“Trembling Before G-d” was a very moving film. After first reading the intro to Heeding Isaiah’s Call, I expected the movie to be about Jewish tolerance for queer Jews, so was in for a really sad surprise. The movie reminded me of the reading about genocide from last week where black women were sort of having to choose whether or not to be on the side of blacks or women in the fight against or for birth control. A similar thing is going on here, where queer Jews are being forced to choose between their religion/ethnicity and their sexuality.
The article by Schneer and Aviv seemed accurate when it talked about the shift away from a physical and political protest from queer Jews. In the movie, only two people went to a gay pride parade, and the one woman didn’t like how they were criticizing religion, specifically Jewish law. She said that she did not go their to advocate for gay rights. This seems a particularly difficult issue because queer Jews are not merely advocating for their freedom, but on some level, they don’t actually believe that they deserve that freedom. The film even talked about how it is hard to get other people to accept one when one doesn’t even except oneself.
I found a website for a group of queer jews up in New York who host gay Jew events. http://www.myhebro.com/home.html. However, by the looks of it, it is very urban and modern, so I don’t see how more traditional Jews would benefit from organizations such as these. Still, I suppose there are some places that are trying to support queer Jews, like the article said.
So many issues arise from people pretending to be something that they are not. It isn’t fair to them or to their spouses, in the cases of convenient marriages. I would think that being a queer Jew might even be harder than being an unaccepted queer in another religion, because even though they might lose their family, their church, etc., they wouldn’t also lose their heritage. For Jewish lesbians, it seems that there are even more issues at play, as they are pulled in four different directions: being a woman, being queer, their religious ties, and their ethnicity. One should never feel like they have to choose between all of these things. It is so sad that society, and in this case religion, makes people feel like they have to choose one thing to identify their entire selves.