Planting Rainbows

Two weekends ago I went to Shabbat services for the first time in a new Jewish community. It was my first time in a Jewish place of worship since transitioning. I was offered an aliyah, the honor of being called up to recite the blessings over the public reading of the Torah. It was my first aliyah in years, and it was the most powerful and beautiful public affirmation of my identity, not just as a trans woman, but as a Jewish woman as well.

When I turned thirteen, I celebrated my bar mitzvah, the ceremony marking a Jewish boy’s adulthood and accession to full membership in the Jewish community. I remember a lot of details about my bar mitzvah: receiving my first aliyah to the Torah, leading the congregation in the entire Shabbat service, studying the weekly Torah portion with the medieval commentary of Rashi, going out of…

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