It’s no secret that Orthodox Judaism condemns homosexuality. Until recently, this has manifested itself as either rejecting the possibility of an LGBT identity altogether (as is delineated in the right wing Orthodox Torah Declaration on homosexuality, or sympathizing with people struggling with gender identity, but not making room for them in communal structures as is delineated in the progressive Orthodox Statement of Principles. But given cultural influence- whether it’s conscious or not- Orthodox communities have to start dealing with these questions.
“Pulpit Plus One: The Secret Lives of Rabbis’ Husbands, Partners, and Wives” features the voices and experiences of the partners of pulpit rabbis. In this interview series, “Pulpit Plus One” takes an honest and lively look into the nuances of a complex role.
Six weeks before my Bat Mitzvah, I went with my mom to a family friend who knew how to sew to have my dress taken out. I had fallen in love with suit dress — with its beautiful navy color, satin detailing, pearl buttons and bolero jacket — but as a 180 pound, 5’2” almost-13 year old, it didn’t come in my size. I remember my mother reassuring me that it was okay, and the tailor being exceedingly kind. And as far as I can recall, I didn’t feel bad about myself. In fact, I felt sure, when I stood up before the congregation as an adult for the first time, that I looked beautiful. Even if I was self-conscious about the number on the scale, I was able to feel good about the person I saw in the mirror.
“What does he do for a living?” “Did you eat?” “When are you going to give my grandchildren?” “Are you sure you want to eat that?”