Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Struggle

[Reposted from FB for those that read it there]

I love my life. I'll tell you what bothers me. When others try and tell me how to live, how to act and how to behave. The Torah and Rabbis I have a relatonship with, maybe, but until you live my life, do not tell me what I can and cannot do. Or that who I am is simply society leaking into our "perfect" Jewish culture.

Are those who are "judging" me celibate individuals? No, they are married- or will be married- and they have sex. Are they gay? Maybe, but probably not.

So until they are in my shoes, don't tell me my Nisayon, my test, is just like everyone else's; that I can overcome it with enough effort. It might be true, but only in very specific situations, and until you are in my specific situation, don't tell me what challenges I can or cannot overcome.

Our society is not a "pure Torah society", so don't yell at me for turning it impure. It's not my fault that I have a struggle and regardless of that struggle, I simply want for the Orthodox community to accept me. The more you denounce my challenge and tell me my struggle is not okay, the more you push me away from Orthodoxy. If that is the goal, congratulations, you are succeeding. If it is not, then stop. Just stop. Just let me try and make a life for myself and stay frum.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Move along.

When I was in high school I used to imagine "endless nights". My theory was that the longer I stayed awake, the more I focused on NOT falling asleep, the next day would never come. The morning would never come and I would never have to worry about the test I had the next day or the pain that was my life and my sexuality. Life could just freeze in this endless night, where time never had to move on.
In a way, I feel, that might be a phase the world is going through. In particular, when it comes to anyone fearful of change or commitment, it represents their greater fear of moving on, of growing up, of gaining days, months and years on their lives. They're scared if they commit to something in the future, they are committing to that future time and date arriving, and therefore locking themselves into a plan that they cannot alter, and they cannot stop it from arriving.
Sometimes it might be nice to freeze the world. Sometimes it would be nice not to have to move on, to face the world to face the future, but no matter how long you fight that sleep from overtaking you, the new day will come. So instead of fighting, I challenge us all to embrace it. Embrace every new day, embrace every new step and every moment of our future. "Remember the past, Live the present, Trust the future."

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Anyone that knows me, knows this: I wear my heart on my sleeve, and follow my emotions. My heart tells me where to go, what to do - because suppressing that is no way to live. Even if my brain contradicts.
Lately there has been a lot of people trying to understand more about homosexuality and religion, why a gay person has to come out, and why I did come out. Here's something I wrote in a very vulnerable state, while contemplating the meaning of sexuality and religion. (ie- after watching "Prayers for Bobby"):

i didnt come out to announce to the world or to parade my lifestyle or to tell every other jewish struggling kid to come out. i came out for myself. so i could finally stop hiding. its not fun to always be telling everyone "oh im not ready to date" or "im not looking to get married yet". Eventually they get it, and they all talk and wonder whats wrong with me.
I came out to tell the world there is nothing wrong with me. they can stop wondering and judging, im gay. so im not the same as them but again, that doesn't mean there's something wrong with me. by keeping it in, im admitting that it's something shameful. im admitting its something never to tell anyone about b/c it's not "normal". well that's not a way to live. Even by just telling a few friends, that's acting as though its an embarrassment. its not. its just part of me.

the more ppl like me and my friends come out (shout out JQY), the more ppl understand that theres nothing wrong with us. that maybe the actions are shunned by the torah, but that doesnt change the desires we have. and maybe if ppl begin to see and hear that this "way of life" is just like everyone else with a few exceptions, maybe then less kids will be hurt or hurt themselves growing up knowing b/c they will finally know that they are not alone. and that time has come to be okay and for the world to understand we're just like everyone else.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Little Boxes

As a society, we create rules and expectations for everyone around us. Titles, labels, boxes . These are the "places" we categorize people who we encounter- coworkers, friends, family ; or label those around us- Frum, not Frum, Yeshivish, Modern, etc...

