Miryam Kabakov
When Orthodox Jews Come Out, Parents Retreat

By Michael O'Loughlin

Originally published on Advocate.com March 18 2014 1:22 PM ET

The head of a pro-LGBT group in the Orthodox Jewish community says more support is needed for parents of gay people.

Speaking to Haaretz, Miryam Kabakov, cofounder of Eshel, said, “When you come out, you let the secret go and the parent takes on the secret. ... And what they do is go into the closet with it.”

“It just became clear over time that nobody is really addressing the needs of Orthodox parents and families,” she added.

She explained that sometimes when children come out as gay, they may leave their religious faith behind. But the parents, she said, are often left on their own, without resources to understand and accept the reality of the situation.

“They go through this disaffection with their spiritual community,” Kabakov said. “They don’t tell the rabbi, they lie to their friends.”

So Kabakov and the group's cofounder, Rabbi Steven Greenberg, who is gay, launched a retreat series to offer parents of LGBT children a place to reflect.

“What we have to do is provide support to parents so that they feel they have the strength and the right to ask that their communities be open to their children,” she said.

Read the full article here.

Contributor: 
Michael O'Loughlin