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Letter From The Editors Rabbi Amy Bernstein Featured Artist: Brooke Botwinick Poems by: Zachary Irvin Featured Artist: Miriam Goodman Sticky Fingers by: Teddy G. Goetz Featured Artist: Tamar Hammer All of Our Voices by: Judy Battaglia Featured Artist: Mollie Leibowitz Rabin Estrella by: Sara Estrella Beroff Jewish Queer Media Highlights Film: Breaking Bread Film: Unspoken Jewish Recipes Word Search Resources Submissions
letter from the editors
, Welcome to the first issue of Jewish Queer Magazine! We started with the idea of creating a safe place for Jewish and Queer individuals to share their experiences, identities, and art. Over the past six months our project idea has grown and blossomed into this magazine.
We aspire to give individuals the opportunity to feel empowered, safe and represented in sharing their unique voices. Jewish Queer Magazine will educate readers about intersectional identities by using artwork and written compositions to validate experiences and new traditions.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our vision and shared their stories. A special thank you to Moving Traditions: Kol Koleinu for giving us the opportunity to create social change and to our incredible sponsors Sojourn and JQ International. We hope you enjoy this magazine!
Brooke Botwinick She/Her
Tamar Ladd She/Her
Olivia Katz She/They
EXPLORING THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN JUDAISM AND QUEERNESS. Interviewers: Tamar Ladd & Brooke Botwinick Written By: Tamar Ladd
Rabbi Amy Bernstein's journey to reestablish her place in the Jewish community, as well as foster LGBTQIA+ participation in Jewish life, led her to become the senior Rabbi of Kehillat Israel. Growing up, Rabbi Amy attended a Yeshiva. She reflects, "I really loved being part of a Jewish community and a Jewish day school. I loved feeling like we had something more than just being in the same school. We were part of the same people, we belonged to the same heritage, to the same family, and to Jews all over the world. There was something really special to me about growing up in a community of intention."
Her blissful Jewish upbringing was threatened when Rabbi Amy came out at sixteen. The Orthodox high school she attended was not welcoming and she faced difficult decisions. "I was devastated when I had to make a choice between what has been until then, my whole world, my family, my people, my teachers, and my best friends. I had to make a choice between that and living authentically as a lesbian. It was truly a devastating choice."
Her childhood community's exclusion made it difficult for her to feel close to and embraced by the larger Jewish community.
"Being a Rabbi is everything I love."
"I was so busy exploring this other part of my identity that I just shoved down the pain of not belonging in the Jewish world anymore."
After Rabbi Amy graduated from college, she moved back home to Atlanta with her girlfriend at the time. Rabbi Amy did not feel welcomed in the Jewish community after leaving college. It was difficult for her during the High Holidays as she experienced a hollow feeling without a place to belong.
Her girlfriend noticed Rabbi Amy's need to be a part of a Jewish community and suggested she visit a local LGBTQ+ synagogue. Amy was reluctant but agreed to attend one service. "So, then I went to Rosh Hashanah morning services. There was a visiting student Rabbi leading services and she was on the pulpit dressed in traditional Jewish garb. She was throwing Hebrew around like she knew it since childhood. I was like, 'wait a minute, how is she there and out as a lesbian?' This was very confusing because she came from where I had come from."
The congregation soon discovered that Rabbi Amy could speak Hebrew and asked her to chant prayers at services. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum asked Amy to serve as cantor at Yom Kippur services. "The first time I ever heard a woman's voice chanting traditional Jewish prayers in a synagogue was my voice chanting the holiest prayers that we have in our tradition. It was very clear something happened and that the world had turned at its axis. It took me a very long time to go to Rabbinical school after that, around five or six years. But that was the moment that it changed for me. Being a Rabbi is everything I love. I love people, I love kids, I love old people, and I love dogs. I get a little bit of everything and there’s never a dull moment. Next year I’ll have been a Rabbi for twenty-five years."
