When Rabbi Steve Greenberg was a young rabbinical student at an Orthodox Yeshiva near Jerusalem in the mid-1970s, he was attracted to a fellow (male) student. He wanted to talk about his feelings of homosexual desire to a respected old rabbi — but was afraid to. So Greenberg fudged by telling the rabbi he was “attracted to both men and women.” The venerated old rabbi shrugged: “So you have twice the power of love. Use it carefully.”
A series of panels, workshops and lectures draw like-minded women to this daylong conference. Highlights: CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler delivers the keynote, “Crafting Our Jewish Feminist Narrative”; Jewish Journal Executive Editor Susan Freudenheim moderates “Jewish Women’s Voices in Activism”; Rabbis Rachel Adler (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion), Sharon Brous (IKAR) and Lisa Edwards (Beth Chayim Chadashim) examine “The Rabbinical Perspective: Women’s Equality Within Judaism”; Jewish Journal Senior Writer Julie Gruenbaum Fax moderates “Mom Activism: Can I Really Be a Mom and an Activist?”; and Journal blogger Ilana Angel joins a panel of speakers addressing “Diversity Within Our Jewish Community: Understanding and Strengthening Each Other.”
Rabbi Steven Greenberg usually kept quiet through the gay jokes. After all, he had been in the closet in the Orthodox community for 20 years, so he was used to smiling through the ridicule, through tirades about same-sex marriage.