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Introduction... (The first blog post in 2011)...

I am a frum, gay & married male who feels compelled to share. Let me get this out of the way, when I say I am gay ,  I will qualify it...

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Rabbi" Yehuda Levin defines insensitivity

You may have seen http://bit.ly/p9kWsu and then the follow up of http://bit.ly/pABNzR.

To summarize; "Rabbi" Yehuda Levin, a "Rov" in Flatbush goes on a rant in which he attributes Leiby Kletsky's murder to the rising gay agenda and the lack of protesting by Frum people. He goes on to suggest that the murderer was probably motivated by a gay desire for the  boy.

I am not going to debate the right and wrongs of gay marriage and/or gay relationships and the Torahs views on these topics. Nor will I debate the preposterous notion that Levin has the right to suggest G-d's motives as well as the killers orientation. That isn't my point. Many people have attacked him for the substance of his message.

What brought me close to tears and pains my heart isn't so much the message more than it is the delivery. "Rabbi" Levin speaks with no sensitivity to his subject. He is out of touch with the pain and inner turmoil that the frum homosexual struggles with. His words are like daggers. I did not hear him once use a sympathetic tone to people who fight and claw in this battle day after day.  

How is it possible that someone in a position of authority and influence can be so out of touch with the Jewish midah of rachmonim, compassion?

Would it have killed him to let me know how sorry he is for my loneliness and pain? It wouldn't have taken away from the message (which I disagree with but again isn't the point). He could have grieved with me and consoled me for my struggle in balancing my relationship with Hashem while trying to understand my innermost and deepest attractions that Hashem doesn't want me to pursue!

Is it possible that rantings like his kills the frum homosexuals spirit? Is it possible that he risks through his condemnation that kids not understand how to deal with homosexual feelings will go off the derech and even worse possibly take their own lives.

Is it possible that the Gedolim that recently have passed away and Leiby Keletzky and other challenges facing Jewry can be attributed to weaknesses of our Rabbanim and leaders? Are the Rabbanim sensitive enough to this generations challenges? Is a lack of sensitivity figuratively (and maybe literally) killing our children in a similar way to Leibys murder?

Who will "Rabbi" Levin blame Rabbi Abuchatzeira's murder on? Did he also die because of the homosexual agenda? 

I am so sickened by him and his rantings and the holy people's teachings he attributes his corrupt and insensitive views to (Namely R' Avigdor Miller). What he doesnt get is that Rabbi Miller exuded love. There is no love in Mr. Levin's teachings. His rantings are callous and cold or "kar" like amalek (which he loves labeling us as).

In my humble opinion someone needs to send this Dahan fellow on a visit to Yehuda Levin. Don't try telling me I am overdoing it by wishing on him the worst. I'll answer you by telling you to visit the funeral of the poor confused teenager that takes his own life after hearing these rantings. 

Hashem should show us the way and bring Mashiach very soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Image, Parenting and Therapy...

Growing up, I was moderately overweight. While I don't think this is something that should have been an area of focus in my upbringing, it ended up dominating it. My parents for some reason felt that they needed to project a family image that excluded an overweight child. Some of my most painful memories are of my mother telling me as a young boy that she was embarrassed to be with me because of my weight. I can never forget that.

(Stop for a moment and think about what it means as a child to feel you are an embarrassment to your parents. The most important people in the world are ashamed to have you as one of their own. How devastating and tragic that feeling is. I don't know what motivated me to keep on living.)

As a child of just 7 or 8 years old I was being sent to weight watchers meetings. When my family planned a vacation, the only way I was allowed to go was if I lost 5 or 10 pounds before the trip. The rest of the family just went, I had to earn it.

As I mentioned in earlier posts I was always the youngest in my class in school as well as in camp. Being sensitive is a vicious cycle. It encourages, excites and feeds into the bullies need and will to harass you.

After a while my parents realized that I was coming home dejected and depressed from school. They decided to send me to a psychologist. What a disaster. Not the idea, that was a good one. The disaster was the therapist they chose.

I am not sure if he falsified his degree. His horrific approach was to further tease and belittle me. He figured that he would knock the "wimp" out of me. He would take my sensitivity and sissiness and shove it back at me. Laughing at me, he would ask why I was such a baby, Why I couldn't be more manly. He would comment on my weight. He would even bad mouth my father to me by telling me all sorts of negative things about him. I know there was more but I've blocked a lot of it out.

It was as if he wrote the book on how to ruin a boys chance at masculinity and used me as his prototype.

This lasted a number of years. While it was going on I didn't know any better. I figured that this was therapy and what I needed to go through to get "healed".

Of course, now I know better. Now I know that all I needed was love and affection.

Parents reading this, I beg you to please consider refraining from challenging your children about their weight. Make subtle changes in the foods available at home rather than hurting their self worth and self image. They will come around when they are ready.

I also beg you that if your child needs therapy, send them by all means, but please research the therapist. Make sure you have references. Maybe interview him/her and learn their approach. The wrong therapist can kill your childs soul and possibly turn them away from the idea for life.