Being a queer female Rabbi has unexpected benefits despite the challenges one might expect from working in a male-dominated role. Rabbi Amy's summer internship during rabbinical school at a Jewish nursing home lends a perfect example. She would hate it how, after leading a great service, a woman she walked by would always grab her skirt and say, "three yards of fabric." She would only talk about Rabbi Amy's clothes, something she would never say to a male Rabbi. When Rabbi Amy brought these frustrations to her supervisor, Rabbi Friedman, she told Rabbi Amy the women would never have had a way to connect with a male rabbi. Rabbi Friedman said, "That woman is an expert at fabric and machine work and she can grab your skirt and say 'three yards of fabric' and feel like she knows something. You live in that world because you wear women’s clothing and can you maybe see it as a way into a conversation with her?" The next time the woman grabbed Rabbi Amy's skirt and said "three yards of fabric," Rabbi Amy knelt by her wheelchair and said, "Wow, three yards of fabric! That sounds like a lot!" and it started a conversation.
Jewish queer youth need to claim their space in Judaism and work to create a welcoming Jewish community. Rabbi Amy says, "My request to young Jewish queer people is to take the religion, belonging to the Jewish community, and their Jewish identity seriously. If you do, and you’re on the inside, you will help change Judaism for the better. And you will help change the Jewish people for the better. Everyone who says I’m done with this, it’s too heteronormative, it’s too family-focused, and it’s too patriarchal, I get it and I’ve heard all the arguments. If you walk away from it, it doesn’t change. I didn’t walk away. Because I leaned in harder, I am now senior Rabbi of one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues as a queer woman."
Newer generations of Jews have incorporated traditions and rituals into Jewish Holidays that acknowledge and celebrate diversity. We must continue building on this momentum. Rabbi Amy encourages us to question, "How can we create ritual and lean into holiday observance in ways that feel more affirmative?" She explains, "It’s not just queer identity, we now have issues around race and gender. I think there is a whole range of folks who come to Judaism in different ways and who are different from what we normally think a Jew looks like. We must strive to affirm all of those identities and it's the young generation that's doing it. They are creating so many great rituals and more affirming representations of other kinds of Jewish lives. You young people are doing a great job and a beautiful job. Older generations need to pay attention. Each generation is going to have to figure out what they want to affirm, how they want to reconstruct Jewish rituals, and holiday observance to reflect that. That is our job and our work."
art & poetry
Joseph's multi-color dream coat is not the only thing that can be colorful! Check out this art submitted by our wonderful readers!
art & poetry
Title: Love is Love, is Love By: Brooke Botwinick She/Her
Title: What's in a Name? By: Brooke Botwinick She/Her
art & poetry
: By: Brooke Botwinick She/Her
art & poetry
BY: ZACHARY IRVIN | HE/HIM | AGE 16
Every weekday after class
I see where he comes from. I wish he wrote his thoughts into a volume. I have lots of pages with
I envy his passion but he envies my success
person thoughts. Being able to take his thoughts apart would help him and me.
He can leave his bottlers on people's doorsteps, but I, I know how to be successful.
“Good Book, Straight from the source, your source…” “our source.” That boy is sharp. He knows much. He
Our mom knew what it meant to push through, so we
should write sometime. Give a gift of meaning to this
should too. Well, one of us does.
My Positive feelings help me push through.
He walks out. He could have told his life story and the
Leatherback to soft. They give no meaning to
time I had with him would still have felt so short.
knowledge, they are the meaning of knowledge. I wouldn’t be here without them.
I wish he stayed for longer. I wish I understood him.
Sometimes I cry. The feeling of not being able to connect with the boy and understand him. But without failure, he comes in every afternoon. I take a look at him, I try to test his emotions and intelligence.
BY: ZACHARY IRVIN | HE/HIM | AGE 16 Every other day
He tries his best.
He tries his best.
