Keshet is a national organization that works for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. The organization equips Jewish leaders with tools to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, creates spaces for queer Jewish teens to feel valued and develop their own leadership skills, and mobilizes the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ justice. Keshet’s blog spotlights this work, as well as the voices of LGBTQ Jews, our families, and allies.
In honor of Father’s Day we’re sharing three of our favorite stories about and from Jewish fathers.
A Story of Fatherhood: Growing up Colin never doubted that he’d have the family he wanted — a husband and kids. Colin’s story of fatherhood is rooted in a pride of his own LGBT identity—and he appreciates how lucky he is. Coming out to his family in the late 1980s could have gone poorly, but his family and friends have always accepted him. Colin joked that his mom, Sonya Michel, a women and gender historian who co-wrote The Jewish Woman in America alongside Paula Hyman and Charlotte Baum, would have been disappointed if she didn’t have a gay son.
When Colin hit 40, he was single and ready to seriously think about kids. Over the next few years he considered surrogacy, but found it wouldn’t be the right fit for him. Three years later a mutual family friend introduced Colin to a single, straight woman who was also contemplating having children. They were set up on, what Colin called, a “blind co-parenting date.” Over the next few months they emailed, called, met, and even went to couples counseling as they thought about becoming co-parents. Their daughter Stella was born in February of 2011.
Read more of Colin’s story.
A Story of Love: Sarah is barren, Rachel is barren, Rivka is barren. As a single man, I too am barren, unable to conceive and birth a child. I remember the exact moment I knew I wanted to parent, and that I wouldn’t wait for a partner to co-parent. I remember deciding that foster care would be my path to parenting, as at that time, adoption by openly gay people was outlawed by the state where I lived.
And so I took the class and filled out the paperwork, and endured the grueling inspection of my home, my finances, and every other nook and cranny of my life.
Read more of James’ story.
The Ultimate Tzedakah: My experience in helping my good friends, Erik and Sandro, be able to have children, symbolizes to me the notion of Tikkun Olam—my little part in helping heal the world. It struck me as incredibly unfair that my husband and I could so easily have children, and that for two gay men to have children would be such a hardship, particularly financial. I believe that being able to help them have their daughters not only benefits them, but also benefits my family, and really, benefits the world around us.
My hope is that it helps people see that family can look like many different and wonderful things, and how two gay men, given the opportunity, can create a beautiful home filled with love and strong values, just as well as a heterosexual couple can.
Read more of Rachel, Erik, and Sandro’s story.
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- Get Support: The Keshet Parent & Family Connection: When a child comes out, it can be a major life change for the whole family. It might raise new questions, fears, challenges, and opportunities. The Keshet Parent and Family Connection is a diverse network of parents and family members of LGBTQ Jews across the country who are available to offer support to other parents dealing with any stage of their child’s coming out process.