Hi everyone my name is Sabrina. Today we had many experiences, but I was asked to write exclusively about one. Before I write this extremely vulnerable blog post, I feel I want to share with the community my societal views. I am most likely a resemblance of many of your kids, I am your average Jewish girl who attends Newton South. I am a teen assistant on Sunday, a member of the Temple Youth Board (BAYGL), and I attend Midrasha on Monday nights. I am growing up with two amazing and loving parents Robin and Michael and have watched my older sister Hari develop into an amazing woman. I consider myself a feminist on the concrete idea that women should be equal to men, but I am not the kid marching every weekend- maybe I should be. I strongly believe in equal rights for all and proudly stand behind my sister and the LGBTQ community. I have never publicly admitted two things to the temple community. First, I am a republican purely because my economic beliefs line up to the the right side more than left. But do not confuse my beliefs to that of which the president has instilled in our country. Second, I do not believe in God. I remain an active part of TBA because of the community and the values of Judaism. Although I do not personally believe in God, I pray out of respect to the community.
Tonight was a night every part necessary as eye opening. Tonight we the Jewish women of Boston stood up and walked out of a Shabbat service. Tonight my perspective on Judaism, along with many others, changed - and it was time for it to. This past evening we attended an Orthodox service in Haifa. We weren’t able to attend a Reform service and one of the Israeli hosts belongs to this synagogue. My friend, host and I arrived early and took in the breathtaking view. I was proud to be Jewish. It was understood and respected that men and women were to be separated. As the women were shuffled onto our side through a separate door by an old white man, I began to question my surroundings. I walked in and could not see over the 6 foot, ocean state job lot purchase, crossed wooden fence. We were sitting in an add on to the building behind what made us out to be herded cows. I sat 70 ft from the Torah while my male friends sat only 5 ft away. I was nonetheless pissed. The only women in the service were members of the delegation, and for good reason. The man who had shuffled us in put his arms over the fence and said to us “participation is completely optional, and next week is super special because you all get to sit with the men up near the Torah”. I was not going to thank this guy because he said that In one week I could be as special as a man. But I held my tongue and only could whisper the raging feminist thoughts in my head. I felt worthless and weak, only because what was below my belt told the man everything he needed to know- I was less. I finally understood why rape, sexual assault, and many other social issues occur, because the answer was staring me in the eyes. As the service went on and my male friends prayed while I sat behind a fence. Soon out of pure frustration I began to tear up. This is why I felt the need to tell you who I am, why I felt I needed to share the 2 “secrets” I have kept from the community. Here I was, most likely the only republican, and possibly the only person to not believe in god, the first to shed a tear. I could not put into the words the pit I felt in my stomach and my sudden disconnect from the religion that had shaped me. I looked around to my friends and I could see in their eyes this same feelings. In an overwhelming moment I whispered over to the trip leader that “I don’t think I’ll ever pray again”. I felt like I could not be a part of a religion that made me feel less than men. But what happened next was the most powerful part of the trip. As a group, the Bostonian women got up and left. I have never felt more powerful as a women. All of us girls went across the street and sat on a sidewalk. We were proud to be women, although I personally needed guidance on my recent dramatic disconnect with my Jewish identity. Through talking we began to realize that our Judaism is different from theirs. As women, we gathered, sang and just talked. This was the true highlight of the trip. Although I am still having this internal conflict, I am so glad that I am no longer oblivious. Even though tears were shed and perspectives were changed, I along with others have gained so much as a person from this single night in Haifa. It provided many of the girls an odd sense of comfort knowing that the TBA guys were uncomfortable by the situation. And several messages received from many of the guys post-service sent the message that the future is whatever we make it. For these reasons, I couldn’t be happier to be growing up in the TBA community.