- Nice Jewish Girls, a lesbian anthology edited by Evelyn Torton Beck
- Twice Blessed, edited by Christie Balka and Andy Rose
- Queer Jews, edited by David Shneer and Caryn Aviv
- Mentsh: On Being Jewish and Queer, edited by Angela Brown
- Found Tribe, edited by Lawrence Schimel
- Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in the Jewish Community, edited by Noach Dzmura
- Between Sodom and Eden, by Lee Walzer
- God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality, by Jay Michaelson
- Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, by Joy Ladin
- Blood, Marriage, Wine, and Glitter, by S. Bear Bergman
- Keep Your Wives Away from Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires, edited by Miryam Kabakov
- Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, edited by Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser and David Shneer
- Kulanu (All of Us): A Program & Resource Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Inclusion, by Richard F. Address, Joel L. Kushner, and Geoffrey Mitelman
- Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View, by Rabbi Chaim Rapoport
- Queer Theory and the Jewish Question, edited by Daniel Boyarin, Daniel Itzkovitz, and Ann Pellegrini
- Queering the Text: Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish Stories, by Andrew Ramer
- The Passing Game: Queering Jewish American Culture, by Warren Hoffman
- Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition, by Rabbi Steven Greeberg
- Like Bread on the Seder Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition, by Rebecca Alpert
This list doesn’t include all the memoirs, all the fiction short story collections. They’re mostly books I’ve read— some of them, like “Like Bread on a Seder Plate” and “Queer Jews” I grew up with, others, like “Torah Queeries” and “Keep Your Wives Away From Them” I read on my own time. They range from Orthodox to Reconstructionist to Reform, and encompass a variety of ways of tangling with Jewish tradition.
If you are curious about LGBTQ people in the Jewish tradition, I urge you read at least one if not more of these.
I wonder where my spirituality went, where I was so connected to God and the ineffable and the divine as a child and teenager, and I wonder how I can become that again
And I wonder if it is because I don’t think I have anything to give God
and what can my devotion mean, if I should even be able to summon it,
to the Sovereign
I don’t think I know God anymore
What should my love and devotion mean to a God, to the Shekhinah,
Why should the Lord care? Who am I to praise the name? Who am I to care?
Who am I that God should listen? Who am I that I cannot try?
Is my self-esteem so low that I have come to the point where I cannot imagine even God Godself cares about my feelings, cares about my soul?
I imagine a disappointed parent when I think of G-d now
I imagine that, at best- if God spares a moment for someone such as me, it’s with disappointment and despair
And now, to write that, I’m ashamed to think such a thing about the G-d I must believe is real
Kind, merciful, just, a loving parent, a stern and fair judge, the kingqueensovereign of this world and the one to come
The G-d that wants everyone to have loving family and a partner and to remember the Shabbat and keep it holy
As I write this in the fluorescent light on my laptop on the sabbath
I didn’t light candles tonight
I almost never do
At the end of the week is the long slide of inertia into tv and the internet
I rarely pray
But what is this anguish I feel now but prayer?
Maybe just self-pity and confusion.
Where are you, G-d? I remember tears on my face at 12, praying kabbalat shabbat, overwhelmed with my love and yearning for you
Now at 25 I’m years gone from that emotion
I don’t know how to be with you anymore
1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it. My children won’t be our family’s best kept secret. If my children come out, we’ll be out as a family.
2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them. I won’t pray for them to be made “normal.” I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal. I will pray for them just as I pray for all of my children.
3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them. I don’t mean some token, distant, tolerant love that stays at a safe arm’s length. It will be an extravagant, open-hearted, unapologetic, lavish, embarrassing-them-in-the-school cafeteria, kind of love.
4) If I have gay children, most likely; I have gay children. If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are. They are today, simply a younger version of who they will be; and today they’re pretty darn great.
5) If I have gay children, I expect them to participate in community. Not only are my children a critical part of my family, but they need to know that they are a critical part of the larger Jewish family. We are a kehilah kedosha — sacred community. Bigotry and hatred pose a much bigger risk to this sanctity than the issues that one might profess regarding my children’s orientation. I promise to fight with anyone who would want to limit their involvement in school, camp, synagogue, etc.
