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Ask Asher: All About Love

asherHave a question about LGBTQ life? Jewish life? LGBTQ Jewish Life? Ask Asher! Send your questions to AskAsher@keshetonline.org and you might be featured in our next column

Hi Asher,
Valentine’s Day came and went, and just like every year pink and red heart decorations everywhere reminded me just how single I am. I’ve been hearing a lot about self-love and self-compassion. What is that and how do you do it? I know nothing is wrong with being single, but this time of year it can feel pretty lonely.

Best,
Chronically Single

Dear Chronically Single,
Self-love and self-compassion is, well, feeling love and compassion for one’s self. How does one “do it”? That’s entirely up to you. First of all, just because the film, music, and advertising industries (among others) have all done a very successful job in convincing all of us that being single is literally the worst thing ever ever ever, that’s not actually true.

I realize that as someone who has been in a relationship for the greater part of a decade, it’s rather easy for me to say this, but the truth is that there may not be a “one” for everyone. Not everybody partners off, and that’s completely okay; some of the happiest and most interesting seniors I know are those that never “settled down.” It is one of life’s uncertainties. This is where self-love comes into play.

Whether or not you are destined to spend your life with another person, there is one relationship that you will definitely be in your entire life, and that is the relationship you have with yourself. Self-love is not as simple as “learning to love yourself,” it’s also about becoming the version of yourself that is worth loving. If you aren’t happy with the way things are going in your life and the way that affects you as a person, then you need to change those aspects of your life. Trust me, this is no easy task, but I promise you that it is worth the rewards; it took me years to become someone worth my own love, let alone the love of others. You are the only person who will be on your side 100% of the time, so make sure you are worth it. Plus, self-awareness is a huge turn-on, and it will make you that much more attractive to potential partners. It is no accident that the times I was single in my life roughly coincided with the periods when I didn’t believe in myself like I should have.

Believing in You,
Asher

Dear Asher,
I’ve got my eye on a Jewish guy I know through friends. I’ve never dated anyone Jewish before, and I don’t actually know many Jews. (Interestingly enough, part of my family is Jewish, but I wasn’t raised to be observant, or with any real knowledge of Jewish culture or history). What should I know before I approach him? 

Signed,
Jew-ish and Looking

Dear Jew-ish and Looking,

What should you know before you approach this Jewish guy you are connected to? His name. Seriously. The rest you can discover by asking him yourself.

When I first read your question, it actually made me rather angry, because you are working under the assumption that all Jews have more or less the same experience; that my being Jewish is somehow related to his being Jewish. Then I realized that this may not entirely be your fault; the thing about being Jewish is that it is a rather unique identifier. It is simultaneously describing three things, without necessarily being all three of them. When someone describes themselves as a Jew, they could be talking about a race, a religion, and/or a culture. It’s not like other religions that are more based in faith. You cannot be a non-practicing Catholic in the same way you can be a non-practicing Jew. All Jews have at least one of these traits, but they don’t necessarily have all of them (all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares). So, to answer your question, I don’t know anything about his being Jewish, because being Jewish can be so many things. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching this guy because you don’t know enough about him yet, you’ll need to get to know him better (I’d recommend asking him yourself).

Good Luck!
Asher

Dear Asher,
Love is sure in the air, as my partner and I are engaged! We’re pretty excited, although we don’t want our wedding to seem like just another cog in the wedding industrial complex machine. We want our wedding to reflect who we are as a couple—which is two queer kids in love. What rituals can we incorporate to make this happen? Any suggestions on reading to include or shout outs to make that won’t seem out of place at a wedding? 

Signed,
Tying the Knot, Rainbow Style

Dear Tying the Knot,

First of all, congratulations! Planning a wedding can either be a dream or a nightmare, depending upon your approach, but it seems like you kids have your heads in the right place. One of the wonderful things about being queer is that we kind of have free reign to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, when it comes to ceremony. I don’t know much about the two of you, so I would feel strange suggesting any readings or ceremonies that I would feel could be meaningful to both of you. The one piece of advice I can give you is that you should make your wedding, well, your wedding. You want your wedding to be a reflection of who you both of you are, so you should find someone who knows you and bounce ideas off of him or her. My husband and I are close friends with the rabbi who married us, and we had weekly Skype meetings to build our perfect ceremony (there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd).

