I don’t let a lot of people in. I like to hold tightly to my secrets and views because I’m always afraid that they will be used against me. Over the years I’ve become much more open about certain things, like my battle with depression. I definitely do not enjoy speaking in front of people, which I already know is weird since I’ve done a storytelling show and teach every Sunday.
Tonight at services, it was announced that I will be giving the sermon at next week’s service. I wasn’t in the room because I was helping with the 3rd-6th grade Shabbat, but as I watched the livestream, I could already feel myself cringing. Speaking in front of people is one thing, but speaking in front of people about racism takes my inner terror to a whole new level. It helps that I have the support of the clergy, particularly Rabbi David Stern, our senior rabbi. It also helps that each time I read my d’var Torah, I think of my fellow JewV’Nation fellows and the amazing leadership of JOCs like April Baskin, Yavilah McCoy, and Ilana Kaufman.
I have somehow found myself in a position where I am being given a platform and I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. I’m not used to that and I’m more than a little concerned about the potential backlash. Still, I am incredibly grateful that Rabbi Stern has given me this opportunity and I’ll be damned if I don’t fight for all Jews of color, for those in my class, for those who find themselves on the path to the mikvah, or any JOC that walks through the doors of a synagogue.