6) If I have gay children, I will learn Torah with them. Learning Torah is a central Jewish practice. Engaging Torah writ large is the life blood of our people. I believe in the Torah. My commitment to my children is to have them join the conversation of our people and to have their voices heard. I promise to learn with my children — not just the nice parts, but also the Torah portion we read traditionally in the Yom Kippur afternoon service. I expect to listen and promise to have their interpretation heard. And when my time comes, I look forward to giving God some feedback. They should have the confidence that I will be waiting there for them when they meet the Judge on high. My commitment to my children is unwavering and eternal.
7) If I have gay children, I will celebrate their partnership. My wife is my ezer k’negdi—she is my helpmate. She pushes me to make sure I am my best self. The key to sustained happiness and a life of meaning is finding a partner with whom to share your life. Having a healthy partnership is not just the key to surviving in the world; it is the key to thriving. This partnership is the bedrock for a bayit ne’eman b’yisrael, a faithful home in Israel, which is the basic building block for Jewish society. I hope that we were good role models for partnership and my children should expect that we do not just tolerate their life partner, but that we find ways to celebrate that partnership.
8) If I have gay children, I will celebrate their family. Our children are the greatest joy in my life. While my children might not have children in a “traditional” manner, it does not mean that they should not feel the obligation of Pru uRevu — to procreate and raise another generation of proud Jews. I promise to be a great Zayde to link the next generation back to our past. While my gay children will have taught me about liberation, perhaps being older I have knowledge to share with their children about exodus from Egypt. It is my job to hide the Afikoman; I expect their children to read the four questions. I promise that they will never question their connection to Jewish history and their role in our lustrous future.
Muslim leaders from across the globe paid tribute Holocaust victims this week during a visit to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp, where they prayed at the Wall of Death for those who were killed by genocide and suffered under violent anti-Semitism.
The imams, who hailed from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bosnia, Palestine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and the United States, performed Islamic prayers while facing Mecca as part of a Holocaust awareness visit organized in part by the International Religious Freedom office of the U.S. State Department.
"What can you say? You’re speechless. What you have seen is beyond human imagination," Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the U.S.-based Islamic Society of North America, told Agence France-Presse.
"Whether in Europe today or in the Muslim world, my call to humanity: End racism for God’s sake, end anti-Semitism for God’s sake, end Islamophobia for God’s sake, end sexism for God’s sake… Enough is enough," said Magid, who leads the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Northern Virginia.
(via The Huffington Post.)
Aaron Solomon, second left, holds his daughter Naomi as a rabbi*, right, recites a prayer from the ‘Siddur,’ a Jewish prayer book, as Aaron’s father Jonathan, left, looks on during a naming ceremony for Naomi at the Magen Hassidin Synagogue in Mumbai, India.
I cam across this poster recently while walking around downtown Toronto. I have a few thoughts about it, notwithstanding its overarching message, with which I’m in full agreement.
Firstly, that’s not actually “more than the Holocaust.” Six million is the most commonly given figure for the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, and many historians believe that to be a conservative estimate. Six million is also only the number of Jews killed- that number is much higher if we factor in the number of other ethnic and sexual minorities murdered (Romani, LGBT+, etc.)
Secondly, why is it necessary to invoke the Holocaust in order to make people aware of other atrocities being committed? I resent the use of my people’s greatest tragedy as a cheap ploy to grab attention. The issue of conflict minerals is serious and important, and we should all be more aware of our complicity in this problem, and work to alleviate it. This work shouldn’t involve cheapening unrelated tragedies by using them as rhetorical ploys and attention grabs.
HEEB interviewed Vanessa Hidary, aka the Hebrew Mamita, in co-promotion for our upcoming series Hava Tequila Nights!
Click here for the Facebook event with all the info, including the discount code worth $10.
The first event is Wednesday, October 22, so get your tickets now!