Eshel Out Loud

News, Views, and Updates from the Eshel Community

Contemporary Orthodox Rabbis Speak

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, in an article written in nearly twenty years ago, stated the challenge for rabbis in these words: “.... how can we deny a human being the expression of his physical and psychic being?  If there’s a problem with the kettle, blame the manufacturer.  Is it not cruel to condemn an individual from [more]
How I Overcame 23 Years of Conversion Therapy

How I Overcame 23 Years of Conversion Therapy

I had always heard people say “sexual orientation is a choice. You choose to be gay or straight.” Well, I chose to be straight and here’s how that choice worked out for me.   Finding My Closet   Growing up, I was quite an active kid. But my hyperactivity was often interpreted as naughtiness. So, [more]
Shavuot and the Wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Youth

Shavuot and the Wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Youth

For ten days last month, we accompanied two of our British colleagues from Keshet UK to five US states as they shared a rather unusual story. Dalia Fleming and Benjamin Ellis won the trust of the Chief Rabbi of England, and he theirs, in opening up dialogue in the Orthodox community about LGBTQ+ members. They [more]
The Day My Rainbow Got  Kicked Out of Shul

The Day My Rainbow Got Kicked Out of Shul

I am an Orthodox Jew. I’m also an openly Bi-woman who is an active part of the Jewish LGBTQ community, particularly the Orthodox group for support and acceptance called Eshel. I also have a lot of awesome friends in the Orthodox community—friends who love and support me for who I am and believe in a [more]
Between Acharei-Mot and Kedoshim

Between Acharei-Mot and Kedoshim

My bar mitzvah date was totally messed up. The synagogue bureaucrat who assigned it gave me the double portion of Aharei-Mot/Kedoshim to be read on April 26, 1969. But I was born in late June! I'm not sure why they thought it was ok, but this was a full two months before my 13th birthday. By mistake, I was given [more]