I write this with a heavy heart. I very much understand some of you that are uncomfortable with me speaking out about such a sensitive topic. Growing up in the community, I understand that we like to be as private about internal issues as possible in order to not bring extra attention to ourselves. In addition, I know that we have some very special attributes, which are less common in other communities. I know that we try our best to take care of one another.
It may be a little hard to understand why someone like myself, who left the community 15 years ago after I came out is speaking up and wants to reconnect to his roots. If you would allow me to perhaps paint the picture of why.
It is no secret that we have gay people in the community. Many of us decide to leave the community and leave Judaism, because we feel like we have no other way out. For many of us, we go through a mourning process of losing our community, family and friends. No one should think this an easy call.
For many of us, it is about our mental health. I know I went through a time of being suicidal and engaging in behaviors that were extremely self-deprecating and painful. I know it's not easy for you to understand, especially when you haven't been through it. But, it is sort of something you have to try to put yourself in our shoes and look at the reality of our struggle. No one should have to go through what I have experienced. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Not speaking up might be perceived as the best course of action. By speaking up, this affects my family and risks possible consequences to all of us. My purpose is to help and not harm. This is about trying to open up your eyes to the suffering and pain we experience. The anxiety and fear we feel can be debilitating. To many of us, we feel we have no choice but to come out.
My intention is not to create a movement, rather to help those individuals who are tortured by this issue. Over the last few years, I have been able to help many of us trying to reconcile our feelings of being gay and wanting to stay within the community.
A quick story is about a community member that called me with such fear and anxiety that I was afraid for his life. He was drinking heavily every night, popping pills and sobbing telling me how much he wanted to die. Today, thank G-d he is still with us.
Going forward, my focus will be on individual stories and not of other topics that people might feel threaten the fabric of the community.
As Yom Kippur (The day of Atonement) approaches, I would like to send my apologies to anyone that may have perceived my intention as one of malice toward the community. My continuous hope is for inner peace for all those among us.