So, I've gotten hundreds of messages of support and encouragement from people all over the place, but I'd like to post one message that I got recently that inspired me so much.
"Dear Mr. Levin:
I finished reading your essay in the JP convinced that your parents must have had ruach hakodesh when they named you Chaim.
Chaim – so you would have the Life force to prevail and transform “the grief that contemplates the grave by showing it grief that looks up to the stars”, in the words of the great Victor Hugo.
Chaim - because of all the lives you now help keep in this world with your message of hope.
Chaim – because of the Life force you now instill in our own community with this voice of yours that brings true healing from the bigotry and self righteousness that in many subtle and not so subtle ways says that none has the right to exist, to be, unless they are exactly like them.
I hope you know that it is NOW, at this precise moment that we need you and your clear voice to speak up. In the words of Clarissa Pinkola, “one of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and to show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. To display the lantern of soul in times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.”
It is at this very moment that we need your courageous voice, your strength and your honesty and I urge you not settle for “acceptance”, the kind that is filled with condescension; nor tolerance, the kind that rolls its eyes in artificial willingness to “put up with you”, though will not rest in its efforts to “fix you”. And I urge you not to settle for anything less than the kind understanding that leads to full embrace.
Yes, there might be times when you feel weary and discouraged. Shall despair show up at your door, it is my hope you will remember “why you came to Earth, Whom you serve and Who sent you here”.
May you go from strength to strength!"