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Last Updated: 29-Apr-2017 10:30
In February 2016, Eshel sent a confidential survey to approximately 300 Orthodox and traditional Jewish parents with LGBT children. Over 100 parents completed the survey. This report describes the findings, including comments by parents to illustrate or further describe their answers.
This survey is a first of its kind. It is the first time Orthodox parents of LGBT children have voiced their perceptions as a group both by “voting” on various choices presented by each question, as well as by commenting on each question and the situation the question posed to them and their families. While the findings are not statistically significant, we believe that the survey accurately reflects respondents’ feelings and experiences.
The survey’s theme is community and the sense of belonging or rejection these parents and families – and in particular, their LGBT child – feel once the child has come out. The survey has defined community by polling parents about their synagogue, their rabbi, friends, family, as well as their child’s school and camp.
This survey is by no means the final view into the world of Orthodox parents and their LGBT children. For instance, we discovered that most of the parents who participated had older children who long ago attended camp or graduated from a Jewish day school. Consequently, the answers to these questions were under-represented and allowed us only a cursory view. These are situations to be explored further. Nonetheless, we believe this survey has opened an important door for the Jewish community and its leaders, allowing them to appreciate the challenges parents encounter when a child comes out.
Eshel’s mission is to build community, compassion, understanding and inclusion in the Orthodox community for LGBT Jews. We welcome any questions about this survey and it findings.