An Important Message to Jews

Dear fellow Jews,

I’m writing this to you due to an uncomfortable situation that really bothered me over Shabbat.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. 

(I’m hoping we can make a better world together, as a result)

Over the weekend, I took a friend with me to a Shabbat dinner. 

We went to a place that welcomes Jews, supposedly regardless of how religious they are.

(I won’t name the place for privacy reasons.)

My good friend, who I met in yoga class, is a transgender Jewish girl who was born to a religious family and then, somewhere along the way, diverged from that more religious path to one of her own.

During the dinner, I experienced uncomfortable stares at this girl who had done nothing wrong.

The lady in charge of the event then took me aside and asked me if my friend was a guy or a girl. 

This was because if she was a guy, she would have to sit in the men’s section.

I told her that I don’t know and it was none of my business…and was this really the kind of place to ask that kind of question?

She told me because it was almost Rosh Hashanah, and it’s the New Year, she didn’t want to get in trouble.

(I’m assuming she meant trouble from God.)

Now, I didn’t want to embarrass her and I didn’t have the energy to argue.

But I REALLY think God cares more about how well we treat others…than he cares about having a girl sit in the guy’s section or vice versa.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a pro-gay or transgender activist. 

I’m not for or against gay or transgender rights.

I’m not even a human rights activist.

And I believe its totally okay to be either for or against gay marriage.

But that’s not the point that I’m trying to make.

I just believe that everything has a time and a place.

There’s no reason to belittle people and stare at them and make them feel uncomfortable due to what WE see as their differences.

This is serious, you guys!

Do you know how many people commit suicide due to stares and mean comments?

I’m not just talking about transgenders or gays, I’m talking about anyone.

We can have our own opinions and think something’s right or wrong, that’s completely fine….

But NOT to the point that we’re bullying or belittling one another. 

So the next time you see someone who might look different than you, in one way or another, please don’t just stare at them, or bully them.

Place yourself in their shoes.

Try to imagine how you might also be different than others in one way or another and how YOU would feel if people stared at you or made mean comments because of your differences.

For example, one different thing about me is that sometimes it’s hard for me to stop laughing for no apparent reason… and I wouldn’t want anybody to make mean comments about me because of that.

Dear Jews, I beg you, please, let’s be kind to one another, one person at a time.

Love, Anat.

About the Author
Anat Ghelber was born in Israel and moved to Texas when she was 13. She experienced anti-Semitism in public schools there. She moved to New York City when she was 20, and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She started submitting articles to the Jewish Voice two years ago. In her free time enjoys writing poems. She's also a certified Yoga teacher with 200 hours of training who teaches in a donation-based studio called Yoga to the People in New York City.
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