Updated: Aug 9, 2019
My name is Josh and I am queer. I also used to be a frum (religious) Jew. I spent four years studying in yeshiva (Jewish seminary) after school, but halfway towards becoming a rabbi, I decided to leave. First I left the yeshiva. Then I left Judaism. Then I left the community. Only then did I come out as gay.
I’ve created The Queer Jew to share stories about my youth as a queer Jew. I no longer identify religiously as Jewish, but I know what a difference visibility can make. When you're queer, it’s easy to believe you're the only one. I did. I want you to know that you're not alone*. I know that sharing will give some queer Jews a little bit more conviction that who they are matters. Hopefully, it can also give members of the community some insight into what it is really like being different.
*The reality is that millions of South Africans openly identify as LGBTQ, with millions more in the closet. Whether you are aware of it or not, you know many queer Jews.
I use the term queer because I’ve learnt over the last few years that my homosexuality is about more than just who I am attracted to. I am attracted to men, but I am also very sensitive, a little fluid in my gender, unabashadley weird, and proud to be different. That difference caused me to hide for the first twenty-four years of my life. Now, it is what I’m most excited to show to the world.
My primary goal here isn’t to save lives or change people or even change minds. It is to open myself up and connect with you. It is to be seen. But I want a byproduct of this to be that queer Jews know that someone sees them and loves them. That anyone who is different knows that someone sees them and loves them.
You deserve to be loved. You are loved. I see you.
Yours in queerness,