Monday, February 7, 2011

One Other Thing

In a recent interview, found HERE, I was asked two very difficult questions - one is in the last post, and the other in this post. Shout out to the awesome YU Beacon and my interviewer for letting me share this.

The YU Beacon asked me for one piece of advice to give to gay Orthodox teens. At first I was very overwhelemed, like the last question- there were so many options to answer- that it would get better, that no matter what happens I would find my way, that who I was was okay. So the way I answered this question was by looking back. If there was one thing I would have wanted to be told in high school, what would it have been?

I answered the following:
Not to let others dictate who they are or how they should feel. Regardless of communal pressure, familial pressures, and all the stresses in the world, every single person is an individual, and has the right to be who they are. Because in ten years, the same people making fun of them now will either have grown up enough to understand or not be in their lives any longer, so what they say really can’t define who a person is.

There's really not much to explain about this one. I realized the number one issue in high school, for myself and so many others- not just those struggling with being gay- is peer pressure. Not drugs or drinking, but peer pressure to fit in to society's molds, peer pressure to "belong" or be "normal", like everyone else seems to be. If someone had told me in high school that it was okay to be different, I may not have believed them- but I still would've liked to hear it. To know that the cool kids and the jocks and the nerds- that none of those labels would matter in just a few years, because when we grow up we realize that we are who we are, regardless of what boxes others try to place us in. We find our circles, we find our friends who loves us for who we are- we're not forced into a confined world where we are subscribed to "roles" and "expectations" from everyone around us. We know that if our friends do that, they're not our friends- and at 23 years old, or even 18 years old, it gets much easier to go out and find those who will love us without wanting to change us.

So that's my advice to anyone struggling in the world. Be who you are, and don't let anyone else change you.



  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Why did you remove my post? Are you not open to criticism?

  4. not when it seeks to hurt those whom I seek to help. Also, not when it's based on falsehoods. I don't know what friend of a friend you might be talking about, but at least have the guts to tell me to my face and we can discuss it as two individuals.

  5. Maybe its time to do some soul searching before you convince others to live an active homosexual life? I respect all who have a Ta'avah and try to conquer it. But I know that you have not...If its true you are convinving people to be activeley gay...How dare you!

  6. that has NEVER been my goal, and how dare you accuse me of that! i've written on this blog over and over that people should only come out if they feel it's right for them. and coming out doesnt not indicate being "actively gay" either. Again, i'd appreciate you contact me in my email or facebook to discuss this further.

  7. I write this because I care about you and the Jewish people...I'll have the other friend call you...

  8. i'd like this to be taken care of, and sooner rather than later. If there are lies being spread they need to be put to rest.

  9. So you dont deny that you are not trying to conquer being actively gay (anal intercourse)? Because if so you arent qualified to counsel younger more impressionable Jews...

  10. i'm not comfortable discussing this here. you're lucky i haven't deleted the whole conversation. please be respectful and talk to me in private.

  11. Listen you can delete what you want...but since you are so public about this, the public needs to know the truth...are you trying to conquer this active Ta'avah??? YOu are trying to chage public the public needs to know the truth...You have no right to influence others if you arent at least TRYING...

  12. Just know that there are people who want to help in the TORAH way. And we arent going to be silent anymore...

  13. I'm sorry are you threatening me? conversation over.

  14. Yes...A threat to help

  15. Dear "friend",
    Stop being a jerk wad and leave Ely alone.
    a real friend


    Ely, you are amazing and I really admire your honesty and courage and desire to serve G-d in spite of it all. Go you!

  16. @A Friend, How RIGHTEOUS of you to ignore scores of Torah values in order to oust some imaginary flaw of Ely's character. Where in this blog does it advise Young Jewish individuals to engage in "(anal intercourse)"???
    Ely is trying to help others overcome adversity, scorn, and pressures from individuals like you. It's the same advice one would give to the nerd, the late-bloomer, and the like.
    unfortunately there are homophobes like you, dear "friend", who do nothing to help these youths, instead you scare them into remaining closeted, alone, and depressed. for their sake, I hope you learn to keep your mouth shut.

