Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"We have met the enemy......and he is us" - Walt Kelly

"Remember...after you left Egypt - how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear."

A few weeks after the YU symposium I tried an experiment. I sent emails to about 20 rabbis across North America. Those who I heard were somewhat Modern Orthodox or who may have had a specific interest in gay issues. In the title bar I wrote "On being gay in the modern Orthodox world - this may be of interest to you and your congregants."

I received a response from three rabbis. Two of them were from Montreal and the other was from St. Louis. The rest were silent.

The rabbi from St. Louis asked me if I was receiving responses as a result of the symposium and how my son was faring. (He doesn't know me or my son.) One rabbi from Montreal asked me if I am ever in that city and if so, he would like to meet me and discuss the issue of being gay in the modern Orthodox world. The other rabbi passed my name onto a gentleman who recently wrote a book about growing up gay in an Orthodox home and invited me to his shul to hear the man speak.

I subsequently received a very nice email from the author telling me that he read the blog and that I "should not judge my son too harshly." He also invited me to hear him speak at his book launch.

Isn't it interesting that from all the emails I sent out, to Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey area, St. Louis, Montreal, Toronto and Boston, I only heard from 3 rabbis of 2 communities. I believe that the communities of Montreal and St. Louis are similar in that they are not heavily divided along religious lines. They share the need to stand together.

I scheduled a business meeting in Montreal to coincide with the book launch. After the evening's event, the Rabbi, the Rebbitizin, the author and I went out for a nice, long cup of coffee. It was a pleasure to meet and talk so openly. I also met with the other rabbi as well. We had a lovely discussion.

What a shame that other rabbis could not be so open, welcoming and so forthcoming.

Maybe there is hope for us after all.

Be well.

Saul David

PS. After I finish reading the book I will tell you the name and author.