Lastly, for Gods sake, please don't put your image in front of your childs. I promise you, the kid will smell it a mile away and you will lose him or her forever.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Abomination? Who is really guilty?

"You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination".

I think we can all agree that when the Torah uses the word toeva, it is in relation to the prohibition in the text. The biblical prohibition is the act of anal sex. This act per the pasuk is a toeva

Ministers, Rabbis and anti gay activists alike, enjoy pointing out that the prohibition against homosexuality is somehow more important than everything else mentioned in the bible. They base this on the word "abomination" used in the text. Protesters tend to have variations of the word abomination plastered in big letters on their posters.

I bet you 9 out of 10 (or 10 out of 10) of these people don't know that this isn't the only place Toeva is mentioned in the Torah.

Here are some of the other places;.

1) Sacrifices - Offering one with a blemish; or one that was used as a prostitutes fee or one that was purchased through an exchange for a dog.
2) False Idols
3) A man wearing a woman's clothes and a woman wearing a mans clothes.
4) (One of my favorites) Remarrying an ex-wife after she has been with another man. 
5) Cheating in business (Not just cheating, even just owning false weights before having used them is called an abomination, the implication is that actually cheating would be worse than an abomination).
6) In summarizing all acts of forbidden relations in Leviticus 18:26-27 the text twice refers to them as abominations. This includes adultery and living with a woman while she is menstruating.

This word is also used throughout Nach for sin in general, for loving money and for a host of other wrongs.

There are also other variations of abomination used in the Torah to give emphases to certain prohibitions such as eating non kosher animals, fish and insects (sheketz or disgusting).

This begs the question; where are the religious groups that scream about the abomination going on in the business world every single day? I get 6 pieces of false advertising in the mail daily from credit cards, mortgage and insurance companies etc...Open the newspaper to the automobile section and let me know when you can get the Mercedes for no money down and $99 a month.  Cheating on taxes, insurance scams etc...WHAT AN ABOMINATION!!!!

Why aren't there organizations called AMRS or Anti Menstrual Relations Society. It is horrible that people are sleeping with their wives while they are "On the rag". It's an abomination!!!

Realizing you made a mistake about your first love and reconciling with her after she lived with another???? OH MY LORD!!! It's an ABOMINATION!!!

It might come off as if I am trying to mock the Torah. That isn't my intent, I am also not minimizing the fact that the Torah points these out as abominations. It did so for a reason.

It is obvious that there are reasons that Hashem chose the word toeva for a wide variety offenses. Some are easier to understand than others. The root like the gemara says is "Toeh ata bah", you are making a mistake. That is the common denominator.

So why do these folks choose homosexuality out of the many items listed above as their target? There are a variety of reasons that I can think of. They might find it uncomfortable or threatening. Maybe it's an easy target to rally against. It's just not that sexy to rally against wearing a member of the opposite sexes clothes (By the way, if you are thinking to make the correlation between the homosexual "abomination" and cross dressing, that pasuk mentions nothing of the sort. The "Lo silbash" pasuk can even be one item of the opposite sexes clothes and the Rabbis say it applies to a host of other things that even might extend to a man wearing jewelry or getting a manicure/pedicure).

Bottom line, to the religious right; face the music and own up. Don't lie to yourself. You are attacking homosexuals because of your bias and discomfort, not due to a higher calling or cause.

Be honest with yourself. We see in the Torah that cheating in business (dishonesty) can be an abomination. You wouldn't want to be accused of any piece of that now, would you?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Growing up with neglect...

My parents always wanted me out of the house when I was a kid. They sent me to a Catskills sleep away camp when I was 6 years old. Yes, 6 years old. They sent me for 2 months. I was the youngest kid in camp. My parents should have known better and the camp should have been closed down for being enablers to my abuse. They shouldn't allow such young kids barely toilet trained into camp...

I had a counselor who used to tickle me silly until I couldn't stop laughing and then hit me until I would cry... and then repeat. He did this to another kid in the bunk too. I was confused but the other kid had the balls to go to the head counselor. He didn't do anything about it. The counselor continued on his merry way through the end of the summer. (I actually had the opportunity to confront this counselor years later when he came back to camp as a chosson for a shabbos. It totally was against my nature to do that but I asked him in public if he planned on abusing his wife the way he abused me. I don't know where I gathered the strength to do that.)

School was the same way. My parents started me off early at 2 years old in nursery so I was always the youngest in the class. Smartest, but youngest. Not a good combination for the bullies. They don't like smarter than them and being the youngest made me an easy target. Lucky me, I was sensitive and would react at the slightest provocation... that egged them on even more. I constantly found myself on the other side of harmony. I didn't have peace at home. I didn't feel protected in school and didn't have a respite from the madness in camp.

(Sorry for painting such a bleak picture but part of the reason I started this blog was because I needed to vent. It has been somewhat cathartic.)

