I love this time of year. Religious school is starting, the Temple hallways are once again filled with the sounds of preschoolers, and, eventually, there will be cooler weather. The High Holy Days are also around the corner, meaning that everyone is rushing around, staff, clergy, and congregants alike, trying to prepare.
I’ve been trying to prepare, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, during these first few days of Elul, but it’s been hard. I have experienced quite a few microaggressions and other similar racist incidents that have both rattled and angered me, all of which have compelled me to speak out, albeit quietly. In a way, I am proud of myself, but I am also exhausted.
I am tired of listening to people talk about how welcoming the community is when they themselves are some of the worst perpetrators.
I am tired of having to navigate the microaggressions, trying to figure how loud I can be and not damage my career and professional standing.
I am tired of having to educate people when they need to be doing the work and putting forth the effort.
I am tired of feeling like my work falls on deaf ears and my efforts have been a failure.
And as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I’m tired of the brown skin I inherited.
I thought this might be the year where I finally rejoin the congregation in the sanctuary for erev Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre services, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, at least not this year.
To be clear, as exhausted as I feel, I’m not going to stop trying to educate people and I’m sure as hell not leaving the community that I know I belong in, but in the spirit of preparing for the new Jewish year, I felt like I needed to be honest. I’ve come so far and done so much and I can take pride in that, but I also need to acknowledge how difficult the journey has been.
Also, on a more lighthearted note, Elul and the Days of Awe are tailor-made for those of us who tend to overanalyze everything and that’s just one of the many reasons that prove I was always meant to be Jewish.