Often, I think about subjects that help connect me to my inner persona. Sometimes, they are physical, like my friends or family, but often, they are the inanimate objects. When I think of something that represents my Jewish and female identity, I often go to a ring that my grandmother, who I call my abuela, gifted me. It had belonged to her before, and I had always admired it whenever she wore it. It’s shaped like a blooming rose, and is made out of pristine sterling silver. I wear this ring all the time, and it has a very positive aura about it. I love wearing interesting pieces of jewelry, and this ring is no exception. But more importantly, it makes me feel powerful.
When I think about how my identity connects to it, I like to introduce the theme of mystery and development. The ring has a name on the back of it. It’s engraved into the ring, and for years I’ve been trying to decipher what it says. Recently, I discovered that it says “Bat-Ami.” Bat-Ami is an Israeli jewelry company that was created by a woman named Bat-Ami Behiri-Varsano. She founded this company to show that women can do what they love while also prioritizing their families. I felt even more connected to my ring when I found this out. A strong Jewish woman created a ring that makes me feel elated and empowered! What are the chances of that?
The ring not only reminds me of my Jewish identity, but the budding rose also reminds me of my roots. The pure beauty of it takes me back to the Caribbean, where nature is an everyday part of life. While visiting Guyana, I was able to experience the culture that my father grew up in. I could admire the little things, like the way that the leaves danced softly in the breeze or how the night air smelled so clean and fresh. My great-aunt had flowers growing around her house, and I would go outside and take in their beauty. Their gorgeous reds, pinks and yellows captivated me. I believe that my appreciation of my father’s homeland has contributed to my biracial identity. Being able to understand the melting pot of cultures that contributes to my daily world is amazing. Being reminded of my homeland whenever I think of my ring is a welcome feeling.
This ring now reminds me of how my identity is still developing and being shaped. I evolve the same way a rose does. Every day, I learn more about myself and the world around me. All of this new knowledge is amazing, and I feel more unstoppable the more I learn. My brain is still developing more ideas and opinions by the second. I am still growing. I am still blooming like this rose.
This piece was written as part of JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship.
How to cite this page
Bethune, Naomi. "La Rosa." 5 November 2018. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 26, 2021) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/la-rosa>.