But I love Israel, and sharing that love has always been so important to me, so when my friend came back to me a few months later and told me that Stanford University was looking for an Israel Fellow at the last minute, I decided to apply. A month and a half later, I was settling into California life.
I am Jewish, queer, and Mexican. So often, trying to hold all three of these identities at once is challenging. But I didn’t have to try when I went on Birthright Israel with Santa Barbara Hillel. I was able to embrace and celebrate every part of myself.
There are definitely moments within the LGBTQ community where I don’t feel accepted as Jewish, and within the Jewish community where I don’t feel accepted as queer. But what I think is really special about Hillel’s Nice Jewish Queers (NJQ), is that at the same time I’m really able to be accepted as both.
“My first Hillel dinner at school was when I was a prospective student. My host’s name was Dana, and she, along with the people I met that weekend, are the reason I’m here. From the moment I stepped into the admissions building to check-in, I felt welcomed and loved, and it continued throughout the rest […]
I am a disabled, queer Jew with invisible disabilities such as ADHD—and I have faced a lot of challenges and successes with my identity. I struggled a lot with self-acceptance and finding a balance between my Judaism and two other identities that aren’t often discussed in the Jewish community.
“When I first came out as trans, I was really scared that I wouldn’t be accepted by my Jewish community.”
“When I first came out as transgender, asking my Jewish community to use my new set of pronouns (he/him and they/them) was frightening yet liberating.”
“When I came out as nonbinary, I distanced myself from my Jewish community. I wasn’t sure how people would react.”
On the day I moved into my dorm room at University of Connecticut, I walked into Hillel.
When I came out as nonbinary at Cincinnati Hillel, Landon Cohen, a transgender staff member, was there to support me.