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?

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-
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.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What I did

just for update purposes- THE STRESS IS (SORTA) OVER :-) anyway......

The past 15 months or so, out of the closet, have been a unique experience for me, but an experience I wouldn't have any other way. For me to be happy, I had to come out inorder to accept who I was and stop lying to everyone else. But I was not prepared for what followed.
The talking about me, the comments, the looks, and the phone calls, textys and IMs from friends 'is it true?'. Okay so maybe i expected that much. But i thought it would subside, at some point and it did- with my friends- but everywhere i went i would say all of my junior year of college- i felt like one label followed me around: gay. and that was not wha i (thought)i had signed up for.
At then end of last year i ran for student office, yes, a big deal, but i didn't want it to be a big deal. I didnt want to be the gay president in YU, i wanted to be 'vote for wink'. and i won the elections
and this year, the past four months have been about showing ppl that there is a lot more to me than my sexuality. especially in student office, i think it was the best thing i could do post-coming out, to show ppl now that you all know im gay- here are the other things i can do.
And i wouldnt have done it any other way.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Falling out of love

Yes, this week i very stressful- but that just means I am more intensified, my life is more intensified and you know what that means- more drama. This week, it's not the usual drama, backstabbing, cheating, TV things like that. It's worse.
The more i immerse myself into YU the more i am falling for the people around me. The more i feel like i can do nothing to control my feelings, and my emotions are just carrying me. controlling every friendship and every relationship - and complicating them.
It's not good for me to fall for people around me, firstly b/c they're not gay, second of all b/c even knowing that, i lie to myself and tell myself i have a chance until that person manages to convince me otherwise. Sorry for those friends that this is weird for, but this is the reality. I spend hours thinking about my good friends, but sometimes its more- i want them to love me back, the way i love them. Its like a straight guy falling for a girl he cant have, or for a girl who is his best friend- he's in love with them, cares about them so much, but no matter how much they love him back its 'friendship' love, and that is by no means the feeling he needs.
Maybe I'm just lonely, maybe I just want someone so bad that i fall for those unavailable, clinging to every unrealistic hope of one day having them care about me as much as i care about them. I need to be falling out of love, not in love. And these are the things that distract me from my work, and the stress.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stress Management

So yea, the Succot holidays were relaxing. and awesome. I rlly paid no attention to school which was fine. Then last week, I knew i had a pretty stressful week ahead of me, which I was prepared for. What i wasnt prepared for were my two hardest classes announcing/refreshing students memories that there are two HUGE midterms this week. I am freaking out all week last week. and I am literally doing ANYTHING to avoid studying- except TV watching b/c that would be admitting that i'm procrastinating. i wont admit to it.
but here i am admitting it. literally i let these thoughts of too much work race though my head, and how i'll never get through these tests or pass college. then i also let the drama take over- this friend is struggling, i need to hang out with that grp of friends, and aaah. Im trying to take it one day at a time. thats what they say to do. right?
ps- im really realy srry to all those friends im letting down by not hanging out/ going out for birthdays and the like. I just cant admit to procrastination. id rather sit in my apt and blog, then actually be somewhere where work wouldn't be feasible.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Being Jewey

So for those of you that don't know I am the son of a Rabbi and that has also added to some, umm, fun with things... For instance, this Simchat Torah i did Torah Tours, a group that sends students all around the country to strengthen Jewish communities "simcha" on this holiday, singing and dancing and the like. Shout out to my amazing T-squared group.
So it happens that the Rabbi didn't give us clear instruction as to what to be responsible for- and off the cuff, and with help from my fellow group-mates, I randomly remembered the tune for the Megillah Kohelet and whipped out 8 chapters of that... also called up the Chasan Torah Chasan Breishis. Also got annoyed when the Rabbi didn't do certain things right. UGHHHH.
Why do I know all these things? Why do I get frustrated b/c the person reading the Torah was 14 and mispronounced half the words? It's frustrating for me to know that I care so much.
Once upon a time i wanted to be a Rabbi. Judaism is a huge passion of mine. But i always just wanted to be the cool kid, or the one who blended in (and by blend in i mean sit in the back of the shul and talk, and not care about what was going on up front). and definitely not the jewey one. So am I cool? Am I the Jewey nerd? Am I both? Am I neither?
And does being gay have to relate to any of these and mean that I can't be involved in a shul or can't be a Gabai or even Rabbi even if I choose to be celibate but still out of the closet?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The reason

aaaand now for the heavy stuff. The real reason I'm writing this blog is to hopefully help people understand the situation of life. Not for pity or sympathy or love or support. Just understanding. I am a Frum Jew. I have alway been a Frum Jew. And With Hashem's help, I will continue to be a Frum Jew.
The challenge Hashem gave me is that I am not attracted to women, I am attracted to men. Unfortunately, the Torah tells us not to be with men. Do I think anyone can lead a completely celibate life? No. But one can try. I have never and will never say "it's okay to be Gay accordoing to Orthodox Judaism." It is not. And this is why I struggle every day.
I do not regret coming out. I am still happy with the decision to let the world know of the struggle of homosexuality and Judaism. However, it is still a struggle. And it is not okay to go against the Torah, no matter what our hearts desire.
There's plenty more to come.

TV Viewing

For my first blog, I'd rather not get to the nitty-gritty of things. Just wanted to discuss what's been going on with me and TV these days. TV used to be an escape, something I could use to run away from all my other thoughts and things for a half hour or an hour. UNtil it became a social outlet. Networking, facebooking, tweeting, and discussing TV with random ppl I didn't know on random websites. Not only did it become way too intense, it became ridiculous. I was watching shows JUST so I could talk to other ppl about them, not because I enjoyed them. Also, shows that I did enjoy were no longer good because I would watch them as a critic- this camera angle, that acting technique, instead just as an escape it would stress me out if I missed a show or that I had so much to watch- completely backfiring on everything I watch TV for. So now I'm giving up a few- Heroes, The Hills, and Smallville is low on the totem poll. Although that still leaves like 15 shows, I'm definitely rethinking the way I enjoy TV. that's all for the next few minutes at leas.t I'm excited to write more- I have a lot to say.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews