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Gay Identity Versus Jewish Identity Essay

1475 words - 6 pages

Each individual forms his or her own sexual preference in response to interactions with males and females in the world. These responses to the external world by the internal world (in the mind and body) are governed by genetic make-up, brain-chemistry, brain-anatomy and hormone levels (CITE) . Perhaps a young boy, when exposed to an experience of kissing another boy at the age of 8, may feel an attraction toward the boy whereas the same experience with a girl does not produce the same feelings of attractions. These feelings could be caused by environmental factors, but are interpreted in a liked or disliked way. Let's say this same homosexual young man belongs to the Orthodox Jewish Community. His Orthodox Jewish identity is based on the writings of the Torah and rabbinical interpretations of the Torah--but mostly the Torah. Furthermore, because such writings influence formation of his self identity that's believed--by the orthodox Jewish community--to be the identity given to him by God, such writings and commandments are not compromised by this boy's community. Such laws include: thou shall not lie with another man (Bavier, 1972). Reminders to follow the Torah and to base one's identity on such Torah writings are compulsatory in the Orthodox Jewish religion (Bavier, 1972). Consequently, the Orthodox Jewish identity--of this young boy--given by the Torah becomes a burden on him especially if he is in the closet. Homosexual feelings go on for years without their disclosure but their repression, and this boy feels guilty and shameful of his sexual identity which is not compatible with an Orthodox Jewish identity. The feelings of homosexual attraction are concealed to not be cut off from their Orthodox Jewish community (Coyle, 2010). We cannot say whether the same case is true for conservative or reform branches of Judaism. More research has to be done to reveal the impact of such Jewish communities on homosexuality. However, we can at least say that having an Orthodox Jewish identity has a negative impact on the sexual identity--and henceforth the psychology--of young homosexual Orthodox Jewish men.
To gain an understanding of why the homosexual identity of a young Jewish orthodox man is incompatible with his Orthodox Jewish Identity, we have to understand a few basic stories of the Torah, some commandments in it and the degree of compulsatory practice in being reminded of such commandments. We start with the book of Genesis. We are introduced to a God that forms the Earth and its first human being, Adam, a man (Bavier,1972). God saw that it was not good for man to be alone since none of the animals that God created were fitting as companions for Adam (Bavier,1972). Consequently, a woman by the name of Eve was formed from Adam’s rib while he was placed in a deep slumber(Bavier,1972). Eve was designated by God to be Adam’s companion and helper (Bavier,1972). This sets a mark for this Orthodox Jewish society to define what are the basic...

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