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Pretense

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  I’m at a point of my life where I am expected to look like something I am not.

Part time I work for the renewalist congregation I attend. Some people, mostly from the less active members of the congregation, expect me to “look the job”. They expect to see me run around with head covering, prayer fringes and some facial hair. Maybe at least some side burns. But definitely at least a kippah. Because I work with the Rabbi. So I should look, I don’t know, like a practicing Jew. Even if we are not Orthodox, I should look more like the young man to the right. Who, actually, looks kind of like I’d look if I was a Chasid, or, actually, look like what some of the afore mentioned people want me to look like.

I do wear a kippah for the Shabbat, for holidays and shul functions, wherever they might be, and when I know I will have to stop by the synagogue or by some religious people’s homes. Or when I feel like it. Definitely not all the time. Definitely not often enough according to some, including my eldest boy, who decided to become a full-time kipah wearer at age 8. I am also not too big on wearing a tallit katan – a kind of undergarment kinda thing with fringes, – and even when I wear it, you won’t see the fringes, because… yeah. You won’t. As a side note, Mormons are often mocked for their “strange underwear”, the Temple garments. Let me tell you, as an ex-LDS, those garments aren’t any weirder than wearing a tallit katan, plus in winter garments are way more comfortable. Especially the 100% cotton ones.

Now the facial hair… I normally don’t shave during the period of counting the omer, that is, between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (7 weeks later), with the exception of Lag B’Omer, but usually I only manage to produce a little more than a 5-o-clock shadow – and a lot of itching. So not worth it. My twin brother and my kid brother (the 22-year-old, not the 2-year-old) are the same way, so I guess it might be in the genes. The same genes that gave me completely white hair at 21. Plus I’d look ridiculous with sidelocks, especially as I don’t have curly hair.

Someone, who is in a rather high position in our congregation has been trying to convince me to wear a kippah full time and preferrably some tzitzit… and he said I’d look more Jewish without a tie.

So yeah, being gay was not a problem. Not wearing a kippah at all times and wearing a tie to Shabbat services is a problem. It’s all about appearance. It’s all about appearing to be something I’m not. But my beloved job might depend on some of these clothing options.

So what would you do in my place?

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