The librarian stares at the boy with a large array of intentions. Flying around at high speed he gives a new
I really appreciate his effort.
meaning to no meaning. I wish I could be like him.
His hair, his thought process. Nothing changes.
I admire the librarian. But I admire the boy even more. Even if they are wrong.
He tries his best. That’s ok. I do what I can. Talking him through himself till he feels of worth.
His tricks and jokes don’t phase me. But I pretend they do. I try my best to travel the world, helping everyone I can. Not The World. But my world. These people mean as much as what I learn from them.
He tries his best.
art & poetry
: About Miriam Goodman: Miriam is an LA native who is inspired by the spirituality of the human experience. Her primary medium is oil painting, however she has explored several other mediums in her artistic expression. Miriam uses art to accentuate her own spiritual practices, and to provoke more self-awareness and kindness in the world. Miriam works as a Spiritual Director in private practice and at Hebrew Union College - Los Angeles.
Title: Walk The Moon
Title: Gwen Stefani 11
art & poetry
I peek around the curtain at 4:30 on a Friday and find tzitzit in place of a hospital gown, He insists I don’t retreat, but instead tell him Where I learned of Shabbos Caught off-guard, I decide the simplest version of truth is, “I’m half Jewish,” lacking foresight for the obligate follow-up— "Which half?" Boiling down more than maple syrup farmers, “Not the half you care about.” Which draws a chuckle and knowing nod. We are on the same page: My father. We are not on the same page: I have no father. The woman I was named for Was not allowed to marry a Jew I realize this while eating honey cake at 4am. A mid-morning snack, thanks to Migraine-induced jetlag— Perhaps another Birthright From those question mark chromosomes Sequenced as Ashkenazi.
In services I know the words, but not the tunes by heart, Once again only Half the unsung story. Taught by listening each Friday to another's attempts to Pencil-in history’s pink eraser mark scars. Like so much of religion, Her child’s blessing felt a performative farce— The only time for developmentally appropriate expectations. I wonder what she’d think of my own fingertip tracing leading me here. I don’t ask,
But when she unexpectedly mails me a chunk of New Year’s sweet, It goes in the cupboard, not trash, With a berakhah For the bees.
Poet: Teddy G. Goetz (they/them or he/him), age 27, is an overly enthusiastic nonbinary transmasc, queer, neurodivergent, chronically ill, Jewish psychiatry resident, writer, photographer, athlete, and research dork. Their goal (as both an artist and a doctor) is to help people feel seen. Their prior training includes an MD, an MS in gender-affirming hormone therapy, and BS in biochemistry and gender studies, focusing on interdisciplinary scientific research informed by individual embodied experiences. More about their scholarly and artistic work can be found at teddygoetz.com.
art & poetry
: From: Portland, OR Website: TamarHammersArt.etsy.com
art & poetry
BY: JUDY BATTAGLIA | SHE/HER
Parts of a whole
Or the cacophonous cloak
A dancer, a stripper, must first be a listener
Of a group
Not trained in the art of seduction but instead
Of the mother wound
The sister wound too tight
Does any misrepresented
The teacher who couldn’t be reached
and marginalized group
I do not recall
prefer a quiet or its opposite, a
Going out for solos
Always uneasy under microscopes Our blood cells multiply Much like the cancer
Artist Statement: explanatory phenomena: this poem is intended to take the reader on a psychological journey spanning the depths of mostly western approaches to jewish women, jews and women, jewish women who love women. The images take flight from microbiology, cosmology, botany, theology, psychology, and calls into account our cleavage to false idols: thinkers, lovers, and celebrated heroes throughout the ages philosophically inquiring whom or what is this all for and how/should/ought we allow this to continue and in what form? The flooding, oversaturation, achievement...the gaps. Poet: Judy Battaglia teaches students solutions-based practices as well. During the pandemic, she was able to get back to what made her heart beat when she entered this LMU arena as a student: poetry and dance. She was able to choreograph for local schools, so she got to speak to them about Ja’Quel Knight, a 32-year-old Black man, who is the first commercial choreographer to copyright his consecutive steps. Therefore, changing the landscape of our culture, particularly when we discuss ownership of creative property. He has worked with Beyoncé and Tinashe, and now has a grant for young POC artists.
