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The Orthodox Conundrum [Mar. 11th, 2014|11:11 am]
Queer Jews

Hello all. I understand that this community seems to be all but dead, but I don't know where else I can ask this without feeling intimidated.

My dream in life is to live as a Jew. I want to marry a Jewish man and raise an observant Jewish family. This has been my dream ever since I was a little girl, before I even really knew what it all meant. I feel I am Jewish, in my heart. I will never feel complete until I take that first step into the mikvah and am able to finally proclaim to be what I already know I am. I am ready and willing to let Judaism flow into every aspect of my life, and I accept all of Torah and Judaism's beliefs with an open heart.

All except for one thing.

I very much support LGBT rights. More than that, I am an active campaigner to legalize same sex marriage in my state. This poses an obvious problem with converting Orthodox. This is the only thing that I cannot, no matter how hard I try, come to terms with. When I asked my local Chabad rabbi, he said that this would be a very big problem because Orthodox Judaism doesn't even acknowledge homosexuality (his words: "Homosexual people don't exist. They are merely people who are acting on impulses they should otherwise be ignoring.") So... crap.

What do I do? I see two options:

1. Ignore the issue and convert Orthodox anyway. Same sex marriage is close to being legalized in my state anyway so it wouldn't have a large impact on my life. I would still be a quiet supporter (at least in the presence of other Jews). My biggest issue with this though is that I would have to teach my children that homosexuality is wrong and that would feel like such a betrayal to myself I don't know if I could do it.

2. Convert to another movement of Judaism that is more accepting of homosexuality. If I were to do this I would likely convert Conservative, which would be more convenient anyway since there are many more Conservative shuls in my area than there are Orthodox. My only real issue with this is I'm afraid that the Jewish community wouldn't accept myself or my children as truly Jewish. I know this is silly, but the thought does bother me.

So does anyone here have any advice that could help me decide what path I should take? I'm at a loss and would really appreciate some help here. 
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(no subject) [Jan. 12th, 2011|08:32 am]
Queer Jews


A few days ago at the library I randomly picked up the book Like Bread on The Seder Plate, which is subtitled "Jewish Lesbians and the transformation of tradition" (which seems to adequate summarize what it's about.)

Anyway, in the first few pages it says that the title comes from some Q&A session in the late 70s where someone asked a Chabad rebbitzen about lesbianism in halacha, and she said that it was a small transgression, like eating bread during Passover.

Does that sound odd to anyone else? I'm not personally concerned about Orthodox Judaism's view of sex between women, but in my Bais Yaakov education, eating chametz on Pesach wasn't presented as minor. The punishment is karet, and unless my memory is off, that's pretty high on the scale of minor to major. I think a teacher once described it as the soul being cut off [from everyone else?]

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http://www.frumvideo.com [Sep. 21st, 2010|08:12 pm]
Queer Jews


FrumVideo (http://www.frumvideo.com), the premier company in the Adult Frum Entertainment space targeted specifically to Religious Jews.

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A new year, two exciting new projects [Sep. 10th, 2010|09:05 pm]
Queer Jews

A Midsummer Night's Press
announces a call for submissions
for two anthologies celebrating queer Jewish poetry:

edited by Lawrence Schimel


edited by Julie R. Enszer

to be published in Spring 2011.

We are looking for poems that celebrate and question, meditate and intimate, argue and reconcile contemporary queer Jewish identity. What is queer Jewish experience in the twenty-first century? What poetry expresses queer Jewishness today?

Whether you write about interfaith queer parenting, cruising in shul, how it feels to sign a ketubah in a country that won't recognize our same-sex marriages, fetishizing a sheggitz or being fetishized, we want to read about it and share it with others who want to read it as well.

What are our sacred texts for today? If they don't yet exist, write them. What are our queer Jewish blessings, curses and prayers.

While there is a rich tradition of queer Jewish writers who have made an indelible mark on our literature over the years, from Gertrude Stein and Adrienne Rich to Allen Ginsburg and Edward Field, we are looking for work that reflects queer Jewish identity in the new (secular) millennium. As such, we are open either to unpublished work, or work that was published since 2000 (this would include work originally published in a magazine or anthology before 2000, which was later collected in a book published after 2000).

We welcome voices from across the spectrum of Jewish identity, from observant to merely cultural, and their intersections with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identities and experiences.

We are open to all styles of poetry, from formal to free verse.

We welcome queer Jewish voices from outside the US, and are willing to consider translations into English. (It is the translator's responsibility to secure permission to reprint the poem in English.)

Both anthologies are open to previously published work, but it is the poet's responsibility to secure permission to reprint the poem.

We welcome work from Jewish trans poets, so long as the content of the work is relevant to either gay or lesbian experience.

There is no limit to the number of poems which may be submitted, so long as the Jewish and queer content are both relevant.

Submission instructions:

1) Title file with the initials of the anthology and author's last name: F-Surname.doc or MH-Surname.doc
2) Include your name, your mailing address, your email address, and a bio WITHIN the .doc file with your essay, as submissions will be separated from emails to be read.
3) Submit your work by email, as an attachment in .doc or .rtf format, to queerjewishpoetry@gmail.com

Deadline: November 30, 2010.

Payment will be three copies of the anthology per contributor.

About the editors:


Julie R. Enszer is the author of the poetry collection HANDMADE LOVE (A Midsummer Night's Press, 2010) and the chapbook SISTERHOOD (Seven Kitchens Press, 2010). Her work has appeared in numerous Jewish, feminist and queer publications, including BRIDGES, JEWISH WOMEN'S LITERARY ANNUAL, SINISTER WISDOM, CALYX, WOMEN'S REVIEW OF BOOKS, FEMINIST STUDIES, WASHINGTON BLADE, LAMBDA BOOK REPORT, etc. She is also the founder of the Lesbian Poetry Archive.

