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Staying Connected at a Hard Moment

I recently attended an LGBQT workshop led by “Jeanne D’Arc.” I was about to lead a Havdalah service [a ceremony marking the end of the Jewish Sabbath], when I heard the news about the tragic event at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. [On October 27, 2018, a man shot and killed eleven people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.]

I was momentarily apprehensive about disturbing the flow of the workshop. There have been so many tragic events lately, and my internalized oppression reared its head and tried to keep me quiet. But with the help of another Jew and an ally, I told our leader about what had happened.

“Jeanne D’Arc” stepped right up, and I saw what a solid ally looks like. She told the group about the event. Then we had a mini-session. I discharged hard while hearing both Jews and allies doing the same. That was nothing less than a miracle for me. I had been taught as an Israeli to operate on top of my terror. I had been taught never to cry, as it was seen as a weakness that would endanger my people.

I did not want to do the Havdalah (it felt like I would be doing a performance), and I talked with a Jewish leader and an ally about that. We decided to ask “Jeanne” to do a demonstration instead, with the current situation in mind. She immediately saw why that made sense and how it would be useful for the group, and she asked us to choose someone for it.

She prefaced the demonstration with a reminder that Israel has been singled out and blamed repeatedly for the same (or worse) things done by other countries. And she showed how anti-Semitism and Trans oppression are similar in that Trans oppression singles out a group to blame within the Gay community.

She also did a demonstration with an ally that showed the effects of anti-Semitism on allies and People of the Global Majority. I could see the Gentile’s humanity in the face of the violence that has targeted my people.

“Jeanne’s” fierce love and clarity as an ally were a huge contradiction to my early distress of not trusting Gentiles. In the face of a terrible event, I was able to hold on to hope. I could see that we are never alone and that many people would step up on our behalf.


Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of Jews

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00