Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Understanding and preventing suicides by well-loved Jewish Queers

Being tolerant or even loving or even an activist ally is not enough

The death of a child, sibling, or dear friend is hard enough. And then, through suicide? I can’t begin to describe the pain, and I won’t. I’ll just say: it’s not a failure of their loved ones. Just like a girl who feels powerless is not a failure of her surroundings. The oppression is so massive and everywhere that you can’t just escape it or blame it on her supporters.

Yet, we can investigate what more can be done from now on, having grown wiser, to prevent more Gay suicides among the religious. Blame and self-blame are toxic, and let no one even go there. Their loved ones were loving enough, and the victims were not ‘mentally disturbed.’ A ‘crazy’ reaction to a ‘crazy’ situation is ‘normalcy.’

It is well-known that many LGBTQs struggle with ideations of suicide. Sometimes that even happens to youngsters whose families are modern, accepting, and love everyone. Here is why IMHO.

The following things are often overlooked:

  • Growing up with no way to come out until maybe 20 years is way too late. The loneliness, the internalized hatred (not from loved ones but from society, books, the news, and loud homophobes and transphobes, and the Rabbis) turned self-hatred, always being the exception, having one’s sexual preference made an unescapable focus. No love from anyone can just dowse that hurt—it’s so much.
  • Social science found that statistically, LGB+s have more empathy. They’re nice people. But loving them for being lovely is not enough. Where are the Orthodox-Jewish Gay-matchmakers who’re needed? Where are the rabbis who not only stopped saying Gay sex is a sin but who dare to say out loud the Torah commands Gays too to find a (same-sex) spouse and raise children or, in other ways, help raise the next generation, as teachers, therapists—there are many ways—where are they? When you have a loving partner, it became better. But how to survive until you find your dream’s match?
  • I have the impression that often, the Gay person is the most religious one in the family. So, it doesn’t matter that much if their whole Jewish world screams we love you as you are. So, when their surroundings are tolerant, liberal, and modern, are they? How can they live with themselves as long as they believe they are deeply innately flawed, a disappointment? What they need is more than liberal interpretations. They need to hear again and again being Gay is sublime. And that the Torah injunction spread around the world and taught to billions of people ONLY TALKS ABOUT STRAIGHT MEN not to have replacement same-sex sex instead of with women. How COULD the Torah condemn people for being human?! This is not a modernist defense but the real close reading. When EVERYONE says this, including all the religious authorities, then there is a chance that Gay youths are as proud as redheads in Israel (where it is seen as a mark of beauty to be jealous of and not, like in some other cultures, as something to make fun of/be embarrassed about).
  • Trans people have it even harder. My guess is that when Gays have it easier, it will have its ripple effect on them too.

So, it’s not enough that close ones accept and love every Queer youth, demonstrate for a less mean world regularly, and say all the time It Gets Better—though it will. We also need everyone to admit there is nothing wrong with being Gay just as with being female or Black. The only strange, temporarily inferior ones are the bigots.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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