Justin Spiro

At Eshel, We Are Hopeful

04/10/2014

Our friend Justin Spiro has hit upon the challenge in his piece, "LGBTQ Youth Have No Derech To Stray From." We cannot complain that young people are leaving a community if it leaves them first. 

LGBTQ Youth Have No Derech To Stray From

People leave the community because of how they are treated, not because of Jewish law.

04/09/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to represent JQY (Jewish Queer Youth) at the Keshet and Hazon Shabbaton for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) teenagers. JQY is a non-profit organization supporting LGBTQ youth and their families in the Orthodox community.  

The participants at the Shabbaton represented a wide variety of religious, gender, and sexual identities. What struck me most was the life-saving role Judaism played in the lives of these teens. Many found refuge in religion when homophobic friends, family, and society rejected them. They spoke about Reform and Conservative congregations and youth groups embracing them and mitigating the harsh reality of life beyond the synagogue walls.

Justin Spiro
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