I couldn’t be gay, could I? Surely I couldn’t! I was an Orthodox Jew, after all. Jews were NOT gay. But I definitely enjoyed looking at the male body. How could this be?
“Time for Mincha!” yelled the nasal voice of Rabbi Lifshitz, announcing the start of afternoon prayers. Jews pray in the morning (Shacharit), we pray in the afternoon (Mincha) and we pray at night (Mussaf). We pray before eating, after eating, after peeing, before thunder, upon seeing a rainbow. We pray when seeing a large dog. Jews like to pray. A lot.
I walked into the small makeshift Synagogue in our shabby private Jewish day school. The room was adorned with forest green carpet and bright yellow colored walls. The ark sat at the head of the room. Prayers were separated. Boys sat on one side and girls sat on the other. I started to read the Shmone Esrai (the standing prayer) when he walked in. He was tall with light curly golden brown hair. His muscles could be seen through his tight black sports coat. His bright blue eyes twinkled when he smiled. And his butt. Oh, his gorgeous butt. Staring at this ravishing anomaly, my stomach began to turn and it happened. I looked down and Jacob Jr. was very excited indeed. I was having a hard-on in the middle of Prayers.
“Crap,” I thought. I grabbed my prayer book and sat down trying to have the book cover my excitement.
“Get up” snarled Rabbi Lifshitz. “We are not finished yet!”
Reluctantly I got up, bowing, pretending to devoutly pray to hide my erection. It finally went away, yet my humiliation lingered.
Oh shoot, maybe I was gay.
I’m From Jacksonville, FL. “My sixth grade Hebrew class was the first place in Jacksonville that I’d have my first head-on experience with homophobia. My older classmate Sara was thoughtful enough to inform me that I was a “Gay Boy”. She must have taken great stock in my personal life because she made sure it was known to everyone else in the small class of eight sixth and seventh graders.”
I’m From Roslyn, NY. “After coming out to myself, I waited a while before coming out to my parents. Now, we aren’t religious Jews, but we celebrated the big holidays. So, I chose the 2nd night of Rosh Hashanah as the day. I rarely went to Long Island except for family gatherings and holidays. It just seemed like the right time to finally come out.”