KeshetQueerJewishValentines_MarryMeWhat separated our wedding from being “another cog in the wedding industrial complex machine” was that it was so inherently us. Sit down with the people who are participating in your wedding and build it together; make it a fun, bonding activity. A tool you might want to use is Pinterest, which is a nifty way of reviewing and collecting ideas from the internet. Ultimately, it’s up to you what you do, and as long as you are happy, you shouldn’t feel worried about something being “out of place,” especially at your own wedding.

Perhaps find a rainbow-colored glass to break? Wishing you both years of happiness together, and, of course, one truly fabulous wedding.

Asher

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Posted on February 18, 2015

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When Sam Met Sami: Making Time to Find Love

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we are sharing love stories. We heard about a proposal at a Pride Parade from Aden and his fiance, Josh, a story of love and parenthood, what it means to be demisexual, and how to enjoy Valentine’s Day while single. If you have a love story for the Keshet blog, let us know

Sam

Sam

I was the typical commuter grad student. I worked two jobs, hung out with my friends, and watched Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday Nights. Of my two jobs, my work at a Harley-Davidson dealership was my favorite. Life was pretty much—well almost—perfect.

The only thing missing was having a cute girl to text.

I grew up in a very Jewish area so I dated a lot of Jewish people, but it wasn’t a requirement for me. I saw it as a nice “bonus.” It was nice to be with someone that I could celebrate the holidays with. My parents are interfaith, so I always felt most comfortable dating someone who identified as Reform or Reconstructionist, even though I was raised Conservative. And, I tend to go for Jewish looking girls. I like dark eyes and dark hair. I like an average build and not too tall (I’m only 4’11).

Between work and school meeting people wasn’t always easy. I had an amazing work schedule, but I had Saturday classes for my grad program. My Friday nights were pretty much nonexistent.

When one of my co-workers asked me what I was doing for Halloween, I explained that weekend classes pretty much ruined any Friday night social plans. She insisted that I should do something. I thought to myself, she does make a good point.

I decided to venture over to the Pride Center for a Halloween Party. This being my third time there, I only knew a few people and was eager to meet more. I thought to myself, “ If I meet someone, that’s great, if I make more friends that would be great too.”

I sat down and started noshing on some of the snacks at the party. In walks this super cute girl in a green costume with braids and red tips in her hair. She ends up sitting next to me.

Sami

Sami

In my head, I’m thinking: Is she someone’s straight supportive friend, Is she someone’s girlfriend? After I chase away all of these thoughts in my head, I strike up a conversation.

We talk about our names (we have the same first name, luckily she tends to go by Sami and I go by Sam), work, school, food, sports, and cars. We talked about a local restaurant, Harold’s, and how it has the best matzah ball soup.

That’s when I was stopped to ask, “Are you Jewish?”  I later found out that our backgrounds were nearly identical. Her mom is Roman Catholic like mine and her Dad is Jewish, as is mine. I converted when I was very young but Sami did not.

I have to thank Sami’s favorite professor for giving her that nudge that brought her to the Pride Center that night. I believe that it was bashert, or meant to be, that we met that night. I believe that G-d has a plan for everyone, and I’m so happy that Sami is a part of mine.

We celebrated our three month anniversary this Valentine’s Day.

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Posted on February 17, 2015

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

Celebrate All kinds of Love with our Queer Jewish Valentines!

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Keshet is sharing love stories. We heard about a proposal at a Pride Parade from Aden and his fiance, Josh, a story of love and parenthood, what it means to be demisexual, and how to celebrate Valentine’s Day if you’re single. Today we’re sharing our collection of Valentines inspired by LGBTQ and Jewish themes. We encourage you to share these with your friends, family, and of course, with your loved ones.

KeshetQueerJewishValentine__Pastrami KeshetQueerJewishValentines_MarryMe KeshetQueerValentines_Challah KeshetQueerValentines_Gefilte Fish KeshetQueerValentines_Mechitza KeshetQueerValentines_Shul KeshetQueerValentines_Social Construct KeshetQueerValetines_Passover

To save your favorite Queer Jewish Valentine: right click and select “Save image as.”

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Posted on February 12, 2015

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

Being Single on Valentine’s Day

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Keshet is sharing love stories. We heard about a proposal at a Pride Parade from Aden and his fiance, Josh, a story of love and parenthood, and what it means to be demisexual. If you have a love story for the Keshet blog, let us know!  And, celebrate all kinds of love with our queer Jewish Valentines! 

I’ve been single for nearly 4 years.

