Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

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Trembling Before G-d

I went to the movies tonight. I went with friends and with strangers and with people I respect greatly and the movie I saw was tremendously important.

The verse in Deuteronomy says that male/male anal sex is an abomination (not those who practice it - the only people who are called abominations are those who use fraudulent measures). The law in the Code of Jewish law says that lesbian sex is liable for lashes, although it is not mentioned at all in the Torah.

This movie was about people who were born into the Orthodox tradition but who are also gay. Some hide this from themselves and marry, even have children. Some know it and still marry and have children and are never with anyone they can love fully, which causes equal pain to their spouses who therefore do not get the spouse they need. They have decided you can't be frum and gay, and they want to be frum. This doesn't work very well.

Equally painful are those who decide in the other direction. Yes, they may well have companionship and love, if not children, but you can hear the longing in their eyes and in their voices even as they cry out that they cannot be religious. Since the first group was closeted - seen only in silhouette and shadows if at all, we couldn't see their faces. With the second, we could see sometimes years of hurt. They were rejected by something they'd held precious, and by their communities and their families, and in return they rejected it, but you can tell they lost a big piece of themselves as well. I will never forget Israel, who claims to want nothing of his old beliefs, but who sang Shalom Aleichem when the Sabbath siren sounded.

Then there are those who want both. They want to be able to love whom they can love, and still be part of the greater Orthodox community. And for them, life is a tightrope between truth and rejection - rejection by family on one side and friends who don't understand their need to be religious on the other, with rabbis across the spectrum of understanding and knowledge. Some are wishing, some are asking and some are demanding acceptance. And some are just trying to be who they are - a religious lesbian couple who help other women in sexual crisis - married women having affairs with other married women but who don't want lose their marriages and children - while struggling to maintain a relationship with their parents.

The discussion afterwards was also amazing. My husband's school principal, a highly respected Modern Orthodox rabbi, showed up as a sponsor. More - when he was told that one side of the room would be filmed, but not the other, he got up and moved to the filmed side and spoke on camera - and he wants to show the movie to his congregation and his faculty, and possibly even his high school students. Amazing man.

All in all, a worthwhile movie and evening.

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