Metro Weekly

Adas Israel Rabbi Comes Out as Gay

“I am writing to share with you that after twenty years of marriage, my wife Batya and I have decided to divorce. We have arrived at this heartbreaking decision because I have come to understand that I am gay.”

Rabbi Steinlauf

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, of Adas Israel Congreation in Washington, D.C. in an email to his congregation on Tuesday, Oct. 7. “While I struggled in my childhood and adolescence with a difference I recognized in myself, that feeling of difference did not then define my identity, much less the spouse I would seek,” the 45-year-old rabbi wrote. “I sought to marry a woman because of a belief that this was the right thing for me. This conviction was reinforced by having grown up in a different era, when the attitudes and counsel of adult professionals and peers encouraged me to deny this uncertain aspect of myself.” He said his wife, Batya, “supported me through this very personal inner struggle that she knew to be the source of great pain and confusion in my life over decades.”

The congregation’s president, Arnie Podgorsky, included a letter of support along with the senior rabbi’s email, sent to more than 1,400 households. “Together with the other officers of Adas Israel, I stand with Rabbi Steinlauf,” Podgorsky wrote. “Our synagogue is strong, large, and inclusive — a big tent with room and respect for all. We understand that Rabbi Steinlauf will be undergoing a challenging personal transition in the coming months, and we extend to him patience and a generous spirit.”

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