I'm gay, US rabbi tells shul-goers after Yom Kippur


In what the New Republic editor Franklin Foer described as "the most dramatic possible way to break the Yom Kippur fast", his rabbi at the Conservative Adas Israel synagogue in Washington DC announced on October 6 that he was gay.

In a letter to his congregants at the large, historic and influential synagogue, Gil Steinlauf gave credit to his wife, Batya, who is also a rabbi, as well as the Director of Social Justice and Interfaith Initiatives at the Jewish Community Relations Council.

"With much pain and tears, together with my beloved wife, I have come to understand that I could walk my path with the greatest strength, with the greatest peace in my heart, with the greatest healing and wholeness, when I finally acknowledged that I am a gay man."

Community leaders have been broadly understanding, with the exception of Orthodox leaders, who consider gay sexuality a choice. Writing in the Forward, Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, said that living a homosexual life was "a sin".

There was a supportive letter from the synagogue's president, Arnie Podgorsky, and the public response has been accepting.

Mr Steinlauf told the JTA that he was "getting a constant flood of emails, calls, texts and Facebook messages expressing every positive sentiment you could imagine."

With family and congregation matters to work through, the episode is not over for the Steinlaufs, but at least this particular Washington Jewish drama appears to have unfolded without recrimination.

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