On Saturday, June 5, BJ ended Shabbat with a Pride Havdalah, where LGBTQIA+ members of the community had an opportunity to share a kavannah (intention) before the Havdalah blessings. Member Judith Trachtenberg spoke about the blessing over the spices to restore us after Shabbat, “borei minei v’sanim”.
In thinking about a kavanah for fire, there were so many directions that came up for me: from literally shining a light to marking a separation in time. Ultimately, I decided to focus on the candle that holds the flame.
If you were to unbraid the candle and separate the wicks, you would have several little candles that are nice enough. But when braided together, the flame is brighter than the sum of each individual flame. This reminds me of the many identities that we each hold. For me, being Jewish is one wick and being gay is another. Being in Jewish spaces that are inclusive allows me to fully braid these two wicks together and burn much brighter than if I was only able to light one.
Just as I have been in spaces where this is not the case, I know that there are wicks I have the privilege of not needing to think about, such as my race and gender. Our work to make BJ a more inclusive place for all allows more people to show up as their full selves. This leads to individuals being able to burn brighter, but also the collective light of our community is also that much brighter.