  17. Those with nothing intellegent to say resort to name calling...and I do this not only for ELy, but to expose the truth for the sake of the Jewish people..Ely you still havent answered the question...Why arent you public about the WHOLE truth...Also, if Ely wants to be so public about this he better be able to take criticism...

  18. I'm fascinated that anyone who cares enough about "TORAH" as "a friend" claims to would be inappropriate and immodest enough to ask about such an incredibly personal matter, much less in a public forum. It is none of your business what Ely, or anyone else, does or does not do behind closed doors. If he, like most people, does not want to broadcast that information to the world, you have no business asking.

  19. Again, another classic tactic, to call someone who disagrees with you a homophobe...again those with nothing intellegent to day resort to name calling...I have nothing but love and admiration for the homosexuals that I know (and have counseled) who keep ALL the mitzvos and are gay...they are the real heroes...

  20. Tali,
    If I commit a sin, am I qualified to tell others how to overcome that sin? Or perhaps, should someone who is gay and doesnt have anal intercourse help?

  21. Right back at you, "a friend." Perhaps someone who actually keeps torah laws about sexual modesty, which include speech (not to mention laws about embarrassing others in public) would be better suited to worry about the sexual challenges of others?

  22. ah my dear "friend" what of the homosexuals that do not keep ALL the mitzvahs? is there no love for them? do you despise them because they cannot control their Ta'avot? or perhaps you pity them? are you disgusted by them?
    That is why I call you homophobic. Because for some reason you see this character flaw as something worse than a bully, (i.e. you)which is also expressly forbidden in rabbinic literature. You claim to love only a select group of homosexuals, that does not prove you are tolerant...quite the opposite in fact.

  23. Sorry,allow me to clarify, the halacha clearly states in a case of chilul Hashem it is a chiuv to speak up...I must go, have a good night, and may the truth come out.
    For the sake of God and the Jewish People,
    A Friend

  24. Dear "friend" aka douche bag galore,

    If you truly cared about Ely, you would take a minute to consider his feelings. He asked you multiple times to discuss the matter privately. If you don't have the sensitivity to honor his request, then you are probably unqualified to counsel the "homosexuals who keep ALL the mitzvos" or anyone at all for that matter.

    It really does not take an intellectual to explain that what you are doing is incredibly insensitive. If you actually want to make a difference in people's lives, try showing some respect.

  25. Some people don't have to hide who they truly are.

    Ely is owning who he is, and that deserves respect and honor. Unlike you, "a friend," who is hiding behind your words which classifies you as a coward!

    And for sake of of God and the Jewish People, may the truth come out that you are probably a closet homosexual who is miserable!

  26. and not getting laid.

  27. "Friend,"

    You have completely missed the crux of Ely's post. His advice is not conditional upon whether or not the teen who is seeking advice--or Ely, for that matter--is practicing or not practicing homosexuality. These young Jews struggle and attempt to reconcile two opposing identities that many times directly conflict, and Ely’s sage advice can give many a feeling of solace and understanding. Ely is not directing teens on whether or not to actively practice; in truth, he is addressing a deeper point of self-acceptance during a period where teenagers feel that they are trapped and ostracized.

  28. All Ely has ever been doing with this blog has been looking for a way to talk about his personal experiences and feelings. If someone has a problem with how he has been using this blog, they need to talk to him in private, not bully him in public. That's not what someone who cares would do. I hate when people use religion to justify treating other human beings disgustingly. Regardless of what it says in the Torah, I can't imagine our God would ever approve of such behavior.

  29. the problem with this is you miss the point. you make the really controversial assumption that people have the right to be "who their biology says they are" and then saying comforting things.

    it's something i catch myself failing at: when you're saying something controversial, you should say it in a way that someone who fundamentally disagrees with you can understand at least, which means explaining why you think what you do.

    it's hard, because it involves being able to argue for the basic positions that you take as assumptions, which are things that most people believe in instinctively, so arguing for them is difficult.

    brought to you by john rawls.

