On Christmas morning, 2012, I woke up to an email from a friend, responding to an email I had sent in June. In that June coming-out email, I had announced my intention to live as an Orthodox Jew and a gay man. It’s amazing how much things can change in six months, as one way that I make sense of Fall 2012 is as an extended break-up with Orthodoxy.
But my first thought on reading that second email was “hmm, maybe this is not an entirely hopeless enterprise.” It’s taken two months (or six months, or eight months…) to finally start the blog because I’ve been busy having life experiences to write about.
There’s a repeating pattern with Jewish rituals and identifications in my life. I gave a sermon in my Reform congregation during high school in which I discussed why I always remembered, but never expected to keep, Shabbat. Three years later, I was keeping Shabbat in college. When I started constantly wearing a baseball cap, in order to cover my head without wearing a kippah, I said “I would never wear a kippah under the baseball cap. That seems like overdoing it.” One week later I was doing just that, and two months later the baseball cap came off. When I came out to my parents in June and they expressed concern not for my sexuality, but for the difficulties I was sure to face in my adopted denomination, I told my mom “I am gay, and I am Orthodox, and that’s not going to change.” In November, I told them at Thanksgiving “I doubt that Orthodoxy will become gay-positive enough in the next 50 years that I’ll feel comfortable raising kids with that label, but I’m comfortable with this level of observance and I’m working on finding halakhic egalitarian spaces.”
I want observant Judaism in my life, and I look forward to finding the spaces that I’ll feel comfortable. If those spaces don’t yet exist, I look forward to building them. I’m starting this blog in order to join the conversation about Judaism and homosexuality on the internet and to share my experiences. Welcome!