Up to now, transgender Jews have largely been met with silence in the communal world. Slowly, that is beginning to change and a new conference proves it.
For Americans of a certain age, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was formative: It’s by now axiomatic that most will never forget where they were at the time they received word of the shooting. Similarly, though probably less axiomatically, there’s a legion of Jewish males who will never forget where they were sitting (or lying) when they read the scene in Philip Roth’s masterpiece “Portnoy’s Complaint,” in which our young hero, um, makes love to a piece of liver that his family’s about to eat for dinner. (As I write this, 37 years after the book’s publication in 1969, I still fear that even this euphemistic characterization will not make it past my editors.) It’s not that it was the first or the last literary instance in which perishables were used as sexual aids. Nor was it the first — or last — time a character engaged in strange sexual congress with himself. But a nice Jewish boy? And for all the world to see?