My dear friend, Chaim Levin, is an out, gay Jewish activist and writer. On his blog, Gotta Give 'Em Hope, he writes about his experiences as a gay man in the Orthodox community. For the past two years Chaim has dedicated himself to working as a voice for gay Orthodox youth and has been featured in The Jewish Press, Huffington Post, Truth Wins Out, and many other publications.
"My name is Chaim Levin. I am gay. Growing up Lubavitch Chassidic Orthodox in Crown Heights Brooklyn New York, I was subject to relentless bullying. After I confided to a friend that I was attracted to men, I was thrown out of yeshiva. I underwent reparative "therapy" Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) unsuccessfully to become straight. I later attempted suicide. Today, I am proud to be gay and do not believe that being gay is incompatible with religious practice."
We share the same goal of bringing hope to those who feel otherwise lost, confused, and isolated. We have the privilege and opportunity to make an impact, to inspire positive and progressive change, and to act as an advocate and be the voice for those who are silent out of fear.
Photo credit: © Katja Heinemann/Aurora Select, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center