Connection & Belonging Soothe Isolation & Rejection

From the Times of Israel a powerful blog post on the importance of community to bring a sense of connection and belonging to families adjusting to an out LGBTQ child in the midst of a community that has historically not been as welcoming as many would hope. When we experience a sense of belonging we gain resilience to isolation and rejection.

“I calmed her as best I could, and tried to push away the questions, fears and thoughts swirling through my own head. Initially I kept her news from my husband, as she had requested, and cast about for someone I could turn to for advice. In 1998, I knew that Orthodox parents of gay children were marginalized. I didn’t want that to happen to my daughter and our family. Who could I talk to?”

“Carrying this secret can lead to feelings of loss of community and a sense of chaos. We experience bouts of endless questioning, worries and tears. But on the outside we remain silent — as do our communities. Three out of four parents of LGBT children told Eshel that their rabbis, day school administrators and other communal leaders do not speak about “it.””

“For our children the rejection is all too real. The Eshel parent survey reveals that 60 percent of our children have left the Orthodox community or no longer attend any shul. For traditional parents, synagogue and community rejection can be the most painful part of the coming-out process. When the community no longer makes space for your child, ­what is there to belong to and why?”

Click for links to Eshel and their upcoming Retreat for Orthodox Jewish Parents of LGBTQ youth.