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.
I’m a queer-identified, frum-identified Jew in a complicated relationship with Orthodoxy, and I want to tell you about my community.
I moved to Washington Heights, in Manhattan, in September because a kallah, a bride, gave me a blessing and told me to. At the time I had already decided to move to New York, but was leaning toward Brooklyn. At a dinner hosted by some Yiddishists in the Heights to honor Yudis and her new wife, Yocheved, Yudis was floating on a post-wedding spiritual high. I asked her for a blessing.
Me: Yudis, would you give me a bracha?
Yudis: Absolutely. I have the perfect one.
[We scurry off to a quiet room.]
Yudis: I want to bless you with the strength to give yourself the things you need to be happy and healthy. If you want a world where you can be queer and also frum, there is no question that it’s Washington Heights. You won’t need to sacrifice either one.
Because guess what? Washington Heights is not only home to Yeshiva University, nucleus of the capital “M” Modern Orthodox world. Over the past five years the neighborhood has become a hub for a relatively large community of halakhically observant lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer Jews. In a world where most Orthodox LGBTQ Jews are isolated and fear they might be alone in their painful identity balance, this special intergenerational group of Jews has flourished.
To read the full story click here.
Like this post?
- Join the conversation through MyJewishLearning’s weekly blogs newsletter.
- Get breaking LGBTQ Jewish news, resources, and inspiration from Keshet in your inbox!