And now it is my turn…and the joy overwhelmed me

I decided it was time.

My parents gifted my then husband-to-be a tallit as an engagement present.

We gifted our sons their tallitot when they became b’nai mitzvah.

I decided it was finally time to gift myself a tallit.

For me the symbol of the tallit is one of the enduring legacies of the Jewish People. It is a symbol of our strength. Of our love of Am Yisrael, Tanach, Yisrael, and Eretz Yisrael.

It is who we have always been and who we will always be, all wrapped up in 613 threads.

Now you may say that a woman has no right to wear a tallit. But I say you are wrong.

I do not need to ask anyone else if I am allowed to feel the spirit of  a  legacy that is my 3500 year old birthright.

For my Judaism is a Judaism of inclusion, not exclusion. A religion of equality, not separation. A religion that allows us all to love Hashem and the Jewish People with all our heart and might. A Judaism that gives us leave to express that adoration by wrapping ourselves in the absolute symbol of that joy-the tallit.

So I wore my tallit for the first time this Shabbat. Surrounded by the men in my life.

I said the prayer for putting on the tallit.

I placed it over my head.

I lit our Shabbat candles.

And I also felt  my mother’s spirit, she who was the first woman to carry a Torah in our synagogue, by my side. I felt my father’s legacy, he who spent his life working to help keep  the Jewish people alive. They taught me that  I alone am the keeper of my soul.

I knew all who cared for me would be so proud and happy that I finally decided that it was now my turn.

…and as I placed my tallit over my head the joy overwhelmed me…..




This post originally appeared in the Times of Israel

About Elise "Ronan"

#JewishandProud ...
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