We’re sharing seven reflections from trans and non-binary teens every week until the High Holidays. Join our email list to read all seven, or check out the collection here.
The Talmud says ”כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה” – Kol Yisrael Arevin Zeh Bazeh. In English this means, “All Israel is responsible for one another.” The Talmud makes clear that we, as Jews, are responsible for caring for each other, for creating a safe environment, and for standing up for one another.
I come from an Orthodox-ish background where I experienced, on many occasions, feeling uncomfortable and ashamed. The rabbis I knew thought that people like me were wrong. My identity didn’t fit into the natural order of things. There were stares and gossip behind my back when I walked into an Orthodox synagogue because I don’t look like the rest of the Jewish teens there, with my short dyed hair and androgynous presentation.
As Jews, we have this amazing opportunity to ensure that the space we hold in this world is inclusive to everyone. It is on us to make sure we accept and care for our fellow Jews. We could have a world where trans Jews feel comfortable coming out in their Jewish communities, where congregations have inclusive policies in place, where rabbis are a guiding source for youth, and even where choosing a side of the mechitza to be on isn’t a painful decision. It’s our responsibility that we ensure that our communities and our world are safe for everyone, regardless of whether they are trans.
Hayden, 17, they/them