I am a newcomer to this beautiful country, an immigrant, a Jewish leader in a time of rising anti-Semitism and a white woman who is yearning to learn about the African American experience as well as reckon with the legacy of her own skin color. We who walk with both a sense of vulnerability as well as our own privilege are called to embrace our complexities and contradictions.
TV interview on Rising Antisemitism in “Ethical Perspectives on the News” by the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County. Featuring Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz and Lisa Heineman, Professor of the University of Iowa.
I started wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) and laying tefillin (phylacteries) 15 years ago. It has taken me years to get over my internalized judgment as a woman wearing these items that are “traditionally” worn only by men. Even on the best of days, tefillin are a strange and uncomfortable feature of Jewish practice. I’ve had to consciously push myself beyond my own discomfort to own this mitzvah (commandment) that has come to mean so much to me.
For Kathy Jacobs, the decision to join Agudas Achim Congregation wasn’t really much of a decision. The Coralville, Iowa synagogue was the only one within miles of Iowa City when Jacobs and her late husband moved to the area in 1998. This also meant that it wasn’t necessarily her decision to join a synagogue that offers dual denominations.