I have found that over the years my relationship with Pride Month has changed, much like my relationship with Judaism, based on where I am in my life. As a late adolescent coming out for the first time, floating on a pink cloud, exploring all things gay, Pride was an exhilarating and dizzying experience. The feeling of being surrounded by other people like me was like nothing I had ever felt before. As the years passed and I settled into my life, my gay identity was obviously still present, but less center-stage. My social relationships included lots of queer-identified people, so Pride didn’t feel as crucial to me. Education and work took most of my attention, and my romantic relationships just became part of the fabric of my life.
Similarly, my involvement in Judaism has varied throughout my life, depending on the stage of life that I’ve been in. As a young adult, I struggled to define my relationship with religion. I was raised culturally Jewish but didn’t always feel like I fit in because I lacked formal Jewish education. So, I explored various communities and denominations in order to find one that felt like it fit. Later, as my focus shifted toward work and education, once again those explorations dwindled, and I mostly considered myself non-religious, though Jewish at heart.
Seven years ago my wife and I got married in a completely non-religious ceremony and spent our honeymoon drinking wine and wandering the streets of Paris. Three years ago, I gave birth to our son, and our lives were forever changed in ways that we could never expect. One of the things that has surprised me most is how much community, both gay and Jewish, has started to feel even more important to me once again.
We are so fortunate to live in a liberal and forward-thinking city that embraces our family structure and affords us legal protections. However, even within this environment, connecting with other families that look like ours feels so important. We want our son to grow up seeing families of all types. So once again, Pride has become a very important part of our lives. Every year now we put on all of our rainbows and go into downtown Boston to watch the parade and revel in being surrounded by people who are like us and/or support us. Additionally, Pride has expanded to include the entire month of June, so we go to events locally in our city of Somerville, as well as in other neighborhoods. Watching my son at these events, I feel that same feeling of exhilaration that I felt at my first Pride so many years ago.
At the same time, now that I am a parent, I feel my Jewish identity calling more to me as well. I want my son to grow up learning some of the best Judaism has to offer in the way of ideals and commitment to service. Luckily, we have discovered Keshet and have felt so fortunate to be able to get involved with a community of queer Jewish families. I am excited to see how my family’s relationship with Judaism grows and expands through this connection and to continue to celebrate Pride in all of our rainbow glory in the coming years.
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