Sunday, November 28, 2010


Something that I have been learning in Grad School all year is the concept of “power”- what it means, is it good? Is it bad? Who has power? What determines if someone has power?

It's vital to recognize that power comes from all different places. Power based on social status, power because of race, gender, sexuality, your appearance, your behavior, your mannerisms. And given that, everyone has power. Everyone has power, everyone determines who they let influence them, and who they, in turn, influence. Power can be good or bad- depending on how a person decides to use it. But the key thing to realize is that everyone has power. Every person in this world. Everyone reading this blog. The only question is what will you do with your power?

You have tens or hundreds or thousands of people looking at your Facebook, or your Twitter, or many of the other social networking sites today. The web is a tremendous tool of power. What do you have to say on those sites? Is it fun? Is it serious? Is it self-centered? Is it depressing? Because people check your pages, people get your updates and they care about you and what you have to say- you can influence their thoughts, help create change, and can do whatever you want in the world, all by using your power.

If you want to make people laugh- do it! Speak your mind so no one will doubt who you are or what your intentions are. Sieze the opportunities that this century provides us to make change. I know this sounds cheesy and like a youth-group lecture, but I was stunned when I realized how much power if held by every person in the world, and how few people choose to utilize it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I wanted to post one more post about bullying before moving off the topic. Since the video was released just over a week ago, I've had the time to hear and read a lot of responses to what we posted. Also, bullying was covered in a recent episode of Glee, and there has been a lot of conversation sparked about that- whether or not it was done correctly. What I'm going to say is definitely not something that everyone agrees with, it's just my own opinion.

Bullying is wrong. It's wrong for any one person to feel they have the right to put down another person, physically or verbally- there is no excuse. This can be especially traumatizing in the elementary and high school years when someone is at the pivotal moments of defining who they are in life. Glee did two things- pointed out that gay bullying was wrong, and implied that a bully is just projecting their inner issues onto the person that they bully. It's not true that every gay basher is gay, although it does happen, and that's the scenario the show chose to present.

Now considering that bullying is wrong across the board, an issue that has been raised is why is gay bullying so much worse? Everyone gets picked on in high school, and everyone manages to get through it. Everyone is bashed in one way or another and everyone needs to learn how to cope in life, so why is gay bashing "a hate crime"? Does the world spoil and protect gay people like they're children?

My answer, yes. The world does spoil gay people. The world does promote gay bullying as worse than any other form of oppression. But I don't think there's anything wrong with that. The number of suicides and depression rates amongst LGBTQ teens is higher than any other teen population. Very often, being gay is a struggle that causes enough hurt and pain internally. When you add bullying to the issues already facing an LGBTQ teen, it only intensifies the terrible trauma they can go through. So again, yes, I thin gay bullying is an issue that gets a lot of attention and I think people who are gay do get protected and coddled a bit from society. But I think it's all for the right reasons, and completely appropriate.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It Gets Better

As many of you know, this week the gay Orthodox Jewish community released a video following Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" series, a statement from youtubers, celebrities, politicians and anyone nation-wide in response to the recent rash of teen suicides. You can find the video here.

I didn't think I would need to blog about the video, but after much encouragement I think I will. The video truly took everyone by surprise when 24 hours turned yielded about 10,000 hits. This video is not about what's right and wrong in religion. It's not about what underlying agenda the members of the video are pushing or what statements are juxtaposed to others. It's about the honesty, the struggle, and the courage that so many members of the so many different communities have gone through. Rumor has it that Yeshiva boys are sending the video around as a joke- and that's exactly what we would want. Because for every 9 boys laughing at the our pain, there is one of their friends crying, and hopefully realizing for themselves that it will get better.

Please share the link, and maybe this blog, with anyone you think could find it useful. Together we can save lives.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Two Roads

Recently I have been faced with different decisions which all seemed like viable options- I wished I could pick them all. How does someone know when a path is right or wrong? Is there something that is necessarily right or wrong? How does a person decide what path to take when faced with two options?

What I tried to do was choose whatever would be best in the long run. I wanted to choose what would be best down the road and stick with it, remembering all the reasons I chose one path over another. Not only that, but when making a decision for the future, I try to own that decision. I don't pick a path and constantly talk to others about how I wish I had done something else or maybe the other path would have been better. Because while that may be true, there's nothing you can do to switch paths once you've set a road in motion. I'm all for keeping options open and a person with the freedom to choose whatever is good for them, but there are times when you can't change something that's been set in motion (and to not contradict myself- sexuality is NOT one of those things, it is fluid and you can change paths even once you've chosen one). It's important not to foster doubt or constantly be confused over what I should be doing in my life, but instead understand what I've chosen and even when I doubt it, assure myself that I am happy with the road I am on.

When you're traveling on one path, it's only natural to wonder what life would be like had you made a different decision. However, there's nothing wrong with admitting that there was another path that could've been right for you. Just don't drive yourelf crazy wondering what if, and be happy with what is.

Note: this post has nothing to do with my decision to come out or not, I'm completely sure that being gay and religious was the right thins for me.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews