My Sukkot Wish for our Queer Jewish Community

Suzie and I are hosting the big Keshet and JP Shabbat Sukkot potluck again this year! (You should come!)

Boston is a great place to be queer and Jewish, so I really just have one wish for our fabulous local LGBTQ Jewish community this year: flirting.

Why bother having separate LGBTQ community events when many Jewish institutions have become more and more inclusive of LGBTQ Jews?

Because flirting.

Imagine you are a young queer Jew looking for a date. You’re bored with OkCupid and JDate, so you try going to a singles night sponsored by your local synagogue. You get all gussied up, maybe you drag along a friend as a wingman, and you head in to the venue. What do you see? A whole bunch of straight people. (Regardless of how inclusive the shul is, this is a numbers game. There are more straight people than gay people.)

Okay, so let’s say you’re not instantly discouraged by the fact that most of the people in the room are a) not what you’re looking for and b) not looking for you. Let’s say you don’t feel super weird about either feeling invisible or feeling like you stand out in the wrong ways. You’re resilient! You can do this! So you look around the room for other LGBTQ people. Hey there’s one! But that person is not a gender you’re interested in. Oh, there’s someone who might be the right gender for you! But that person seems significantly too old/young for you. Or perhaps you just don’t find them attractive. HEY! Over there! There’s someone cute, of an appropriate gender, the right age–and they turn out to be your ex. And now you’ve exhausted your supply of LGBTQ people in the room. Dang.

This is where the LGBTQ Jewish community comes in! After feeling like there is a dearth of romantic options available for you in your shul, wouldn’t it be nice to go to an event where everyone is Jewish and LGBTQ? So many more possibilities! You could date EVERYBODY! (Okay, well, at least a significant portion of attendees.) It’s like Jewish summer camp! Yayyyy!

This is why you should come to my house if you happen to be LGBTQ and in the Boston area on October 10th. (If you’re old and married like me, you should still come, because you’ll help introduce the single people to each other. It’ll make things less awkward, and we’ll all have a good time.)

This is why you should host an event like this if you’re LGBTQ and not in the Boston area on October 10th.

This is why Jewish LGBTQ organizations should still care about hosting local events for members once in a while.

This is why Jewish institutions who are welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ members should continue to help support Jewish LGBTQ organizations do their own things sometimes.

Because flirting.

Tehillim For Finding Your Bashert

It’s hard, as a long-confirmed bachelor, to always stay optimistic, hopeful, that I too will find a partner. It’s all the more difficult in the midst of wedding season, when every remaining summer weekend is filled with another wedding.

But I need not fret!

I was able to make it past the horrifying web layout, reminiscent of 1997 Angelfire pages, to see that by simply filling out a form, the results of which can be viewed by anyone, groups will be formed to say Tehillim (Psalms) for us single folks in hopes that it’ll help us find our basherts (destined, fated; soul-mate).

The site also offers links to dating websites (notably, JDate isn’t included – it’s not frum enough) and to articles on how to set folks up (all but one are dead links).

What the FAQ doesn’t answer is which Tehillim should be said, which are the most powerful for making a match. Some googling turned up the answer (also, wow, who knew there were so many Tehillim/singles/shidduchim sites?!). According to one source, Tehillim 32, 38, 70, 71, 72, 82, 121, and 124 are to be said. Another site encouraged those that were in Artscroll:

Don’t just sit by helplessly as you watch Israel and the Jewish people being terrorized by their enemies. You can make a difference! As the world turns its back on the Jewish people’s plight we are forced to defend ourselves. Since time immemorial, Jews have survived and been victorious through the power of their prayers. … Specifically, Jews are urged to devote at least fifteen minutes a day to this form of prayer and to recite Psalms 20, 83,121,130 and 142 during that time.

And then I found the jackpot: it seems if I read this book in full in addition to saying Tehillim daily, I’ll find my bashert. Or, wait, was I supposed to say Shir HaShirim early in the morning for 40 consecutive days, Perek Shira for 40 consecutive days, and also say Tehillim Chidah? Or… Hrm. Maybe if I were really dedicated to finding my beshert, I’d be reciting all of Tanakh everyday.

Your mom would approve?

There I was, reading Daily Kos, minding my own business, when a google ad caught my eye. This doesn’t often happen. I had to click the link to see more:

Nice Jewish Guys, the 2009 calendar. It’s not affiliated with an organization or shul; the sisterhood at your Temple didn’t put it out as a way to set up their sons (though that seems as likely an explanation as any).

