by Zack Evans

This was published on JPost on February 7, 2019

Orthodox parents who participated in a retreat for LGBTQ Jews and their families want their communities to engage in open, positive dialogue about LGBTQ issues in their communities, according to a survey by the Eshel organization.

Eshel started its annual retreat in order to provide a community for Orthodox LGBTQ Jews and their families. A statement on Eshel’s website says that  “through community gatherings Eshel helps LGBT Orthodox people pursue meaningful lives that encompass seemingly disparate identities while also fulfilling Jewish values around family, education, culture, and spirituality.”

The survey of over 70 parents, the vast majority of whom are Modern Orthodox, found that they all supported a change in how the Orthodox community. relates to LGBTQ Jews. They pushed for more positive and welcoming attitudes by their community.

More than 90% of parents hoped that their child would find a life-partner, as opposed to remaining celibate, and 63% supported mandating staff training on LGBTQ issues at Orthodox day schools.

While LGBTQ acceptance can be a hot-button issue among religious Jews, recent years have seen more organizations giving support to religious LGBTQ Jews. Two Jerusalem non-profit organizations, Kehila Datit Tomechet and Havruta, are active participants in the Jerusalem Pride Parade.