Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tammuz: Remembering Our Spiritual Center

How Jewish is the Hebrew Calendar? When we use a Hebrew word to identify a period of time, we may believe that we are making a more authentically Jewish choice. However, like so many words and concepts in ancient Judaism, the name “Tammuz” typifies the syncretic past of our people, fused together from various traditions.

Creative Common/photosteve101

Creative Common/photosteve101

We learn in the Book of Ezekiel:

“And God brought me to the entrance at the Gate of the House of the Lord which was at the north; and there were there women sitting, bewailing the Tammuz.” (8:14)

Why were the women bewailing “the Tammuz”? They were weeping, at least in part, because “the Tammuz” is not only a Hebrew month, but also the name of a pagan deity revered by some Jews in Babylon. The Jewish people had once again gone astray, and would pay dearly for their spiritual infidelities. In Nissan, we celebrated our liberation with Passover, and now in Tammuz we come to understand the risks inherent in the freedom to choose.

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Posted on June 7, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Let Us Come Home

Dan Brotman is a gay man from Massachusetts. So, legally, he can marry his fiancé, Keith. The only catch is that Keith is South African – so unlike heterosexual couples, Keith is not allowed to enter the U.S. as Dan’s legal spouse.

As a same-sex bi-national couple, Dan and Keith are not entitled to the same rights and protections as heterosexual couples. In order to live together, they have to live in South Africa.

Unfortunately, an amendment to the immigration reform legislation Congress is currently debating, which would have protected bi-national same-sex couples like Dan and Keith, was recently withdrawn. Now, the issue is left to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to rule on the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this month. If DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, it will no longer be legal to deny Dan and Keith the rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. 

36,000 same-sex bi-national couples living in the United States and thousands of gay Americans forced into exile abroad were failed by both the Senate and the Democratic Party; the latter we expected to support us during our greatest moment in immigration reform history. Thousands of gay Americans living abroad would love nothing more than to be able to live back in our country, where we would be creating jobs and contributing to the economy and society.

Dan and his partner, Keith

Dan and his partner, Keith

When Senator Leahy proposed an amendment to the proposed immigration bill that would have protected us, he highlighted the heart wrenching dilemma in which same-sex bi-national couples are placed: “I do not believe we should ask Americans to choose between the love of their life and love of their country.” Yet, this is exactly what the Obama administration and Senate Democrats asked us to do when they caved into bigotry and asked Senator Leahy to not call for a vote on the amendment. Continue reading

Posted on June 6, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Your Jewish Guide to Celebrating LGBTQ Pride

Every June people across the world celebrate LGBTQ Pride. As LGBTQ Jews and allies, we are proud of our own identities and those of our loved ones. Whether you are looking for a Pride Shabbat service, a fabulous Jewish sign to hold in a Pride Parade, or just want some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place!

I. EVENTS

Visit our Pride Events page for a list of Jewish LGBTQ Pride events happening across the United States (and a few in Canada too!) this June.

Visit the Pride Events Page

pride events

II. DOWNLOADS

Download your own Pride posters, stickers, and a graphic to help you celebrate and show your pride!

Visit the Download Page

download signsdownload stickersdownload facebook graphic

III. Sermons and D’vrei Torah

  • What is Jewish About Gay Pride? by David Levy
  • Pride! by Kadin Henningsen
  • Gay Pride, Red Cows, and the Cleansing Power of Ritual (Parashat Chukat and Parashat Balak) by Caryn Aviv
  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Parashat Korach) by Rabbi Karen Perolman
  • And a sweet article about a family outing to NYC Pride, Parade Queen: The Day My Niece Marched for Gay Pride by Marjorie Ingall
  • HAPPY PRIDE!

    Posted on June 5, 2013

    Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

    Parashat Korach: A Revolution with Boundaries

    Jews read sections of the Torah each week, and these sections, known as parshiyot, inspire endless examination year after year. Each week we will bring you regular essays examining these portions from a queer perspective, drawn from the Torah Queeries online collection, which was inspired by the book Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. This week, Rebecca Weiner considers the need for order and boundaries, even in the midst of a revolution.

    Creative Common/chris.corwin

    Creative Common/chris.corwin

    Looking back on my childhood, I often feel like I emerged out of two totally different worlds. I grew up in the “free to be you and me,” question-authority, communal-living, people’s republic of Berkeley in the late 1970s. At the same time, my sister had become ba’alat teshuvah (a non-Orthodox Jew who adopts Orthodox standards of observance) after a rather powerful trip to Israel at the age of eighteen. So while my nine-year-old cohorts spent their weekends running around Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue with their hippie parents, I spent every Shabbat at the local Chabad synagogue (an international Orthodox/Hasidic outreach organization), living a “normal” Berkeley liberal Jewish life during the week, but becoming an observant girl over Shabbat. Continue reading

    Posted on June 3, 2013

    Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

    Family Stories Part I… and Part II

    A series by Jewish moms and dads with LGBTQ children.

    When a child comes out, a coming out process begins for the entire family. In honor of Mother’s and Father’s Day, we bring you our third post in a series by parent leaders of Keshet’s Parent & Family Connection. The Connection is a confidential peer support program for parents and family members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Jews. We celebrate the support and love that these parents give their LGBTQ children – and the support they now offer other parents. This week’s post is by Carole Lukoff, mother of a gay son and a long-time Jewish professional in the suburbs of Philadelphia. You can read the previous posts in this series: one, by a mother of a queer daughter in Colorado, here, one by an Orthodox parent from Baltimore, MD, here, and a celebration of Mother’s Day/Mothers’ Day here.

    Creative Common/Diana Beideman

    Creative Common/Diana Beideman

    When my youngest son Eric was in third grade, our local National Public Radio station asked our family to be part of a documentary entitled “Family Stories.” In short, the program, produced in the early 1990s, focused on different kinds of families and the many similarities and the not so many differences among them. Included in the mix were interracial, interfaith, same-sex and the – so to speak – traditional family (that was us). We were the quintessential Cleaver family (you know, that 1950s-style wife, husband, and two kids “Leave it to Beaver” television family). My husband and I were the Ward and June look-alikes, our oldest son Brian was a dead ringer for Wally and our youngest son Eric rivaled the happy-go-lucky Beaver… at least that’s how it seemed. Continue reading

    Posted on June 3, 2013

    Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy