Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love Yourself as Others Love You

While the title of this post may seem somewhat backwards to you and I shall explain. The famous hebrew phrase said by R' Akiva "v'ahavta L'rayacha Kamocha- love others as you love yourself" has been taught throughout the Jewish community for years and years. However, this saying seems not to be the trend these days and it needs to be noticed.

I struggled for years and years with loving myself. Whether it was my sexuality or other things, I just couldn't bring myself to find the inner peace to love myself. And it's a problem I see all too often in today's world. Instead of finding inner-peace and looking inside one's self for love, many people go to others. Sometimes it's other outlets- overbearing friendships, drinking, game systems, any way to avoid spending time with yourself. Any way to avoid thinking about who you are and what's going on inside you. I've worked really hard at this- at just spending time with myself and focusing on me in order to learn new things about me and not run away from parts of me that I was scared of. So now I challenge you, too. When was the last time you spent time alone? Not on a subway, not with a iPod or a TV show, but just time thinking about who you are and what that means to you. What parts of you you do like and what parts of you you might want to change.

I unfortunately know too many people who go to others for love and relationships and look to others to care about them, so they don't have to care for themselves and I honestly just want everyone to love themselves so they don't have to run for the rest of their lives from what's inside. Sometimes you just have to love yourself as others love you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Okay so originally an article i read about sexual abuse sparked this post, but whether or not the article is true, these are my thoughts.

The idea of abuse ad Orthodox sex issues in general I discussed within the past 24 hours before having it come up again, by coincidence. The Orthodox community has a lot of challenges and a lot of things to work on. Within the past ten years, growing up, people took a stand and finally challenged adults to get a handle on the drinking and the drugs that happens in the Yeshiva High Schools and began to set limits, like on Simchat Torah and Purim. However, now it's time to face a new issue- again, they may not want to- but it's time. And if no one else will, as soon as i have the means, I will.

The issue of sex and sexuality can no longer be ignored. I know, every Rabbi has a "Shomer Negiah" Shiur, in high school, in Israel, in college. Everyone knows that kids are struggling with "Negiah". But it's much bigger than that. Sex is much bigger than that. Sex is happening in front of our eyes when people are way too young. Children are being molested and teenagers are being reckless (ie- sex in broom closets and pregnancies). While I don't say- give a Shiur and control teens, I say FACE IT. Face the fact that Orthodox teens are having sex, now more than ever. Gay, straight, that's not the issue. If schools open their eyes and their mouths and being to make sex less taboo and allow their students to discuss it more openly and understand what they do in high school has ramifications on the future ie- STDs, condoms. And if sex becomes more open- hopefully molestation will also be an issue that people don't have to be scared about, to talk about, to finally discuss. And maybe we can help bring Orthodoxy to the next stage of it's growth and understanding the next challenge facing a new generation.

Monday, November 16, 2009

That's SO Gay

First off, sorry for the delay. When I'm stressed I need to do work. When i'm finally relaxing i need to relax. not sure where blogging fits into those- although it can be very therapeutic at time :-)

Anyway I wanted to mention the "thats gay" habit. There's been ad campaigns and various discussions about the just un-cool habit of people to call things gay as a synonym for lame or stupid or annoying. also, there was an Office episode (lol). My friends, for the most part, have made a conscious effort to cut down this habit and I appreciate that. However, some of the people around me haven't- and that's insulting. And it's not just around me, it's anyone anywhere, especially when you never know who is in the closet or who actually is gay. It's like if some looks at a Jew doing something stupid and says "that's so Jewish". It's insulting, though I'm not personally offended, but still offending to the nature of who I am, and I ask my friends to chill out with it. It's not cool. I worked on it also, and I erased that phrase from my vocabulary. And I don't ask much of the people around me, I don't like who I am to be a burden, but this is just an insulting habit for people to keep up.

