So now I can post the full article that my friend Justin Spiro wrote. I took an excerpt from this article while it was still just a facebook status and used it several posts ago. Justin’s article titled, “LGBTQ Youth have No Derech To Stray From” was published as an opinion piece in the Jewish Week.
Today I’ll excerpt Justin’s call to action:
So here’s what we have to do: Orthodox synagogues must unequivocally and loudly welcome all members of the community into the congregation. This means publicly acknowledging the existence and worth of LGBTQ individuals, for a group marginalized for so long must be explicitly and enthusiastically welcomed. This means creating spaces in the synagogue for LGBTQ individuals to meet and embrace the many facets of their identity. This means not caving into pressure by board members or outspoken community members to silence and oppress. This means not hiding behind amorphous and inauthentic halachic objections to mask personal discomfort with the topic. This means having the courage to endorse and partner with LGBTQ organizations like JQY, Eshel, and Keshet. JQY has already developed sensitivity training resources for Orthodox high schools, camps, youth groups and mental health professionals, teaching them how to create a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ youth within an Orthodox framework.
As Pesach approaches and as we recall the commandment to help the stranger “because you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” I challenge the Orthodox Union, NCSY, Yeshiva University, and the myriad of Orthodox Day Schools across the nation to heed the call and foster an environment in which no Jew feels estranged.
Justin also writes a blog titled Frum Gay Jew. (Before you ask, he and I attended the same school of clever blog titling!) The blog had been sitting quiet for a few years but the posts are all fantastic. He posted this current article there yesterday and I have a feeling he may start writing again regularly. I can’t wait to read more!