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being our whole selves.

January 28, 2011

Arthur is the writer of this post.

It has been an amazing weekend with 150 LGBT Jews at the Eshel Shabbaton. So much joy, warmth, hopefulness and inspiration.

The energy and joy of people who have waited a long time for the chance to be together. And I’ve met so many wonderful people. Just some highlights: I’ve participated in two workshops with Rabbi Steve Greenberg, prayed Shabbat morning with about dozen folks in a beautiful egalitarian minyan, and attended a workshop today on what halacha has to say about sex-change surgery.

Yesterday I acted in a play about Parshat Yitro (I was Elder #2, the boy who played Moses was 7, and the girl who played Yitro was only a bit older), and read a poem from Siddur Sha’ar Zahav at a talent show emceed by “Sylvia Sparklestein”.

The diversity here, in terms of gender, geography, age, Jewish observance, etc. is remarkable. There are people here from all over the country and the world (London, Brazil, Canada). I did not travel the farthest to get here, but I am glad I came.

It was -2 degrees F last night, but not too windy and the icicles hanging from the buildings are beautiful.

This note was written by Arthur Slepian on Sunday 1.23.11 and reposted with his permission today 1.28.11. You can learn more about Eshel’s mission and activities as well as find Orthodox Jewish LGBT resources here.

Winter at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut. It's beautiful!

We are in continuous gratitude to the many teachers and leaders that helped make this first-ever Shomer Shabbaton of its kind welcoming gay and transgender frum (or formerly frum) traditional Jews happen. A particular heart-felt thank you needs to be extended to Elaine Chapnik, Yitz Pries, Chani Getter, Mordechai Levovitz, Rabbi Steven Greenberg, Chasiah Haberman, Erez Harari, Miryam Kabakov, Professor Joy Ladin, Jessica Smith, Justin Spiro and Michael Hopkins.


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