Sunday, December 27, 2009


So. Last week was busy and intense and a bit overwhelming for the Orthodox Gay community. and for me.
-The night of the event and the morning after a letter was being posted signed by five or six Roshei Yeshiva, but very unofficial looking. On Friday Morning, an official letter came out from the President of YU and the Menahel of the Yeshiva- R' Reiss.

The Rabbi's reaction/letter did not have the right to go up. Every sign on campus is approved by administration, and these weren't approved by anyone. Even if signed by the Rabbis, they didn't have the right to make a million copies and hang them up. This letter said homosexuality is wrong (duh) and anyone 'struggling' should be dealt with in the appropriate matter, in a discreet and sensitive manner. It just took away from the event attended by over 600 people with 200 turned away at the door. Anyone that may have felt a sense of comfort and security from the support shown that night- this letter reiterated to all those gay Yeshiva Program students (the ones that learn till 3)- YES THEY DO EXIST- that their Rabbis will not discuss this publicly and they still need to feel ashamed of their emotions and at discomfort with their own tendencies.

The second letter was more sensitive- but elaborated that some 'could' have taken the wrong idea away from the event, that homosexuality is Halachikally okay. And it's not- fine, but I ask Pres Joel and Rabbi Reiss, then why did you allow it in the first place? and further, why was Rabbi Blau- the Mashgiach Ruchani of YU- the MODERATOR. HE was there to ensure there was no discussion of Halacha! And there wasn't. Also it discussed that the issue must be dealt with with sensitivity in the broader community- BUT IT NEEDS TO BE DEALT WITH HERE, IN THE YU COMMUNITY! It made me feel like my own school (administration) didn't want me. And it hurt.

I know YU needs to make Halacha clear and worry about donors and alumni, but I think they are doing it in an insensitive manner, and allowing their PR to overshadow the mental health and well being of many of their students.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm not speaking

This tuesday night 12/22, The Wurzweiler School of Social Work and the YU Tolerance Club are hosting an event called
"Being Gay in the Orthodox World
A Conversation with YU Community Members"
I love this event. I am involved with coordinating various aspects of it, and totally agree that it's time for something like this to happen at YU. However, I am upset that students are still bashing, taking down signs, and plan to protest the event - why? Because YU refuses to publicly take an official stance on the issue of homosexuality. Rebbeim refuse to say "this is an issue that needs to be understood and discussed". Instead, they let their students become bigots and hateful Jews.

Putting that aside, I will not be speaking on the panel. I would love to speak on the panel, to share my experiences to put a face to the issue of homosexuality and have everyone know that this isn't something going away or a problem to keep hidden. However, for personal reasons- for my reputation as a student leader, my future in the Jewish community, and for my relationship with my family- I do not feel it would be appropriate for me to speak. I'm out of the closet- which has caused enough controversy already and I really do not feel the need to push it in my family's faces any further. I wish I could share my story at an open YU forum, but I guess that's why I have the blog, To do what I can, but take a more subtle approach for everyone to see only if they want to.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Options

The way I see it- and this is a very simplistic view, very dumbed-down if you will.
I have two options:

1) I can live a life alone. Try as hard as I can to live a completely Halachik observance. To live watching my friends and family grow and raise their own families, to eat by them for Shabboss and keep my good friends in my life and be best friends with all their children and be that creepy guy that hangs around b/c he was their parents friend and now he's old and creepy. But I will be trying as hard as a can to live as best and openly Halachik life as possible.

2) I can find someone to be with- obviously the ideal. Start my own life with him. Change with world with him. But I'm so scared of that. I'm so scared of that side of me. Of not being Halachik. Of not being able to help people or change the world if everyone looks at me as this person who lives a life against the Torah.

How do I live alone?
How do I live against the Torah?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Addendum to "that guy"

The hardest part about being that guy is the fact that there are so many people who know everything about me- and who will come to me anonymously and then I know nothing about them. Yes I blog, I am an open book, fine, but it's really hard and almost unfair that I speak to so many of you and don't even know who you are. It's pretty hard to build a friendship of any kind without a name or a face.

Do not stop talking to me. I love you all and I am here for you. But just so you know, it's extremely difficult when I talk to you, to think you know everything about me- and I don't even know your name. Try and in vision being in my shoes for a minute, that's all I ask. And I do want to be "that guy". I didn't sign up for it, but I'm so thrilled to help. It's just hard for me, as a person (not as a 'resource' or 'therapist' but just as me), to have strangers talking to me without even a name for me to call them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Trying my best

Apparently, I am that guy.
I didn't know I was that guy.
I didn't ask to be that guy.
A new friend of mine told me I am a "household name". I come up in conversation, not just the topic of homosexuality, but of me specifically. I didn't sign up for that. Then again, I didn't sign up for homosexuality either, as far as I know. But people are talking about me, it started a year and a half ago and there are louder times and there are quieter times, but they're talking. And they're whispering. And some are even pointing. So what? I don't have to care. Well I shouldn't, anyway. But as social beings it's only natural to care- as long as I work to not let it dictate me, where I go or who I become.

Along with being a "household name", I became that guy. That person that everyone who is gay and Jewish needs to talk to, needs to get in touch with. Closeted people mostly, but either way I feel my head constantly filling up with more and more secrets. On a daily basis I have more and more to keep in- and I do my best to do so. Sometimes people call me untrustworthy- but that's when I screw up with my friends- not with secrets from people whom I don;t even know their names. I didn't ask to be "that guy". I didn't ask to have the Orthodox world put me in this focal point, and I DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS, but I want to help, I want to be there for anyone who needs it. I only have my own experience and try my best to share with anyone who needs me.

That brings me to my last point, I like to think or hypothesize that with the amount of other people's secrets, thoughts and emotions filling my head, there is little room for my own. And I end up using outlets- Twitter, Facebook and the Blog, and my closest friends who listen to me struggle day in and day out, all to let off my own thoughts and make room for everyone else's. Thanks to my friends who are able to put up with me. And to those that can't- I'm sorry if I'm a burden, I'm just trying to do my best, even if I seem immature/whiney or out of control at some points.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The head or heart

Don't get me wrong, I know there are positives and negatives to both sides of every coin.
But this is a question I would say I haven't asked myself since i was 16. Should I listen to my head or to my heart? Should I do what feels right or what I know to be right? I'm posing this question to everyone.
Personally, It was a matter of Gay or Straight. My head said be straight- it's normal it's what everyone does. My heart said there's nothing as important to me as being with another guy. But this applies in many situations (this is lame and high school but wtvr)- Should I go to the party where there will be drugs or stay home and be bored? Its the mind or the heart.
I recently had a long conversation with someone, and after rlly connecting on a new level, the last thing we discussed was this. We were very in sync about a lot of things so I was shocked when it came up that this person sayis "I always make decisions with my head and brain" and I said "I always make decisions with my heart".
So when it comes down to it, this doesn't make or break a relationship, but it can lead people to two completely different paths. Just something I've been thinking about. Is there even one right answer to apply across the board? Or is this a case-by-case situation? Sound off below.
Oh, and does this necessarily have religious ramifications- does the Torah, or any religion, promote thinking with your mind over your heart of vice-versa?

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews