Friday, 30 August 2013


מיין נייַ טיכעל פֿאַר ראש השנה

The first year I went to shul on Rosh Hashana as an out FGP (frum gay person), I walked into shul expecting to be stoned. Or worse. Though what that worse might have looked like, I wasn't sure. I was AFRAID.

You know, you hear these crazy stories about Ultra-Orthodox Jews spraying people with bleach or acid for not wearing stockings, and - you know - being gay in the frum community might be considered a tad bit more outrageous than that? And yes, gentle readers, I DO live in a chassidish community and that WAS the shul I planned on attending. Ultra, with a capital YOU. So, who knew? Flame throwers? Concrete shoes? Drawn and quartered? All of the above?

I wore perfectly ordinary clothes for my community. A black skirt. A black jacket. Black tights. Black shoes. I looked nice, if the look you are going for is modern undertaker. I carried my machzor tucked under my arm. My children walked beside me, in size order, wearing matching clothing.

I'm making light of this occasion, but it was anything but. For over an hour, I sat at home, sweating, thinking I wouldn't actually show up. That this year (and probably every year afterwards) I would daven at home. Because, after a lifetime of avoiding the public gaze, I was not ready to run the gauntlet at my shul. I didn't want people to stare at me. I didn't want them to talk.

I knew they did it in private. People had already made up some incredibly juicy (and untrue) stories about me and passed them around for the delectation of every man jack in the entire frum word, but that didn't mean I had to see it with my own two eyes. You know?

But it was Rosh Hashana! And I am a frum Jew! And I love the Rosh Hashana davening, and I love the leining and the shofar blozen, and I particularly love the slow, tired moments in the late afternoon, when all the yiden are a bit played from standing on their feet, and yet they are all still there, asking H-shem for a good, sweet year.

And ultimately, I wasn't going to please those other Jews. I wasn't even going to please myself. I was going to please my Tate in Himmel, my G-d. So I went.

And you know what happened? A big fat load of nothing. Yes, there were Jews who even on Rosh Hashana felt it was important to give me the cold shoulder, ignore me or stare pointedly at me and then shudder.

But at least half of the chassidic shul wished me a good sweet year. At least half of the shul smiled and asked me how things were going for me. The Rabbi and the Rebbetzin came up to me and blessed me with a gmar tov.

And I walked home, still sweating, still riding my waves of fear, but also fanning myself with some of those kind words. Some of that acceptance.

Yiden, that's what I've discovered. Maybe half the shul won't talk to you anymore after you come out. Maybe they didn't talk to you before you came out either! But the other half will. There's a lot of accepting people out there. You just have to find them, even in the most Ultra of Ultra-Orthodox communities.

May all of you have a good and sweet year and a gmar tov.

Frum Gay Girl


  1. U shoulda tries doing that in williamsburg and all ur sweating and fear wouldntve been in vain

    1. I taught in Williamsburg and I hear you. But I still don't think it's impossible. I have supportive friends even amongst the most chassidish.

  2. It's sad that Jews in large Jewish communities think that one soul is disposable just because there are many others. If yeshiva curriculi included mandatory "Derech Eretz" (proper behavior) classes, maybe they wouldn't mistreat Jews who don't conform.

  3. beautiful holy neshama. Zie Shtark

  4. beautiful holy neshama. Zie Shtark