Hanukkah 5781 | 2020

Queer Midrash: Hanukkah 5781 | 2020

Queer Midrash is a compilation of prose and poetry, commentary and reflection, prayer and narrative retelling inspired from and based on texts sacred to the Jewish community written through a Queer lens.

Honoring the millennia long tradition of Midrash, Queer Midrash is a resource for LGBTQ Jews to be affirmed and supported in their faith journeys, while equipping allies and curious seekers to explore the possibilities of an LGBTQ affirming Judaism.

A Re-imagining of Maccabees I 2:50-72 with Matisyahu Rallying Their Queer Troops

Michael Faccini

(50) Now when the time drew near that Matisyahu should die, they said unto their queer children

(51) Now as their rebellion against the cispatriarchy was gaining strength, and they found themselves approaching success through righteous indignation:

(52) Now therefore, my children, be zealous for justice, and live your lives in the pride of your ancestors

(53) Call to remembrance what acts our queer ancestors did in their time; so shall ye receive great honour and an everlasting name

(54) Was not Abraham, the tumtum, an arguer with God for justice?

(55) Sarah, our tumtum mother, who greeted the news of her pregnancy with ironic laughter.

(56) Isaac, willing to die for his assigned gender, for whom we learn we owe ourselves better.

(57) Rebecca, the na’arah called na’ar, who saw everyone’s needs.

(58) Jacob, birthright usurper, who became the person he knew himself to be.

(59) Rachel, the beloved bride, may we be as loved as she.

(60) Leah, the unloved bride, who sees us in our pain as we long to be loved.

(61) Joseph, light of foot and exiled from his family, was made lord of Egypt and saved his family.

(62) Miriam, the audacious prophetess crossing the sea in song and one of our few foremothers named without a husband.

(63) David and Jonathan for their queer love, may we merit from them mashiach speedily and in our days.

(64) Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish, whose love is preserved in righteous argument throughout the Talmud.

(65) The trans women of Stonewall who said no with a brick and brought us out of the shadows.

(66) Every queer Jewish “first” for asserting that we are here, we belong here, and we have always been here.

(67) Fear not then the words of hateful people: their glory shall be dung and worms.

(68) Today they may be lifted up but tomorrow they will not be found, because they are returned to dust and their thoughts return to nothing.

(69) My children, be valiant and show yourselves the inheritors of this proud line; for by it you will obtain glory.

(70) Seek comfort and council from one another, know that none of us is free until we are all free.

(71) Join with those who seek your freedom and fight for your lives, that those coming after you can live free, authentic lives.

(72) So Matisyahu blessed them, and was gathered to their ancestors.

When They Ask You Why
Reba Connell

Queer Haftarah, Parashat Hukat, or Balak, Beshalah, or LGBTQQI2SGLA Pride Month)

(for my
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, --
and at the risk of making the intro longer than the piece but it's important --
two spirit, same gender loving, genderqueer, asexual, tumtum, androgynous
and anyone-who-asks-why

"We are all twilight people... many genders and none" -- Rabbi Reuben Zellman

when they ask you why,
tell then when:

the Holy One, Blessed Be the One,

at twilight
on the eve of the seventh day
when it is on the cusp of tricky
to see your friend
to distinguish between --

gathering up bowls,

to ready for the first
great Rest
but it was a pity to waste --
it was still good --

the proportions were off
there was more left of
this than that
and there wasn't enough
to make multiples in the usual pattern

yet it was still good --

gathering up the last bit of energy and starlight

laughing with creative pleasure
after mountain, mountain
bug bug bug bug bug

the One made:
the mouth of the earth
the mouth of Miriam's well
the mouth of one talking donkey
the manna for nourishing complaining mouths
the rainbow
the rod

and you.

Now therefore, my children, be zealous for justice, and live your lives in the pride of your ancestors"

Michael Faccini


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