Our Cantor Is Pregnant

23 October 2013

By Laura Diamond, October 2013

[image - Laura Diamond]

Growing up, my family belonged to a Reconstructionist synagogue, Kehillat Israel. Beginning in pre-school, I learned that one of Reconstructionism’s hallmarks is the equality of women and men, including the first Bat Mitzvah. This was my proud inheritance, and my lived experience of Judaism was blissfully removed from the inequalities suffered by other American Jewish women and girls. I belonged as much as the next kid. And why wouldn’t I? This fit with what my parents taught me at home, where my bookshelf held “Free to Be You and Me.”

The Cantor who helped me learn to read Torah for my Bat Mitzvah was a woman. Almost a year after my Bat Mitzvah, she asked if I would like to help her lead the morning service when my Torah portion would be read again. The reason? She was eight months pregnant, and needed to sit.

I still belong to Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, and my sons are learning that Judaism is inclusive. I study Torah with our female Rabbi, who will next year become Senior Rabbi. I am grateful that my sons (and nieces) are being raised in a community where Judaism includes us all, where boys and girls and men and women feel that we all matter, and where the work of Tikkun Olam is the responsibility of us all.

Part of that work must be for a world where all Jews can grow up with the same expectation of equality as birthright.

Laura Diamond is a writer and lawyer in Los Angeles, California. She is the Editor of “Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood.” Her website is


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