Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Dear Community Member" by Rich Dweck

* Any emails I receive are always confidential and no names will ever be published on here or anywhere else.*

Dear Community Member,

I want to thank you for your many wonderful words of encouragement. You have helped me understand I am not alone and that people do care about me. You've also made me realize that even though I have been gone for over 15 years, that we are all still connected. Sometimes I forget the positive attributes our community has.

Personally, I came out about 15 years ago and left the community which was so central to my life. I didn't have a choice. For me it was literally about saving my life. I understood at that time, that I didn't have a place in the community. 

I have been told not to do the ritual cohanim blessing in the synagogue I grew up in, because it makes people feel uncomfortable that a gay person is blessing them. They hurt me and my family and the many others out there dealing with this issue. When these types of things happen, it makes me lose faith in where I come from.  

The focus of my website is not to bash our community, but to provide a voice to those of us that cannot speak. Many of us don't speak, because we fear being rejected by family, friends and community members. 

Many times we are the ones that any mother would want for their daughter or son. We are the sweet, respectful and kind ones that just want the same thing everybody else wants, which is to be fulfilled, loved and accepted. We have the same aspirations and values we all grew up with.

Out of sheer desperation some of us even get married, which many times lead our wives/husbands (w/h) to blame themselves for not being able to make their spouses happy. This leads these poor and innocent w/h down a road of immense depression, pain, pill popping and feeling unworthy of happiness. 

Many of us feel that God has given up on us and simply hates us. I know I prayed deeply and tried everything possible to be the Jew I felt God wanted me to be. I can't even count the amount of times I asked "Why Me?" 

The consequences of shame and internalized homophobia, might play out in anxiety and/or panic attacks, depression, self-inflicted harm, drug and/or alcohol intake, unsafe sexual encounters and possibly even suicide. 

Sometimes, what we might think is a curse can actually be a blessing. Channelling our experiences into helping others can be very healing. 

To the many community members that have entrusted me with their personal struggles of being gay or dealing with a family member that is; I thank you for reminding me that I'm not as unique as I might think. As well as, how powerful sharing our experience, strength and hope can be with one another. 

Respectfully Yours,

Rich Dweck 

A few quotes that I try to live by from author Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor and author of "Man's Search For Meaning") 

"Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it."

"What is to give light must endure burning."


  1. So surprised... This from the same community full of ethical and moral leaders, such as Solomon Dwek, Eli Ben Haim, and Edmond Nahum. It's all about their priorities

  2. Kol haKavod. You are a great person, you transmit it. Heteros or not, people follow and support whoever merits admiration. I love your posts! Keep the good work, and all the best in your personal and professional projects for this coming 5774! שלום אחי

  3. As someone else who grew up in that same community, the holier-than-thou hypocrisy of the straights is appalling.
    I remember sitting in Shul (Temple for readers who don't speak Hebrew) in the 70s, listening to my elders talk about "saffing" (cheating) customers in their businesses.
    Then, when the Torah emerged from the arc, they burst into tears and kissed it.

  4. Each of us make choices.
    These choices come with consequences.
    You made your choice.
    A consequence of which is that you are no longer privileged to bless others.
    The Torah, your Torah, calls you an "abomination", and that you are!
    You are eloquent in your own defense, but you are fighting a losing battle.
    My Torah has spoken.



Other Blogs/Websites