The Rainbow Flag in Shiloh

Eyal Liebermann poetically describes a recent Jerusalem group meeting of Orthodox and conservative Jewish LGBT people and allies with the inspiring teacher Malka Puterkovsky. Puterkovsky urged community members to keep fighting for their rights, and compared the community’s status today to the status of women a few decades ago.


Malka Puterkovsky

In the religious city of Shiloh, a pride flag is waved on the doorstep of the Grossman family.
“When the rabbi of the city allows discourse on this subject, I will agree to take it down”, the mother says.
Quiet, modest woman, but full of determination.
Sitting next to her is her son, Moshe, a member of the committee of Havruta – religious homosexuals.
And to her right her hands are strengthened by a lady, a religious law teacher, a Regulation Forum member, Malka Puterkovsky.

We sit on the ground floor of the Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem.
The rocks the synagogue sits on sprout from the walls, bare.
Malka, with charisma and a smile, with rabbinic hat on her head, leads the attendees through the intricacies of the verses.
Malka speaks in rabbinical sermon style, going in converging circles, sometimes going for spicy Talmudic comments.
When asked a question she always starts a story, slowly leading the listener to a response.
Malka requires patience and is fascinating.
And the audience is captivated.

Look,
If my son came to me today and asked what to do
I have no answer for him.
We must make an answer.
Answer from the inside out.
Not only containment and understanding, but
a Jewish answer,
This is a capital case.
And it is possible; we have the tools if we are only ready to use them.

Look at the change we’ve had in relation to women.
How nowadays it’s obvious that a woman goes into labor with her husband at her side.
When I was young they told me to forget it, it’s like asking for a halachic permit to murder.
Look at how women learn Talmud nowadays. It also was said that we came to learn in order to rebel. They had to talk to us and look us in the eye to understand that this was not the case.

But for all this to happen regarding gay and lesbian people,
You should insist, fight.
There are prices I have paid as a woman, and there will be those of you who will choose to pay.
Don’t get tired!

Conversations with Malka are always reinforcing and heart-expanding events.
When Malka finishes, the crowd stands around her.
And a lot of persuasion is required to drag them all to the wall for a group photo…

* The writings are from my mind in my own language and are not quotes