This was written shortly after my book, Leviticus: You Have No Idea was published almost a decade ago. To read the full book review, click here or on the image below.
One of my Leviticus / LGBT jawns
First, for those unfamiliar with Philly slang, this.
Okay. This is me archiving this piece that Keshet and My Jewish Learning ran a few years ago, being re-shared now in case it’s useful to someone.
“Among LGBT Jews & their allies, Leviticus is a dirty word”
Among LGBT Jews and their allies, Leviticus is a dirty word. And not just because of its two famous homophobic verses. There are many challenging issues with Leviticus. For instance, while we support gender equality, Leviticus establishes an all-male system of ritual leadership. While we affirm the equal worth of people with physical disabilities, Leviticus excludes them from the priesthood. And of course, while we celebrate the blessing and beauty in loving same-sex relationships, Leviticus prescribes the death penalty for gay men who have intercourse.
So how do we work with a sacred text that is at odds with some of our deepest values–values that other parts of Torah affirm (like every person being created in God’s image)? For me, it starts with an approach to sacred texts that views them as human-created documents. Consistent with my Reconstructionist philosophy, I view the Torah as a record of our Israelite ancestors’ best efforts to describe their experiences of God and Truth.
#DACA = Time for New Approach to #Resistance
Count me among the millions of Americans – apparently 3/4 of the population according to one poll – who don’t want to see Dreamers deported. Trump’s DACA decision is all the varieties of awful that a gazillion writers and activists and politicians have already described online, in the papers, in interviews, and in the streets ever since Jeff Sessions took the podium and threw 800,000 people who deserve better under the bus.
I know that, starting today even, there will be hundreds of demonstrations – marches, vigils, probably some civil disobedience too. And already millions of people are flooding Congressional voicemail boxes and email boxes with protest messages and demands that Congress pass a straight-up Dream Act bill pronto and test DT’s claim to be ready to sign such a bill into law.
And all of that energy and activism will make a difference, which I guess I believe it always does especially if it’s done in a non-violent and intentionally ethical way.
But here’s the thing.
The DACA announcement is just the latest in a series of actions by the Trump Administration that is designed to disrupt, endanger, demoralize, and weaken a part of the American community. Its reverberations go well beyond the Dreamers and their immediate families. Sudden shifts in DACA policy create waves of fear throughout the entire undocumented population, and throughout much of the Latino-American community, American citizens included. (And yes, other immigrant communities too, but given Trump’s long campaign of hating on Mexicans in particular, it’s important to be clear that Latinos are being targeted with a particular set of toxic and bigoted memes.)
Trump’s efforts to repeal the ACA and, in the aftermath of Congress’s failure to pass a bill, his deliberate attempt to sabotage its proper functioning, also bring uncertainty, anxiety, and ultimately political exhaustion to those who rely on the ACA (like my family). Not just the people who use the exchanges – everyone who depends on different parts of the law, like Medicaid recipients, including families w/severely disabled children, is thrown off balance. Even if in the end the ACA stays in place and Trump loses interest in trying to sabotage it, think about the massive amount of contingency planning for worst case scenarios that’s going on in millions of households in this country, and the time, money, and volunteer hours that progressives are putting into trying to keep the law alive. That’s all energy and resources that could otherwise have been used to advance a progressive agenda, redirected down a path that will probably end in at least a partial loss of the hard-fought gains the ACA represented. Continue reading “#DACA = Time for New Approach to #Resistance”
Learning about transgender inclusion on Reform movement webinar
I’m appreciating the chance to gain a better understanding of evolving societal understandings of gender and gender diversity. Great, clear presentation so far being led by Daniel Bahner of Keshet.
The program is coordinated by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, known in Jewish community circles as “the RAC.” The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Youth and Gender Media Project also helped put it together.
I’m especially interested, given my new job as Associate Director of Affiliate Support with Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, in learning from the wisdom and experiences of these sponsoring organizations. They’ve done years of great work.
Because I’ve blogged about Rocky and Creed (and fully acknowledge how much I enjoy both films), there was a fun connection that came up in my mind when this webinar began. The first activity asked participants to generate stereotypical words and phrases that we associate with the gender binary notions of “boys” and “girls” / “women” and “men”. Not surprisingly, one of the words that came up a lot in reference to “women”/”girls” was pink. Daniel did a good job of reminding everyone that a lot of the aesthetics people in our culture tend to associate with men and/or women are so profoundly temporary and culture-bound. He did it by saying, “Remember, the founding fathers of this country wore wigs and high heels.” Anyway, this led me to remember that in the first Rocky movie, in 1976, when the big fight at the end finally happens, Rocky and his manager and trainers come out of his locker room and walk to the ring wearing pink. Pink robes, and for the manager and trainers, pink sweaters.
Anyway, I’m just appreciating this opportunity to learn and thinking about how I can work to be of service to the communities I will be serving in my new job.