Tuesday, July 3, 2018

An Early Morning Reflection: Not Coming Full Circle, But Creating My Own Circle

(Note: this started out as an early morning FB post rant, but became longer so I am uploading it here)
If anyone would've told me 6 years ago - you know, during the time I first joined Footsteps, and was trying to find my footing in the world outside the cult-ure I grew up in - that I would wake up one morning in Jerusalem, and be excited to join 150+ rabbis from all over the world for 10 days of studying:
I would've either laughed at your bad attempt at impossible humor, or would've seen it as a failed Kiruv attempt...
Well, it's 6 years later, add "Modern/Progressive/Liberal" to the titles of the 150 rabbis, and I am awake early in the morning, in Jerusalem - the same City where my grandfather was ordained 55 years ago, the same City where my great-grandfather was a Hasidic Rebbe (spiritual supreme leader) for 40 years - and I am super excited to start the Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar (RTS) 2018, at the Shalom Hartman Institute!
Today, I am joining 150 colleagues (damn, never thought I will ever again call other rabbis "colleagues"), to explore, challenge, and learn from each other. No, I am not Religious (okay, in an Orthodox sense) again. Heck, if you ask if I believe in the Monotheistic-Abrahamic traditional concept of God, I am a bigger Atheist than ever before.
But I am excited.
I am excited because I love our tradition.
I am excited because I see a world where I can cherry-pick my spiritual and traditional practices, and that is not just okay, but beautiful.
I am excited because I reached a point in my life where I am comfortable enough in my own skin, to look back and embrace what I love about my childhood and Yeshiva (Rabbinical School) years and rejoice with it.
I am excited because frankly, the next 10 days are going to be fun.
Signing off,
An ex-Orthodox girl, former Rabbinical student, current proud radical progressive-liberal, LGBTQ worrier, and a woman of trans experience who couldn't care less about not fitting into anyone's box,
With 💖,
Abby C. Stein

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