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August 25, 1989 - Image 93

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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shopping.' I got a kick out of
that."
For almost three years, he
stayed at his job at the
Library of Congress.
"Psychologically, it was very
important to me to keep
working," he says. "But when
I was in the hospital the last
time, I got sort of scared. They
almost lost me, and when I
got out, I decided that I didn't
want to do anything any more
that I didn't love completely.
So I retired, and gave myself
a party. My new career is
speaking to groups about
AIDS. And that's been very
rewarding."
David Green is 37 years old.
He gives the impression of be-
ing a quiet, scholarly man.
He speaks with- an animation
that belies the skeletal thin-
ness of his body, the wheezing
sound of his lungs. His words
are punctuated by a gentle,
self-deprecating humor.
Green was raised with only
a smattering of formal
Judaism; his limited Jewish
participation almost
evaporated when he "came
out," openly acknowledging
his homosexuality.
This estrangement from
organized Jewish life is a
common pattern among gay
Jews — and is one of the
reasons Jewish institutions
have been slow to respond ef-
fectively to the epidemic.
"Gay Jews tend to be unaf-
filiated," said one rabbi who
has tried to get his congrega-
tion to confront the issue of
People with AIDS (PWAs), the
preferred terminology for
AIDS patients. "The fact is,
for a variety of reasons, they
feel unwelcome in our
synagogues, for which I can-
not fault them. But by being
outside the congregational or-
bit, they further remove
themselves from the Jewish
community and its institu-
tions."
Other gay Jews, still
leading secret lives, are
members of traditional
synagogues, but when are fac-
ed with AIDS, they may leave
the Jewish world rather than
reveal their homosexuality.
"I've had PWAs who've said
to me that they can't really
talk to their rabbis, because
the didn't come out to their
rabbis," says Rabbi Joseph A.
Edelheit, a Chicago rabbi
who is on the front lines of
AIDS activism. "So now here
they have AIDS, and what are

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