Twelve months, twelve guys. You see their names, ages, and learn a few things about each guy to help in your choosing process. As the site asks, “who will be your favourite?”

Twelve eligible guys – yours now for the low price of $9.95. (Cheaper than Jdate!)

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JDate Line

JDate Line
Shabot on Facebook

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This week’s Jdate adventure: the novel-length emailer

Okay, I’m not even going to pretend to have a larger, philosophical point to this post. I just find it to be funny, and I think you might too. Hey, at least he wanted to know what I like, as well… do I like the Police? Do I like concerts? how often do I talk to my family? What trip was my favorite? Which movie theater do I like? … This email basically left nothing for us to talk about if we ever did get together. (A friend also pointed out that he said he taped his grandparents talking without their knowing, in paragraph 125. I hadn’t even noticed, because at that point I was just skimming, but it was quite puzzling, I must admit…)

A Jdate email I received:

hello

It’s unusual for someone to have been to San Salvador. this detail caught my attention. so i thought i would send you an email. i went there for the wedding of a friend mine 4 years ago. it was a lot of fun. i went 6 times to south and central america actually. my trips have taken me to Guatemala, El Salvador, costa rica, ecuador, chile, argentina, and Brazil…

But ok, i admikt, i am writting to you because you are extremely attractive, so now I simply would love to know more about you…I would love to know the events / experiences that have shaped your personality, and what makes you dream for instance. But ok, let’s be fair, I need to tell you more about myself first… More »

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More adventures in JDating: The Knitting Guy

This guy has been emailing me and for some reason got on a roll about knitting. I think he was trying to prove how multifaceted he was: “I knit! I know it’s odd, but how many boxing coaches do you know who knit!” WOW! Color me charmed. I mentioned that I crochet, to keep conversation going (why? why?). He sent me this email today:

i was in portsmouth nh for wedding sat
went to AMAZING knitting store ;)

want to get together for a craft circle?

hope all is well
[first initial]

Just had a little JChat with him. I thought it might shed some light on… something. Well, at the very least, all you male JDaters out there (and regular daters for that matter) can learn a little something about how NOT to approach someone.

Him: Hi, Crochet Queen
[Why doesn't he try to find out something else about me instead of just hammering down this dead end path about getting together for a craft circle?]
Me: hey there. thanks for your email. i was just looking at your profile, and i’m actually really looking for someone who shares my political beliefs — i’m pretty left wing
[I just finished a workshop on mutually satisfying relationships at Sukkahfest which helped me to clarify what I'm really looking for in a relationship. He is not it. Oh, also, why on earth am I telling you all this? I have no idea.]
Him: why do you base everything on one line of a ciomputer profile?
Him: i HOPE I am more than that!
[Well, since you've only been writing me two line emails that say nothing except update me on the progress of your knitting hobby, I'm actually not sure there is more than that.]
Mer: i’m absolutely sure you are!
Him: so
Him: let’s focus on what bring sus togetrher More »

Being a pillar can be lonely

I’m realizing that sometimes it’s hard to negotiate my desire to live fully in the mainstream (Jewish) America while also dedicating my life to the Jewish tradition. Maybe some dear readers have known this for ages, but as a self-described baalat teshuvah, I only became observant and Jewishly learning about six years ago. I have these various visions of myself, and I want to say, “Yeah, totally, let’s go to that punk show on whatever night, Friday is fine, I’m not some looney religious person” which is partly a past voice, and also I want to say, “Hey, I’m going to be hosting a post-havdalah new moon drum circle in my house and chanting some prayers and melodies, let me know if you’re coming early so I can leave the door open so you don’t have to buzz up before Shabbat ends…”

For example, not so sure about finding someone on JDate in Boston. With all appreciation and awe for Ruby-K and General Anna, and with thanks to my mother for recently purchasing a three month subscription to JDate for me and then checking in with me incessantly about it (“So… meet anyone new lately?”), I’m just not sure this is going to be a goldmine for me looking for the specific subset of Jewish man who digs religion, intelligent women, feminism, humor, and fruitiness. (Ugh, this is starting to sound like my profile… Hey, if you fit the above description you can leave me a message here and you don’t even have to pay a membership fee!) It’s the religion part I’m thinking about tonight.

