From The Williams Record: https://williamsrecord.com/2018/10/rabbi-mike-moskowitz-speaks-on-trans-rights/?fbclid=IwAR1DfV4BGaOpWLj9YCnJqQ0wVSyV-BbQ9PZyq2KhJrlGFmbvcl8pCP4lJOU
By Rachel Levin, Executive Editor
October 24, 2018
Last Thursday, Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, a rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) in Manhattan, spoke to a group gathered for lunch in the Jewish Religious Center. During the talk, titled “Trans Inclusivity and Yes on 3,” Moskowitz spoke about the ways in which Judaism can become more gender inclusive. This event was supported by Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, Knesset Israel in Pittsfield and the Williams College Jewish Association.
The conversation began with a discussion of the misleading wording for Question 3 on the Massachusetts November ballot. Voting “yes” would maintain anti-discrimination policies for trans people while voting “no” would repeal these protections. This is what brought Moskowitz to Massachusetts, and the topic served as an important backdrop for the conversation that followed.
“I only started thinking about gender about three years ago, when someone in my family said to me, ‘I’m not a girl, I’m a boy,’” Moskowitz began. “And having since obsessively thought about gender, I can tell you honestly that I’ve reached what I think is a very evolved position of know-ing that I just don’t know.” Moskowitz’s journey with exploring gender in Judaism continued while he was a rabbi at Columbia, until he was fired for publicly taking a stance supporting trans Jewish students. This led to his involvement in broader social justice movements and his arrest for civil disobedience while fighting against the repeal of DACA in January. It was actually through this arrest that he got his present job at CBST, allowing him to participate in advocacy work publicly with institutional support.
Continue reading at: https://williamsrecord.com/2018/10/rabbi-mike-moskowitz-speaks-on-trans-rights/?fbclid=IwAR1DfV4BGaOpWLj9YCnJqQ0wVSyV-BbQ9PZyq2KhJrlGFmbvcl8pCP4lJOU
See Also: An Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Comes Out for LGBTQ People
Rabbi Mike Moskowitz is an LGBTQ ally, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi and scholar-in-residence at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah—the largest LGBTQ congregation in the world.
October 28, 2018
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.”
Continue reading at: An Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Comes Out for LGBTQ People