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At He’bro’s Christmas Eve Jewbilee, Jayson circulated the crowd, his tattoo peeking out of the sleeve of his T-shirt. He was all smiles, hugging and shaking hands with the Jewbilee patrons, many of whom know him as the “Mayor of the Gay Jews.” They were a variety of dark-haired men, some smooth faces, others scruffy, mostly on the shorter side. Sometimes a chai or a hamsa or a Star of David hung from their necks. Some are American, some are Israeli, some are neither. “Wow, it feels like there’s a real community here!” my non-Jewish companion said.
Jews of all kinds peppered the crowd (including one shirtless Jewish Santa, wearing blue fuzzy pants and a hat trimmed in white, a chai tattooed on his chest). Some wore yarmulkes; some went shirtless and wore giant tinsel Stars of David. I saw young and old, gay and straight, Jewish, Asian, black, female, drag queen and more. Go-go boys danced onstage, their rippled muscles bending and twisting under the club’s glittering lights as the plastic Stars of David hanging from their necks bounced rhythmically against their chests. Every so often, a man slipped a dollar or two into a go-go boy’s tiny, tiny shorts.
The thumping beats from DJ Steve Sidewalk, also a gay Jew (Littman likes to keep it in the community), pounded through the space, infusing songs like Rihanna’s “S&M” with Israeli pop.
Later that night, I ran into an old friend from college.
“How did you hear about the party?” I asked.
“I’m gay and Jewish,” he said.
“No, but really.”
“I’m gay and Jewish.”
It’s an answer Littman would be happy to hear.
Elyssa Goodman is a writer and photographer living in New York. Visit www.miss-manhattan.com for more of her work.