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Articles and Readings

Online writing on Judaism and Sexuality by Jay Michaelson, Director of Nehirim

How can you be gay and Jewish?
Starting from square one: How to be both out and proud, and religiously Jewish. (Zeek, September 2004)

‘­­Abomination’­­ is Hate Speech
Most American Jews, according to polls and the official positions of the major religious movements, do not believe that there is anything wrong with homosexuality. (Sh’ma, April 2012)

Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community
Nehirim community member Chaim Levin tells his hearbreaking and inspiring story of being gay in the frum community. (Jewish Press, January 25, 2012)

Pinkwashing Is Not Black and White
Israel has a stellar record on LGBT rights and its neighbors have abominable ones. But that doesn’­­t mean gay people should provide blanket support for all of Israel’­­s policies, especially those vis-à-vis the Palestinians. (Forward, November 29, 2011)

How Gay Rights Teaches Us Torah: Our Faith Grows Because Text Offers Room to Interpret Issues
Religious people should not be for equality despite their religion but because of it. (Forward, November 4, 2011)

Queer Repentance: On Not Surrendering to a Text, to Guilt, or to Habit
The process of gay self-acceptance is one of building self-confidence. The process of tshuvah is one of self-questioning. (Religion Dispatches, October 5, 2011)

Integration isn’­­t Everything
True spirituality is not about retreating onto mountaintops; it’s about being in the world, and that means integrating the greatest of insights into “real life.” (Reality Sandwich, July 15, 2011)

Judaism 2030: Visions of a Jewish Tomorrow
The Jewish Outreach Institute hosted a conference entitled “Judaism 2030: A Working Conference for a Vibrant Jewish Future and the Steps Necessary to Get Us There.” (ZEEK, May 25, 2011)

Why 300 (Mostly Straight) Religious Leaders Are Gathering in Washington to Support LGBT Equality
Religious leaders gathered in Washington under the auspices of the Human Rights Campaign (Huffington Post, May 22, 2011)

Ten Reasons Gay Rights is a Religious Issue
(Tikkun, July 15, 2010)

Gay and Orthodox: And Cleaving Strongly to Both
An often hidden community goes beyond the trembling (The Forward, February 8, 2011)

Should Gays and Lesbians Argue Scripture? A Dialogue
Response to a recent editorial by Candace Chellew-Hodge and her reply (Religion Dispatches, January 18, 2011)

The Gifts of Difference
(Isabella Freedman Jewish Center, February 16, 2010)

Brit Hitvada’ut: A Coming Out Ritual
Written for the Human Rights Campaign, this ritual for coming out draws on the story of Joseph, the symbolism of the mikva, and the hidden heritage of GLBT people.

Ahavat Olam
Speech given at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America on Conservative Judaism and sexual orientation, focusing on Jay’s own suffering in the closet, and arguing that the Jewish God could not possibly create gay people only to subject them to repression.

Shatnez and Civilization: The Queer Path of the Boundary Crosser
Are affirming homosexuality and halacha fundamentally incompatible? (Tikkun, August 2006)

Into Life: On Parshat Va’era
(Torah Queeries, January, 2007)

A Less Innocent Love
Sexuality, repression, and spiritual life (Jewish Mosaic, August 2006)

It’s the Purity, Stupid: Reading Leviticus in Context
Why God hates fags only as much as God hates shrimp.

In Jerusalem, Fundamentalism on the March
(Forward, Nov. 17, 2006): Op-ed on the ultra-Orthodox protests of the Jerusalem Pride parade.

Toward a Queer Jewish Theology
Why does God make some people gay? (Shma, December 2005)

Books in Print: A GLBT Jewish Bibliography (Links lead to Amazon.com product pages)

Mentsh: On Being Jewish and Queer
Anthology of memoir and essays from August, 2004.

Torah Queeries
Weekly commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, edited by Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer.

Wrestling with God and Men
Rabbi Steve Greenberg’s landmark book on homosexuality in the Jewish tradition.

God vs Gay?
Jay Michaelson’s religious case for equality.

Queer Theory and the Jewish Question
Academic anthology edited by Daniel Boyarin, Daniel Itzkovitz, Ann Pellegrini.

Queer Jews
Eclectic anthology edited by David Shneer and Caryn Aviv.

Like Bread on the Seder Plate
Rebecca Alpert asserts a visible place for lesbians within Judaism.

Found Tribe
Jewish coming-out stories.

Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation
Edited by Rebecca T. Alpert, Sue Levi Elwell, and Shirley Idelson.

Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith
An anthology edited by Debra Kolodny.

Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community
An anthology edited by Noach Dzmura.

The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism
A fascinating collection of essays, edited by Danya Ruttenberg.

Trembling Before G-d (DVD)
On being Orthodox and gay/lesbian.

Queering the Text
Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish Stories by Andrew Ramer.

Mourning and Celebration: Jewish, Orthodox and Gay, Past & Present
A­­­  novel by K. David Brody.

The Family Flamboyant: Race Politics, Queer Families, Jewish Lives
A book by Marla Brettschneiders

Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian, Gay, and Jewish
Now a bit outdated, but ahead of the curve. By Christie Balka and Andy Rose.

Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires
Anthology of queer Orthodox women’s stories, edited by Miryam Kabakov.

Queer Spiritual Books and Resources

Gay Soul : Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature with Sixteen Writers, Healers, and Teachers
Fantastic anthology of interviews by Mark Thompson.

The Essential Gay Mystics
Edited by Andrew Harvey

Coming Out Spiritually: The Next Step
By Christian de la Huerta, founder of Q-Spirit.

Queer Dharma: Voices of Gay Buddhists
Excellent anthology for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

White Crane
A Journal of Gay Spirit, Wisdom, and Culture. Contains several articles of Jewish interest.

Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder
Collected works by gay pioneer Harry Hay.

Gay Perspective
Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us About the Nature of God and the Universe, by Toby Johnson.

Two Flutes Playing
A Spiritual Journeybook for Gay Men, by Andrew Ramer

Wrestling With the Angel
Faith and Religion in the Lives of Gay Men, edited by Brian Bouldrey.

chroma
The UK’s only queerliterary and arts journal.

Practice Safer Texts
Food, Sex, and Bible in Queer Perspective, by Ken Stone

Blossom of Bone
Reclaiming the Connections Between Homoeroticism and the Sacred, by Randy P. Conner

Gay Spirituality
The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness, by Edwin Clark Johnson and Toby Johnson

Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why
The Science of Sexual Orientation, by Simon LeVay

Hidden from History
Reclaiming the Gay & Lesbian Past, edited by Martin Baumi Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey