Hollywood bar mitzvah marks turning point for gay ex-Mormon Jewish comedian
By Derek Kwait for JTA
When H. Alan Scott looked up through the mikvah waters, he says he saw the shadows of his past and present lives undulating above him: Poor Mormon kid. Gay man. Comedian. Cancer survivor.
Then his head broke the surface for the third time, and he felt that at last he had emerged with an identity that fit perfectly: Jew.
That was five years ago.
In May 2016, JQY launched the only Drop-in Center for at-risk Jewish teens and young adults. This unique program, based at Congregation Bet Simchat Torah in Midtown Manhattan, is a space in which teens and young adults, ages 13 to 23, can:
Check in with licensed social workers
Meet others they can relate to
Participate in support groups
Have access to health and safety resources
Enjoy a hot kosher meal
Be part of an affirming community
Our participants come from Jewish communities across the Orthodox spectrum- from Borough Park to Teaneck, Staten Island to Riverdale, Cedarhurst to New Rochelle.
Many struggle with depression, anxiety, abuse, homelessness, self-harm, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, isolation, loneliness, or despair.
You are not alone.
Is Our Happiness Not Worth A ‘Mazal Tov’?
BY ARI SHANE WEITZ for The Jewish Week
Same-sex marriage, homophobia and an Orthodox shul bulletin.
The “mazal tov” in the shul bulletin was unremarkable. It was the second of seven such congratulations in the Nov. 3, 2017 issue of Hebrew Institute of Riverdale’s Bayit Bulletin, sandwiched between one to the parents and grandparents of a bar mitzvah boy, and one to the parents of a new son (and to the newborn’s big sister). It was the same point size and type face as all the others, and there was no rainbow flag next to it.
Liberal Orthodox Synagogue Will Stop Announcing LGBT Weddings After OU Complains
BY BEN SALES for The Jewish Week
A flagship liberal Orthodox synagogue in New York will stop congratulating same-sex couples on their weddings following a complaint by the Orthodox Union.
The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the Bronx will no longer announce the weddings of its LGBT members in its newsletters in accordance with a policy dictated by the O.U., the largest association of Orthodox synagogues in the United States. The policy was set out this month in response to complaints from other member synagogues, which take a harder line on opposing same-sex marriage.
From Black Hat To Trans Ally, And Paying A Price
BY SHIRA HANAU for The Jewish Week
The unlikely journey of an Orthodox rabbi who lost a pulpit and an outreach post but gained a cause.
On the third day of Chanukah last December, Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, an outreach rabbi at Columbia University, received a text message from a transgender student.
“At the moment, it’s taking everything I’ve got to get through finals,” the student wrote, referring to the immediate academic pressure piled atop his struggle to feel accepted in the Jewish community because of his gender identity. “I’m in a hard place at the moment.”
Before the rabbi could respond, the student sent another message: “I’m really appreciating your existence.”