A Wider Bridge is proud to present: Friends of A Wider Bridge, a new video series in which American LGBT people tell stories about their connection to the Jewish community and to Israel.
Bina Raskin was one of the participants on A Wider Bridge’s 2014 Israel Mission in October, and during her stay in Tel Aviv she shared her story. “I lived down in west North Carolina, and I actually kept not only my sexual identity hidden because I wasn’t sure how people would respond, I also sometimes would keep my Jewish identity hidden, because some folks there have never even seen a Jew. So I felt like they would think I’ve horns and all that negativity around that. I had some struggles with that.”
When Bina finally met her wife five years ago, she came out to her family, which was supportive. “They wanted me to find love, really,” she explains. “They didn’t care if it was a man or a woman. They wanted me to be happy.”
Then Bina moved to New York with her wife and started working as the director of Mosaic Westchester. “I had never worked in the Jewish community, but when my wife studied to be a rabbi, I said I’d love to work in the Jewish community,” she says, “and when I moved to New York last year I ended up networking in a local synagogue that I began to affiliate with and then I landed this job.”
Finally, as a part of her own personal journey, Bina wanted to integrate her Jewish identity and her lesbian identity, and there was nowhere better for her to do it other than to go on the trip with A Wider Bridge’s LGBTQ Israel Mission. “I thought Israel would be a great place to do that,” she says. “I thought I’d get to learn about what’s going on there, and enhance more of my work, but at the same time I get to experience all of me, to really integrate both my identities, to be a whole within myself, and so really I can carry that forward.”
Watch Bina’s story below: