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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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This Is the Blessing: The “First Openly Gay Rabbi” Reminisces

This Is the Blessing: The “First Openly Gay Rabbi” Reminisces

Parashat Zot Ha’bracha (Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12)

(p.277) Fifty-Four This Is the Blessing: The “First Openly Gay Rabbi” Reminisces
Torah Queeries

Allen Bennett

Jane Rachel Litman

NYU Press

This chapter describes the life of Moses in comparison to that of Allen Bennett— the first “openly” gay rabbi. Moses' life centers on oppression, liberation, and wandering, as well as conquest, settlement, and nation building. Similarly, the life of Allen Bennett personifies Moses' rebellion and leadership by being unconventional rabbi. Since any known gay student would have been quickly asked to leave, Allen had lived his student years “in the closet.” Allen was eventually ordained as a congregational rabbi while still hiding his identity. However, because of unprecedented circumstances, he was forced to admit his queerness, and fight for his status as a rabbi.

Keywords:   Allen Bennett, Moses, gay rabbi, congregational rabbi, queerness

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