Skip To Content

Herschel Siegel was embraced by our Atlanta Orthodox community

The broader Orthodox community must find a way to welcome and embrace LGBTQ+ people. Herschel Siegel was embraced in ours.

Re: “A young gay Orthodox man died by suicide. We must confront how Jewish teachings harmed him” by Mordechai Levovitz

To the editor:

I am a member of the Atlanta Orthodox community and a good friend of the Siegel family. I want you to know that I wholeheartedly agree with the message of Mordechai Levovitz’s op-ed, “A young gay Orthodox man died by suicide. We must confront how Jewish teachings harmed him.”

The Orthodox community must find a way to welcome and embrace LGBTQ+ people, as it is clearly a matter of pikuach nefesh (preserving life).

I also want you to know how deeply and sincerely Herschel was embraced and accepted by many in our community, and specifically by his family. His parents and siblings showed him absolute love and acceptance. I completely understand the need to highlight important issues, but I can’t imagine the pain and suffering his family is going through, and it is completely wrong for this op-ed to even imply that his family did not accept him 100%. I won’t even go into the fact that mental illness is far more complex than what you’ve reduced it to for your article.

Those who know the Siegel family know the tremendous love and support they always showed their son. To ignores this dishonors to the memory of the precious and beloved Herschel Siegel.

Jennifer Marks

Editor’s note:  This letter refers to a suicide. If  you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support, call  or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.