Skip to main content

HRC: Support Network for LGBT in the Orthodox Community

This awesome article was published on the Human rights Campaign's blog today.

Support Network for LGBT in the Orthodox Community

The following post comes from HRC Jewish Organization Equality Index Intern Hannah Henschel:
The numerous “It Gets Better” videos have created a diverse supportive network for the LGBT community. Recently, a video was made by a group of Jewish men who all grew up as Orthodox and identify as gay. This video paints a depressing picture – it is extremely hard, even perhaps impossible, to currently be an out gay man in the Orthodox community. One of the men in the video, Chaim Levin, received a particularly harsh backlash from the Orthodox community in the form of an article on the website Jewish Press. Elliot Resnick, a writer for the Jewish Press, wrote that while it is possible to be Orthodox and gay, that the proper way to “handle” these feelings in the Orthodox tradition is through suppression. Resnick explains, “Jewish thought teaches one to be embarrassed of one's failings, to hide one's flaws from man and God, to repress one's base characteristics and desires.” He goes on to state that anyone who cannot abide by this is immoral.
Levin came back strong with a response to Resnick through his own article on the samewebsite. Throughout telling the story of his own coming-out experience, Levin paints a horrifying picture of the experiences of so-called “reparative therapy” to isolation and expulsion from the Orthodox community.  The alienation from his Orthodox community nearly led Levin to take his own life, but he was helped by finding a supportive organization, JQY.  JQY is a support network of those brought up in the Orthodox community and work within their congregations and communities to create a safer environment for those who are LGBT.  Through all the turmoil Levin has faced as a gay Orthodox young man, he now is able to build an inclusive supportive community for others.  To find out more about Levin and his work, check out his personal blog or watch his recent interview with the Faith Complex.
Photo Credit: © Katja Heinemann/Aurora Select, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center


Popular posts from this blog

Sharing Stories With Deborah Feldman

Discussing plans for our futures, finding the humor in our similar and traumatic pasts and enjoying uncommon empathy, Deborah Feldman and I had coffee on the Upper East Side on a bright Friday morning. My time with her was a refreshing pleasure and an honor. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots. Deborah helped me with something that I’ve been trying to navigate lately. Deborah reminded that I’m not an ex gay survivor, an ex Chabad, a gay man, a Jew, an activist, etc.; she told me that who I am is just Chaim Levin — who just also happens to have an interesting story to share and an opportunity to inspire change. She insisted that we all have our own lives and personalities that we must care for, cultivate and celebrate.

Deborah had entered mainstream media a few months ago with her fascinating memoir. I haven’t had a chance to finish reading her book yet; in fact, I just started the other day. But with every page, I…

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 <> Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM Subject: Breaking all Boundaries To: [REDACTED] Cc: "" …

When it's Someone you Know: Levi Moscowitz

I’ve been torn inside and out ever since I found out that someone who I otherwise knew to be a good friendly guy, someone that I shared good memories in yeshiva with, pleaded no contest to one of the most heinous crimes that has ever come across the arsenal of cases that I’m personally familiar with.

Levi Moscowitz committed suicide on Saturday in Griffith park in Los Angeles. This came just weeks after the charges against him as well as a very damning police report became public. Despite having known Levi for over 10 years and once considering him a close friend, I knew that sharing this information with the public was crucial to the safety of any and all children that he may have come into contact with. At the same time though, his death brings about some very unfortunate realities and issues that have yet to be addressed when confronting this cancer of sexual abuse.

While there are many who have expressed no remorse over his death, and others who even seemed to rejoice in it, I don’…