Dear Hinenu Community,
My journey with Hinenu starts in the latter half of 2016, when, spellbound by Rabbi Ariana Katz’s podcast Kaddish, I reached out to tell her just how much her words meant to me. As we started talking, she told me about a dream she had for a small shul filled with spiritual reverence and radical compassion that could possibly take root in my hometown of Baltimore. My whole life, I’ve had that same dream. She told me that she was looking for her Jews, and I told her that she’d at least found one.
When we first met in person in January of 2017, I felt what could only be described as platonic love at first sight. As our conversation buzzed with hope for the future and brimmed with passion for our faith, our communities, and the issues that we held dear, I said to myself, “This is my rabbi, this is what we’re building together, and we’re in this for the long haul.”
In our first week of membership, we welcomed our first 20 members. Become a member today and help us more than double that number!
In the months that followed, I deepened my connections with not only Rabbi Ariana, but other passionate, justice-minded Jewish friends who I’d met throughout the years in Baltimore. In April of 2017, during the week of Passover, I met with a handful of Jewish agitators for good to plan a potluck seder at 2640 Space for the last night of Passover. Leading that seder for a packed house full of Jews and non-Jews of all ages and backgrounds cemented for me my place in a new, vibrant, and hungry community, sometimes a leader, sometimes an organizer, always a nice Jewish girl.
The summer of 2017 saw the formation of the provisional board of our yet-to-be-named Baltimore Justice Shtiebel. Rabbi Ariana invited me to join and I enthusiastically accepted. Roughly a year in, I can see that Hinenu is already becoming the shelter that I prayed for trembling under the covers in the abusive household that I grew up in. It’s the spiritual home I yearned for when I felt too disabled, too gay, too transgender, and too outspoken for even the most liberal of synagogues.
Our commitment to financial and physical accessibility means that anyone can become a member and every member counts. As someone living on disability benefits, I know that it’s not about the amount I pay in dues or the hours of work that I’ve put in, it’s about a greater sense of belonging and a culture of mutual aid.
As we steer the ship of Hinenu forward and prepare to hand over the wheel, I have faith that what started as several separate twinkles in several separate eyes will continue to manifest itself as a cohesive, communal vision and grow to sustain generations of Jews.
Become a founding member of Hinenu as our community grows!
Dear Hinenu Community,