Skip to main content

The brilliant words of my "logical" brother and friend, Benjamin Unger

My dear Benjy Unger, a fine gentlemen that I actually met while attending JONAH, someone I learned a lot from wrote this to the members of JONAH when we came out with this video that served to tell the truth and expose the crap that happened to us while trying to change ourselves from gay to straight. I decided not to edit it in the slightest because it would do injustice to Benjy's incredible and genuine demeanor that is just one of the thousand reasons that I love him dearly:




Dear Jonah members,
Being that I will now get thrown off the list serve I will finally speak out. I am Benjy Unger, who is on the video speaking out against Jonah. I was in Jonah for a year. I did individual therapy with Alan every week, as well as group therapy every week. I have been exactly where all of you are. I grew up a regular frum guy. I went to all the mainstream yeshivos. I was in Eretz Yisroel for 2 years. All I ever wanted was to live a "normal" life with a wife and kids. I understand the struggle. I understand the desire to "change". I know how enticing it is to believe that you will change with reperative therapy. I truly do know all of this..Contrary to what Arthur and Elaine say to all of you, I am not a "gay crusader" or "gay activist". I am a simple guy who is gay and went through Jonah like all the rest of you. If you choose to go through Jonah and you truly believe in it then good for you and I wish you all the best. But I have every right to speak about the atrocities that reperative therapy has caused to many many people who have gone through it and the harm it has caused so many. The people on the video did not make these stories up. That is ridiculous. Why would I or anyone else publicly tell people about sexual abuse done to us without it being true. It does nothing but cause pain and embarrassment. But we felt the pros outweighed the cons because if it saves one person from such abuse then it is worth it.
 Contrary to what Jonah tells you, living the "gay life" is anything but miserable and depressing. On the contrary; ever since I decided to be truthful to myself and realize this is who I am AND WHAT I WAS BORN WITH, I have been happier and more at peace with myself than ever. I have found true happiness and love. I am not "promiscuous" nor am I on drugs, not do I have AIDS, no do I have any self hate. I am simply who I am: a happy gay Jewish man. One thing I have come to realize is that a person can only fool himself for so long. Contrary to all the Jonah stereotypes, I never had a problem with masculinity. I always had a solid relationship with my father, and I am even closer to him than my mother. I always had great male relationships and did all the "guy" stuff like playing sports and hanging out with guys etc. These are all stereotypes from the reperative therapy movement. It is bogus. I know many openly proud gay men who fit none of these Jonah stereotypes. I know many openly proud gay men who are happier than any straight married person I know. Real happiness comes from self acceptance and self love, not from constant fighting yourself and making up issues that don't really exist. There is a whole world out there that is amazing for self accepting gay men and it is wonderful. Do not believe the propaganda that Jonah tells you. That's all it is : propaganda.
I am not saying being an openly gay Jewish man is easy. Its not. There were many obstacles in the way. It is still not really accepted in the orthodox world to be gay. But even that is changing. You guys saw the article of the rabbis who said that being gay is OK and MOST mental health professionals agree that reperative therapy doesn't work AND is harmful. Please do not tell me that these rabbis are part of the "gay agenda". We all know they are not. They have all heard of Jonah.  They know about the therapy. All that has happened is people are starting to open their eyes.They realize just because we've had the same stereotypes about gay people for so long doesn't meant that they are right! I almost cried when I read that letter. Because I am finally seeing a world changing for the better. A world where you can be who you are without fear of thinking you are sick, or thinking that you need to work your entire life to "change". It's truly beautiful. And all I'm telling all of you is that at least open your minds. Don't just follow everything you were told and taught till now. If you ultimately decide that reperative therapy is the truth then go for it! You have every right. But the least you can do for yourself is to see what is out there. See what will make you at peace and happy with yourselves. It's the least you can do. Because you all are worth it.
Ending off, I want to say that I do not wish to harm or hurt anyone who does attend Jonah. It is your life and your choice. But I do have a right to voice my experiences and my opinions on Jonah as well. Jonah always preaches open mindedness and acceptance of all people; yet they try to silence any person who dares to challenge them as "gay crusaders". This is open mindedness? This is acceptance of opinion? Do not be blinded people. I am willing to have a civil conversation with each and every one of you if you so choose. No threats, no bashing, no "propaganda". Just the truth.
I wish you all much hatzlacha and may you all find true happiness within yourselves.
Sincerely,
Benjy Unger


Benjy and I years later, and in case you were wondering, we are not a couple.


