BY JAIME BRODY for myjewishlearning.com
Reflections from Keshet's families with young children coordinator.
Nearly a year and a half ago, my family of four attended a local Jewish community Rosh Hashanah event. There were other young families there, and my 3-year-old had a blast petting chickens, sampling different flavors of honey, and forgetting about her pesky newborn brother for a few minutes. As is often the case at events like this, my wife and I could clearly see we were the only queer family in attendance.
EMILY STRAUSS for newvoices.org
I saw women and men sitting across from each other at tables and sat on the ground in between to make my presence visible. It was awkward for all of us. Apparently the irony of a heteronormative speed dating event taking place next door to a gay bar was lost on my Hillel.
But the event was more than awkward. It was hurtful, at least for me. My Hillel’s speed dating was only open to heterosexual, gender binary conforming students. It was clear to me that it had been planned with no thought of my presence, LGBTQ Jews in our community. It sent a message about what kind of couples and families are wanted in the Jewish communal future. It made me realize Hillel needs guidance on inclusion for queer students, so here is my advice:
Ep. 120: LGBTQ&A podcast host Jeffrey Masters and Anne Edelstein, author of Lifesaving for Beginners, plus Roy Moore’s ‘Jewish lawyer’
By Unorthodox for Tablet Magazine
This week on Unorthodox, Mark calls up Roy Moore’s ‘Jewish lawyer,’ and Stephanie sits down with Jeffrey Masters, host of the podcast LGBTQ&A, which documents stories of the LGBTQ community. We’re also joined by Anne Edelstein, author of the new memoir Lifesaving for Beginners.
From Sachlav Israel on the House
NOTE: Birthright has two trips planned in 2018 - June 6th - June 18th from Los Angeles and July 2nd - 12th from New York. The Los Angeles one is during pride week in Tel Aviv so it will be an extra amazing experience.
Want to experience all that Israel has to offer, in a safe, comfortable, and empowering environment, with other LGBTQ identifying people? Join like-minded people this season for the complete Birthright Israel trip experience, along with additional Israeli LGBTQ oriented activities. Led by members of the LGBTQ community, the trip covers all the same sites and activities as our flagship “Israel Explore” itinerary, while introducing you to the Israeli LGBTQ community, and their experiences. It’s ultimate introduction to Israel, with maximum exposure to the best that Israel, and its human landscape, have to offer. You will taste the culture, embrace the adventure, discover more of your Jewish heritage, and meet with organizations at the forefront of the LGBTQ community in Israel.
Places very limited – sign up now to avoid disappointment!
Please Note: This trip is run for groups ages 20 to 26
The World Congress aims to be a networking resource for LGBTQIA+ Jews from around the world to connect, engage, and support on local, national, continental and global levels. The Hebrew subtitle Keshet Ga’avah – Rainbow of Pride – emphasizes the importance of tradition and diversity to the World Congress.
Join Us in Rome!
The World Congress: Keshet Ga’avah with our member organization MDKI of Rome are excited to welcome the public to an amazing conference from the 15th to the 18th of March. If you register for the event before January 15th, the price is only 90 euros to join us for a full four days of events. You can register for the event on our website. We will be having conversations about Muslim and Jewish engagement, LGBTQ people seeking asylum in Italy, preventing and fighting gender-based violence against women, and civil rights in Israel. There will also be a guided tour of the former Jewish ghetto of Rome. Most exciting, there will be simultaneous translation during the event into English. Do not miss this incredible opportunity to meet new friends, engage with important topics surrounding LGBTQ Jewish life around the world, and explore Rome.
By Derek Kwait for JTA
When H. Alan Scott looked up through the mikvah waters, he says he saw the shadows of his past and present lives undulating above him: Poor Mormon kid. Gay man. Comedian. Cancer survivor.
Then his head broke the surface for the third time, and he felt that at last he had emerged with an identity that fit perfectly: Jew.
That was five years ago.
BY BEN SALES for The Jewish Week
A flagship liberal Orthodox synagogue in New York will stop congratulating same-sex couples on their weddings following a complaint by the Orthodox Union.
The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the Bronx will no longer announce the weddings of its LGBT members in its newsletters in accordance with a policy dictated by the O.U., the largest association of Orthodox synagogues in the United States. The policy was set out this month in response to complaints from other member synagogues, which take a harder line on opposing same-sex marriage.
BY ARI SHANE WEITZ for The Jewish Week
Same-sex marriage, homophobia and an Orthodox shul bulletin.
The “mazal tov” in the shul bulletin was unremarkable. It was the second of seven such congratulations in the Nov. 3, 2017 issue of Hebrew Institute of Riverdale’s Bayit Bulletin, sandwiched between one to the parents and grandparents of a bar mitzvah boy, and one to the parents of a new son (and to the newborn’s big sister). It was the same point size and type face as all the others, and there was no rainbow flag next to it.
