Give ear! That’s what Moses says to the Israelites as he speaks to them for the last time before he dies and they prepare to enter the promised land. Remember the past, remember your God.
I had my birthday last week and bought myself a present. A beautiful Jewish star in silver. I intended to buy the smallest star I could find. Small and delicate, a subtle reminder…of what? Of who I am, what I believe, the community I feel most at home in, the family that always loves me, no matter what. I’m not sure what reminder I’m looking for. But I did intend to find a small star…emphasis on small. Because even though I love being a Jew and my Jew-ness fits me well and comfortably, I am still not wholly comfortable in the world as a Jew. I feel judged and unwelcome. It seems that the world can easily embrace a cross around the neck of a stranger and give it no thought, but a star inspires a second glance and a conscious observation. Those of us that wear a star are different. And maybe that’s just the product of being 2% of the world’s population. We are the ‘sneetches with stars upon thars’.
So, once I realized that I was feeling slightly uncomfortable with pronouncing my Jew self publicly, I bought the biggest star in the shop. It is not my way to let myself get away with cowardice. I love my beautiful necklace. And, of course there have been comments. Many comments. Comments that would likely not have been shared if it were a cross of the same size (and honestly, it’s less than an inch across). But I am practicing embracing the comments. They are my reminder from Moses to remember who I am, who I belong to past and present and future, and what I believe. I know there is some judgment, or at least some confusion, behind the comments and that’s okay too. I don’t own the back end of the comments. That belongs to the commenter and is his or her burden to carry.
It is a new year and I am a new Jew. Shana Tova my friends.