Comments

  1. Hi Chaim, we share some common friends and acquaintances. I share your struggle albeit from a different point in my life. My blog runs through the gamut of my challenges to most recently coming out to my wife a couple months back. I am now painfully dealing with the consequences of that revelation.
    Please know that it is because of you and others I have met, read and spoken to, who are fighting for our basic human rights and needs, inspired me to get to the point that I am at today. Without seeing others going through similar struggles and being open about them I could have never done the same.
    Keep up the great work. I love your writing. Feel free to drop a line to say hello. I am at festerfest123@gmail.com my blog is frumgaymarried.blogspot.com
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. כולם צריכים להבין שאנחנו לא בחרנו את הנטיות האלה
    שהקדוש ברוך הוא אוסר את המעשה
    המעשה הוא תועבה ולא נטיה
    יש לנו הרבה לעשות כדי לה יתמודד עם הקשיים
    האם להיתחתן עם אשה
    אני שואל לעצמי אם אנחנו חייבים במצות פריה ורביה בכלל
    כמה הייתי רוצה להוליד ילדים ולגדל אותם אבל איך

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Feel free to post any comment or questions. Negative commentary that does not serve a useful purpose will be deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

MILWAUKEE JEWISH COMMUNITY SAFETY ALERT!

I am publishing this letter today to notify the public of an individual named Tuvia Perlman and the immediate threat he poses to the safety of any and all children in his vicinity. I first met Mr. Perlman when I was 18 while attending an organization called JONAH (a Jewish conversion therapy organization that was shut down in 2015 after losing a lawsuit). When I met Mr. Perlman, we were on a retreat together called Journey Into Manhood, this retreat was facilitated by an organization called People Can Change. After this retreat, Mr. Perlman, who lived in Baltimore used to call me often, to the point where even at that time I felt extremely uncomfortable by his calls and long voicemails. Mr. Perlman as far as I knew at that time, had recently stopped being a teacher at a cheder (Hebrew word for elementary school). In a group setting that was facilitated on by JONAH on their premises in 2007, Mr. Perlman admitted to the entire group that he molested at least 2 of his 12/13-year-old stu…

Chasing the Devil - Sholom Eichler in Shackles

Sholom Eichler was arrested on March 21st near Kfar Chabad for sexually abusing me as a child. I had already filed a civil lawsuit against him in New York and he ignored the lawsuit and fled to Israel with his family. The result of that lawsuit is still pending, I was awarded a default judgment against him and will hopefully know the amount of that judgment by this coming Monday, March 25th.
As I’ve written previously on my Facebook page and have told many people as well, the last place that Sholom Eichler molested me was when our families were visiting Israel together on a family trip while we were staying at the [then Hilton] David Citadel hotel. The details of that incident, along with many of the other incidents remain clear as day in my mind; I even remember the room number that he abused me in while we were in Jerusalem.
After ignoring the civil lawsuit against him in New York Sholom Eichler and his family fled to Israel because of the default judgment that I was gr…

Sexual Abuse Victim Demeaned and Put on Notice for Misconduct at Hebrew Theological College

Hebrew Theological College Dean Doctor Esther Shkop demeans student survivor of sexual abuse and puts her on notice for having the audacity to talk about her experience. Kaylie's* (a pseudonym) courage is to be applauded. The college's actions are outrageous.

Kaylie*, an 18 year old College student in Chicago, had recently posted this image on her Facebook page with this caption:



“I'm a survivor of sexual abuse.

This is not a new thing. I've been a survivor as long as you've known me.

Are you going to change your opinion of me just because three evil people took advantage of me?

Are you embarrassed of me? Are you willing to share our story?

Let's see who my real friends are.”

Just a few hours ago, Kaylie* received the following email from one of the dean’s at her school with the subject line “Breaking all Boundaries”:

From: Esther Shkop <shkop@htc.edu> Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM Subject: Breaking all Boundaries To: [REDACTED] Cc: "olstein@htc.edu" …