The Rebbetzin

October 3, 2008 at 3:14 am 3 comments

I go to the shtiebel because it reminds me a bit of the places I grew up around, little storefront shuls where the men wear black hats and shtreimels and the women sit around a small table together and talk in a mixture of Yiddish, heavily accented English and Hebrew. 

The Rebbetzin always says hello and asks how I’m doing, what I’m up to. One day she asked, inexplicably:

“How tall are you?”

“Why?” I asked- and then the other questions burst forward. Will I cover my hair? (Yes, if I married a man, I would). Am I more modern or more yeshivish? ( Both- but I’m not looking right now) Someone who works or someone who learns?

I didn’t know how to explain that I hope to build a Jewish home with a woman.

I don’t come to the Shtiebel as often as I used to.  Most of the time, I daven in more modern shuls, where there is more English, more Hebrew, and less Yiddish,  women sit in rows, and I can be open about my identity. When I do go to the Shtiebel, the Rebbetzin is always friendly to me, and asks me where  I have been.  But the thing that I haven’t said,  the reasons I had for not saying it, construct a wall between us. I can’t talk to her about my life. 

As long as I have not said something, I can imagine that it is possible that she would understand, that there is still a place for me at that table with the women who talk among themselves in Yiddish and Hebrew and heavily accented English.

I hope there is. 

Posted by queeryeshivameidel.


Entry filed under: frum, Living in the Orthodox World, Orthodox, Personal Stories, Uncategorized.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ilana-Davita  |  November 4, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Nice post.

  • 2. Jordan Hirsch  |  November 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    As you know all too well, it is a slow process to be able to bring people to a place of acceptance for things they would never have otherwise imagined.

  • 3. queeryeshivameidel  |  November 25, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    So true…


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We are a community of frum queer women who gather to celebrate and study our yiddishkeit. We are committed to the value of shleimut (wholeness) and to supporting one another in observing a meaningful, integrated, honest and joyful Jewish life.


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