DanielThe last time I had a Valentine’s day date was 2011. Actually, that has probably been the only time I’ve had a “Valentine.” So, to say that I have had complicated opinions on this particular holiday, would be an understatement. I’ve gone from absolutely dreading it and refusing to acknowledging it, to now, marking the day in my own special way. Recognizing the love of self.

The Torah teaches us “V’ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha”, or, “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”. What does this mean? For me, I think it highlights the idea that you cannot truly love someone else until you fully love yourself. Or as the world-famous drag queen and TV personality, RuPaul, says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Can I get an amen indeed!

Finding a person to enter into a romantic relationship with is challenging. A lot of it is, arguably, out of our control: fate, luck, chance, timing, chemistry. What we can control is how we love ourselves. Self- care and self- love is a journey that all of us are constantly on.

One of the most important steps for me on that journey was coming out and loving myself as a gay man, being proud of that aspect of my identity—something that took 19 years. Once I was honest with myself about that, the floodgates opened and I began to explore more aspects of who I was, not that they weren’t there before, but by loving my gay identity, I was able to love all other aspects of myself.

During this period in which I was learning to truly love myself, Valentine’s Day turn on a variety of meanings. After I first came out and I was desperately wanting to be in a relationship but wasn’t in one, Valentine’s Day became a day of mourning for a romantic love I didn’t have. Sometimes I would react with sarcasm and anger-celebrating Single Friend Awareness Day.

As I matured and became more comfortable in my identity, I realized that Valentine’s Day could be a day to celebrate love in all of its form, including yourself. That’s why, this year, I plan on using the day to take care of myself. To treat myself. To love myself. Once I committed myself to this, and stopped worrying about finding a Valentine’s Day date, I was amazed to discover that I wasn’t stressed out about not being a relationship.

I’m looking forward to taking myself out to spending the day doing my favorite things—exploring New York City, taking myself out to a nice dinner, and seeing a Broadway show. But why only practice self-love on Valentine’s Day? When you take care of your personal needs, every day can be Valentine’s Day! And if loving yourself makes it easier to show love to other people and receive their love, then perhaps this act of self-love will help make my sphere of influence a more inclusive place!

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Posted on February 11, 2015

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Parenting an Openly Gay Orthodox Teen

In this post from Kveller, Elana Altzman reflects on her family’s journey when her oldest son came out. You can read the post in its entirety here.

13458701445_0ea733e792_zThe conversation over Shavuot lunch at a friend’s house three years ago started innocently enough—we were talking about the Israeli Rabbinate’s reluctance to provide kosher supervision to food served at non-Orthodox events in Israeli hotels. One of the guests at the meal responded with, “The rabbis have to control who comes in. What if homosexuals come in?”

Like me, this guest was a mother of four sons, an immigrant who came here as a young girl, a woman who did not grow up observant, but became observant as a young adult. Our kids were close in age. Perhaps these similarities made her comment even more shocking to me. Like her, I love my children and care about their happiness, education, and religious commitment. Unlike her, I have a gay son.

My oldest had came out to us a few months before, at the end of his sophomore year in high school. At 16, he was secure enough to come out first to two of his closest friends, then to us, and then to all his friends outside of our community.

But in our neighborhood and our shul in Brooklyn, he remained completely closeted, and knew his chances of being accepted, or even allowed to remain in the shul he grew up in, were slim. He tested the waters some, mentioning that a friend from a summer program was gay, an acquaintance was a lesbian. A neighborhood friend told him gays are disgusting. Another informed him he would burn in hell for being friends with a lesbian girl. An adult leader of the youth minyan, where my son lead services and read Torah regularly, railed against the lifting of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” one Shabbat morning, as part of his discussion of the weekly Torah portion, telling the kids in attendance that homosexuality would lead to the downfall of our society. Another adult shul member told him that someone like him, a teen who was accepting of gays, did not belong in the shul we had been members of for over a decade.

How much worse would it be if he were out as gay himself? We feared the repercussions on all our children, the emotional trauma that would result when our son would be rejected by the community he grew up in. That Shavuot conversation reaffirmed our fears. Our son quickly said goodbye and left the holiday lunch; our younger kids were playing, and my husband and I were thankful that they were unaware of the conversation.

Read the post in its entirety at Kveller.

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Posted on February 10, 2015

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Falling in Love While Demisexual and Jewish

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Keshet is sharing love stories. Last week we heard from Aden and Josh, and the details of their proposal while marching at Pride with Keshet. We also heard from Lee in his piece “On Love and Parenthood.” Today we are sharing Jamie’s story about finding someone who matched their Judaism and their sexuality. If you have a love story for the Keshet blog, let us knowCelebrate all kinds of love with our queer Jewish Valentines! 

