aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Religious acceptance is a two way street
A report in The Forward (bylined Atlanta, which I think is noteworthy) finds that traditionally gay synagogues are now so well accepted that they are grappling with the high percentage of straight people and their families who want to join:
That difficulty has become particularly acute at Bet Haverim, where more than half the 300 members are straight. After some confusion with Atlanta’s gay newspaper, Bet Haverim’s rabbi, Joshua Lesser, asked that Bet Haverim be described as a “gay-founded” synagogue. [...]
“I think that was a profound transformational moment where most of us realized: â€˜Oh, this is the value of opening up our synagogue. We have created a community of allies,’” Lesser said.
Ironically, it is the open, inclusive atmosphere that Bet Haverim and other synagogues worked so hard to create that has made them attractive to a whole range of underserved worshippers. Gay-founded synagogues across the country report that they have relatively large numbers of non-white Jews, Jewish converts and intermarried families, as well as Jews who’ve never felt like they fit in elsewhere.
Via Stephen H. Miller who comments:
I also hear that something similar has happened in larger MCC churches as well. And even the gay-focused gun-defending (and training) enthusiasts, the Pink Pistols, recount that straights who are uncomfortable with NRA-type groups are joining.
Other minorities have long confronted issues of assimilation vs. independent institutions, and the need to strike a balance that preserves what’s best in minority culture while helping to enrich (and being enriched by) the larger community to which we all belong.
“ ’Peep Art‘—a reinterpretation of the Pop Art movement and homage to Andy Warhol and his muse Edie Sedgwick—is a revolutionary concept taking the Peeps Diorama Contest to an entirely different level.”
“The name is a pun, and the concept itself is the pun,” explains Ilana Greenstein, an operations officer for the CIA. “Pop art uses everyday images in art, and Peep art does the same.” With Peeps. Multiple levels of meaning. After two contests and more than 1,100 dioramas, we may finally have a submission that defines the Peep art movement.
Greenstein and Jane Dokko’s diorama exudes the austerity of a museum, but within the mounted frames it’s colorful chaos: Peeps cutouts splashed on a Jackson Pollock, “PEEP!” replacing “VAROOM!” in a Roy Lichtenstein piece and nine Warholized Peeps at the center of the action. And let’s not forget: Admiring the exhibit are Warhol and Sedgwick themselves.