jewish synagogues

Shout out to the discouraged

Shout out to the converts who feel discouraged because:

Synagogue isn’t welcoming
You can’t learn years of study in a brief time
The rabbi is distant
Hebrew is f'ing hard
You’ve said something stupid to the one person at temple who talks to you
You feel like you are not welcome
You have no home in your past faith
You have no home in your future faith
There are nuances you just don’t get yet
Wondering if you’ll ever feel like you belong
There are so many stinking blessings
613 mitzvot and you struggle with the first 10
Hiding your tattoos from your past
You cringe at the term ‘sexual immorality’
Your family isn’t converting with you
Shabbat is still work when it’s supposed to be rest
Trying not to be a movie Jew steryotype
Holidays are lonely
Holidays are confusing
Chametz on Pesach because you forgot
Saying something stupid at Torah study
Feeling like all eyes are on you
Feeling like you have to be a perfect Jew to be accepted
Wondering if it is all worth it

Love and peace to you all. Know at least one other person is right there with you.


Justo Sierra Synagogue - Mexico City

The historical synagogue in Justo Sierra was established in the early 1940s in Mexico City by Jewish immigrants from Syria , Mandatory Palestine and Greece and from Russia, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland who settled in the city’s center. It remains a part of the rich history of Mexican Jewry.


Synagogues of India (Calcutta/Kolkata, Mumbai, and Cochin). Photographs by Jono David.

Jews were once a prominent component of India’s population. The three main branches of Indian Jewry are the Maharashtrian (Bene Israel) Jews, Cochin Jews, and Baghdadi Jews. Bene Israel, who constitute the majority of Indian Jews, claim to be descendants of seven Jewish families from Judea who were shipwrecked near the village of Navgaon in western India around 175 B.C. They settled primarily in Mumbai, Calcutta, Old Delhi, and Ahmedabad. 

Cochin Jews, according to local tradition, are descendants of Jewish merchants who arrived on the Malabar coast of India with the ships of King Solomon’s fleet. After the Spanish Edict of Expulsion, Jewish refugees migrated to Cochin from Aleppo, Constantinople, and Palestine. Within the same timeframe, Jews escaping forced conversions in Persia and persecution in Baghdad also fled to Cochin. 

The waves of Jewish emigration from Baghdad started gaining momentum in the 19th century. Via intricate mercantile routes, communities of Baghdadi Jewish traders reached Calcutta, a port city in eastern India and the former nerve center of the British Empire. Although there was no shortage of rifts and conflicts between Baghdadi Jews and the local Bene Israel of Calcutta, the two groups merged their cultures together and gave rise to new sociocultural forms.

India gained its independence of Britain in 1947, and nationalism and emphasis on the Partition of Hindu and Muslim identities intensified. The following year, the state of Israel was established, and Indian Jews relocated to Katamon in Jerusalem, Beersheba, Ramla, Dimona, and Yeruham in dramatic numbers. In the 1940s, over 30,000 Jews were registered in India; in 1971, there were roughtly 5,825. 70,000 Indian Jews live in Israel today (the great majority of them Bene Israel).

I could use some input.

So if you don’t know, hi, I’m a Jew-in-process and also have a very hard time focusing on things. Like, you know, sermons, and occasionally long prayers (Chatzi Kaddish I love you why must you hurt me in this way). So one of my friends gave me a set of misbaḥah, Muslim prayer beads, to use as a fidget in temple. They’re heavy but not obtrusive and the texture is easy to play with. (And this particular set is lovely!) But even though they were given to me by a Muslim, for a purpose similar to the original intended one (concentrating during prayer), I feel kind of weird about using them.

So I had the thought of making my own fidget that’s not a semi-sacred object from another religion, but has a similar setup and use. I’m thinking of a string of 18 blue and white beads for chai with the colors taken from the tallit (or the flag of Israel if you prefer that interpretation) separated into six sections of three each by silver beads with the letters בְּ  שִׁ וי ב ד  on them to represent the five books of Torah, and a blue tassel at the bottom to represent the mitzvah of wearing tallitot. Put together, it would provide a variety of stims to help keep the hands busy and the mind on prayer (or whatever the rabbi might be talking about). But beads are kind of expensive when you’re buying them for a single item.

So Jumblr: would you use such a thing, if it were available to you? (It’s fine if the answer is “I’m neurotypical but that seems like a good way to focus on prayer.” That counts as yes.) And if so, how much would you be willing to pay for it? (I need to know if the general consensus would even cover the cost of beads and thread before I can decide if I’d put them on Etsy.)