I kissed my partner for the first time on Memorial Drive, with the Charles River and the nighttime Boston skyline sparkling in the background. Leaving aside the catcalls from a passing cyclist, it was a picture-perfect romantic moment. But more remarkable to me than the romance was the fact that I was kissing a man I had known for only two weeks—and I wanted to be kissing him. For me, this was completely unprecedented.

q6zDoD4I identify as demisexual, which is a sexual orientation on the asexual spectrum. My default state is asexual, meaning that in general I’m not sexually attracted to anyone. But every so often, once I’ve formed a strong romantic and emotional connection with someone, I find myself becoming sexually attracted to that person. It doesn’t happen every time I’m romantically interested in someone. But if it does happen, it’s as if I become sexual only toward that person. I’m still not sexually attracted to anyone else.

This tends to make dating complicated, especially in the earliest stages of a relationship. Because I need to build an emotional connection with someone before I can be sexually attracted to them, it takes a long time before I can be physically intimate with a new person in any sense—even kissing. I’ve had to figure out how to communicate to new partners that I can’t be sexually intimate with them at first, without scaring them into believing that I’ll never want to have sex with them. It’s possible that I won’t, but it’s also possible that I will.

Put my demisexuality together with my unusual Jewish identity—observant, but most comfortable in pluralistic Jewish spaces—and you’ll see why, for a long time, I worried that I’d never find someone who was a match for me. Even when I found someone willing to wait around while I sorted out whether I had sexual feelings for them, we would often end up hitting a wall when it came to Jewish practice. They wouldn’t feel comfortable in my Jewish communities, or they would be unwilling to adopt my observant lifestyle.

My current partner was different. We went on six dates in the first two weeks we knew each other, and by the fifth date I knew I wanted to kiss him. This baffled me—I had never wanted to kiss someone I’d known for such a short time. I couldn’t tell if I was falling for him really quickly, or if he was somehow the exception to everything I’d previously known about myself. All I knew was that kissing him by the river that evening felt right.

I quickly realized that my partner hadn’t been the exception, after all. I had simply fallen in love with him, and become sexually attracted to him, faster than anyone I’d known before. I remain demisexual, and my partner is completely okay with that. He respects my identity, and is willing to put up with my somewhat quirky brand of sexuality. And we’ve turned out to be Jewishly compatible as well. In short, things are going great with my partner and me.

One thing still nags at me. Although Judaism and demisexuality are both central to my identity and to my romantic life, I experience them as almost entirely separate from each other. Judaism, as far as I know, is completely silent on the subject of asexuality. And so I don’t know where I fit into the Jewish tradition as a demisexual person. I’m still searching for a way to unite these two crucial aspects of who I am.

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Posted on February 9, 2015

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On Love and Parenting

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we are sharing love stories. We kicked things off with a two part series from Aden and his fiance, Josh. Today’s story is one of love and parenthood. If you have a love story for the Keshet blog, let us know!  Celebrate all kinds of love with our queer Jewish Valentines! 

Lonely.
Fear.
Anger.
The Closet.

Hope.
Liberation.
Self-Determination.
Coming Out.

Lust.
Sex.
Love.
Dating.

Commitment.
Community.
Bonding.
Marriage.

Longing.
Questioning.
Exploring.
Dreaming of our family.

Anxiety.
Anticipation.
Joy.
Conception.

Heart pumping.
Adrenaline racing.
Tears streaming.
Birth.

Love.
Love.
Love.
Family.

This is the journey of our lives. Having been together for over 19 years, my husband and I have traveled this wonderful path. If we had only overcome the first stage, dayenu, that would have been enough. Had we only reached just one additional stage thereafter, dayenu, that too would have been enough.

But, we did want more. While we had a very full and blessed life as a couple we knew very early on in our relationship that we shared a mutual desire to have children and create a family. How we would do so remained elusive for several years until we decided to have children via surrogacy.

Lee and his family.

Lee and his family.

Today, we are blessed with two beautiful children, an almost 8-year old son and 4-year old daughter. They are the true joys of our lives. They complete us and we are blessed.

