Revelation: A Poem

Mountain with fog and the words: Revelation: A Poem

I wrote this poem for the occasion of Shavuot, when we commemorate the revelation at Sinai. In the Talmud (Shavuot 39a), it is explained that not only those Jews who were physically at Sinai were present to receive the Torah: “From where do I derive that the subsequent generations, and the converts who will convert in the future, were also included? The verse states: ‘And also with he who is not here with us this day.’ “

When I converted in college, a friend of mine who would later be ordained at JTS explained this midrash to me – that as a convert, I was remembering that my soul was that of a Jew.

I also believe that as someone born transgender, I only had to remember that I always longed to take my place at the side of other Jewish women. I hope that one day, our society will accept not only converts to Judaism as fully Jewish in body and in spirit, but also realize that those of us who change our gender do so to match our souls inside.

By: Yakira Keshet

There are no new souls,
A friend once said to me,
I only had to

The girl I was once,
And who I would become.
So I will try to

The love I left there,
And those who made me leave.
But will they one day

The person they knew,
Or she who stands here now
To say that she still

Adapted and shared with permission by Yakira Keshet.


  • Yakira Keshet is a queer Jewish woman involved in lay leadership of daily minyan, Torah study, and LGBTQ groups. She explores intersectionality, including LGBTQ identity, through the lens of Tanakh and Talmud, and expresses her queer Jewish identity in poetry and song.

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