After a long marriage of incompatibility, I am very happy in my relationship with another woman. We are emotionally, physically, and sexually very close; we give each other the support we need. But there are stresses. My grandchildren will probably be told when they are older that homosexuality is wrong. Sometimes I feel our union has to be way better than any heterosexual relationship to prove that is right; we must be near perfect. There is so much pressure from the outside, but we endure. I couldn't feel such intense love without the divine! We are both Jewish women and mothers who want to be connected to the divine and our heritage, so the community's blessings keep us close to our people, and keep us doing mitzvahs. What should we do?
Dear In Love,
I'm sorry that in your marriage you felt you were incompatible with your husband. I understand that you fear risking rejection by your grandchildren, who may disapprove of a lesbian relationship. But the approval of your family and community is not the first priority in a relationship. The first priority in every relationship is that it be loving and moral, and that it maintain a spark of the divine.
I have written extensively on the subject of homosexuality. The gist of what I believe is that in the Jewish religion, G-d gives us 613 commandments, asking that we do our best to try to use those commandments as an all-encompassing umbilical cord to be close with G-d. Sometimes we feel that we are incapable of living up to some of those commandments, one of which calls for heterosexual intimate relationships. In that case, we must, at the very least, emphasize all the other divine commandments.
I would, therefore, try and show your grandchildren that whether or not they support or reject your homosexual relationship, that you are still a committed, Jewish woman. That you love the Jewish festivals and celebrate them with the family, that you enjoy going to synagogue, taking your grandchildren for prayer, and that you try your best to have a kosher home with mezuzahs on the doors. The extent to which you create a bond with G-d is the extent to which you will inspire your grandchildren to do the same--and to respect the relationship you are in. While the community might frown on your relationship, they will certainly applaud your commitment to G-d. I wish you and your partner the light and blessing of G-d in everything that you do.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach