The Schmooze

Struggling To Be Gay and Orthodox, Without Hypocrisy

One of the first prayers at the start of the Shabbes meal is not the traditional Hamotzi on the bread, but the blessing over the wine. As one of the characters in “A Strange and Separate People” explains it, that’s why the challah is covered by a cloth:

“We don’t want the bread to feel hurt — that it’s not first… It shows if we care that much about bread, how much more should we care about people.”

It is a central moment in Jon Marans’s brilliant and insightful play about the intersection of God’s law and man’s love. The play, which opened July 19 at New York’s Theater Row Studio Theatre, asks an important question: Can someone be a tzadik, a righteous person, if he keeps all the mitzvot but one?

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Struggling To Be Gay and Orthodox, Without Hypocrisy

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