Thursday, November 21, 2013

Please watch this Video: "It Gets Better -Personal Stories of Gay Orthodox Jews"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Video: Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks speaks at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly gathering in Jerusalem

11/11/13 Vision-Driven Leadership in the 21st Century: An Analysis of The Pew Report

"New Hope For Gay Orthodox Jews" by Rabbi Steve Greenberg

10/1/13 Jewish Week- The holidays are over. Through the fasting and food, the succession of pageant, discomfort, reconciliation and exultation, a single moment continues to stands out. Every year for more than 30 years I have found the Yom Kippur afternoon service Torah reading unnerving — and this year I did not.
Among the verses from Leviticus about incest, adultery and bestiality read at Mincha, there is a single verse that every year would still send a chill down my spine. “And with a male you shall not lie the lyings of a woman, it is an abomination.” Hearing it would bring back my own memories of pain, huddled in a corner of the shul sobbing with my talit over my head. On Yom Kippur especially, the verse would bring to mind the many vulnerable and frightened gay teenagers hearing it.

"Creating a Jewish Culture of Inclusivity" by Lynn Schusterman

2/13/12 Huff Post- This past summer, I had the opportunity to spend time with nearly 60 Teach For America corps members taking part in our Foundation'sREALITY Israel Experience, a program that enables corps members to travel to Israel to explore the values that undergird their commitment to public service.
When I asked these passionate young people what motivated them to apply for the program, I heard a wide variety of responses, some inspiring, some empowering, some soulful -- and one in particular that was heartbreaking.
"I applied," one participant told me, "because I knew it would be the first time since I decided to live openly as a gay person that I would feel equal and accepted by the Jewish community." She desperately wanted to find a place where she could be herself.
Her story is one I have heard far too many times from Jews everywhere -- in Israel, in the U.S. and in countries around the world -- who feel excluded from our community because of their sexuality. Despite some progress, the pace of change within the faith-based world in general has simply been too slow in this area.
It is time we stand up and demand that change.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Orly Wahba "Kindness and Consequence" - Life Vest Inside

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community" - by Chaim Levin in Jewish Press

Chaim is from the Lubavitch Chassidic Orthodox in Crown Heights Brooklyn New York,
 I highly encourage you to read this article. Chaim shares his story in a very articulate manner. I found many parallels in both of our stories. I hope this allows the reader to gain some understanding of why we share. 

2012- It’s been more than six months since The Jewish Press published an op-ed titled “Orthodox Homosexuals and the Pursuit of Self Indulgence.” In the article, the writer, while not mentioning my name, calls me shameless and self-indulgent and suggests that I learn to suffer in silence. He was referring to an anti-suicide video I made for the “It Gets Better” project. In the YouTube video I talk about the endless bullying in my childhood, the trauma of reparative therapy and my suicide attempt as a result of a frum community that seemed to not want me to exist simply because I was gay.

My message was that, with time, with understanding friends and with self-acceptance, it gets better. I hoped to tell other kids who may be on the brink of suicide to stick it out, because life gets better; even for gay Jews growing up in the Orthodox community. This video never talks about private behavior, never mentions any assur activity, and certainly does not divulge anything about what I do behind closed doors. However, simply because I talk about how I was bullied for being gay, the author tried to make me feel horrible for simply sending a message of hope. He succeeded in embarrassing me and making me feel unwanted by this community.

I wish I could say that this is the exception. But the truth is that despite the fact that I would never talk publicly about private personal behavior or engaging in sin, the frum world seems to see me as part of a “gay agenda” simply because I won’t stay quiet.

My name is Chaim Levin. I grew up in a heimishe family in Crown Heights. I love my mother, my father and my family. I had always felt different and was the subject of relentless bullying by other boys for “seeming” gay. When I was 17 I confided to a friend that I was attracted to men and not sexually attracted to women at all. When it came out, I was thrown out of yeshiva. For the longest time I felt so alone because I truly believed that I was the only person battling this secret war. My older siblings were getting married and having kids, and all I ever wanted was to be a part of the beautiful world my parents had raised me in. My dream was to marry a woman and live the life my family hoped and dreamed for me. I would never have chosen to be gay; I could not imagine anyone growing up in the Orthodox world who would choose to be someone who doesn’t fit into the values and norms of everyone around them.

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