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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.

Sincerely,
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.

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