Podcast Interview: Trans-Affirming Hebrew Name Change Ritual

In the Torah, names are powerful and signify moments of transformation. Our Jewish ancestors Avraham, Sarah, and Yisrael each received new names as part of their journeys.

As a child, Spencer Kaseff struggled with self-loathing. Assigned female at birth, but unsure of his gender identity, Spencer was deeply sensitive and spent a lot of time alone. But in December of 2019, Spencer left that part of his life behind during a Hebrew renaming ritual.

This episode is a conversation between Andy Anderson (they/them), Spencer Kaseff (he/him), and Heather Paul (she/her) about Spencer’s emotional renaming ritual that was performed at Hillel International’s Global Assembly in 2019.

“There’s a need for transgender Jews to receive new Hebrew names as much as new secular ones, but very few resources exist for transgender renaming rituals. According to a 2018 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, calling a transgender person by the name they use to refer to themselves can reduce their chance of suicide by as much as 65%. In Judaism, we can take a step toward inclusion by honoring and celebrating the journeys of transgender Jews through Jewish renaming.” -Heather Paul

Want to watch the video or view a ritual template for your own use? Check it out on Ritualwell. Thanks to Andy for interviewing us – and thank you to Spencer…for everything ❤

“You Can Close Your Eyes”

Thanks to Bury Me in New Jersey for interviewing me about Virtual Memory Circles, the “What Have We Lost?” video, and grief in a virtual world. Check out the podcast episode below by scrolling down to “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

Sometime Around Midnight Bury Me In NJ

This week, I’ll be sharing my interview with my long-time friend, Joyce DeStasio. During our conversation, she shares her experience giving birth to her baby girl, Alaina, at 27 weeks, and the subsequent 104 days Alaina spent in the NICU before passing away the following February.Joyce shares how her initial documentation of her daughter’s medical care soon evolved into writing about her experience from a more personal point of view, and later enrolled in a memoir class to further develop these writings. Beyond her own personal creative expression, we talk at length about the ways that she and Alaina's father used music as a cathartic outlet during the time she was hospitalized and after she passed.Bury Me in New Jersey is recorded in Hammonton, NJ, and is produced by Nick Rumaczyk. Our theme music is P to the A, by Anonymous Novels. Check out their page on SoundCloud to hear more of their work.Visit  burymeinnj.com to learn about ways you can support the show. 
  1. Sometime Around Midnight
  2. Smile
  3. In Case You Don't Live Forever
  4. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  5. Lay, Lady, Lay