It is horrible not to have anyone to turn to. At the time I couldn't, and even now I cant think of any specific person who I might have been able to talk to about what I was going through. The only picture of love I can remember was my grand father who lived nearby. I unfortunately came home from school one day as a young boy, to him having had a heart attack and passing away young.

My parents sensing my unhappiness had the sensibility to set me up with a therapist. More later on the disaster that experience would turn into.

To close this entry I guess I wonder why I was destined by shamayim to have my spirit so broken as a child? What was Hashem setting me up for? How has it shaped who I am today? Sitting in my den at home, while my wife sleeps upstairs, anonymously blogging about my gay existence, not wanting anyone to know who the real me is. Where will this all lead?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Learned behavior?

The truth is that I have a lot more to write in relation to my childhood years. I fear a stigma building though and it isn't my intent. I'd like to clarify...

Being in the closet affords me the "luxury" to be in on those "straight" conversations in which the topic of homosexuality comes up. Friends might speculate as to another friends sexuality and/or the conversation goes to a person we know that has come out of the closet. It is common for someone to point out what a screwed up life the person in question had as if the person couldn't be gay and have had a normal life. It seems that the natural assessment a straight person makes when they talk about a gay guy is that there is something messed up about them.

(I will stop for a moment to say that this assumption is by far more common in frum circles.)

The way this affects me though is that I fear talking about my messed up childhood might reinforce that stereotype. Please help me with this. Is it a false perception on my end? Am I more sensitive to this line of thought because I am gay? I wonder if others feel that this stereotype exists. Do straight people think that someone who's gay must have had some element of abnormality or even abuse in their upbringing? This might go back to the conversation about genetics. In so far that someone has a genetic disposition to homosexuality I would guess they could've had the perfect upbringing and it's just built into their DNA to be attracted to guys.

On the other hand, if it is a learned behavior, does that imply a challenged upbringing?

Here's my thinking; if homosexuality is a learned behavior, to me that implies that heterosexuality is a learned behavior as well. Doesn't the logic go there? If being hetero is natural than shouldn't a homosexual need to"unlearn" their natural affinity to heterosexuality and than re-learn to be gay. I realize I am simplifying but it would seem more logical that a child is asexual until life experience "teaches" him sexual preference, be it homo or heterosexuality.

Okay, I am rambling... I understand that all sides of this argument have probably been debated already. I have not researched the debate (I probably will over time, I am new to this). I am sharing this because I believe that there are areas of subtlety within everyone's upbringing, healthy or unhealthy that can cause people to be all sorts of things, angry or happy, lazy or hard-working, stingy or  generous and yes, gay or straight.

That said, I will continue on my next blog entry to talk about some of the conditions of my childhood that have led me to where I am today. I  have confidence that my story of a screwed up childhood and the belief that some of it has led to my homosexuality, doesn't make it the rule of thumb. I hope others will see it the same way.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Genetic? Maybe, but I don't think so....

While I believe there is certainly a genetic aspect to homosexuality; I believe I don't need to go there to explain my deep yearning for male intimacy.

There is no question that a prerequisite for an individual to grow up with a sound feeling of self and a healthy emotional balance, their childhood home had to feel safe. A home for a child needs to be a place that they can fall back on for stability even when it seems like the rest of the world might be falling apart.

Of course for a home to feel safe there typically has to be a positive relationship between the parents and a general feeling of calm and predictability in day to day life. Love and encouragement on a proactive scale wouldn't hurt either but might not be absolutely necessary.

I for the most part did not enjoy any of the above feelings of safety. I grew up in New York City with second generation holocaust survivors as parents. I dont judge them becauae they had to live with parents who woke up screaming in middle of the night from the nightmares of their childhood.

My father was a successful business man who gave a ridiculous amount to tzedaka. He was into the New York political scene. Rabbi's fawned on him. He was cool. Good looking and charismatic.If I had a dime for every person who told me what a wonderful guy he is I would be rich. How I yearned for his love. I believe he loved me dearly but didn't always have the means to express it. I needed him to touch me gently and to tell me that he was there for me. He sent me to a yeshivish/heimish boro park elementary school. If you think there was a male role model I was able to count on for a healthy male child adult relationship you would be quite wrong. (That might be for another post.)

My mother had to hold up the fort on her own. She unfortunately wasn't emotionally strong enough to raise all of us. Without going into details, she lived a difficult and complicated life that played out in my relationship with her. I could truly write up a book on my upbringing and the difficulty it was.

Yes, this is the gay cliche of absent father & dominating mother. What could I say? I grew up yearning desperately for the love of a man while being turned off by the instability of the primary female in my life.Where did that leave me? You guessed it.When puberty set in, that yearning turned into something more sexual and physical in nature. Unsatisfied, it just raged on further.

As I started this post, I can never say for certain that elements of my gay desires are not genetic. I have no question though that my life experiences can explain my homosexuality as a learned behavior or at a minimum it has fanned that genetic flame in a very powerful way.

Ultimately, when I stand here today it makes absolutely no difference to me how I got here. I can't undo genetics, nor can I undo my life experiences.