It’s been 10 years since we said “I do” under the chuppah: you, a Black woman from Wisconsin, and me, a Jewish woman from New Jersey. Our ceremony was a union of two faiths, peoples and families. With kavanah (intention), we wove together sacred traditions like jumping the broom—which was how slaves’ marriages were once acknowledged—to breaking the glass and dancing the horah.
Falling in love with and marrying a woman—a Black woman, no less—was not “in the plan” for the life I had envisioned for myself. And yet our meeting and the beautiful life we are creating feels beshert (meant to be). As we welcome the month of June and the month that celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride in all its forms, I want to acknowledge our rainbow of blessings.
There are seven traditional blessings in a Jewish wedding and coincidentally seven colors in the rainbow flag. I’d like to honor our union and Pride Month with seven blessings for the Jewish community:
One: Thank you for lighting the Shabbat candles on Friday nights with our children. Each Friday as the week closes out and we stare at one another with exhaustion and excitement for the weekend, I marvel at the beautiful family that we are creating. The flames flicker and we see our children’s eyes watching and wondering what this weekly ceremony is all about.
May the Jewish community welcome interracial and same-sex love as we welcome the spirit of Shabbat.
Two: Thank you for participating in a miscarriage ceremony together at the mikveh. When I had my first of two miscarriages, after years of fertility experiences, we felt broken and exhausted individually and collectively. As is custom in the Jewish faith, we honored life lost by honoring the source and spirit of all life. We cleansed ourselves and started the process anew.
May the Jewish community welcome fertility and healing journeys for same-sex couples as we celebrate the spirit of family.
Three: Thank you for exploring synagogues and Hebrew schools with me. It’s hard—if not impossible—for us raised Jewish to imagine stepping into a building with thousands of years of history and an entirely new language as our non-Jewish and converted partners do. We have been in the process of trying to find “our place” within the Jewish community and I thank you for exploring with me.
May the Jewish community welcome gay families and members as we celebrate the spirit of b’yachad—togetherness.
Four: Thank you for cooking for and joining me for so many Jewish holidays. The rich taste of brisket, the dip of an apple in sweet honey and the smear of cream cheese on a bagel are things that delight us and have become beautiful rituals for our family.
May the Jewish community continue to welcome gay individuals and same-sex couples to enjoy our delicious food and meals.
Five: Thank you for planning and participating in Jewish lifecycle events for our children. When our son was born, we decided to circumcise him at the hospital and had a beautiful Jewish baby-naming ceremony for him six weeks later. This month, we will welcome friends and family for our daughter’s baby-naming as we bless her with her Hebrew name.
May the Jewish community continue to welcome same-sex family lifecycle ceremonies into our congregations.
Six: Thank you for attending so much Jewish programming with me. Whether it’s joining me for the Boston Jewish Film Festival or reading nightly PJ Library stories to our children (a program that sends children’s books to households that identify as Jewish), your commitment to fostering a love for Jewish culture marvels me.
May the Jewish community continue to welcome and celebrate gay, bisexual and gender-bending stories into our cultural repertoire.
Seven: Thank you for traveling to Israel with me and for exploring Jewish landmarks around the world with me. Exploration and adventure are core values in our relationship, and I’ve changed many travel itineraries to joyfully participate in a Shabbat service in Stockholm, Lisbon and Singapore, to name a few destinations.
May the Jewish community continue to make space for same-sex couples to feel welcome and at home all over the world.
I will close with the Shehecheyanu blessing, often considered the most powerful prayer in Hebrew that encourages Jews to offer thanks for new and unusual experiences. Marrying you has been the most wonderful and unexpected experience.
May the Jewish community continue to take pride in celebrating the diversity of love and life.
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