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Paperback Mentsh: On Being Jewish and Queer Book

ISBN: 1555838502

ISBN13: 9781555838508

Mentsh: On Being Jewish and Queer

Tossed between sometimes contradictory cultural imperatives, queer Jews often find themselves in a soul-searching struggle to integrate their religious beliefs with their gayness. Over 30 contributors... This description may be from another edition of this product.


Format: Paperback

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Let Me In

Brown, Angela, ed. "Mentsh: On Being Jewish and Queer". Alyson Books, 2004. Let Me In Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride I am quite sure that the majority of you reading this may have heard the word "mentsh" but never really thought much about what it means. It is a Yiddish word that really does not have a word in English like it. Yiddish words have connotations and denotations and usually employ some sort of body language that go along with them. A "mentsh" is a gentleman--but not just a plain old gentleman; it is a gentleman who becomes one only after having struggled. We, as gay people, have struggled for acceptance. As Jewish gay people we seem to think we have double the struggle especially in places where people do not know us. Angela Brown in "Mentsh: On Being Queer and Jewish" basically uses the idea that I have given you as the basis for her anthology. She has done quite an admirable job in showing our double struggles. And let me tell you personally, until you experience this double bind, you can have no idea how difficult it can be. In a place like Arkansas, where there are few Jewish people and just as few gays as compared with say, Memphis, Dallas or even New Orleans, I have has some very interesting experiences but then I am way out there. This is who I am; it is a package deal, take it or leave it. The struggle in most cases is personal and internal--in many cases in the mind but that doesn't make it any the less palpable. The anthology has entries from the entire spectrum of gay life and is wonderfully divided into sections such as "Growing Up and Coming Out"," Relationships, Marriage and Sex", "Finding Our Place in the World" and "Stories from our Lives". The one thing that really sold me on this book is the amount of depth I felt was contained in the individual entries. Warren j. Blumenfield's "A Letter to my Grandfather on Being Jewish and Gay" wounded me deeply as it hit so close to home, especially since I realized how important the two issues were to the author and to me, myself. More so, it was not just about being Jewish and gay but about being human and gay. Likewise Bonnie Kaplan's "Oh My Godzilla" hit me in a completely different way while reading it but I had a profound reaction when I thought about it. Stephen Cooper's "Identity Crisis: Tales of a Wandering Jew" summed up my own life concisely and beautifully. I am sure the book had its effect on me because it is so personal. But Jews love to laugh -at ourselves especially and there are some hilarious entries here. One that I especially love was of a Jewish wedding where the groom was once a woman and the bride was once a man. This is a very special look at the inside of queer Jews--at their loves, their lives, their passions, their problems but most of all at the Jewish gay soul. There are about thirty wonderful entries here and when the book s taken as a whole, we have the picture of a group of people who have been misunderstood but have fought to be who they are. (
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