Dear Senator Warren,
As a constituent and an admirer, I write to thank you for your courage. Thank you for showing me a different way to be. I am a woman in my 50s, newly undertaking rabbinical study after nearly a decade of flirting with the idea.
I grew up in a normal, happy family with amazing parents, and yet I was surrounded by a stealth misogyny whose depths I am only now beginning to recognize. I promise you that nobody in my family carried the intention of misogyny; we literally didn’t know that the standards we were reinforcing were shot through with patriarchy, with disgust for female accomplishment.
Indeed, I was socialized all my life to perform incompetence, to keep my intelligence under wraps, to keep my voice quiet and well-modulated. I heard over and over — you’re too loud, too smart, too emotional, too much. From an early age I was often the smartest person in the room, but I learned first to cover it and then to doubt it. I learned that smart girls were not attractive and that being pleasant and cute was valued more highly than being clever and capable. I learned that it was better to please others than to speak my mind or reveal my heart.
Despite my attempts to soften my so-called edges, I often felt the social cost of female intelligence and capacity. I was ostracized for taking school and music seriously and for not having (or feigning) interest in sports (with one crowd) or substance use (with another). Every accomplishment came with both admiration and a warning. Great job! But you’re so intense. Why don’t you make some friends, get a hobby, chill out? Yet the price of making friends was diminishing my own intelligence in order to make people comfortable. It seemed I would need to choose between mind-numbing chit-chat and soul-crushing isolation.
Decades of this internalized self-hatred can poke holes in your heart. Sure, there were pep talks from well-meaning friends and teachers. But the loudest message I received was that people would be much more comfortable with me if I were almost successful rather than successful.
Senator Warren, your candidacy has been a revelation and an inspiration. With every pinky promise, every brilliant debate performance, every geeky homegrown video, every rock-solid plan, you showed me a model of female competence and intelligence that didn’t shy from saying what needed to be said.
I don’t anticipate you need a rabbi very often, but after June 2025, if you ever do need a rabbi, I’m your gal.
Thank you for being your very self.
Kindness and shalom,
Naomi Gurt Lind