Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Healthy lesbian looking for Judaism

Dear Rabbi,

I have been interested in Judaism since I was a girl.   Another Passover is coming, and I wonder what I am missing out on.

I am, as labels go, a forty year old dyke.   I have had HIV for ten years, but thankfully my health is good.

Forgive me, as I don't really know what I want from Judaism, but I can never really forget it - some deep longing for something Jewish.   These thoughts and feelings, as I have discovered, never really go away. In regard to my old age and death, I don't know what I believe.

I did write to a rabbi many many years ago, and he suggested coming along to the congregation.  I didn't think that's what I wanted at the time, partly on the grounds of being gay, education, and financial status. I have had two gay Jewish friends over the years, but unfortunately both have since died of AIDS-related diseases.   I more recently contacted Aleph Melbourne, and was told again to speak with a Rabbi - the Leo Baeck Centre being suggested. As to fitting in, I don't know where there would be a place for me.  

I suspect you have had some letters like this in the past, and I am aware of your online program. If you have any advice, I would be grateful.

Kind regards,


Dear Sandra,

Many thanks for writing - and for persevering.  Instead of missing another Pesach, why don't you come and join us on Friday night for our communal seder?  If you are available, call the office (9-2) and see if we can squeeze you in - tell them you've spoken to me.

Progressive Judaism is a great framework for the modern world.  And of course we see all people as equal, created 'in the image of God' whatever their colour, creed, gender or sexual orientation.  Most people fit in quite comfortably - we have people of all shapes, sizes, orientations - including gay, lesbian, transgender - just like the real world!

You should come along to some services - you are always welcome, 10-12 every Saturday, 37 Harp Road East Kew.

If you are comfortable with the services, then by all means come and speak to me about 'life, the universe and everything' and we can explore the best way forward.

You might also like to look at my blog at

Judaism puts more emphasis on living this life as best we can, on achieving our 'God-given potential', than on 'the world to come', and Progressive Judaism even more so.  If there is anything else, the best way to prepare is to be the best we could in this world!

I look forward to meeting you,


Rabbi Jonathan

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