Rabbi Mike Moskowitz uses the parlance of the LGBTQ movement to introduce himself to people. “My name,” he says, “is Mike Moskowitz. My pronouns are he/him. I was assigned secular and came out as Orthodox in high school. For the next 20 years I identified as Orthodox and now present as religiously non-conforming.”

Moskowitz, who dresses in the garb of an ultra-Orthodox man and pronounces Hebrew words with a Yiddish inflection, asserts he is a religious fundamentalist. He believes God gave the Israelites the Torah at Mount Sinai. But what he says next is both surprising and full of grace: “What [the giving of the Torah at Sinai] means for me is that there were conversations at Sinai around trans [issues] and inclusivity between God and Moses.”

Moskowitz is very clear that his work as a rabbi is about creating safe spaces to uncover and discover the Divine. In a recent conversation with JewishBoston, he described himself as a dedicated LGBTQ ally. Since May, he has been the scholar-in-residence for trans and queer studies at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST)—the largest LGBTQ congregation in the world. “A lot of my work is about deconstructing homophobia and transphobia without changing what the Torah says,” he said. “We need to make space to interpret and act in a way that respects the choice and freedom of the action of an individual.”

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