This month we are spotlighting several individuals who are participating in LiNK’s current Intro to Judaism class. Today, we are delighted to feature Aster Hathaway.
Aster is a Western New York native and a Diversity Equity and Inclusion consultant. A nonbinary ballet dancer, Aster has a B.A. in Dance from Smith College and is a Cecchetti Council of America certified ballet teacher. They have shown work with the Buffalo Infringement Festival and dream of running an all-ages LGBTQ+ ballet school. Currently, Aster works with the Western New York Women’s Foundation. They enjoy woodworking, quilting, and tabletop RPG games.
“I have been very fortunate to have several Jewish women in my life,” said Aster. “These are the relationships that sustain me, inspire me, and encourage me to grow. In falling in love (romantically and platonically) with these women, I have also fallen in love with Judaism.”
The pandemic offered Aster a lot of time to reflect on their burgeoning relationship to Judaism, and this summer they finally began the conversion process. “One of the things that most draws me to Judaism,” reflects Aster, “is its emphasis on scholarly pursuit. Becoming a Jew takes work and study, which I find deeply satisfying. “
The Intro to Judaism class is a methodical overview of Judaism as a spiritual, cultural, and religious practice, and it is also an opportunity to learn about history. “I know that as a Jew by choice, I will never be able to fully understand the shared generational trauma that Jews who are born into the religion all carry together,” Aster notes. “However, my time in class has helped me understand how I can hold space for members of my community and the ways we can develop shared experiences together….and the more I learn about Judaism, the deeper I fall in love with it. “
Aster also shared how special it is to share this experience with others. “Everyone approaches class with so much curiosity and compassion; it is easy for me to feel insecure about not knowing things, but I only ever feel empowered and encouraged in class.”
For more information on the new Intro to Judaism class beginning February 2nd, or any other Adult Learning through LiNK click HERE, register at BIT.LY/LINKADULTSPRING2022 or if you’d like to speak with Susan Schwartz, email her here.