  30. My first concern is the people that Ely negatively influences on his website and in other forums, my second concern is Ely.

    That being said...
    My issue is that Ely is very public about who he is. Through this persona and his website he seeks to gain acceptance of homosexuality in the orthodox world. Therefore, it is the public's right to know where he is comming from.

    Is he trying to not commit the sin and remaining frum? Or is he not even TRYING to abstain from it?

    And only because he made his issue so public do I request that he tell the WHOLE truth.

    Ely, are you trying to conquer your taavah or not?

    If not, please stop giving advice to those who want to stay frum and are gay. Being frum means you are at least TRYING to keep Taryag and not Taryab... (i emphasize again the word TRYING)

  31. Seriously "friend," where do you come up with these requirements? Why does Ely making some things public mean he has to make everything public? Ely should be able to share what he wants and still have the right to some privacy. It's ridiculous to assume that blogging means throwing away those rights. I don't know where you came up with that rule that you continue to restate but I don't see the logic. Ely is entitled to state his personal feelings in this setting, and his readers have the opportunity and responsibility to make their own decisions.

    The "public" (I'm not sure who that is, as you are the only one who seems to be demanding it) has no right to require Ely share anything he is not willing to share, besides the fact that what you are asking for is incredibly intimate and highly inappropriate in a public setting.

    Ely has a right to run his blog how he sees fit and again, if YOU (and I stress "you" because while you claim to speak for the Jewish people, I'm not sure who appointed you. I have yet to hear the voice of God pronounce you to be such an individual)have an issue you need to speak with Ely in private. You are a bully and I for one will not stand by and let you treat another human being this way. Ely has already offered to speak to you one on one in a setting that is more appropriate for these issues.

  32. As someone who considers himself to be a good friend of Ely's I will defend him to the ends of the Earth. enovick is right, as are the others who have posted that yes, Ely has offered you the opportunity to discuss these issues with him privately and in a setting that is more suited for these types of accusatory statements, and for the sake of both yourself and Ely, I would hope that you would have the decency to take him up on his offer and not attack him publicly in such a way that makes you seems like an individual unworthy of listening to reason.

  33. Additionally, who are you to judge Ely's true desires and thoughts. Who are you to say that he isn't trying to conquer whatever struggles he may or may not be dealign with. I phrase it that way because I do not know what he is thinking at any given moment, yet despite that fact, I still believe fullheartedly that all his motives are good and pure, and that anything which he may be struggling with inwardly, if it's not posted on this blog and coming from his mouth directly, it has no factoring into such an argument that you are trying to make.

  34. Ely, you are so amazing. You handle everything you do with such grace and you are so kind to everybody that you encounter, even those who try to put you down.
    You are such a great person.

    Everybody knows a person cannot choose who they are attracted to, and if someone is gay then that is how G-d intended it.

    Keep blogging Ely!
    Love you :)

  35. Ely,

    For every "Friend" who spits hateful tripe on your blog, there are many who read this and are inspired and motivated. Not just people in the LGBT community. Keep up the good work.

    And to all hateful Jewish posters on this blog, can I please remind you what the consequences were for ignorance and hate... 6 million consequences that is.

  36. "Friend",

    Earlier you wrote that you have counseled homosexuals, but based on your style of writing and content, I suspect that you included that simply to make yourself sound more adequate.

    Your lack of professionalism makes me weary of any real credentials. Any therapist who has worked with homosexuals is well aware of the painful experience it is to be frum and homosexual- whether the patient decides to come out or not.

    As for your love and admiration for the Jews who keep "ALL the mitzvos and are gay", I want you to imagine one of those closeted individuals coming up to your doorstep to pick your daughter up for a shidduch date. Doesn't feel too good, eh? Of course it doesn't.

    Before you advocate people keeping their sexuality secret and 'walking the walking' of Jewish familymaking, apply the concept to your own children and the kind of marriages you would want for them.

    Don't kid youself, the wife always knows something is off.

    PS- for someone who is offended by homosexuality, its intriguing that you are curious about anal intercourse.

