Tag Archives: Yom Kippur

An Orthodox Gay First?

Orthodox-ordained Rabbi Steve Greenberg presiding at same-sex wedding of Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan in Washington, DC synagogue, 10 November 2011 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

Orthodox-ordained Rabbi Steve Greenberg presiding at same-sex wedding of Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan in Washington, DC synagogue, 10 November 2011 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

Yasher Koach to chatanim (חתנים or grooms) Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan!

Standing in matching kittle’s (קיטלנים or traditionally white linen robes that Ashkenazim are known to be buried in after wearing it to their wedding as well as annually on Yom Kippur to signify purity, holiness and new beginnings) and orange kippah’s (כִּפוֹת or platter-shaped head caps worn for respect) the two men stood under the chupah (a symbol of the home that the couple will build together) in Washington D.C. holding hands.

I understand from the blogsphere that many in the Orthodox tradition are dismissing the wedding as both of the grooms are men. Although no one has asked me my opinion on the matter here it is: of course it counts. The grooms were married in Washington D.C. by Rabbi Steven Greenberg, author of the 2004 groundbreaking book Wrestling with God & Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition. 

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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Queer Jewish Leaders


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gays have kids too

During these days between the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, Jews are told to reflect on what really matters to us. So here it goes, one thing that really matters to me is continually bringing the stories and realities of everyday LGBT Jewish leaders into the mainstream. Many LGBT folks don’t always have the big life concepts mapped out for them. By the way, when I write “them”, I do mean me as well.

I often look to the experiences of my family to help me navigate this world but a few things don’t always translate. Some translations on expectations and roles get lost on me. Not so much because of discrimination any more, but more often the nuance of difference. I work to find community and friendships with other LGBT Jewish leaders, in part because they model one of the many ways that I might too have a healthy same-sex relationship, how to raise children, how to present the gender identity that works for me, or how to juggle the demands of chosen family versus biological family.

Something else that matters to me is a love of democracy and the drama of politics. So when I saw this ad yesterday, pairing my love of politics with a story that brings a local queer Jewish family into the mainstream – I had to link to it. So in honor of speaking out to what matters to me during the Jewish High Holiday’s as well as embracing October as LGBT History Month please take a look at this 33 second ad featuring our LGBT lives having mainstream visibility. The ad features a gay and Jewish former city supervisor, Bevan Dufty running for mayor of San Francisco, proudly introducing himself in his most important identity role: a father.

Related Stories

  • AutostraddleBevan Dufty Reminds Us Gay Candidates Have Kids Too (link)
  • I Want to be a (Gay) Dad, Celebrating LGB Parents (link)
  • Queer Landia, Gay SF Hopeful features Daughter in New Ad (link)
  • Towlroad, Gay SF Mayoral Hopeful Bevan Dufty Features Daughter (link)
  • The Stir, Gay Candidate for Mayor ‘Exploits’ Kid By Admitting She Exists (link)
  • David Mixner Blog, Impressions (link)
  • Politco, Ben Smith’s Frontiers of Gay Politics (link)
  • Gay Politcs, Bevan Dufty in Someplace New (link)
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian, Bevan Dufty loves MUNI (link)

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tearing down the wall with amos lassen

The wall's wall

Image by goldberg via Flickr

"Balancing On The Mechitza: Transgender in the Jewish Community"--Tearing Down the Walllife never fails to surprise me. i was on the phone with my niece who is undergoing sexual reassignment surgery to become my nephew when noach dzmura’s “balancing on the mechitza” arrived. i immediately sat down and read it, cover to cover. perhaps “read” is the wrong word, i devoured the book. i would be … Read More

via reviews by amos lassen

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Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Jewish Bay Area


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Bounty and Scarcity

It has been a nonstop month of whirlwind decision-making and successive changes to my life and my work since my return from my incredible experience in Israel at the beginning of August.    

Now, just a month beyond my summer travels leads me into the period of time when g*d asks us to continue to better the world and enter into the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) with abundance and recognize the complications that often stem from that abundance during the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Oye, the Jewish High Holidays truly begin tonight!      

As for these changes, I mention, well, I like to believe that I take change with a positive stride. I recognize changes as both opportunity and challenge as an inevitable part of each year. Just like the High Holidays for me, some changes, global and personal or numerous and sparse are both equally significant in my day-to-day life and still difficult to express how they make impact.        

As for a personal transition, I have chosen to downsize and leave my home for the past four years in the heart of the gayest place on earth, The Castro for a quieter home without flat mates. After applying for about 35 apartments my 11-year-old Chihuahua, Diego and I have found a new small space to call home a mere 17-minute walk away (where Castro Street meets the rest of the non-gay world at the base of Buena Vista Park) and I move this Friday!      

Undergoing its own set of changes is my work life with the Jewish Community Federation. Of course disappointing on many levels is how our community beneficiary agencies and our own infrastructure have not proved immune to the global economic challenges impacting the philanthropic world. Not only did we have to reduce funding to many in our community but with our own organizational restructuring, came staff that had to be cut in order to continue to functioning efficiently and effectively. It was difficult having to say goodbye over the summer to so many of my friends.

In late July, I felt the impact of these changes again when I visited the tiny third floor walk-up to 400 square feet of safe community space that the Gay Galilee, the name of the Kiryat Shmona GLBT Community Center, occupies. We have supported this volunteer-run organization since its inception over a decade ago and today they are at the brink of closing its doors due to a lack of resources to pay the rent. The volunteers and teens that fill the center and attend its programs insist that the center is their only real life connection to GLBT community outside of traveling hours by bus to Tel Aviv.  

Of course, amongst these changes, I have new opportunities.  There are a few new challenges to consider over the next year in regards to my work with the LGBT Alliance . We have to create and implement a strategic plan, we’re collaborating with new departments and adjusting to working within a new infrastructure.  Yet, ultimately, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue working within the community.  Some of you have asked specific work related questions and to best answer them, I’m utilizing an existing community page forum to discuss or ask questions about the LGBT Alliance.    

With an abundance of time for reflection and prayer with my chosen family at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav this evening, I’ll be able to take the opportunity to contemplate more broadly on the juxtaposition of plenty vs. want.   It’s a struggle I’ve witnessed locally in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Israel and around the world.  Luckily, I feel I lean toward plenty.    

May 5771 bring you, your community and your family all the blessings of good health, prosperity, joy, love and peace. L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’taihatemi

Folks enjoying community conversations, food and entertainment at an Annual Gay Galilee Picnic organized by the GLBT Community Center in Kiryat Shmona, Israel.

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Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Hyperlocal


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