In writing this blog, I was asked to ponder how love and parenthood go hand in hand. So many books have been written. So many stories have been told.  In so many ways I feel inadequate and certainly very humbled trying to articulate my own thoughts and ideas about such an important and awesome emotion and responsibility. Yet, I recognize that with all that has been said in literature, in the press, on social media, so much more needs to be said because the writings of love about LGBT parenting remains under-represented and certainly under constant attack. My husband and I stand in stark contrast to that precept and loudly say that we love our children unequivocally and as wholly and as wholesomely as any loving and devoted parent on the planet.

When I saw my son crawl and then walk, I felt love.

When my daughter gives me a kiss and a hug, I feel love.

When my son performs his piano recital, I feel love.

When my daughter kicks the ball and rides her bike, I feel love.

When my husband and I sit down to Shabbos dinner every Friday night and recite the parental blessings over our children, I feel love.

When I wake my children up in the morning and prepare them for school, make their lunch and put them on the school bus, I feel love.

When my husband puts our children to bed at night, reads them a book, sings a song or lullaby, I feel love.

When they spend time with their cousins, their grandmother, their loved ones, I feel love.

When I pick my children up from Hebrew School and they tell me a story from the Torah that they learned this week, I feel love.

When we roll around the floor, get goofy, make silly noises and have all out belly laughs, I feel love.

Love.

That’s what I feel every day I wake up and look into my children’s eyes.

This is love. This is my love. And no one will tell me otherwise.

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Posted on February 5, 2015

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

A Proposal at a Pride Parade: Part II

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we are sharing love stories. We’re kicking things off with a two part series from Aden and his fiance, Josh. Yesterday we heard from Aden, today we get Josh’s side of the story. If you have a love story for the Keshet blog, let us know! We’d love to hear from you! Celebrate all kinds of love with our queer Jewish Valentines! 

After coming out in May 2012, I began searching for someone to be with: a partner, a nice Jewish guy.

joshprideweek_large

Josh at Pride in 2012.

I began by going to Keshet events and meeting guys on OKCupid. There were some nice guys I met, but nothing clicked.

During one Keshet Shabbat, I chatted with another guy about our Jewish and spiritual journeys and felt something between us… he left before I could get his number or name.

Months later we reconnected and agreed to meet in Cambridge. The date was a long walk along the Charles River from Cambridge to Copley Square in Boston. We could not stop talking with each other. Sitting on a bench on Copley square he leaned in for a kiss on the cheek.

I felt nervous. This was the first time someone felt that close to me. I didn’t know what this would lead to, but I felt something special.

8 months later, I went up to his home and noticed something was off. He was nervous and out of character.

I asked, “is something happening tomorrow?”

No!” he retorted.

I glared and thought for a moment. “…are you going to propose to me tomorrow?”

In a split second he responded, “no, I got you a puppy and his name is Jim Henson, my friend Sara and I picked him out one day and she’s at his house and will be bringing him tomorrow to the parade!”

You’re crazy!”

The next day we went together to help Keshet set up for Boston Pride 2014. I was excited and nervous to meet Jim Henson, my supposed new puppy.

When we arrived, my friend Adam from high school was there. Not totally out of the ordinary, I knew he was going to Pride but I was confused as to why he was spending so much time chatting with me. I knew he had to go to help someone set up and then go to a wedding. But anyway, I was meeting a puppy, what did I care?

Along came Aden’s friend Sara, without a puppy. I was confused. “Where’s the puppy?” I asked Aden. “No puppy!”

Instead, he got down on one knee and showed me a sign that read “Will you travel through space and time with me?”

I was still confused.

Then, he gave me a TARDIS box with a “Time Lord” ring in it. He told me how much he loved me, my family, my friends, and my Jewish commitment. And, he asked “will you marry me?” I said yes.

Pride_2014_Rozensky (1 of 1)-14

Josh & Aden at Pride in 2014.

We held signs sharing our brand new engagement as we marched with through the parade. While marching, we had shouts of “Mazel Tov” and “Congratulations!”

It was quite a day. Aden told me he had to do it on Pride because it was a meaningful day to me. Two years prior I had just come out. To think that two years later I was engaged at Pride is amazing. Aden put so much thought into the day which shows his love and care for making meaning in life and understanding me like nobody else.

I love you Aden, and I look forward to spending each and every day with you.

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Posted on February 3, 2015

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Will You Travel Through Space and Time with Me?: A Proposal at a Pride Parade

In honor of Valentine’s Day we are sharing love stories this month. We’re kicking things off with a two part series from Aden and his fiance, Josh. We’ve followed Josh’s story since he first came out, and it’s great to see him so in love. Tomorrow we’ll hear Josh’s side of this love story! If you have a love story for the Keshet blog, let us know!  Celebrate all kinds of love with our queer Jewish Valentines! 