In May 2016, JQY launched the only Drop-in Center for at-risk Jewish teens and young adults. This unique program, based at Congregation Bet Simchat Torah in Midtown Manhattan, is a space in which teens and young adults, ages 13 to 23, can:
Check in with licensed social workers
Meet others they can relate to
Participate in support groups
Have access to health and safety resources
Enjoy a hot kosher meal
Be part of an affirming community
Our participants come from Jewish communities across the Orthodox spectrum- from Borough Park to Teaneck, Staten Island to Riverdale, Cedarhurst to New Rochelle.
Many struggle with depression, anxiety, abuse, homelessness, self-harm, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, isolation, loneliness, or despair.
You are not alone.
BY SHIRA HANAU for The Jewish Week
The unlikely journey of an Orthodox rabbi who lost a pulpit and an outreach post but gained a cause.
On the third day of Chanukah last December, Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, an outreach rabbi at Columbia University, received a text message from a transgender student.
“At the moment, it’s taking everything I’ve got to get through finals,” the student wrote, referring to the immediate academic pressure piled atop his struggle to feel accepted in the Jewish community because of his gender identity. “I’m in a hard place at the moment.”
Before the rabbi could respond, the student sent another message: “I’m really appreciating your existence.”
BY SARA KAPLAN for Kveller
Neither of my Jewish sons is circumcised, but that wasn’t how I planned it.
When I was pregnant with our second child, the doctor looked at the ultrasound and announced we were going to have a boy. I was elated to be having a healthy baby, but felt anxious and stressed knowing that my partner and I differed on the subject of circumcision.
But it was taken out of our hands when our son was born with hypospadias (his urethra was not in the right spot). He needed corrective surgery around 8 months old, and we needed to keep all of the skin on his penis. After the procedure, our son has a urethra in the correct spot, and it looks like he has been circumcised.
Top Jewish musicians with large Orthodox followings will launch the first-ever Benefit Concert supporting JQY, a leading provider of crisis and support resources for at-risk LGBTQ Jewish youth from Orthodox homes. Matisyahu, Neshama Carlebach, Gedalia Penner and Eli Schwebel will perform for an expected audience of 400 people of all orientations, ages and denominations on Sunday, December 17th at 6pm. Sandi DuBowski, Director of “Trembling Before G-d,” will be honored at the event with the inaugural JQY Trailblazer Award.
BY LEAH FALK for Jewniverse
If you want to smash the gender binary (by, for example, giving transpeople a comfortable place to pee), Judaism can feel like an odd fit. The obligation to observe commandments is traditionally divided along male/female lines: men pray three times daily, while women don’t have to; men put on tefillin, while women do not. Some women’s recent efforts to observe the religious privileges they’re exempt from have made ripples in the Jewish world, and even the news.
BY SHIRA BURNS for myjewishlearning.com, reprinted from Keshet Blog. Note, this article appeared in 2016.
This year Hanukkah happens to begin on Christmas and end on New Years. With all that’s happening on your calendar, it can be hard to find a time to go shopping for those you love– so we’ve done it for you! Below you’ll find clothing, decorations, books, and more for the queer Jews and allies in your life! (Click on each gift to find out where to purchase it)
Let’s start with the card and the candles:
Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.
It was important to both of us to represent both of our faith traditions, and to incorporate our vibrant, polyamorous, queer, trans communities as much as possible. We had a huge wedding party (14 people!) because there are so many people who are incredibly dear to us…
My partner is a bearded, genderqueer, transfeminine person, and it was really important to us to be visible and proud about our relationship because so many people think that people like us can't (or don't deserve) to find love and happiness. Caleb rocked a gorgeous wine-colored wedding dress, while I went with a more traditional white gown, and we did our damndest to show the world that love like this will not be hidden.
Kenny Fries for Jewish Book Council
At a dinner party soon after I moved to Berlin, a German guest recounted the story of his struggle to restore the bomb-battered grave of his grandfather at the Jewish Cemetery in Weissensee. He regaled the dinner guests, telling us about his phone call to the cemetery administrator, who told him the requirement that all new gravestones are required to quote scripture.
“But my father wasn’t a believer,” he complained to the administrator. “He wouldn’t have wanted scripture, Jewish or otherwise, on his tombstone. He was a Communist.”
“Make up your mind,” demanded the administrator. “Was your grandfather a Jew or a Communist?”
By: Nico Lang for intomore.com
The new film by Eliza Hittman is a complicated coming-of-age story that challenges how we think about queer films today.
Great movies often feel as though they are in conversation with other movies. Beach Rats, the second feature film from Eliza Hittman, is not quite a great movie, but it aspires to be one.
A tone poem about a young man struggling with his attraction to other men, Beach Rats recalls Saturday Night Fever, another film about frustrated masculinity set in blue-collar Brooklyn. Frankie, played by the electric Harris Dickinson, is a spiritual successor to Tony Manero. Both characters struggle to find themselves in an environment that doesn’t appear to have many options for the men they want to be. Beach Rats is the rare movie to feel like a descendant of both Kenneth Anger and Harmony Korine. Anger festishizes masculinity, whereas Korine explores the consequences when manhood isn’t fully realized.