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Showing posts from March, 2012

Rochel Pinson Z"L — her namesake makes an elated uncle of 7

On Tuesday March 27th, the miracle of life graced my family yet again. Over the past month, my family was lucky to see the birth of twin boys from my brother and his wife, and now, the birth of my niece, Rochel, my oldest sister’s third child.

When my all of my nieces and nephews were born, it was very exciting. But, in the sake of all honesty, nothing was quite as exciting as the past month when twin boys and a beautiful baby girl entered our lives. For starters, twins are awesome. I can sit for hours just staring at my nephews, amazed by the fact that there are actually two of them — two little precious, adorable babies that I just wanna be the best possible uncle to.  And now, there’s Rochel, or as I decided to call her, princess Rochel.

My twin nephews were named after their great grandparents. The older one, Lev Ahron, was named after my sister-in-law’s grandfather. As far as I know, it was the first namesake that their family has had; his wonderful wife whom we all refer to as Gra…

Sometimes, you Gotta Give 'Em Hell

Lately, I been thinking a lot about the name and goal of my blog — giving people hope, helping to create a brighter future for others in our communities and trying to send the powerful and life changing message that, just because some people might reject you for who you are, it is not you who needs to be changed. Molly Resnick’s behavior was something I could not be silent about. Such behavior is something that no one should have to tolerate silently. Such attitudes must be addressed and stood up against. I believe, sometimes, you Gotta Give 'em Hell.

Giving 'em Hell might seem like responding to bullying with bullying, but it is not. Loud, public, well-respected but utterly unrespectable voices like Ms Resnick’s cannot be the only ones that are heard. My post about what she did has brought a lot of readers and a lot of attention, especially from within the Chabad movement. I am still impressed that a Chabad Shlucha could not keep silent about it either. Not too long ago, I was…

Chabad Shlucha Condemns Molly Resnick

Earlier today, I was pleased and humbled to receive the following comment on my blog, condemning Resnick’s behavior and expressing concern about gay suicide:

“We as shluchos [emissaries of the Rebbe] are the face of Lubavitch. And our speakers, the men and ladies who we bring out to lecture and speak to our communities, are also the face of Lubavitch. If we put someone up to speak to our community, that means that we endorse this person in every way. Would any one of us knowingly have a TERRIFIC speaker who was known to be a dishonest person?? Of course not! And think of our lady speakers. Would any of us bring out even the best speaker if she wasn't dressed properly? Of course not.

I just witnessed something last week that I cannot be quiet about. One of our very public speakers behaved publicly in a way that was beyond any limit of decency. And, I feel strongly that we cannot ignore it.

I and other members of my family on shlichus [as emissaries of the Rebbe] had Molly Resnick come…

Washington Post alludes to sexual abuse at JONAH

The following appeared in the Washington Post last night:

Abuse victims’ advocates turn to the Internet—Emily Wax

“We are breaking the silence in the frum [religious] community, and more people are getting online to tell their stories every day,” said Chaim Levin, 22, who was raised in the Chabad-Lubavitch community, an ultra-orthodox branch of Hasidic Judaism. Levin recently began blogging about the sexual abuse that he says he experienced at age 19 at an Orthodox Jewish counseling center in Jersey City. (The center — JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality — did not return calls or e-mail requests for comment.) Levin, who is now openly gay and no longer religious, still lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which is the Hasidic movement’s headquarters.''
“Our goal is to capture the eyes and ears of the world,” said Levin, who earlier this month traveled to Georgetown University to speak about abuse on “Faith Complex,” a campus TV talk show about religious issues.&…

Is Chaim Levin an Orthodox Jew?

This question has been knocking on my door for the past couple of months.

Some journalists have identified me as an Orthodox Jew, while others have described me as no longer religious as in today’s Washington Post article. I have tried to be clear I identify as simply “Jewish”. I am Jewish, and I’m proud of it. I’m connected to this identity, and I always will be. This why I choose to wear a yarmulke in public or during interviews. I wear a yarmulke as symbol of religious pride, not to suggest affiliation with any sect or movement. I’m Jewish and I’m gay; I am equally proud of both.

I am reluctant to talk about my current religious beliefs and levels of observance. I believe ones religious convictions and practices are between them and God. More importantly, my current religious beliefs and practices would not negate what I experienced growing up Chassidic in Crown Heights attending the best Lubavitch yeshivas (schools). It would not bear on the seemingly hopeless conundrum that gay you…

Rising from the ashes — finding life in a hopeless place

Thanks to my readers, my blog has just gone over 22,000 hits. I started this blog a little over five weeks ago, and the incredible response seems like a dream.

The past few weeks have been crazy, exciting and even turbulent. But, even within negative encounters, there is much hope.

Harlan Ellison wrote “I know that pain is the most important thing in the universe. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned.”

Without pain we cannot truly appreciate what we’ve gained. Without pain there is nothing to hope for, to strive toward, to fight for.

And, I am fighting.

