Growing up in Israel, I always knew that military service was part of life, and key to keeping our Jewish state strong and safe. I also knew that it came with a very real and heavy toll.
My family is Mizrahi, meaning my Jewish ancestors lived in Western Asia and North Africa. I can trace my roots back to Bukhara, Persia, and Yemen.
Family recipes, passed down from generation to generation, bring me closer to my Persian roots.
Growing up, I thought my Jewish and Japanese identities conflicted. When I was in a Jewish setting, there never seemed to be any Japanese people, and when I was in a Japanese setting, there never seemed to be any Jewish people. I felt in-between worlds. Then, I learned about the power of intersectionality.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how Purim commemorates the survival of Jews who were marked for death. How many of us have felt that ominous shadow hanging over us, over our communities this last year? There were times when we thought anyone who went outside was asking to get sick and die.
I think the best part of that whole conversation was they were so grateful that we educated them because they didn’t know something that we were able to teach them about. They weren’t apologizing profusely. They were sorry, but they weren’t like ‘Really? You have to make our lives more difficult?’ They were so willing to make this change happen with us.
“I got involved in Hillel during my freshman year, and through Hillel I signed up for a Pesach-themed Zoom event called “Let My People Flow,” which was a yoga class led by Evan Joblin.”
“Now that I’m older, I take pride in setting myself apart to practice Judaism. I don’t see it as an inconvenience, but as an honor to be a part of a tradition that is thousands of years old.”