About the publisher:
A Midsummer Night's Press is an independent poetry publisher, publishing primarily in two imprints: 1) Fabula Rasa, dedicated to work inspired by myth and fairy tale, which has published FORTUNE'S LOVER: A BOOK OF TAROT POEMS by Rachel Pollack and FAIRY TALES FOR WRITERS by Lawrence Schimel, and 2) Body Language, devoted to queer poetry, which has published THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED IN OUR OTHER LIFE by Achy Obejas; BANALITIES by Brane Mozetic, translated by Elizabeti Zargi; HANDMADE LOVE by Julie R. Enszer; and MUTE by Raymond Luczak. http://www.amidsummernightspress.com
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Shadchan (Matchmaker) Service for Observant LGBT Jews [May. 30th, 2010|10:12 pm]
Queer Jews

There is a new service to help queer observant Jews find like-minded partners. Pass the word on to anyone you think might be interested. The shadchans are happy to work with trans folks and have a number of trans clients.


QueerShidduch is a new shidduch (matchmaking) service for religious lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews. We find matches (same-gender or opposite-gender) for religiously observant LGBT Jews. If you are LGBT, and you keep kosher and keep the laws of the Sabbath (shabbos/shabbat), or if you want to build a kosher and shomer shabbos household with your future partner, we welcome you to contact us. We work with people who consider themselves Orthodox, Hasidic, Traditional, Traditional-Egalitarian, Conservative, Shomer Mitzvot, etc. We aim to make matches that have the potential to be serious long-term relationships in which both partners will help each other grow in their Judaism.

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Queering Jews, Jewifying Queers [May. 25th, 2010|10:43 pm]
Queer Jews

I took this pretty cool (but writing-intensive) survey about my Jewish and queer identities. It's for the coursework of a friend of a friend who I don't know.

I'm posting it here because for me it was a useful opportunity to think through some of these questions, and if you are on lj you are very likely also a writing-and-thinking-things-through type of person, so maybe you will like this survey.
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Family Guy's Transphobic Mother's Day Episode [May. 10th, 2010|05:24 pm]
Queer Jews

Family Guy an animated television series on Fox aired an extremely transphobic episode on Mother's Day. The episode called "Quagmire's Dad" was about a big life change for his father, a recognized Navy war hero veteran. The episode is filled with homophobic and transphobic language and judgment.


Take action by emailing askfox@fox.com and tell them to pull the episode off the air.
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Nehirim LGBT Jewish Retreat in CT - June 4-6, 2010 [May. 8th, 2010|09:37 pm]
Queer Jews

Nehirim is still accepting registrations for their June retreat:


The Nehirim East Retreat

June 4-6, 2010

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Nehirim East is Nehirim’s flagship retreat, bringing together over one hundred LGBT Jews from around the country to the beautiful Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Connecticut. This year directed by Dr. Zvi Bellin, Nehirim East is a unique weekend of spirituality and community: workshops, great food, sports & swimming, a pluralistic community (Orthodox to atheist, teens to 70s, with non-Jewish partners welcome), and plenty of time to connect and meet new people.

This year, our 6th Annual East Coast Retreat, features familiar faces (Jay Michaelson, Becky Emet, Rabbi Joel Alter) and new ones (Rabbis Sue Levi Elwell, Alissa Wise, Ilana Kramer, and Aaron Katz). As always we will have inspiring prayer services, dynamic spiritual and intellectual workshops, and delicious (kosher) food.
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gender in Jewish female people [Apr. 24th, 2010|10:36 am]
Queer Jews

I'm reading an essay in an anthology called Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, and the author:

1.Observes that "many Jewish queer women gravitate toward femme identity." 

2. Theorizes why that might be so - she says "I was thinking about the archetype of strength in femininity. In Jewish culture, the archetype of the strong female is fairly ubiquitous. My theory is that women who grow up Jewish, and who are exposed to that archetype, have a sense of the power of femme identity, even prior to coming out as queer or constructing a femme identity for themselves." (and then she says that her Jewish identity has shaped her femme identity.)

Do you guys (er, people) find #1 to be true? And regardless, do you agree with #2  What's been your experience? 

My thoughts under a cut so other people can think their own thoughts first:Read more...Collapse )
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Anyone out there in the DC area? [Dec. 12th, 2009|11:03 pm]
Queer Jews

Passing along... I've been to several of their events, and I really recommend them!

The Nehirim Queer Shabbaton is a weekend-long “urban retreat” of community, culture, and spirituality for GLBT Jews, partners, & allies. featuring cutting-edge workshops, services, networking, yoga & meditation, delicious kosher food, and plenty of time to connect.

After three successful Shabbatonim in New York, we are now bringing this program to Washington, D.C., in partnership with GLOE, the Kurlander Program for Gay and Lesbian Outreach & Engagement at the Washington DCJCC, and Bet Mishpachah.

Who comes to the Queer Shabbaton? 100+ people of all ages, religious stripes, and sexual & gender identities: secular to orthodox, transgender nice Jewish boys to non-Jewish partners, students to seniors — there are people like you at Nehirim.

When: 5pm on Friday, February 5 through 1pm on Sunday, February 7
Where: DC JCC,16th & Q
How much: Sliding scale from $80-140. Financial aid available – no one turned away for lack of funds.

More information at http://www.nehirim.org/retreats/qsdc
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