Some examples of philosophical/theological disconnect from my JDate tonight: More »

Jewish Bloggers To Speak @ Town & Village Synagogue

As part of Synaplex Shabbat, an initiative to “draw in Jews not presently attending synagogue” and “expand the range of possible Sabbath observance for established congregants, Town & Village Synagogue is hosting a dinner and roundtable discussion with some of your favorite bloggers.

Jewlicious, Jewschool, Kesher Talk, Blogs of Zion, My Urban Kvetch, JDaters Anonymous, Shabot6000 – are all part of a vibrant virtual community that is reinvigorating the conversation and connections among Jews. Come hear four Jewish bloggers representing seven blogs read some of their favorite posts and talk about the impact of the Internet on Judaism.

RSVP required to TVSynaplex@yahoo.com or 212-677-8090 x26, by Monday, December 4, with advance payment of $20/adults, $15/young adults & students, $10/children under 13.* This includes a Chinese buffet dinner…

Pay online with Paypal (click “send money”, insert townandvillage@aol.com and note it is for Dec 8 dinner); or send check payable to Town & Village Synagogue at 334 East 14th Street, NY NY 10003, writing “Synaplex” in memo space.

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Wow is all I have to say…Crash Course indeed

I get annoyed at the ads I get from newspapers often…usually because they’re about JDate or find your future husband, but this one below…wow…I mean…wow.

Readers already know (at least I think you know) I don’t like J4J but this is…well, this is much…

This feels, I’ll say diplomaticly, off to me…I can’t tell exactly what this course will be…but I’m getting vibes from the words counter-missionary LOL…whew…it’s true J4J gets me very upset when I see them out on the street, but I worry from the ad that the response is one that isn’t rooted in building Jewish life to encompass more people, more passions, more perspectives so that more Jews feel engaged with Jewish practice and culture in whatever form that means for them, but rather an aggressive, dare I say attack, or response, that may not come from our best selves.

I hope someone attends and gives us a reportback!

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Alien Loves JDate

In the offensive cartoon department, check out the latest edition of Alien Loves Predator. Abe, the Alien, comes out of the Jew-closet to explore his chances of scoring with a porn star on JDate.

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Multimedia Mishegaas


Florentine, Tel Aviv, June 2005. Photo by Bright Tal.

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Multifaith Mishegaas

jDate: More fabulous than ever

jDate has finally embraced the vast universe of gay Jews who want to meet each other. Now women can seek women, and men can seek men on JDate.

I would like to personally welcome my gay brothers to yet another place to find “spiritual, but not religious” Jewish men.

(Okay, okay in all seriousness, hats off to jDate and best of luck to everyone on the prowl, myself included.)

Via Gawker.
Full story from JTA here.

Multifaith Mishegaas

Ross Geller ISO NJG

Calling all yentas: actor David Schwimmer has let it be known that he’s looking for kosher meat. No news of whether he has gotten a profile up on Jdate yet, but he has, at least, been quoted as saying, “My parents would be thrilled (if I married a Jew). It makes things a lot easier, sharing a cultural and religious background….”

He does not appear to have a personal website, so I regret that I can’t offer information as to where interested applicants might apply.

Anyway, full story, what little of it there is, here.

Hot charismatic Jewish women

Hot charismatic Jewish women make the world go around. And I don’t mean it just in the crass, existential way, but in the most uplifted cultural sense as well. Late 18th century through 1940′s, painters, poets, philosophers flocked to the literary salons ran by Henriette Herz, Amalie Beer, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and many others. If you happen to be in New York, check out the The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and their Salons exhibit at the Jewish Museum. The collection is not so much artistic as it is historical, so you really got to shell out extra for the stupid headphones. But just this once, it’s a must. You’ll feel like you’re in one of those salons. The exhibit is on until July.

JDate vs. Frumster

Our Girls Aren’t Good Enough?

JDate outsources:

Her name is Hila. She is 22 years old and lives in Tel Aviv. She is very attractive, single, looking for a Jewish husband from a good family, and most important – she is a mouse-click away. This is how the banner persuades you, the Jewish bachelor, to enter the Jewish dating site JDate and find the love of your life.

But Hila in the banner is no other than pornographic model Kari Gold, 18 years old, who lives in Hungary. She is, indeed, very attractive, has a boyfriend and is not looking for a Jewish husband at all. Gold says she is not looking for spiritual qualities in men.

Full Story.