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Super Soul Sexuality with Rabbi Lisa Grushcow
"Both been really drawn to Judaism. I know for me personally. So many of my artistic. Inspirations I mean not consciously but they're all Jewish like Bette midler Sandra Bernhardt Barbra streisand lake. These people have informed so much of my view of the arts. And you know there's a strong part of what they do is related to Judaism and their spirituality and same for me. My I like comedy against version was Sarah Silverman who Super Jewish. And she's not embrace it and what I love about that. Religion is how it's both faith but also like an intellectual practice and people love to be conflicted in argue and disagree and I was raised Catholic. But I've never felt that catalyst ISM was really a space to question and I just love it. You get to do that in the Jewish faith. I don't think we could have found anyone better than Rabbi Lisa Grechko. Who is our special guest today? She used the Montreal Legend would you say the rabbi well she's a Rockstar as much as a rabbi. Can Be yes she is a rabbi at Temple Emanuel Shalom here in Montreal. She is the first queer. Rabbi that I personally know. She's quite famous here for really embracing progressive views for a religious leader. I'm in her sermons or super popular like people actually go out on a Friday night. Yeah I heard about it from a friend of mine. Who'S NOT Jewish? Who was just going and really found something real there. I feel she would be a great character on sex in the city. Like the girls would go to my sermon. I mean I just think we need rabbi Grechko in our lives in many ways as possible so we had a great conversation with her about sexuality. Faith family even divorce because she she has the same sex partner but she was divorced in the past and that sounded like it was a bigger problem in her community than being a lesbian. Rabbi crush go also does a lot of interfaith works. He works with Muslim. Meteors Christian leaders and it was really important for us to go beyond the politics of the day or whatever opinion people can have about different religions and some listeners might be atheists or some people listening might be fervent believers. We wanted to go beyond that and ask the big super bowl questions through. Rabbi you really got into Lake you we got rabbi Grechko set up a new. Didn't waste a second to get into your big oprah like question what came first in Your Life God or same sex desire. I was conscious of my spirituality. Let's say and religious sense of connection before I was aware of my own sexuality and then I was a relatively late bloomer. I wasn't out 'til My mid twenty say so for a while there was a real sense of struggle. And how would navigate those things together But that was more. A challenge with institution spiritually. That piece always stage. Did you feel spiritual As a child because I felt very I relate because I did feel as before I was kind of socialized in school and the world I felt the presence of a higher power. Is that what you're referencing? I had I had You know it's interesting because that's one of the things that might be different about Judaism in some ways that were so community based in so behaviorally based so I was very connected to the Jewish community as a kid. I went to a Jewish day school. I went to synagogue on a regular basis Shabat Dinners. Were part of our family life family celebration so all of those things were part of it. Some of the deeper connection came through learning which Jewish is a very spiritual activity kind of encountering sacred texts and asking questions and I grew up. Thanks to my parents with a lot of nature. A lot of travel lot of just sense of of being connected to something bigger you know going out in the middle of the night and lying down on a blanket and watching star shower I would say for me. It only took on a deeper resonance. Actually when I was struggling with coming out and figuring out what that meant for my path towards the rabbinate that was in some ways the closest that I got to a sense of calling or a Pitney because it felt like there's this path that I'm on and it's not going to be as smooth as I thought it would be so if I'm going to be on this path that has to really matter to me. It has to really be what I feel like I should be doing. Were you looking for answers? And that moment I think it was much more a feeling of of yearning of desire of closeness and relationship. I would say a sense that there was something someone who I couldn't didn't WanNa walk away from you said that coming out brought you closer to God. Can you talk about what way it brought you closer to God? I mean if you look at the story of the Hebrew Bible though stories that you've learned as a kid for US issues. One of the central parts of that story is the story of the exodus from Egypt. And it's a story of if you if you know the Hebrew going from meets rhyme. Which is the word for Egypt? But literally means the narrow place to a place of openness and possibility and the God who speaks to Moses out of the burning Bush. It's often terribly mistranslated as I am that I am. You know that Wayne was assessed. Who are you and imagine the Ten Commandments? Among God says I am that I am but it really is. I will be and so from me. Coming out was a very It connected me to that story of leaving a place of of narrowness and constraint and having a new sense of of possibility and freedom And to me that was a very religious spiritual story which I understood in a whole different way. I'm certainly not the first to do that. And that story has been used by so many people in so many important ways but for me. It really resonated. At that time John were usual. Kid I think maybe the arts for me and like my experience of the arts was the closest that came to spirituality as a kid but other than you know just loving Bible stories. I enjoyed it in the same way that I enjoyed fairy tales. You know what I mean. I don't think I really thought that. Much about my spirituality growing up Christian for me. I wasn't necessarily ashamed of being queer or being gay but shame was definitely an undertone in what in what you're describing it doesn't sound like that was your experience. It sounds like it was quite beautiful discovery for you to lean on that same sex desire and that queen is that was within you. I think in that sense it really Revealed from a Fault. Line between institutionalized religion spirituality And you know it's it's ironic because I'm a representative of of organized religion though. I sometimes joke. That Judaism is as disorganized. Religion is one can get. We don't have a central hierarchy in line of authority. You know it's a good thing now. I think it's a good thing and the rabbi isn't with direct line to God. The rabbi is a teacher and a member of the community so there isn't a sense of of infallibility or of kind of being closer to God than anybody else I love So that's you know when we we tend to be an argumentative argument to people and it's not a dog. Matic religion by enlarge. It's much more about what you do then kind of signing onto a creed and so by and large. There's a lot of room to move in that. But I grew up in a an arm of Judaism which has changed since but then wasn't ordaining. Lgbt folks that piece became a real real faultline for me. And I did grow up with not anything that anybody said. But we're not seeing anybody who looked like me and having an old you know commentary that was on our in our pews at the synagogue which spoke about that chapter in Leviticus and same sex relationships as being. I don't remember what the language was whether it's something around depravity and paganism in that kind of thing so that I remember but it wasn't the overall messaging you said something about spirituality and religion and I think a lot of people feel spiritual but don't necessarily want to belong to a religion that's more organized or more conservative more conservative. I understand but I sometimes worry that we sell ourselves short by not looking because I think when we look were sometimes surprised by what we find you know and the fact is organized religion and institutions as much as they are like dirty. Words can do things that you can't do when you're just meeting in somebody's living room right. We can create sacred space. We can organize community together. We can be there for each other and offer things in different ways that you can't if it's more do it yourself you know and I figure religions have been asking spiritual questions for Millennia so to be able to come in and be part of that conversation right instead of feeling like you have to start from zero and make it up from you as you go along. I think is really powerful.