I am fighting because I recall when I was bullied and felt hopeless and alone. I had believed that I had nothing to live for. I lost years being ashamed of who I am. I spent years undergoing traumat…

My mother, my hero

This is my mother, the most incredible, powerful, and perfect person I know.
Mom you will always be a part of me; you've taught me what real bravery is, and I'm so proud to be your son. 

Love always,
-Chaim

If you feel like you want to let my mother know how much her bravery has inspired you feel free to send an email or Facebok message and I'll pass it on.

I know how much it would mean to my parents if they actually heard from you, the people that hopefully inspired, and even gave more hope to.

Thanks,

Chaim Levin
chaim89@gmail.com
clevin@facebook.com
@chaim89

Urgent: Regarding the recent online bullying that's been targeted against members of the LGBT community and our allies

URGENT: As many of you know, recently many members of the Jewish LGBT community have been getting harassed by a pathetic cyber bully that seems to have a lot on his hands. Law enforcement is finally stepping in and legal action will be taken against this individual in the very near future.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU: If you have received any emails from any email addresses like "hashem.echad@yahoo.com" "chaim.levin@rocketmail.com" "ex_jqy_member@yahoo.com" and any other emails that you would consider offensive or hateful. Please FORWARD as many emails as you can to this address: sugarmagnolia1082@me.com .

To the unfortunate soul that's behind all this, I hope that you suffer the consequences for hurting hundreds of people in the name of "god". My community will not tolerate abuse or bullying from someone as evil as yourself.

Molly Resnick - how it went down

At the bris of my twin nephews, I had the great displeasure of coming face to face with true hatred and intolerance; I came face to face with a woman who shamelessly tried to publicly ridicule me at my own family event. I had greeted Molly Resnick, a woman I had known for years. When she realized who I was she laid into me. I didn’t initiate a conversation with her about my life nor her son’s scathing editorial about me and the work I had done to prevent LGBT teen suicides. I did not intend to create any commotion, and I’m deeply sorry for what happened. I did feel the need to respond though, and I hope my family and friends can understand this and appreciate how out of line and disrespectful Ms. Resnick was.

As a family member, I was talking to the many people who had come to celebrate this big event. I was chatting outside the main hall where people were gathered, when I came face to face with Molly Resnick. Her son, Elliot Resnick, had been a waiter at my childhood camp and a friend…

Kirk Cameron: If I were your son, I'd want to stay in the closet

Dear Kirk Cameron,

This past week looks like it was a big one for you. It was for me too. You see, while I may not have been a featured TV star in the 1980’s, some people have been noticing me  lately for the work that I’ve been doing, as someone who grew up deeply religious and gay, a survivor of so called “ex gay” therapy, and ultimately came out to save my own life, literally to save my life, and as is evident by now and through the feedback on my recent articles, other people’s lives as well.

I’m 22 years old, fairly young, and while some people think that’s the biggest reason not to voice my opinion, “because older people know better”, I have to share something with you. When I was 18, I went into “ex gay” therapy on my own volition without explaining to my parents why I was really going to this “therapy”. As is well documented at this point, I faced extremely abusive practices conducted under people who claimed to know how to “change me”.

This past Friday night you told your five …

In Defense of Pearl Perry Reich - my post on Frumsatire

Frumsatire published this guest post earlier this evening. I'm so proud to stand up for what I believe in.

http://www.frumsatire.net/2012/03/05/defending-pearl-perry-reich/#comments


In defense of Pearl Perry Reich by HESHY FRIED on MARCH 5, 2012 ·  Guest Post by Chaim Levin In the recent, very heated debates over the legitimacy of Pearl Perry Reich’s claims of abuse by rabbinic authority, many people have criticized her use of the word “cult” in describing her former ultra Orthodox community. Although I don’t think it’s necessary to use such loaded words against a whole group that may include others like her, the truth is the beliefs and practices she’s referring to do NOT represent Judaism as a whole, not even Orthodox Judaism. Like the 212 rabbis that signed a “Torah” declaration that mandates all gay people attempt dangerous and irresponsible conversion or reparative “therapies” and simply ignores conclusions of medical and mental health professionals and the harm to people to th…

Taking off the mask for Purim: My first article in the Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chaim-levin/orthodox-jew-coming-out-for-purim_b_1310830.html


LGBT Jews Coming Out Gay Jews Gay Orthodox Jew Purim Religion And Sexuality Religion News




This year's Purim marks three years since I started my incredible journey of coming out. Until three years ago I struggled in isolation with my identity as a gay man and an Orthodox Jew. I had spent the previous two years surrounded only by people who rejected themselves as gay and was part of the "ex gay" movement." My first time attending a Purim event with gay Jews who had reconciled their faith with their sexual orientation and were living honestly and openly was really scary for me. I'll never forget the moment I walked into the LGBT Jewish Purim event at the Jewish Community Center on New York City's Upper West Side. Many of the other attendees were Orthodox or had grown up Orthodox, just like I had. The first 10 minutes were the scariest. I was self-con…