The prominent rabbi of one of Washington’s biggest conservative synagogues has announced in an email to congregants that he is gay.
In a blunt email admission to some 1,400 households, rabbi Gil Steinlauf said he has come to grips that “I could walk my path with the greatest healing and wholeness when I finally acknowleged that I am a gay man.”
He also announced that he and his wife of 20 years, Batya, who is also a rabbi, would be divorcing. They have three teenage children. The couple met while both were in rabbinical school and have an incredbly close relationship, Steinlauf told the Washington Post.
They have been “desperately looking at one another, thinking how can we hold onto this marriage because we love one another so much?” he said, describing the couple’s relationship for the past three years.
Eventually, he said, he decided to give way to feelings he’d surpressed since boyhood.
“What we’ve had for 20 years is very real, and the last thing I’d want is for us to live a lie,” he told the paper.
The 45-year-old rabbi is a leading advocate of same-sex marriages in Conservative Judaism and presided over his synagogue’s first same-sex marriage ceremony.
The synagogue’s president, Arnie Podgorsky, wrote worshippers as well, saying he supported the rabbi and his wife.
“I have great respect for their ability to face changing circumstances in their lives with honesty and integrity. We can all learn from their example,” he wrote.