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Queer Spaces for Jewish Women

J.E. Reich writes in the Jewish forward about the little interest of the Jewish mainstream in organizations like Hebro and new sister jLez. “In reality, they are microcosmic examples of a greater symptom,” she writes, “the need for better tools and resources for queer inclusion into the American Jewish mainstream, and the failure of this sole-same mainstream to recognize it.”


During the periods I’m single, I anticipate with a well-practiced dread for when my mother will rally me to finally meet a nice Jewish girl. There is always the plea for a JDate account, the rare slip of the name of so-and-so’s daughter who my mother thinks is gay and who might be single (and who definitely lives in New Jersey), and the breakneck onslaught of commentary about how it can’t be that hard to meet a lesbian who happens to be a member of the tribe. (“You live in Brooklyn,” she’ll say, as if this is the elixir for her woes.)

Although I am ardently vocal about my reluctance to exclusively date Jewish women — the inherently survivalist practice seems discriminatory in the wake of social progressivism within the last half century — doesn’t mean I’m not open to it. So every time I have this conversation with my mother, my endnote is this: I rarely date queer Jewish girls because there isn’t a particular place — or what is commonly referred to as an LGBT-friendly “safe space” — where I can actually meet them.

LGBT men in New York, as opposed to LGBT women, tend to have these types of spaces available to them more often, however rare they generally are. This is largely due in part to Jayson Littman, the founder of Hebro, “the premiere nighlife group for gay [Jewish men] in New York City,” according to its website. For the uninitiated, Hebro is strictly in the queer party-planning business, with the mission of, “creating a community of gay Jews to celebrate their unique culture and identity,” and “to be able to celebrate being Jewish in a gay space, rather than being gay in a Jewish space.” The majority of their events center around Jewish holidays, featuring parties such as “High Homo Days” and “Sederlicious.” Their Christmas Eve Jewbilee, a queer alternative to the usual singles Matzo Ball, is considered one of the most popular Jew-centric Xmas events in Manhattan. The communal spirit and wedding of LGBT and Jewish cultural identities comes with one flaw: These parties are strictly marketed for the boys, leaving the girls out of the clubhouse.