By Aaron White
In this day and age, many college students have to grapple for the first time with what really defines them. One of the most important aspects of college isn’t necessarily the education, it’s the discovery of one’s identity. As many students leave home for the first time, they discover the beauty of independence and the ability to think and do without the concern or constraint of home. Some find their sexuality (others just engage in sex). Other students, myself included, turn inward and seek what is familiar to us: Judaism. A problem occurs, however, when sexuality and religion come into conflict. It comes as no surprise to know that not all branches of Judaism accept homosexuality. If they did, I would be shocked. It would be the first time, in my knowledge, that all Jews were able to agree on anything.
More important than religious approval of homosexuality is how GLBT Jews see themselves within Judaism and how they feel about it. Emma* says of Judaism, “It’s what I grew up with and my mom and dad were supportive of me when I came out. I don’t know so much of how they [the congregation] feel about my sexuality but then again, I don’t think any of them know.” Her story is a positive one but for many other Queer Jews this simply isn’t the case, depending on which branch of Judaism they grew up with.