If you could choose a portion of the Torah or other Holy Book that you relate most to, which one would it be?

Mine is Vayishlach, which means ‘And he sent messengers’ in Hebrew. You can find the portion in Genesis 32 : 4 – 36 : 43.

The themes of this portion include exile, struggle, identity and reconciliation. Jacob is given another name, Israel, which means to struggle or wrestle with God.

It’s been nine years since I had an adult Batmitzvah and chanted part of Vayishlach in Hebrew from a Torah scroll in front of family and friends. It was the first time I was called up to the Torah, and the first time Rakhel – the Hebrew name I chose for myself – was used. That’s why I prefer to use this name when I teach Kabbalah or do something spiritual. It reminds me of who I really am inside. And this part of my identity was suppressed and hidden for forty years.

‘Coming out’ is hard. It requires courage, as well as a burning need to be authentic and true to oneself. I’ve wanted to write a memoir of my spiritual journey for the last 15 years, but it’s only this year that I’ve actually put down what’s been in my head into words. I’m close to finishing my first draft and I feel really good about having finally made a start. It will need more drafts before it’s ready to be published, but I’m so pleased that I’ve finally created something that I can work with and shape into something even better.

Feel free to share the answers to the questions I posed by clicking on the comments word at the start of the blog.