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December 15, 1989 - Image 157

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-15

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

BOOKS 1

SAY
IT
WITH
TREES

New Anthology Traces
Jewish-Gay Experience

WINSTON PICKETT

Special to The Jewish News

I

tern: Lesbian and gay
Jewish couples are
challenging traditional
notions of Jewish family life,
and creating new models for
heterosexual relationships.
Item Increasing numbers
of gay and lesbian Jews have
achieved —mostly at a cost of
wrenching personal struggle
— a synthesis of their dual
identities.
Item: Gay and lesbian
Jews are actively reclaiming
Jewish history for their own.
Item: Lesbian and gay
Jews are creating their own
liturgies.
Those are some of the facts
and insights contained in
the just-released Twice

"My struggle to
integrate my
Jewish and lesbian
identities was
really two separate
struggles."

Blessed, On Being Lesbian,
Gay, and Jewish, a book that

seeks to change the way in
which the mainsteam
Jewish community views
gay and lesbian Jews — as
well ss the way in which
they view themselves.
Co-edited by Andy Rose,
the anthology bristles with
insights, analysis, history
and a panorama of subjects
ranging from intimate per-
sonal accounts to workshop
models geared to combat
homophobia and heterosex-
ism.
And it shatters the myth of
gay and lesbian isolation.
"My struggle to integrate
my Jewish and lesbian iden-
tities was really two
separate struggles. First, I
had to figure out a way to be
Jewish that included the
celebration of difference and
that respected tradition
without coming from a pure-
ly halachic framework.
"Second, I had to figure
out how to accept myself as a
lesbian, to love myself, to
come out to the important
people in my life from a
place of strength, and to find
other lesbians with whom to
share triumphs and
disasters."
Those are the words of

Winston Pickett writes for the
Northern California Jewish

Bulletin.

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Adina Abramowitz, obser-
vant Jew. She is also les-
bian. After years of feeling
she had to split her life in
two, between her love for
Torah and her sexual orien-
tation, Abramowitz has
learned to harmonize the
two.
In her essay "Growing up
in Yeshiva," Abramowitz
tells of her emergence as an
observant Jew from an as-
similated background, her
love of study, her sense of
isolation from the Jewish
community, and her
ultimate acceptance as a
lesbian and committed Jew
in a predominantly Chris-
tian world. Accounts such as
Abramowitz's are a bridge
between the personal worlds
and the historical, social, po-
litical, communal and
religious worlds lesbian and
gay Jews inhabit. Each is
covered in the book under
separate headings.
There is, for example,
Rebecca Alpert's "Coming to
Terms with Leviticus," the
biblical source where
homosexuality is banned
outright and merits
punishment; Agnes Her-
man's "A Parent's Journey
Out of the Closet"; Judith
Plaskow's "Toward a New
Theology of Sexuality"; and
"Responding to the
Challenge of AIDS" by Rose,
who was the AIDS outreach
coordinator for Jewish Fami-
ly and Children's Services in
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I TRAVEL

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E+)

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

157

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