  37. Ya know -- I can understand what "A friend said..." is saying, because I used to think the same way as him -- until I came out!"

    In all seriousness, "A friend..."'s thoughts are actually the thoughts of many many frum folks, so Im glad hes expressing them. I only wish he or anyone in his family never has to go through the inner-turmoil of wanting to be able to live a taryag-life, but struggling with something that there is absolutely no halachic outlet for. I dont expect him to understand, bec he's not living this.

    "A friend": the only thing i'll tell you is this: a gay jew is better than a dead jew... i knew of a real yeshivishe guy who committed suicide because of these feelings and his family told the world that he had an "aneurism" bec that was easier to his levaya, his father only spoke of all the mitzvos he did and all the mitzvos he can no longer do.

    a gay live jew is better than a gay dead jew. i truly believe ely's work is to make people feel comfortable staying alive - its almost a pikuach nefesh - and imagine all the mitzvos a person can do.

    Arent we taught that we are rewarded for the mitzvos we think, and only punished for the aveiros we actually do? so instead of focusing on taryag-1 - why dont we stick to all the amazeballs that those dealing with this issue will continue to do.


  38. Ely, know that I read your posts consistently and am inspired by your words every time I come to your blog. You are incredibly courageous, and please continue, because I am sure, as seen by previous comments, that I am not the only one influenced and inspired.

    “A friend”, you are totally out of line. You have no right to demand of Ely to give up his privacy utterly and completely, and you have no right to tell Ely in what way he should or shouldn’t try to reach out and influence people. You want to help in the TORAH way? I don’t think bullying, judging, and unfounded accusations are the Torah way. Maybe you should take a look at yourself before unjustly turning on Ely.

  39. Dear "A Friend Said",

    I know enough has really been said, but I'll make three short points in Ely's defense.

    1. Frum is a word that is way to black and white, and your definition of "trying to keep taryag" is not everyones. Some people don't keep a mitzvah in order to better their overall religious observance. And nobody is set in stone, perhaps that will allow someone to observe taryag one day as well.

    2. Ely never tries to persuade people to give up on Halacha, nor does he ever publicly (or privately, I have no knowledge on the subject) discuss how much halacha he keeps. He's completely entitled to the privacy of his religious struggles/beliefs even if he chooses to create awareness of homosexual issues in the Orthodox world and give comfort to those who suffer like he does.

    3. Respect someone's right to request a private conversation. Maybe you'll learn something valuable before you deem a public attack necessary.

    Love you always, Ely,


  40. Ely,
    For every dissenter and naysayer you have hundreds of supporters. Keep your head up. Those who truly appreciate your journey and understand where you're coming from stand with you. Love you.

  41. I think that the length of all these posts and all the people that are fighting for you, should just show you how much support you have. Whatever the point is, its not important as many people have clearly agreed with you.


  42. @Mean guy who is burning the point he's trying to make via the way he is choosing to make it:

    "God would laugh or cry if he heard about the way people treated each other in his name"

    What is He doing for you?

    Its not about what you say, it's about how you say it. For someone who says they know the "Torah" way, you seem to be lacking in a main principles of no public embarrassment. Which according to the Gemerah is akin to murder.There's no morphing my phrasing for you...that is the flat truth. Worst part about all this is that you probably know that.

    When someone says "let's talk about it in private" it means talk about it in private. Hell, you could have even had a constructive conversation. Maybe even a guest posting. But you chose not to. Now you just look like a typical uneducated, talk before you know, everyone must think the same way as i do...Jew.

    Learn from this mistake so that way maybe the next time you speak in a public forum you may only be thought of as a fool and not known as one.

