Until I entered Kindergarten, I thought that everyone was Jewish.
Yes, just like any six-year-old girl, I thought that my way of life was the only way. Going to synagogue was what everyone did. Saying prayers in Hebrew was totally normal, as was having the Sabbath day on a Friday night. All of this I reasoned, while my tiny brown eyes refused to see the five or so churches we passed on our way to services. Maybe it was the coke bottle glasses clouding my vision.
Even through the first or second grade, my mind couldn’t comprehend why the other kids didn’t know what a Bar or Bat Mitzvah was, and why special blue Stars of David had to be cut for me during the holiday season.
So, too, was I utterly baffled when, in my teen years, I realized it was not normal for me to like girls. Girls were pretty. They tolerated my awkward, spastic ways. We understood each other in a way I couldn’t express to a guy. Oh, and did I mention they were insanely pretty?
By then, I knew that there was a thing called “heteronormativity.” I also knew that liking girls wasn’t considered “normal” by most of the populous. So, I hid behind my doubts. I didn’t want to take chances and date women for fear that it was “just a phase.”
It wasn’t a phase.
Now that I am an out and proud single queer Jewish woman, I know that my lifestyle is anything but normal. In a way, being Jewish prepared me for coming out: I learned patience and kindness to people who didn’t understand what I was and an awareness that not everyone in the world will accept me for who I am. It sounds depressing, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
In fact, I’m about to embark on a trip that brings together these two aspects of me. With the organization A Wider Bridge, I am embarking on my second trip to Israel and rediscovering myself as a Queer Jewish woman among other Queer Jews. Here, I hope to find the acceptance I haven’t completely felt before. You can follow my progress here on Lezbelib.