Yom Kippur and National Coming Out Day

(Reposted from Facebook.)

Today is the eve of Yom Kippur. It is also National Coming Out Day.

It’s impossible for me to escape the significance of the overlap.

In Judaism, Yom Kippur is considered to be the holiest day of the year — the day on which we are closest to God, and to the epitome of our souls.

As a child, I sat next to my father in synagogue and heard rabbis say, “It is the Day of Atonement,” from behind the pulpit.

“For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God” (Leviticus 16:30).”

For years, I wrestled with my identity. How can I ask forgiveness from a God that considers it a sin to be gay? Wasn’t I created in his image? Does “purify” and “cleansed” mean to not be gay? To embrace my sexual identity, do I have to abandon my religious one?

It has now been 10 years since I stood in Israel and uttered the words “I’m gay” for the very first time. I was convinced that coming out would be the end of my connection to God. In truth, it ended up being the beginning of a much truer relationship.

I don’t know if there is anything godlier than honesty, acceptance, and love.

I have always seen my coming out experience as more of a “coming in.” It took me tremendous effort to quiet the noise around me, to focus on my inner voice, and hear what it had to say. And this isn’t a past-tense accomplishment. For my health and well-being, it is a daily, active practice.

It is the seemingly conflicting parts of my identity that make me the glorious manifestation of exactly who I am.

Wishing all those who are observing a meaningful experience.

#YomKippur #LGBT #Pride

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