBT JBC (as in Jew-by-Choice), but I prefer to discuss it on my own terms. I also would have preferred the transgender aspect to not be associated with my name. Given I said I only want my name used if the rest is hidden, or you can make me anonymous otherwise, this could be bringing me a fair bit of trouble.

I am however writing a book about my experiences, which I am trying to decide whether or not to use my real name or my Hebrew name. Currently I am soliciting feedback so if anyone wishes to read it let me know, it is available on http://authonomy.com/

Shabbat Shalom!


Israel Trip

October 13, 2013

So back to updating.

Sorry it has been so long but my camera died so no more photo a day although I did eventually get a new one which still sucks so I am going to be making those blog entries private.

The past year has been fraught with cleaning, shul joining, helping people, getting a passport, bar mitzvah preparations, and financial and health issues including paralysis of my right arm due to an assault when I was doing a mitzvah.  It sucked.

I figured I would reboot the blog because of some  pretty awesome news I got about a month ago.  In about two weeks, I will be going to ISRAEL!  I’ve never been before and it was a big shock to me when this opportunity popped up.

I was on Facebook and saw one of my other trans JBC friends post to his husband’s wall (another trans JBC) about the A Wider Bridge trip to Israel in 2013.  They said it’s a shame the deadline for scholarships passed.  I contacted the organization, saying I knew the scholarship deadline passed but was curious about it… maybe I could apply next year?  Turns out the deadline had been extended and I was sent an application right before Rosh Hashanah.  I read it over, talked to two rabbis about what I could do for the project.  (Scholarship recipients have to do a project.)  I wrote it up, sent to Rabbi B to look over, he liked it, I sent it off the next day.  Day after that (we are still in the days of Awe) I said to HaShem, either write me in for the best year ever or strike me out!  I can’t handle another bad year. Next evening, I was sent an email saying I won the full scholarship for the land part of the trip!   Then I started looking for plane tickets.  I asked the senior rabbi, Rabbi R (my rosh beit din) for advice on getting a cheap flight, he offered to contribute to the plane fare, then Rabbi B did the same.   It ended up being about half my plane fare!  I guess HaShem made His decision before Yom Kippur. Then two friends donated another ~$200 towards it.

So the person who has  never traveled more than a few hours from home alone and never has been on an international flight is going to a country where they don’t speak English BUT it’s technically one of my homelands although you could argue that it is my only homeland since I converted.  I will be gone for 15 days, 10 are paid for, and a few are travel days.

And what makes all of this scarier is that I am doing all of this out of a carry-on that can only weigh 8 kg so I will be doing things such as packing ultra-light and wearing things like a Scottevest packed to the gills and using other specially designed travel clothing, etc.  There is the possibility of travel reviews.

One funny thing about this trip is that I got my passport in March. When they asked where I was going, I said Israel.  When they asked when, I said Oct/Nov.  This trip was not known by me at the time.  And it was so hard to get my passport because they literally forced me to produce my conversion certificate because I needed to put my Hebrew name on the passport application under alias so that my female names would be bumped to another sheet so that they would not be processed and have my application bounce back.