My First Tallit: In solidarity with Women of the Wall
Part of a solidarity blog series for Women of the Wall. Each piece is written by a member of the Rosh Hodesh group of Congregation B'nai Israel. Tonight, Rabbi Gurevitz shares a reflection:
I grew up in an Orthodox synagogue. As a young teen, I watched the boys in front of the mechitzah with envy. I wanted to be fluent in reciting prayers that no-one ever taught me. I wanted to wrap myself in a tallit and cover my head to have intimate conversations with God. I was not permitted to partake, and so I chatted with friends, I yawned, I ignored the hushes when our voices rose too much - what did they care? Our voices didn't count anyway.
Fast-forward 13 years. In adult bat-mitzvah classes with a woman rabbi. We studied texts and made tzitzit. We talked about wrapping ourselves with the presence of the Shechinah. We talk about the tzitzit connecting us to the covenant and our heritage. Our heritage. I am invited to reclaim my heritage.
In an ethnic arts and crafts store in Swansea, Wales. Hanging on the wall - a large cloth, banded with stripes, like a Tallit. But these bands are fire orange and black. And, at the boundaries of the fire and the black, the colors merge - not hard, firm boundaries, but blurred, permeable boundaries. This is my tallit - my first tallit.
It transforms my prayer and, soon, it will transform my life.