Yesterday morning, the rain kept many people home from Shabbat services. At nine o’clock, as scheduled, services started. Our leader did not see me wearing a tallit and as a result, did not think to count me in the ten. I realize this now, after he reached the part where we needed ten adults, and stopped, saying he would go down and find the additional people. My rabbi said, “Leader’s name, no, it’s okay, let’s go on.” Leader started counting again, and I started getting self conscious. Should I out myself? Should I say I’m official now, in front of 7 other adults who do not know me and to whom I don’t really feel like explaining myself or saying “no, I’m not married, nor am I engaged”.
I looked across the way to my rabbi, who was looking straight at me. And then my rabbi’s mouth opened, and in a stern tone of voice, “Leader’s name, start” came out.
I love that my rabbi is so protective of us gerim, and understands our psychological states as we struggle to own our identities and our community membership. That he stood up for me, anonymously, sternly, so I didn’t have to out myself… meant a lot.