My “Coming Out” as a Jewish Convert

Photo by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash

Note: The original version of this story was cross-posted on my personal social media pages May 28, 2020.

Today is the first day of Shavuot, a Jewish festival commemorating both the spring grain harvest and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It is customary to read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot for a number of reasons, including that the embrace of Naomi and her religion by the eponymous Ruth, a Moabite, is analogous to the embrace of the Torah by the Israelites at Sinai. Ruth chooses to bind her life to Naomi just as the Israelites chose…

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“It’s only killing old people.”

“You’re only really at risk if you’re elderly, disabled, or have a chronic medical condition.”

“I’m not worried because I’m not one of those at-risk groups.”

“Everyone is overreacting.”

“Stay away from me.”

As someone living in the epicenter of the outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the United States, I’ve heard these remarks almost constantly over the past week: at work, at the store, online, and in the news. As a chronically ill person — a person who may be at increased risk of severe illness associated with COVID-19 — I’ve been deeply…

Content Warning: Depression and discussion of suicidal ideation.

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I wasn’t raised with religion. Growing up, I had a loose conception of God, of faith. We never went to church as a family; I can count on both hands the number of times I’ve been to church of any denomination, for one reason or another — mostly for other people’s weddings and funerals. As an ex-Catholic, my mother spoke of religion in terms of betrayal, of brainwashing, of “backwards” ritual. My father never spoke about religion at all. Still, as a teenager, I went through a “Jesus phase”: I read a teen Bible and went to church a few…

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Hair is deeply personal. It is political. It can be spiritual or religious. It is often symbolic. In most cultures, hair denotes status, wealth, gender expression, ethnic or racial heritage — even health.

For all that it is simply a collection of proteins, hair is important.

Which is why, this week, I cut all mine off.

Body modification is a form of expression. …

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Grand Designs is one of my guilty pleasures. I love to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch as a micro-dramedy unfolds before my eyes, laying bare the hubris and folly of (mostly) well-to-do white men as they erect the domicile of their dreams. Plus, I’m an absolute sucker for expanses of glass and wood cladding.

I was therefore delighted when I discovered that Netflix has added two new seasons of the British home design show to its roster. …

A prose-poem.

Photo by Masha Kotliarenko on Unsplash

This poem was originally shared on my personal Instagram.

“You are sick,” the doctor says, medical jargon forming an invisible barrier against empathy, against emotion, like a seawall against the tears welling in my eyes; the beige walls lend credence to her diagnosis, as if to say yes, she is right, there is nothing to be done — and if there was, well — we would have to consult more specialists, run more labs —

And the beige begins to blur into the medical equipment and the posters advising me against the certain peril of tobacco, and her skin and…

Ashley Graham’s vulnerable pregnancy selfie helps to deconstruct the myth of body stasis.

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash

Ashley Graham isn’t the perfect plus-size icon. She has, in fact, openly bristled at the label in the past. And she isn’t necessarily the perfect spokesperson for body positivity and fat activism, either. Just yesterday, she posted a photo on Instagram that appears to be an ad for…salad. …

When it comes to reporting on weight and fatness, telling an incomplete story is not only intellectually dishonest: it’s boring.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

“What does your waist say about your health? According to a new study, a lot more than you’d think.”

I rolled my eyes. I’d seen this headline, or something like it, from a number of media outlets over the past few weeks. There was a new study out, and health journalists were out there earning their paychecks in covering it. …

N. Anjuli

Not a “Real Writer.” Reader. Multi-creative. Jew-In-Progress. Dog Mom. Mostly just tired. She/her/y’all.

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