I didn’t do a specific Shabbat entry on Friday due to coming right off 3 weeks of nothing but working performances of Next Fall (there’s already an entire entry dedicated to that), then going straight into working rehearsals for Summer One Acts. That means: I have not been able to do anything else. Can’t report on something that didn’t happen!
Friday I went to our Pride Shabbat. I was decked out in color and glitter, sat with my friend from my Jewish class to support to him as he read “Blessing for Pride” out loud in front of everyone. I wore last year’s kippah in celebration for both ONE YEAR at CBI and being able to wearing the first kippah I’ve received after becoming a Jew. This was also the first service I attended after my conversion. My friend (who also celebrated his one year at Pride Shabbat) asked, “Why are you wearing last years???” Ha. I told him the above, but I did grab a new one. I guess next year I’ll be caught up with the times and wear the one they’ll provide. It was just extra special for me to wear my first this year!
What a beautiful Shabbat service. We had both our Rabbi, some others that recited work, and then a Rabbi from Bradenton that spoke. His speech was beautiful and deep, and he spoke the actual true meaning of Pride (Stonewall)….of which I still have a lot to learn on this after being new to the LGBTQ world…. One thing I admire about him and would like to talk to him more is that he worked with Keshet, and I love that LGBTQ-Jewish specific organization so much… and would love to work with them one day. We read a prayer that was originally from Los Angeles Pride Parade. We recited every other paragraph and it was very emotional for me, especially when it came time to read “Prayer for the End of Hiding” with the speaker who led us to read. Both of those prayers can be found on my Instagram. I suggest you print them out or something, and tuck them closely to your heart.
Ever since that first day of finding light in Judaism in Dec 2017, I’ve been pretty loud and proud about my desire to become Jewish, and that’s not going to end now that I am Jewish. It was through my journey of becoming Jewish that I found out that I’m closer to the LGBTQ world than I thought. Back in school–many moons ago–an incident came up, I was questioned, and then I was very much put down, laughed at/talked down to in negativity and etc. I hid more than half my identity all throughout the years and lost myself deeply in the meantime. Meaning, I couldn’t be the true self that G-d placed me on this Earth to find and be. (Even though: I watched/lived/breathed Rent religiously, followed Lady Gaga when she spoke about the community, her major speech about the don’t ask don’t tell movement and Born This Way, falling in love with the song by Katy Perry “I Kissed a Girl”… and owning that t-shirt–from when I worked at Rue21 in 2008, the year it came out–is still my favorite, etc.) I have about 30 years to make up for my hiding. It wasn’t until I started working with the theatre, that it opened up another part of my soul, and through words of plays, characters, and writing (myself)… that I really began discovering me, then specifics to my journey to becoming Jewish helped with the rest. I am in the best place I’ve ever been, and people are really beginning to see the colorful and glittery girl that G-d intended me to be. I am going to be as loud and proud as possible of everything that I am… as AHAVA<3!
One day–and I hope soon–that I can be well on my way to help those that a) are Jewish but haven’t practiced it in a while or dropped it–find it again, b) find those Jewish souls who haven’t converted yet, and c) help those who are hiding come out and be proud…I just want to make a difference in the world, and in others lives.
I talked to a friend on the phone last night and she said, “You have already gone through so many changes this year…. and it’s not even half way through.. changes for like 20-something people!” Ha. I live a fast life. I love it. Wouldn’t trade the fast for anything. Even though, I wish my memory wasn’t getting so bad… but alas, I guess when: every day feels like one week and every week feels like one month… it’s bound to happen?
Now that I am about a week and half away from the day I converted….there are a few things I have considerably thought of the last few days of stuff that is changing, something I didn’t really have an answer to last week:
-the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that… I have had no problem blurting out what I think and without apologies. I used to sugar coat everything, but the last week and half, I haven’t been.
-decisions are being made more wholly (it that even the right spelling????), and I don’t spend that much time making up my mind anymore (on some things, still working on this a bit!)
-if it isn’t somewhat Jewish-related, bringing some sort of light, or happiness to my life… it’s going going gone. I’m working on that one day at a time. That’s the best I can do right now!
-I’m asking myself more questions like: what is truly close to your heart that you want to do–not because you feel you have to, but want to–and what is the right thing for you to do at this moment? (That has to do with extra activities.)
-Is this healthy for you and your future? (This goes for absolutely everything, including what I read, listen to, and do.)
As Ahava, I feel so much more whole that I have ever had in my entire life. It has always been my policy to believe that there is everything to a name, and boy is that true, I feel it within every letter… even in Hebrew. In the next few weeks, maybe next month (since my time is sold to the SOAs right now), there will be a thousand more changes coming to my life. I am excited!
By the way, I’m not writing about how amazing Pride was… because I didn’t end up going. After Pride Shabbat, I went downtown, and that heat (even at 10pm to midnight) just about killed me. Saturday I walked outside, and right back in, and Sunday the same thing… so I did miss everything even though I wanted to go so badly… I just didn’t want to have another heat stroke again. I had a pretty bad one last year. And that was really scary. But alas, I literally slept all weekend… and caught up on not having slept but more than 4 hours every night for the last month. It was one of those Jewish questions I asked myself: do I go play and risk my health, or do I stay in and catch up on sleep knowing that I will not be able to get extended sleep for the next month once again? Sleep it is! I also put all of my new Jewish books on my bookshelf, cleaned some trash up, prepped some stuff for the upcoming yard sale, and so on. I think it was a decent weekend.
Until next time, much love,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)
PS – In 2003 & 2008, I went to Philadelphia. Both times I fell in love with the “LOVE” statue that is in Love Park, and it instantly became my favorite thing from there. Who knew years later, it’d have even more meaning to me and my life.