I first met Josh when I was on a date with my previous partner.

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A friend of ours had asked if we had wanted to go to a Keshet Shabbat dinner and we obliged. After the service concluded we sat down with a couple of strangers and began talking. I remember telling Josh about my switch from going to school for Unitarian Universalist ministry, and then finding Judaism.

I told him that sometimes, there are things that are unexplainable, that cannot be reasoned, and that is where faith in God begins. As I was leaving the Shabbat dinner that evening, I remember thinking “wow, if I were not with my current partner, I would totally date this guy”.

In April, my relationship of over four years, began to unravel. For the next six months, my ex and I were on and off. During one of our breakups, I had begun online dating, not looking for anything too serious. In early October, we officially ended our four year relationship. I met Josh, again, just a few weeks after.

Our first date was amazing, we talked about the intersection of queer identities and religion. We were so engrossed we walked roughly 5 miles. At the end of our date we sat outside, and I gave him a little kiss on the cheek.

Prior to this I had been in only heteronormative relationships, and was terrified of being perceived as visibly queer. I was afraid to give up any of my privilege that came with being in what was perceived as a normative relationship. Our third date was my conversion ceremony; Rabbi Zecher of Temple Israel of Boston asked how Josh and I knew each other. I hesitantly explained “we’re dating.” I was reluctant to put a label on us that would make this a real relationship.

Despite my best efforts to run, I found myself falling in love with Josh. I loved going to shul with him on Friday nights, debating scripture, and spending holidays with our families.

After six months of dating, I began to look into rings. I tried desperately to talk myself out of this proposition. I had always viewed fast engagements as irresponsible. I could not reason this feeling away. I truly believe that our love is beyond time and beyond reason.

Pride season is Josh’s favorite time of the year. He talks about it in all seasons of the year and usually marches with Keshet. So, one night while out at a bar Josh and his family, listening to Josh’s uncles’ band, I found myself asking Josh’s cousin what she was doing the day of the Pride Parade. I had decided in that moment to go for it and make a proposal during Pride. I gave myself two weeks to buy a ring, plan the proposal, and to ask for his parents’ blessing.

On Saturday, June 14, 2014, Josh and I headed into Boston bright and early to help Keshet set up.  I got down on one knee holding a sign asking Josh to travel through space and time with me, a reference to our favorite show: Doctor Who. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the embrace of our community. The whole route, we were congratulated on our engagement, and I was truly beaming.

Before this moment Pride was simply the “Queer Fourth of July,” yet I now see it as time to make the invisible visible. I cannot be more proud of our relationship, our love, and our faith. I look forward to sharing our next part of our Jewish journey.

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Posted on February 2, 2015

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Our Ten Most Popular Posts of 2014

With the first month of 2015 behind us, we thought we’d share our most popular blog posts of the past year. These are stories of coming out, of finding community, and of enacting change.

What are the stories you want to hear in 2015?

unnamed Coming Out & Staying With My Husband: Faina realized that being true to herself meant living authentically as a lesbian—and also returning to her husband and children.

When Anti-Semitism Hits Close to Home
When anti-Semitism hit close to home, the safety of this quiet community was put into question.

Looking Forward and Looking Back: On Friendships and Transitions: Two long-time friends sit down to reflect on how they kept their friendship strong when gender and pronouns shifted.

10321023_948003815650_1572420430904116827_oHow To Hire a Trans RabbiWhen the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center‘s top choice for a job was a transgender rabbi, they took the steps needed to educate their community.

Coming Out at Shabbat DinnerTake a minute to watch this video of this Jewish teen coming out to his family at Shabbat dinner. How much stronger will our Jewish community be when no one is left out?

Transgender Day of Remembrance and the Life of SarahHow do we take the lessons from the Torah portion on the life of Sarah and create a space for the memory of transgender individuals?

Coming Out for TwoSara’s coming out story is a little different— before coming out herself, her brother asked her to help him come out to their mother.

IMG_2264One Family’s Wish for a World without Gender Roles: When one Jewish couple put their child in daycare they faced struggles surrounding gender they hadn’t anticipated.

The Coming Out ProcessComing out as trans isn’t simple. Before coming out to his community, this rabbi had to come out to himself.

 

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Posted on January 30, 2015

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