art & poetry
Artist: Mollie Leibowitz is in her first year as a Springboard Ezra Fellow at the Hillel at the University of Vermont. "Purim in Pictures" is a zine she made to be distributed around campus in an effort to make the story of the holiday accessible to all students.
art & poetry
BY: SARA ESTRELLA BEROFF | AGE: 32 IDENTITY: BISEXUAL, POLYAMOROUS AND AUTISTIC
I have become my grandmother.
Recently, this past year, I have started to
Her gnarled hands, stiff with arthritis but too
lose my hands.
stubborn to stop sewing.
They are not falling off,
My first memory is of my hands.
nor are they gnarled.
Staring at them, pudgy and small, wondering if
they would grow
to be woman's hands
Like my mother first then my grandmother
Ironically it happened when I was serving a friend
I wear my mother's golden bangle now
a girl friend of mine
The most important part of her soul, permanently
as my mom would describe them.
part of me.
I went to grab the spoon
It is so brilliant and bright
I had to wait several years before I could afford a
I did not.
wedding ring bright and golden to compete.
Some days my hands work Some days they don't.
I remember the way my grandmother lost her identity.
And I feel like light from the star
of my identity
The way she yearned to teach me how to sew better. To be a woman better.
I am so afraid I am losing an identity. I am afraid of becoming dis abled.
BY: TAMAR LADD | SHE/HER
Miz Cracker: Miz Cracker is a Jewish drag queen who competed on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Ten. She incorporates her Jewishness into her drag and comedy. Her drag is inspired by the women in her life and Jewish comedians. Her comedy incorporates elements of the sarcasm and wit you might hear from your Jewish relatives. Her drag aims to deconstruct Jewish stereotypes and celebrate Jewish culture. Miz Cracker’s performances encourage others to practice self-confidence and embrace their Jewishness.
When Hanukkah rolls around be sure to check out her “Jewtorials” on Youtube for a good laugh. |
Instagram & Twitter: @miz_cracker
Falsettos: Falsettos is a wonderful Broadway musical offering funny and complex characters and relationships. The core of this musical is about love and family. Falsettos follows a gay man, Marvin, who recently divorced his wife to be in a relationship with another man, Whizzer. Marvin’s ex-wife Trina and their son Jason grapple with Marvin’s new relationship. Much of the family drama takes place when it is time for Jason’s Bar Mitzvah. Falsettos is humorous, nuanced, and beautiful. A few of my favorite songs include: “Four Jews in a Room Bitching,” “Miracle of Judaism,” and “A Tight-Knit Family/ Love Is Blind.”
Although Falsettos is no longer touring, you can watch a wonderful recording off the production on BroadwayHD |
Instagram Accounts to Check Out: @jewishfood @jqinternational @keshetlgbtqjews
behind the film
These featured films are full of food, culture, love and passion!
behind the film
Featuring Beth Elise Hawk By: Olivia Katz
If there’s something that brings people together, it’s food. That was Beth Elise Hawk’s exact mission when she decided to direct Breaking Bread. Breaking Bread is a 2019 film centered around bringing Jews and Arabs together through food. The movie follows pairings of Arab and Jewish chefs as they create culinary magic together.
Hawk first got her inspiration for this movie when she heard Masterchef winner Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel on the radio. Atamna-Ismaeel was speaking about her mission to bring Jews and Arabs together through food. “I was very inspired by this potentially positive message coming out of the Middle East,” Hawk commented. Since her favorite film subgenre is food, this idea was a story that Hawk needed to tell. She quickly found Atamna-Ismaeel on Facebook, and they soon got to work on what would become an insanely inspiring, positive story.
While we won’t spoil the surprises of the movie for you, we will tell you why you should watch it. Obviously, if you’re a fan of anything food-related, this is the movie for you. If you’re a person who likes to travel or learn about new places, this is the movie for you. But the biggest reason you should watch this movie is because it brings people together. The story of this movie is all about unity and coming together despite differing opinions. Hawk herself recommends people “...take the time to see this and go have a meal together,” even if they’re on opposing sides of politics. You might just find that you have more in common than you originally thought.
Breaking Bread is available for rent anywhere you stream your movies and to learn more about the film, you can visit: www.breakingbreadmovie.com
behind the film
Featuring Jeremy Borison By: Brooke Botwinick
Growing up in Los Angeles, CA, going to a
Institutions have not changed. There are still so
high school where the norm was to ‘stand
many synagogues, schools, and communities with
out’, and where the senior rabbi at my
little to no acceptance of difference. When
synagogue identifies as lesbian, I never had
Jeremy moved to Los Angeles he sought out a
to think twice if it felt safe to express my
new synagogue and community. At Modern
identity. I am straight, consider myself to be
Orthodox synagogue B’nai David Judea, he found
a feminist, an ally for the LGBTQ+
a ‘home’, community, and space of acceptance
community, and have many friends and some
and inclusion. In fact, Rabbi Kanefsky asked
family members who are out. It’s truly a gift
Jeremy to help create an LGBTQ+ inclusion
and a blessing to be accepted; one that so
many take for granted. Borison shared that one of the ways he Jeremy Borison grew up in Cleveland, Ohio
advocates for the queer community in Orthodox
in an Orthodox Jewish home. His friends and
Jewish spaces is by making his presence known.
family were always loving, caring, and
When he and his husband walk to shul, they
supportive. However, up until going to
consciously hold hands, otherwise there’s no
college at University of Michigan, he
representation or way for others to know they are
remained closeted because there was no
together unless they make it clear. He expressed
way for him to speak about his sexual
feeling a sense of discomfort even in LA because
identity. “What I was going through, and
people stare. “Even if one kid sees us and feels
what I was curious and scared about, I had
there's a possibility of staying in the community
to go through alone. There wasn’t a way to
and being their true self, then that would be
see a future for myself or know where to go.
really amazing.” He has also spoken out, sharing
It was terrifying.” He was able to come out
his story with organizations such as JQ
as gay because he was away from his
International and Eshel, expressing that what
community. He built a life of his own and
others are experiencing with gender and/or
had a support system that he could rely on
sexual identity doesn't have to be scary, but what
which eventually included his friends and
they are creating might feel uncomfortable to
behind the film
Jeremy is a part of JQ Magazine’s
“Unspoken follows the story of Noam, a
spotlight because of the incredible work
closeted teenager in a religious
he has done and continues to do for the
community who discovers that he might
LGBTQ+ community. He is currently
not be alone. When he finds a love letter
working on a film, Unspoken. Unspoken is
written to his grandfather by another man
based on another short film Borison
before the Holocaust, he sets out to find
created, a true story about a friend whose
this mysterious person and uncover his
grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.
grandfather's identity as well as his own.”
When her grandma passed away, the
The film is called Unspoken because it’s
family found a marriage certificate with
taboo, it’s something we don’t talk about.
another man's name who she had kept a
“The idea is to allow the audience to see
secret. Borison’s friend is gay and never
the experience of a closeted kid in a
told her grandmother. The film examines
religious community and empathize with
what might have happened if she had
the struggle they are going through.” A
come forward and shared her sexual
film like this is the first of its kind. It paints
identity with her grandma, whether her
a picture and enmeshes the past with the
grandma would have done the same with
her secret. The story’s premise exemplifies the relationship between secrets held during the holocaust to how coming out as gay today is acknowledged. Jeremy was questioned about queer persecution during the holocaust after his first film was made. It got him thinking about the silencing of queer stories in the religious community.
Visit: unspokenthefilm.com for more information
Explore essential and yummy Jewish baked goods!
Prep time - 15 mins Cook time - 15 mins Total time - 30 mins Ingredients: 1 package frozen puff pastry, room temperature
½ cup chopped nuts of your choice (pecans, walnuts or almonds will work) ½ cup chocolate chips 1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup white sugar ¾ cup jam 1 whole egg 1 tbsp water coarse sugar as needed (for sprinkling)
Instructions: 1) Preheat oven to 350 F & line 2 baking sheets with parchment or a baking mat. 2) In a small pot over low-medium heat, heat jam & sugar together to make the liquid spreadable. 3) Once your jam mixture becomes a syrup, set aside to cool. 4) In the meantime, pulse in a food processor: chopped nuts of choice, dried fruit of choice, chocolate chips, and cinnamon until combined into chunks. 5) On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll one of your puff pastry until it's about
⅛ inch thick
(in a circle or square shape). 6) With a spatula, spread half of the jam mixture evenly over the pastry and sprinkle half of the nut mixture on top (use the other halfs if you have another puff pastry). Evely spread and press down on the nut mixture (this ensures that when you roll the dough, the crumble stays put instead of falling all over the place). 7) Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutting wheel (my prefered tool), cut the dough as though you are slicing a cake or pizza. 8) Starting at the longer end, roll up each triangle ensuring they are quite tight. 9) Place them on the lined baking sheets seam side down. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet. 10) For the egg wash combine the egg and the water together and whisk vigorously until well combined and very smooth. You can add a bit more water if needed to thin out. Brush the egg wash onto each rugelach. 11) Top each rugelach with a touch of coarse sugar. Bake rolls for 15 to 20 mins, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool.
Credit: The Edgy Veg
Prep time - 3 hours Cook time - 35 mins Total time - 3 hours 35 mins Ingredients: warm water active dry yeast white sugar vegan butter, softened or vegetable oil aquafaba salt all-purpose flour sesame seeds, optional
Instructions: 1) In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 1 3/4 warm water, 1 1/2 tbsp yeast, and 1 tbsp sugar. Let sit for 10 mins or until yeast bubbles and froths. 2) Whisk, or use the whisk attachment for your mixer, and mix in 1/2 cup of softened vegan butter or oil, and 10 tbsp aquafaba, 3 tbsp at a time. Whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp salt. 3) Using your dough hook (or hands if you do not have a stand mixer) gradually add in flour 1 cup at a time, mixing between each addition, until dough holds together. 4) Knead dough until smooth. If you are using a stand mixer, do this with your dough hook. If you are doing this by hand, do this on a floured work surface. 5) Grease a large bowl with vegan butter or olive oil. Add dough, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp dishcloth. Place in a warm place (I like to put it in my oven with the light on), and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it’s almost doubled in size. 6) After it’s doubled in size, punch down the dough, and cover again. Let rise for another half an hour. This makes 2 loaves, so cut dough in half. Braid your Challah. Grease a large baking mat, or parchment. 7) Brush both loaves with 3 tbsp aquafaba or more as needed to cover completely, and allow to rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 375 F. 8) Brush loaves with additional aquafaba and then sprinkle with sesame seeds, or if you’re feeling adventurous, sprinkle everything bagel seasoning. Bake on middle rack for 30-35 mins, or until golden brown. Turn tray halfway through for even baking. Cool loaves on a wire cooling rack.
Credit: The Edgy Veg
Activism Ally Breaking Bread Community Fellowship Identity Intersectional Jewish
JQ International Kol Koleinu Love Magazine Mitzvah Moving Traditions Pride Queer 28
Rainbow Shavuot Sivan Sojourn Strength Unspoken Youth
The Trevor Project thetrevorproject.o rg (800) 788-7386
Keshet keshetonline.org JQ International jqinternational.org
Trans Lifeline (877) 565-8860
The LGBT National Help Center (800) 246-7743
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