Queer-Identified, Frum-Identified Jew in a Complicated Relationship with Orthodoxy

This morning The Torch,  a project of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, shared the heartwarming story of a family adjusting to support their gay son. To read the full story click here.

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.

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