This is what society was created to do (see "Lord of the Flies"). But I ask- as a society, as a Jewish world and nation, how small or large are our boxes? What categorizes a person in one box and not the other? The labels that we create and so willingly force other people into- what gives us that right? Now I know no one can CHANGE society- but on the topic of homosexuality, there is one thing I thought of, with help from a friend, as far as boxes go:
There are exceptions to every rule.

Whatever box you may place me in, or anyone in your life, we have to be willing and understanding that there are (a) other boxes, and (b) exceptions to every box. Not everyone will fit perfectly in everyone else's box. In fact, most of us don't ever fit into a box- we are all individuals, just some are more obvious about their individuality than others. But when labeling and boxing and giving other people expectations, make sure you do not rely too heavily on what box you "expect" or "assume" someone belongs in. Because chances are, they will break the mold.

Let's move on

And here I say- there is/always has been a lot more to me than the issue of homosexuality. Sure there is the most to discuss in terms of that, but it's been a very intense few weeks with that conversation. Let's move on. (At least on this blog... there are still plenty more discussions happening-

AND THAT'S IT. Moving on with a new post.

Monday, January 4, 2010


-Anonymous commentator article

-Panel Event, attended by 800 (full transcript)

-Response of the Roshei Yeshiva was a short letter plastered all over campus insensitively, signed by 6 rebbeim, the content was just rude, and it was unauthorized to be put up.
The Torah requires that we relate with sensitivity to a discreet individual who feels that he/she has a homosexual orientation, but abstains from any and all homosexual activity. Such sensitivity, however, cannot be allowed to erode the Torah’s unequivocal condemnation of homosexual activity. The Torah’s mitzvos and judgments are eternally true and binding. Homosexual activity constitutes an abomination. As such, publicizing or seeking legitimization even for the homosexual orientation one feels runs contrary to Torah. In any forum or on any occasion when appropriate sympathy for such discreet individuals is being discussed, these basic truths regarding homosexual feelings and activity must be emphatically re-affirmed.

-Response of Pres Richard Joel and Menahel R' Reiss
Message from the President and Menahel of REITS

In light of recent events, we want to reiterate the absolute prohibition of homosexual relationships according to Jewish law. Of course, as was indicated in a message issued by our Roshei Yeshiva, those struggling with this issue require due sensitivity, although such sensitivity cannot be allowed to erode the Torah's unequivocal condemnation of such activity. Sadly, as we have discovered, public gatherings addressing these issues, even when well intentioned, could send the wrong message and obscure the Torah's requirements of Halachik behavior and due modesty. Yeshiva has an obligation to ensure that its activities and events promote the primacy and sacredness of Torah in our lives and communities. We are committed to providing halachik guidance and sensitivity with respect to all challenges confronted by individuals within our broader community, including homosexual inclinations, in a discreet, dignified and appropriate fashion.

Pres Richard M. Joel
Menahel Rabbi Yonah Reiss

-Roshei Yeshiva (R' Twersky) still feels the need to respond:

-Mordechai Levovitz responds to R' Twersky:

-An intense debate on Mordechai's response:

R' Billet-
Avi Kopsitck's response-

-This is the Orthodox world. I am trying my hardest to make it work, and appreciate the support and courage of all those involved with me in the fight. So thank you all!
All I want is for teenagers/adults to stop hiding, to stop feeling guilty for who they are, and be happy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


...Does not equal Legitimization
Awareness does not equal sanction
Acceptance does not equal legalization.

I'm disappointed in those who don't understand saying that me finally feeling like the community wants me as a part of it, means the community is telling me that what I do is okay. That is not the case, nor should it ever be the case, but that's what people are saying. Important people, respected people.

And one more thing, being a gay Jew doesn't have to be it's own category. I don't want to be separate from the rest of the Jewish world. But if I am rejected from being an orthodox Jew, maybe I'll have to just be a gay Jew.

And shout out to everyone who has helped me through the past few weeks. I love you guys.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews