Coming Out

This ceremony ritually celebrates the moment that homosexuals, bisexuals, or transsexuals publicly declare their sexual identities.

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At this point in the ceremony, participants may choose to share their own stories, readings, or divrei [words of] Torah explicating the meanings of coming out for each of them. The group may choose to reserve this honor specifically for participants who are coming out during this ritual. As those who come out tell their stories, they may choose to recite the following, recognizing this moment of transition in their lives and in the life of the whole community:

The community reads responsively:

We are a people descended from fiery prophets.

We hear their cry for justice.

Our mothers nursed their faith in the God of many facets.

Our mothers met each day anew in Her eyes.

Our fathers bent their hearts to new wisdoms.

Our fathers felt a changing world howl its greatness in their bosom.

We are children of joy and visions.

We ever renew the world toward wholeness.

We are young and old, rich and poor.

We are lesbian, gay, straight, and bisexual.

We are men and women.

We are transgender.

We are wise and untutored.

We are creative and present in our bodies.

Let us, all of us together, cradle Torah in our hearts.

Let us learn to walk its paths toward a better world.

A world only envisioned,

A world in which all are free,

All act on mercy,

And all is just.

Leader blesses those coming out:

Transliteration:

Mi She-beirakh imoteinu Sarah, Rivka, Leah v'Rachel, Bilhah v' Zilpah, Miriam v'Rut, v'avoteinu, Avraham, Yitzchak, v'Ya'acov, Moshe, Aharon v'David, Hi t'varekh et

May the One who blessed our Mothers, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, Bilha and Zilpah, Miriam and Ruth, and our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, Aaron and David, bless

______ bat __________ she ba'ah l'fanenu b'ometz lev l'hakhriz al ha-z'hut ha'lesbit shelah

_____ daughter of _____ who comes before us with courage to declare her lesbian identity

_______ ben __________ she bah l'fanenu b'ometz lev l'hakhriz al ha-z'hut ha homsexualit shelo

_____ son of _____ who comes before us with courage to declare his homosexual identity

_______ bat __________ she ba'ah l'fanenu b'ometz lev l'hakhriz al ha'z'hut ha bisexualit shelah

_____ daughter of _____ who comes before us with courage to declare her bisexual identity

________ ben___________she bah l'fanenu b'ometz lev l'hakhriz al ha-z'hut ha bisexualit shelo

_____ son of _____ who comes before us with courage to declare his bisexual identity

__________ bat __________ she ba'ah l'fanenu b'ometz lev l'hakhriz al ha-z'hut ha transexualit shelah

_____ son of _____ who comes before us with courage to declare her transsexual identity

_________ ben ___________ she-bah l'fanenu b'ometz lev l'hakhriz al ha-z'hut ha-transexualit shelo

_____ son of _____ who comes before us with courage to declare his transsexual identity

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Shoshanah Tornberg

Rabbi Shoshanah King-Tornberg serves Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, NY. She is a Jewish educator by profession and a dancer and writer by avocation.