The Internet has proven to be a powerful resource for the LGBTQ community, and especially so for those members who are more isolated by their communal affiliation or religious practices. Blogs, websites, and listservs help connect LGBTQ Jews, especially Orthodox and other traditional Jews, who struggle deeply to reconcile belief, community, and identity. Here, we give you a brief roundup of blogs by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Orthodox Jews. These voices remind us that queer Jews come in every stripe of practice, affiliation, sexual orientation, and gender identity, and these blogs reminds queer Jews everywhere that no one is alone.
A Gay Orthodox Jew
Ely Winkler’s thoughtful chronicle of reconciling his Jewish and gay identities.
It’s Like Disapproving of Rain
A gay woman writes about encountering — and countering — homophobia at the Shabbos table, along with her journey to embrace herself, and her desire to have a nice, traditional Jewish family…with another nice Jewish girl by her side.
Gotta Give ‘Em Hope
Chaim Levin grew up Lubavitch Hasidic Orthodox in Crown Heights, Brooklyn New York and was often bullied as a kid. After being thrown out of yeshiva after admitting his attraction to men, undergoing “reparative therapy,” and attempting suicide, he finally emerged a proud gay Jewish man. These are his musings.
The Chalamti Blog
Discourses from the life of a gay Orthodox Jew, written by a young man. (“Chalamti” translates as “I dreamed” in Hebrew.)
Orthodox, Gay and Married Jew
The unique perspective of a gay Orthodox man, formerly married to a woman, trying to navigate his complicated identity amidst his family and community.
Tirtzah is a community of frum queer women who “gather to celebrate and study our yiddishkeit. We are committed to the value of shleimut (wholeness) and to supporting one another in observing a meaningful, integrated, honest and joyful Jewish life.” You can join the Tirtzah email listserv for regular updates.
FrumGays is a listserv for GLBT Jews who are or have been Orthodox, or attended Yeshivas or Hebrew Day Schools.
Orthogays, another listserv, is for gay Orthodox men, specifically. It was created to address the need for a space where gay men across the frum spectrum – including “Frum From Birth,” ba’al tshuvah, Modern Orthodox, dati le’umi, Haredi, Hardali – could speak with others like them.
In addition to these blogs and listservs, here are a few great organizations whose focus is supporting LGBT Orthodox Jews:
Eshel builds understanding, support, and community for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people in traditional Jewish communities. Sponsoring events from retreats to speaker panels nationally, Eshel runs speaker trainings, community organizing within the Orthodox community, gathers the oral histories of LGBT frum Jews, and provides resources on their website. Eshel has a parent support group that meets via conference call. There will be a spring retreat for parents in 2013.
JQ Youth is a social/support group made up of frum/formerly frum gay, lesbian, bi, and trans Jews ages 17-30. JQ Youth has regular meet-ups and get-togethers in New York, as well as an anonymous online discussion group. With members all over the world, JQ Youth is a great place to find other frum queer Jews near you.
Temicha is a support group for Orthodox Jewish parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. This email list is confidential and moderated by mental health professionals, a social worker and a rabbi. This group is run by JQ Youth.
The Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva Day School Alumni Association holds regular organizing meetings and social gatherings in NYC, but also offers online resources and an FAQ.
Special thanks to Miryam Kabakov, editor of Keep Your Wives Away from Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires, for her help with this post! Miryam is Co-Executive Director of Eshel, an organization which builds community, support, and advocacy for Orthodox LGBT people and their families.