Jewish Journal

Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be

by Lia Mandelbaum

August 13, 2010 | 12:26 am

Photo by Laurel Johnson

Last month, I decided that I was ready to start exploring new opportunities and felt that my time working a Beit T’Shuvah should begin coming to an end.  I entered into their residential program exactly three years ago this month, and my eyes have become open to all that the Jewish Community has to offer.  I knew that I would be making a bold move considering I was not sure where I would want to be employed next.  I was hesitant to give my notice prior to having something else lined up, but I knew within myself that this chapter of my life was coming to an end and that ultimately, I would be okay.  Each day, I continue to put one foot in front of the next, and have not let the fear of the unknown hold me back.  Neither have I allowed myself to feel doomed because of the lack job availability.  While it is obviously true that these are tough economic times, the biggest hurdle for me would be my own self-doubt.  My faith today comes from my belief that G-d does not give me more than I can handle, and that I will be placed in whatever situation G-d feels is right for me.  Along my journey I am encouraged by beshert blessings that are happening all around me.  People are being placed in my life at exactly the right times, and I believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. 

As if looking for a new job is not hard enough, at the end of August I am moving as well.  I am very excited about both looking for new employment, and moving into a beautiful new home.  I will be moving from Santa Monica to Silverlake to live with two of my favorite people, Asher Gellis, who is the Executive Director of JQ and the fabulous and super cool Tera Greene who is also a blogger for Oy Gay.  JQ International is a Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender (GLBT) Jewish movement founded to serve as an infrastructure and community building space for GLBT Jews. It provides an opportunity to connect with others and build programs and services that foster a healthy fusion of GLBT and Jewish Identity.  Living at this house, where a great deal of JQ’s events are held, I will often be surrounded by young Jewish people just like me.

I was raised in Tampa, Florida in a culturally Jewish home, yet growing up I felt estranged from Judaism.  Part of my discomfort came from the fear of not being accepted within the Jewish community because of my sexuality.  Growing up, the fear of not being accepted forced me to hide behind masks and pushed me to detach from what was going on around me.  For many years going to Hebrew school, becoming a Bat Mitzvah and attending holiday events, I felt disconnected from Judaism and had difficulty embracing the teachings.  I feel as though I have a lot of Judaism to catch up on and have a deep desire to learn as much as I can. Being a part of the JQ community is helping not only strengthen my relationships with other Jews and members of the LGBTQ community, but it is also helping me integrate two very important things in my life.  This new chapter will be one step closer to wholeness. 


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Tera “Nova Jade* Greene is a professional lesbian of color and Jew by Choice.  She is a producer of music and film, a renowned DJ and always finds herself in the midst of...

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