    "Before you can become a good Jew, you must become a good human being"

  43. Hey - I want to first state that I never comment on blogs however I find what is going on here the most absurd thing I have seen in a while. First off "a friend" your a real piece of work. Did anyone ever ask you if you have relations with girls to prove your not a homosexual? Oh wait normal people have boundaries and respect for one another. Did anyone ever ask you to comment or preach your ridiculous feelings; no! Bottom line you think because your under an alias you can say and write whatever you want but all that shows is your afraid of what you see in the mirror. You decided to personally attack someone who is a bigger man than you ever will be because he can look himself in the mirror and tell the world who he really is. At no point did he ask for your bigotry. So get off your f-ing high horse and leave everyone alone. Or we will start requiring you to answer up to someone personal questions. Clearly you must be one of the tzadekim around us with no sins otherwise you wouldn't be preaching. I will go back to not questioning your sexual behavior or even your actions within our own religion. Now I am done with you "a friend."

  44. oy. "A Friend"- what do you mean by "counsel"- you honestly think that you can "counsel" someone with the disrespectful, disgraceful and harmful way that you are malshoning Ely in public. As a "true" torah Jew? you are embarrassing yourself and presenting yourself as a bad person. Ely gives people strength and encouragement enough to wake up in the morning- and to the many many straight orthodox Jews out there who read Ely's blog- he educates us, enlightens us and opens our minds to the potential struggles of a gay orthodox jew. Who are you to judge when you have no clue about these struggles? Or do you, because you are closeted? Either way- the amount of bravery required to expose these personal struggles to the world in hope to help others is certainly admirable. Honestly- why shouldnt Ely strive to gain acceptance of homosexuality in the orthodox world? why shouldnt all Jews love each other- are we not all sinners? Who is to say that the sins that you commit are lesser than someone who commits anal sex? Your lack of understanding boundaries is astounding. The fact that you thought that you were saving the Jewish people by attempting to force Ely to reveal such personal matters- really shows a lack of true torah values. You are no messiah "my friend". This interaction will come and go- we will forget your deluge of offensive comments- and will remember Ely's efforts to help others and be the best Jew and man he can be.

  45. "Friend",

    If you really are a therapist, why don't you leave your business card here. Make a reputiation for yourself, so that prospective patients know what they can expect from you. If you stand by what you say, you shouldn't be afraid of having your name associated to it. Personally, I don't think much of your grasp of psychology, or Torah for that matter. But what do I know, I'm just a fag!

    Ely, this may sound a bit dramatic but I'm convinced that your blog is saving lives - or at least, it's making lives better. Don't let a tiny minority of bigots discourage you.


  46. Oy, the lesheim shamayim'niks are the worst. They'll make an eis la'asois and it's all over. Every sin in the book for the sake of god and the jewish people.

  47. I don't think that anyone can honestly say they keep ALL of the mitzvos- particularly a friend who is speaking lashon hara and publicly humiliating Ely.

    It is NO ONE's business what Ely does in his private life. The point of the blog isn't that this is the way things have to be- he specifically says that these are his thoughts. who are you to judge his thoughts just because he is brave enough to speak them?

    Additionally, I'm curious about your sex life friend. You have never kissed a girl, gotten a hand or blow job, or had sex? You've never once in your entire life masturbated? Everyone has urges and desires, homosexual or heterosexual.

    Ely please know how much we love you, and how inspirational your blog is.

  48. I don't generally read Ely's blog, because, honestly, as Ely's big sister, I find his struggles too painful to read. I love Ely to the earth's end and would throw myself in front of a bus for him. Reading what he has been thru, even though I know it, is simply too painful. Today, during a quiet and slow day at work, I am checking in on him...
    Dear "friend" (if you haven't been scared off by all of Ely's true friends), it seems you have gotten yourself in such a tizzy over what my brother is or isn't, has or hasn't, will or won't do in the privacy of his bedroom, that I am simply curious as to why. Why do you even read this blog at all? What draws you here? Seems you may be slightly ill? Normal people don't ask others what they "do" with their significant others...even by using the word "to'eyva" to make yourself seem like it's a justified learned query.
    So, then, do yourself and the rest of us a favor, disappear from here. Leave guys and girls like Ely alone. They've got a rough road of fighting ahead of them enough with the government: healthcare, marriage, adoption, etc. and don't need your kind making it even tougher. And I can assure you this, honey buns, YOU'RE MESSING WITH THE WRONG FAMILY. Go find another sandbox to play in. Ours is full.


It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews