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  • There is no one left. I am Jewish, and I can count my blood relatives on my hands. Before my father could walk or talk, everyone had been exterminated. I was raised on reason and socialism, the things my grandparents believed would have prevented the horrors that they lived through but their families did not. Faith was foreign to me, no shul ever felt like home. In the temple, I was a stranger in a strange land.

    I'm not only Jewish. I'm Jamaican too- Black Jamaican to be precise. I step into the temple, and soon after the solace of the music and the prayer a reminder comes that I am different: "Are you Sephardic?" "Where are you from?" "Oh, then you're not really Jewish."

    A Rabbi Micha once told me that I'd feel more at home, in Judaism and throughout my life, when I got married. Typical religious sexism, I thought, as I left in despair. God wasn't more powerful than a man? Faith wouldn't be enough to heal and sustain me?

    In the Biblical verse in which the Jews accept the Torah they say na’aseh v’nishma, "we will do and then we will understand." I fell in love with a man, and on a bench in the middle of Broadway, in the middle of chewing a mid-day snack, I said "I think we should probably get married." So we did. Suddenly, we had a shalom bayit of our own, a place to do - to cook, to make the bed, to file the taxes, to take out the garbage, to love, to grow, to change, to give.

    With my lapsed Catholic husband, my Puerto-Rican-Jamaican-Jewish three year old son, and a collection of friends, I do. We light the candles each Friday, eat the challah, and I say the prayer. I do. When the holidays come, they bring me solace -there is so much to do. More than prayer, there are things to cook and to eat. I do. This year, I gathered friends; we boiled the apricots, rolled the dough, folded the corners. We started with hamentaschen. Next, maybe challah?

    I do. I will keep doing. There is so much to understand.
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