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Helene Meyers

Rainbow Jews Threaten a Black-and-White Worldview

rainbowIt is tempting to read Yishai Schlissel’s terrorist act at the July Jerusalem Pride Parade  stabbings claimed the life of Shira Banki, a 16-year-old marcher  as confirming the opposition between the religious and secular realm.

Schlissel’s words indicate that he seeks to limit the very definition of Jew to those who believe that same-sex love and desire is an abomination. But photos shared on social media challenge that definition of Jewishness in particular and instructive ways. 

A rainbow yarmulke and tallit, a rainbow flag with a Magen David at its center, and the participation of such groups as Bat Kol, the religious lesbian organization, affirm the intersection of queer identity and religious identity. That crossroads is, of course, a danger zone for haredi homophobes because it means that they can no longer claim to be the only essential and authentic form of Jewish and Judaic being. To haredi homophobes, rainbow Jews threaten a black and white worldview that seeks to falsely represent itself as that of “every Jew.”