Here are some great articles/stories which have been floating around the internet this week:
- What happened when an Orthodox Jewish congregation went to a gay bar to mourn Orlando? Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, the Rabbi of Congregation Ohev Shalom in D.C. went with the maharat of his shul and several congregants to a gay bar in D.C. immediately following shavuot to express their solidarity with LGBT people after the Orlando shooting.
We didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out that we had so much in common. We met everyone in the bar. One of the patrons told me that his stepchildren were actually bar-mitzvahed in our congregation. Another one asked for my card so that his church could come and visit. The bartender shut off all of the music in the room, and the crowd became silent as we offered words of prayer and healing. My co-clergy Maharat Ruth Friedman shared a blessing related to the holiday of Shavuot, and she lit memorial candles on the bar ledge. Then everyone in the bar put their hands around each other’s shoulders, and we sang soulful tunes. After that, one of our congregants bought a round of beer for the whole bar.
- Orlando- The wrath of man. Rabbi Jack Abramowitz of the OU wrote an amazing article discussing how even if something offends your religious sensibilities, it is not your job to “be God’s designated spokesman.”
- Orthodox LGBT center addressing ‘Quiet Emergency’ discusses the new JQY Drop-In Center for Jewish LGBT Youth.
The new center, which opened for weekend and evening hours at the end of April, provides counseling, kosher food, and even arranges housing accommodations for teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 and 23 who don’t feel they can safely return home. Drop-ins come from a broad range of religious backgrounds, said Levovitz — “We’ve seen chasidic teens from Williamsburg still wearing bekishes (long coats traditionally worn by chasidic Jews), Sephardim, and Modern Orthodox kids from New Jersey who have been in day school their whole life.” Some drop-ins are already married; some already have children, he said. For many of those who stop in, it is the first space where they openly identify as LGBT. “Many of those who have come are still completely closeted in their families and communities,” said Levovitz.