March 19, 2015
Last month, Keshet celebrated Valentine's Day with multiple stories of love. Posted here are two tales of the same, special occassion. Keshet works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews in Jewish life.
These posts first appeared on Keshet’s blog on MyJewishLearning.
By Aden Michaud
I first met Josh when I was on a date with my previous partner.
A friend of ours had asked if we had wanted to go to a Keshet Shabbat dinner and we obliged. After the service concluded we sat down with a couple of strangers and began talking. I remember telling Josh about my switch from going to school for Unitarian Universalist ministry, and then finding Judaism.
I told him that sometimes, there are things that are unexplainable, that cannot be reasoned, and that is where faith in God begins. As I was leaving the Shabbat dinner that evening, I remember thinking “wow, if I were not with my current partner, I would totally date this guy.”
In April, my relationship of over four years, began to unravel. For the next six months, my ex and I were on and off. During one of our breakups, I had begun online dating, not looking for anything too serious. In early October, we officially ended our four year relationship. I met Josh, again, just a few weeks after.
Our first date was amazing, we talked about the intersection of queer identities and religion. We were so engrossed we walked roughly 5 miles. At the end of our date we sat outside, and I gave him a little kiss on the cheek.
Prior to this I had been in only heteronormative relationships, and was terrified of being perceived as visibly queer. I was afraid to give up any of my privilege that came with being in what was perceived as a normative relationship. Our third date was my conversion ceremony; Rabbi Zecher of Temple Israel of Boston asked how Josh and I knew each other. I hesitantly explained “we’re dating.” I was reluctant to put a label on us that would make this a real relationship.
Despite my best efforts to run, I found myself falling in love with Josh. I loved going to shul with him on Friday nights, debating scripture, and spending holidays with our families.
After six months of dating, I began to look into rings. I tried desperately to talk myself out of this proposition. I had always viewed fast engagements as irresponsible. I could not reason this feeling away. I truly believe that our love is beyond time and beyond reason.
Pride season is Josh’s favorite time of the year. He talks about it in all seasons of the year and usually marches with Keshet. So, one night while out at a bar Josh and his family, listening to Josh’s uncles’ band, I found myself asking Josh’s cousin what she was doing the day of the Pride Parade. I had decided in that moment to go for it and make a proposal during Pride. I gave myself two weeks to buy a ring, plan the proposal, and to ask for his parents’ blessing.
On Saturday, June 14, 2014, Josh and I headed into Boston bright and early to help Keshet set up. I got down on one knee holding a sign asking Josh to travel through space and time with me, a reference to our favorite show: Doctor Who. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the embrace of our community. The whole route, we were congratulated on our engagement, and I was truly beaming.
Before this moment Pride was simply the “Queer Fourth of July,” yet I now see it as time to make the invisible visible.
I cannot be more proud of our relationship, our love, and our faith. I look forward to sharing our next part of our Jewish journey.
By Josh Lutch
After coming out in May 2012, I began searching for someone to be with: a partner, a nice Jewish guy.
I began by going to Keshet events and meeting guys on OKCupid. There were some nice guys I met, but nothing clicked.
During one Keshet Shabbat, I chatted with another guy about our Jewish and spiritual journeys and felt something between us… he left before I could get his number or name.
Months later we reconnected and agreed to meet in Cambridge. The date was a long walk along the Charles River from Cambridge to Copley Square in Boston. We could not stop talking with each other. Sitting on a bench on Copley square he leaned in for a kiss on the cheek.
I felt nervous. This was the first time someone felt that close to me. I didn’t know what this would lead to, but I felt something special.
8 months later, I went up to his home and noticed something was off. He was nervous and out of character.
I asked, “is something happening tomorrow?”
“No!” he retorted.
I glared and thought for a moment. “…are you going to propose to me tomorrow?”
In a split second he responded, “no, I got you a puppy and his name is Jim Henson, my friend Sara and I picked him out one day and she’s at his house and will be bringing him tomorrow to the parade!”
The next day we went together to help Keshet set up for Boston Pride 2014. I was excited and nervous to meet Jim Henson, my supposed new puppy.
When we arrived, my friend Adam from high school was there. Not totally out of the ordinary, I knew he was going to Pride but I was confused as to why he was spending so much time chatting with me. I knew he had to go to help someone set up and then go to a wedding. But anyway, I was meeting a puppy, what did I care?
Along came Aden’s friend Sara, without a puppy. I was confused. “Where’s the puppy?” I asked Aden. “No puppy!”
Instead, he got down on one knee and showed me a sign that read “Will you travel through space and time with me?”
I was still confused.
Then, he gave me a TARDIS box with a “Time Lord” ring in it. He told me how much he loved me, my family, my friends, and my Jewish commitment. And, he asked “will you marry me?” I said yes.
We held signs sharing our brand new engagement as we marched with through the parade. While marching, we had shouts of “Mazel Tov” and “Congratulations!”
It was quite a day. Aden told me he had to do it on Pride because it was a meaningful day to me. Two years prior I had just come out. To think that two years later I was engaged at Pride is amazing. Aden put so much thought into the day which shows his love and care for making meaning in life and understanding me like nobody else.
I love you Aden, and I look forward to spending each and every day with you.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.