What does it mean to be a part of a community? Where do we find that community? Who is in that community? As I rapidly approach my 30th birthday, these are questions that are on my mind. And rather than diving into a Netflix hole and pulling the covers over my head, I’ve decided to deal with these big questions and my case of the 30s head on.
Having lived in Boston for the last four years, I have been consistently underwhelmed with the gay Jewish offerings. Yes, I know it’s a particular niche, but we’re everywhere! However, I have yet to find a consistent group of guys who actually, you know, have things to say about being Jewish and want to do so in a public sphere. Sure, there are organizations like Keshet and Temple Israel’s Riverway Project, which have either previously or just started to create participant-led programming; Keshet’s Nice Jewish Boys has moved to an all-volunteer basis (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info), and Riverway just recently hosted a very successful first edition of an LGBTQ+ Shabbat. But I’m not content to let organizations provide for me. No, no. I am a glutton for suffering and must make my own attempt at creating the community of my dreams.
Enter “Grindr Shabbat.” Based on (and #blessed by) an idea and subsequent series of events by Rabbi Matt Green in Brooklyn, Grindr Shabbat is exactly what it sounds like to those in the know. Grindr, a geolocation app primarily used by gay men to find each other for a…variety of purposes is, in the alternate universe we currently live in, a perfect apparatus with which to find otherwise Jewishly unengaged guys who might want to come over for Shabbat at my house on March 23. (See what I did there? This thing is happening at my house in Somerville on March 23. Mark your calendars.)
This is all to say that I’m hosting a Shabbat dinner at the end of March (on the 23rd) and trying to fill the seats at my table using Grindr, on my “professional Grindr account.” What I’m looking for is seemingly simple: gay Jewish guys who want to have Shabbat dinner with me. I don’t care if they’re new to being gay, new to being Jewish or how much experience in either realm they have. I want to create an open and welcoming table for like-minded guys who just want to spend some time with people who share two salient identities. The reality is turning out to be much more complicated—let me tell you, on day ONE of this endeavor, we’ve already got some golden moments (see below!).
Despite the headless torsos and blank profiles looking for a quickie, I’m so excited about the number of inquiries I’ve already received. If you’re interested in coming over for dinner yourself, or just have questions in general, email me at email@example.com. And if you’re on Grindr and see me around the Boston area, shoot me a message!
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