For many years, Jewish gay men have often felt isolated from their religious background or have had to remain in the closet, leading many to feel as if they were wandering alone in a spiritual or emotional desert, cut off from both the present and the past, in an exile that was sometimes self-imposed out of fear of rejection or was, more often, actively enjoined by the community. Today, no longer necessarily forced to hide either their sexual or religious identity, Jewish gay men are finding space and acceptance within both the Jewish and gay communities, in addition to creating their own communities that are both queer and Jewish.
The 17 personal essays in FOUND TRIBE offer a type of Midrash, the commentary and interpretations of men who grapple with this question of sex and sexuality, and other parallels and differences between the identities of gay and Jewish: questions of assimilation, of gay activism and the Jewish sense of tikkun olam, of defining oneself and one's family, and much more.
Contains essays by David Bergman, Gabriel Blau, David Ian Cavill, Edward M. Cohen, Rabbi Steve Greenberg, Daniel M. Jaffe, Arnie Kantrowitz, Gabriel Lampert, Andrew Martin, Jesse G. Monteagudo, Julian Padilla, Lev Raphael, Andrew Ramer, Phillip Ritari, David Rosen, Lawrence Schimel, and Jonathan Wald.
About the Author
Lawrence Schimel (born 16 October 1971) is the author or editor of over 50 books, including among others: TWO HEARTS DESIRE: GAY COUPLES ON THEIR LOVE (with Michael Lassell), SWITCH HITTERS: LESBIANS WRITE GAY MALE EROTICA AND GAY MEN WRITE LESBIAN EROTICA (with Carol Queen), THE DRAG QUEEN OF ELFLAND, BOY MEETS BOY, THINGS INVISIBLE TO SEE: LESBIAN AND GAY TALES OF MAGIC REALISM, HIS TONGUE, and one previous collection on Jewish gay themes, KOSHER MEAT, also published by Sherman Asher.
His book PoMoSEXUALS: CHALLENGING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT GENDER AND SEXUALITY (with Carol Queen) won a Lambda Literary Award in 1998, and he has also been a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for six other titles. The German edition of his anthology SWITCH HITTERS: LESBIANS WRITE GAY MALE EROTICA AND GAY MEN WRITE LESBIAN EROTICA (with Carol Queen) won the Siegesseuele Best Book of the Year Award. He has also been a finalist for the Firecracker Alternative Book Award (twice), the Small Press Book Award (twice), and the Spectrum Award (twice).
His work has been translated into Basque, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, and Swedish.
For two years he served as co-chair of the Publishing Triangle, the organization of lesbians and gay men in the publishing industry, responsible for National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, BookAIDS (a program which delivers over 40,000 books free to PWAs each year), an annual awards series, and numerous other programs and events.
He is currently the Spain Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He has given workshops and lectures at many conferences, such as the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference and the Melbourne Writer's Festival, and at numerous universities, including Princeton University, Yale University, Brown University, Wayne State University, The University of Cádiz, and Rutgers University, among others. Born in New York City, he currently divides his time between New York and Madrid, Spain.
2002 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Spirituality.
Found Tribe is a collection of intimate essays by and about gay Jewish men on the experience of coming out as gay within a Jewish context or as Jewish within a gay context. No longer necessarily lost or excluded, today's gay Jews tell their courageous, powerful stories of finding and embracing their religious and sexual identities that enrich both the Jewish and gay experience. Written with honesty, humor, and insight, Found Tribe explores the joys and oys of coming out to family, lovers, rabbis, and othersand an Orthodox gay rabbi writes about Gayness and God. Found Tribe gives voice to the inextinguishable longing for community and acceptance in a religious identity that is defined by family and lineage, and serves as a beacon to isolated gay Jews that dignity and welcome await at the end of this rainbow. Found Tribe is intended as a gift and a resource for Jewish families with a gay son or sibling, and for gay Jews and all who love them. Found Tribe is the companion volume to the award winning volume, Kosher Meat.
Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA - Janet Marder
Funny, poignant and thought-provoking, FOUND TRIBE gives us a glimpse of the courage it takes to be honest with the ones you love, and the struggle to integrate Jewish beliefs with the realities of human love. This volume will be a valuable resource for families, schools, and congregations who are committed to including gay Jews.
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Title: Found Tribe: Jewish Coming Out Stories
Author: Lawrence Schimel
Publisher: Asher, Sherman Publishing
Date Published: March 2002
Edition: 1 ED
Janet MarderFunny, poignant and thought-provoking, FOUND TRIBE gives us a glimpse of the courage it takes to be honest with the ones you love, and the struggle to integrate Jewish beliefs with the realities of human love. This volume will be a valuable resource for families, schools, and congregations who are committed to including gay Jews.
—Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA
Jeffrey A. KahnThe essays contained herein demonstrate, in very personal terms, Judaism's current struggle with responding to relationships and forms of sexual expression Judaism ignored for millennia. Since the days of Abraham we Jews have learned the most from the stories our people tell. May the stories in Found Tribe teach us a new understanding of the miracle of love.
—Senior Rabbi of Temple Har Shalom, Warren, New Jersey
Laura SiegelFOUND TRIBE contains precious gifts helping us to understand, value, and celebrate our gay friends and family members. Readers will find these essays personally liberating and validating in their own religious and spiritual journeys. I could throw my arms around these gay writers for their open and dynamic storiesindeed an act of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) for gay and straight readers alike
—Co-editor, Out of the Closet Into Our Hearts: Celebrating Our Gay/Lesbian Family Members
Publishers WeeklyAs one author in this anthology notes, both gays and Jews are minority groups, so this collection of memoir-essays from gay Jewish men depicts a small, singular set of uphill personal experiences. No one has found the path easy, but there is testimony to the rewards of being faithful to one's identity and the heritage that helps shape that identity. Naturally, the men's experiences have a good deal in common: shocked families with moms laying guilt trips about not having grandchildren; unsatisfying attempts at heterosexuality. Despite major commonalities, differences in experience intrigue: a writer who is also an Orthodox rabbi struggles with the dictates of halacha, or law; another cheerfully admits he is the kind of Jew that the prophets rail against. Interestingly, three of the writers are also religious converts. The quality of the writing is uneven. At worst, the tone can be pedestrian ("Sigh: My Mom and Dad: They were just so... Jewish"), but at best the essays present hard-won truths poured out with deliberation, pride and/or humor. (" `I'm dying, I'm dying!' " my father was bellowing into the phone at 9:30, not exactly the middle of the night but my folks are in their 70s and go to sleep at eight.") Rabbi Steve Greenberg's especially compelling essay was originally published anonymously. In four years' time, attitudes among Orthodox Jews have changed to the point where Greenberg and other Orthodox gays can emerge from the closet. These brave voices deserve to be heard. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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