Gay French Jews come out for Purim - Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews

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Gay Jews liken Esther's revelation to their own experience (archives) Photo: Yaron Brener
Gay Jews liken Esther's revelation to their own experience (archives) Photo: Yaron Brener

Gay French Jews come out for Purim

France's LGBT community celebrates Jewish holiday's message of survival, seeing Queen Esther as source of inspiration
Published: 02.28.13, 14:02 / Israel Jewish Scene

VIDEO – Drinking, raucous costumes, and wild exuberance. France’s Jewish gay community this week celebrated the festival of Purim, which commemorates the survival of the Jewish people.


Salvation came only after Queen Esther revealed that she was Jewish, a revelation that some gay Jews liken to their own experience of coming out. Her courage helped save the Jews in ancient Persia from near extermination.


Video courtesy of


In the Book of Esther, the Jewish Persian queen foils the plot of Haman to kill the Jews, by revealing her identity. Esther is a source of inspiration for France's Jewish LGBT community.


Following Critcism
NY assemblyman regrets Purim costume / Associated Press
After vigorously defending wearing blackface and basketball garb to Jewish holiday party, Dov Hikind apologizes. 'It was not meant to in any way hurt anyone,' he says
Full story

In the Purim story, the king’s advisor Haman uses the Jews’ difference as a motive for killing them. After he is snubbed by Mordechai, Esther’s uncle, he vows to massacre all Jews.


The story's tale of persecution rings a familiar bell for the Jewish gay community, also a minority group.


The day of deliverance is celebrated by wearing colorful costumes and drinking lots of wine, as a way of reversing the roles of bad and good.


If homosexuality is no longer hidden in the Jewish community, challenges still remain for France’s gay Jews.


In a context where French gays have felt a rise in homophobia, as a result of the recent gay-marriage debate, the festival of Purim seems to have come at just the right time, proving that it is okay to be different.


The story of Purim, beyond the tale of the survival of the Jewish people, is also a coming out story. Gay Jews see parallels between their own experience and the story of Esther, a Jewish woman, who wasn’t afraid to hide who she was – an important message for the LGBT community in their fight for justice.



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