last sunday (June 28) was the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Greenwich village, nyc. the riots were, as most would know, a foundational moment in the modern gay liberation movement. I was in new york in February, and one chilly day with a friend we visited stonewall and the memorial in the park opposite. it was profoundly moving.
a couple of months ago i borrowed a book entitled ‘Queer Jews’, edited by David Shneer and Caryn Aviv, from the library. It’s sat on my shelf ever since, and i read bits of it every so often. I was reading it this morning, thinking about how, of course, there were Jews at Stonewall. Anyway, so i just wanted to recommend the book to everyone – there are bits that are challenging, lots that’s exciting, and many stories that make you hopeful, joyous and proud.
In the introduction Aviv and Shneer write “Queer Jews calls for integration are transformative rather than assimilationist.” They also write that they “hope that this book is part of the continuing move to action over reaction, toward self-definition, and to an era when queers, Jews, and queer Jews, who have always been social, cultural, and political leaders, will be able to lead as queers, as Jews, and as queer Jews.”
Inside, in a piece by Steve Greenberg (an openly gay orthodox rabbi), he writes that he visited a sage, Rav Eliashuv, in Jerusalem in 1976. Greenberg said to the Rav, “‘Master, I am attracted to both men and women. What shall I do?’ He responded, ‘My dear one, my friend, then you have twice the power of love. Use it carefully.'”
I like it.