Review from the Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva Day School Alumni Association (GLYDSA)
In December 1994, simply by word of mouth, over 60 Jewish LGBT showed up at the Gay Community Center in Manhattan to discuss the formation of a social and support group created by and serving Jewish LGBT from traditional backgrounds. On that historic day, the Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva Day School Alumni Association (GLYDSA) was founded. In a time before Internet and email, this was an amazing event. For the first time in over 5,000 years, observant gay Jews would have a place to meet, discuss, socialize and end the isolation that most of them experienced growing up within the religious Jewish community.
Since that momentous day, GLYDSA has organized into a group serving LGBT Jews of all ages and religious backgrounds and affiliations, in the NYC-area and across the USA. We meet monthly for discussion and socializing opportunities, including guest speakers, a gay author series, films, and holiday events. Our meetings have been attended over the last 15 years by thousands of people from all over North America, Europe, Australia and Israel. For many, it is the first time they have met other religious gays, or been in a room where they can speak and listen to others just like them. We prove that they are not alone, and can be a very emotional experience. GLYDSA also sponsors, or co-sponsors annual Chanukah and Purim parties, semi-annual Friday night Shabbat dinners, and joins with the JCC of Manhattan for an annual summer Pride Party. These events draw hundreds of gay Jews and are highlights of the gay Jewish social calendar. People come in from far and wide to participate and enjoy the music, dancing, food and camaraderie. GLYDSA has also organized theater events and summer day trips.
Our continually updated website (click below) contains lots of information, links, Q&A, and an events calendar that is fun and easy to use. We can be reached via our 24-hour information line at 212-780-465 o at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very often the gay community-at-large is percieved as hostile to organized religion and unwelcoming to religious members. Our goal is to build a community for all GLBT Jews that includes those who choose not to abandon their religious upbringings; to still maintain their connection to yiddishkeit, and share these experiences with others who “understand”. In this I hope we have succeeded.