Since coming out is a continual process, it is fitting to say a blessing or a prayer each time the process is furthered. Whether we are telling someone we haven’t seen in a while about our identity or marching in a gay pride parade, we can acknowledge our courage by saying a blessing:
Nevarekh et Eyn HaHayyim asher natna lee haozmah lazet min hamezarim.
Let us bless the source of life for giving me the courage to come out.
Beyond using this blessing in private, individual circumstances, many gay and lesbian Jews may feel a need to have a publc ritual among friends or in the synagogue. The ritual may be very simple, consisting of the recitation of the blessing, followed by an additional blesing that a friend, the service leader, or the rabbi may say on the occassion:
May the One who blessed our ancestors, Abraham is the first patriarch and the father of the Jewish people. He is the husband of Sarah and the father of Isaac and Ishmael. God's covenant - that we will be a great people and inherit the land of Israel - begins with Abraham and is marked by his circumcision, the first in Jewish history. His Hebrew name is Avraham., Abraham and Sarah's much-longed-for son and the second Jewish patriarch. Isaac is nearly sacrificed by his father at God's command (Genesis 22). He is married to Rebecca and is the father of Esau and Jacob. His Hebrew name is Yitzchak., and Lit. heel Jacob is the third patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca, and father to the twelve tribes of Israel. More than any of the other patriarchs, Jacob wrestles with God and evolves from a deceitful, deal-making young man to a mature, faithful partner to God. His Hebrew name is Yaakov., The quintessential Jewish leader who spoke face to face with God, unlike any other prophet, and who freed the people from Egypt, led them through the desert for forty years, and received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. His Hebrew name is Moshe., Brother of Moses, chosen as Moses' interlocutor. His Hebrew name is Aharon., and David; The first matriarch, wife of Abraham, and mother of Isaac, whom she birthed at the age of 90. Sarah, in Rabbinic tradition, is considered holy, beautiful, and hospitable. Many prayers, particularly the Amidah (the central silent prayer), refer to God as Magen Avraham – protector of Abraham. Many Jews now add: pokehd or ezrat Sarah – guardian or helper of Sarah., The second Jewish matriarch, Isaac's wife, and mother to Jacob and Esau. Rebecca is an active parent, talking to God when she is pregnant and learning the fate of her children, then ultimately manipulating Isaac and the children to ensure Jacob's ascendancy. Her Hebrew name is Rivka., The third of the Jewish matriarchs, Lead is the eldest of Lavan's daughters and one of the wives of Jacob. She is the daughter whom Lavan tricks Jacob into marrying instead of his younger daughter Rachel, whom Jacob has requested to marry. Leah is mother to six of the the twelve tribes and to one daughter, Dinah. and Lavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem., Miriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. As Moses' and Aaron's sister she, according to midrash, prophesies Moses' role and helps secure it by watching over the young baby, seeing to it that Pharaoh's daughter takes him and that the baby is returned to his mother for nursing. During the Israelites' trek through the desert, a magical well given on her behalf travels with the Israelites, providing water, healing, and sustenance., and An important female biblical character with her own book. The Book of Ruth, read on Shavuot, tells the story of Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and their return to Israel. Ruth’s story is often read as the first story of conversion. Ruth is the grandmother of King David., bless ________bat _______, who has come forward bravely to proclaim her lesbian identity to this congregation. May she grow in self-understanding and rejoice in her newly claimed identity. May her courage be a model for others who yearn to reveal hidden parts of themselves. May she receive love, warmth, and support from her community, family, and friends. May her public act inspire us to deepen our commitment to work for a time when gay men and lesbians will no longer suffer from hatred and prejudice and when all will live in harmony and peace. Amen.
This ceremony could take place at any home gathering or synangoue service, but might be most appropriate when the The Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. is read, accompanied by an Lit. Ascending Being called up to recite the blessing before and after a Torah reading. Also, a term used upon moving to Israel (i.e., making aliyah) to the Torah. In this way, it would take on the resonance of the bat Lit. Commandment. It is traditionally held that there are 613 mitzvot (plural) in Judaism, both postive commandments (mandating actions) and negative commandments (prohibiting actions). Mitzvah has also become colloquially assumed to mean the idea of a “good deed.". To become a bat mitzvah means to make a transition to being a responsible Jew; to take on a new identity as a Jewish woman. Similarly, coming out is a life cycle event that demands the proclamation of the new identity; the link is therefore most appropriate.
From “Like Bread on a Lit. Order. The festive meal conducted on Passover night, in a specific order with specific rituals to symbolize aspects of the Exodus from Egypt. It is conducted following the haggadah, a book for this purpose. The mystics of Sefat also created a seder for Tu B'shvat, the new year of the trees. Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition,” 1997, Columbia University Press. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.