There are times where friends say it once, or twice, and it's kind of funny because I'm around and I'm gay, and this is a novelty within the Orthodox world and it's weird and funny to say something that you've always said and then realize someone in the room is actually gay. And yea, when you first realize it, it's funny. Unfortunately, that's really only at first, one time- maybe two- but it shouldn't be acceptable. And it shouldn't be only an effort when I - or anyone else gay- is in the room. Also because you never know who is gay around you, especially within the frum circles. It should be an effort always to just get rid of this habit that can be insulting and degrading.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The proverbial 'Closet'

I'd first like to address some of the readers- this blog is for me to express and teach and open the eyes and make aware for my friends, and for people who care to know what's going on in my life. I'm writing for me.

I'd like to discuss 'the closet' for a minute. I spent most of my life in the closet. My life in the closet was about finding others in similar situations- other people in the closet. When I heard of someone out of the closet, I wondered how in the world they did it, and I also wanted nothing to do with them. That was too scary and too real. So now that I'm out of the closet- it's very very difficult for me to look back in there. And I know that's rude and selfish, but it's hard for me to put myself back in those old shoes of being hidden. I wonder why doesn't everyone in the closet come to me? I can help, I've been there, I don't out you. But i also try to remember I've been there and I can't expect them to face their greatest fear- of coming out to someone.

I also try now, out of the closet, not to judge those still in the closet. Do I look around me on a daily basis and wonder- is he gay? is she gay? is that one gay? Yes, I wonder that every day about almost everyone I meet. Some are easier to figure out some are more difficult. BUT my biggest struggle now is probably this behavior. It's not my business if someone else is gay, if someone is still in the closet. It's their struggle and they will hopefully, with Gods help, figure it out. I'm sorry for those that I have misjudged or judged at all- and I hope you figure it all out. I'm really working on not driving myself crazy to know whether or not you're gay, but just know I really just always want to help and to talk which is where my questioning comes from. But it's not right. You will figure it out.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Not with stress, but with life.
For all who haven’t read it yet- http://www.yucommentator.com/opinion/the-gay-question-1.855249
Now, Here are my thoughts. Good article, yes. Great article, yes. I think this student really captured many of the feelings of an Orthodox Jew in the closet hoping one day ppl will be open to accepting him, and sooner rather than later. He also proposes solutions instead of just complaining. Especially when compared to a YU Article written last year, this one is miles ahead and I proudly salute the author.
However, I’m confused about one thing- why are so many people floored by this article? Why are so many ppl so shocked about the feelings of homosexuality? Did I not go through my own hell and trauma before I came out? If I wrote an article about hardships, would I get the positive response I know this author has gotten from everyone? I believe not and here’s why- the world is more sensitive to someone in the closet. The world is more concerned and caring for someone as long as you don’t know exactly who they are. It's much easier for everyone to be caring and loving when they are talking to an email address, not an actual person. But when it’s someone you know, or someone who’s out, the world is more likely to say ‘oh, him’. And I think until people see that the struggle exists for everyone, and anyone, closeted or not, your best friend or someone you don’t even know, the community will still have made very little progress. No matter how ‘bad’ you feel for someone.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some Honesty

I received a number of very interesting comments from people who I can only call blog friends, in response to various other posts. Let me preempt by saying thank you to all of you for reading, and I respect all your thoughts an opinions.
I love being Jewish. I have always been and will always be Jewish. I am Orthodox/frum, I love being frum, it's all I've ever known and I love it. I've tried not keeping Shabbos or strict Kosher for (very) brief periods of time and seriously it was not for me. Not just weird, but it felt wrong. I love my religion and I would sooner give up being gay than give up being religious. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense to a lot of you, but to me it does.

If given the choice, I would not be gay. Now before you jump down my throats and warn me that I'm being self-hating and only hurting myself just hear me out. I love me, I love all aspects of me, I love being Jewish, I love being gay. But if given the choice, I would not choose to be gay. I do not know in five years if I will be with anyone and that’s really really difficult. If i was straight that wouldn’t be the case. If I find a guy to be with and maybe even lvev with somewhere down the road will I even be able to raise an orthodox child with two gay dads? Not in the world we live in right now. But either way, is that it? will that be it for me, for my potential, for my life?

I love being Orthodox, and I love being gay.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews