Welcome to the Rosh Pinah website.
Please read our Five basic tips for meaningful Orthodox Jewish dialogue on people’s same-gender loves, trans and/or non-binary gender experiences, and intersex bodies.
What is Rosh Pinah?
Rosh Pinah is an affirming Orthodox Jewish network for:
- people with same-gender loves and intimacies, regardless of relationship status
- women and men of trans experience, regardless of your appearance or ID card
- people with non-binary genders and/or who are non-gendered (agender)
- people born with intersex bodies
We also provide support and guidance to Jewish community leaders and loved ones. Although we began in Australia and are currently based in Australia, our network includes people around the world. No matter where you are or how difficult your situation, we are here for you. Contact us.
What makes Rosh Pinah unique?
We hear from many Orthodox Jews that existing resources often focus solely on the needs of gay men who were assigned as ‘male’ at birth and born with stereotypically ‘male’ bodies. In other words, bisexual people tell us they feel ignored. People of trans and/or non-binary experience tell us they have been misgendered.
In some ‘LGBTI’ Orthodox organisations, we have heard reports from people who have had their history of having lived in a different gender non-consensually disclosed by the organisers and participants. We are aware that many people of trans and/or non-binary experience feel unsafe or unwelcome at ostensibly ‘LGBTI’ Orthodox Jewish events.
We can assure you that Rosh Pinah understands that ‘LGBTI’ is not a synonym for ‘sexuality’. We also know that many Orthodox Jews feel uncomfortable with the identity-focused labels used in the secular world, preferring to describe themselves using more holistic and spiritually focused language. We understand how important it is to have your own understanding of your loves, intimacies, gender experiences, and bodies treated as valid and worthwhile.
We believe it is equally important to address the specific needs of women in same-gender relationships, including those who might be married to men and those who might identify as bisexual. We understand that concepts such as ‘homophobia’ do not adequately address the communal issues facing women and men of trans experience, many of whom may live as and identify as heterosexual. We also know that people who are non-binary (that is, people who do not identify as either women or men) encounter unique challenges not faced by women and men of trans experience. For people born with intersex characteristics, neither ‘sexuality’ nor ‘gender’ fits their experience of their body.
In celebration of this diversity among Hashem’s creations, Rosh Pinah strives to meet each person where we find you. We know that your beautiful neshamah (soul) deserves more than a one-size-fits-all response based on someone else’s experience.
Let us be your Rosh Pinah: we invite you to join our network and find out how we can collaborate as partners in Torah living.
Where does the name Rosh Pinah come from?
Our name comes from the Hebrew word for cornerstone, from the line in Tehillim (Psalms) 118:22,
“אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה:”
Translated into English, this pasuk (line) means:
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
Many of us have been rejected by our loved ones and communities due to lack of understanding about our loves, intimacies, gender experiences, and/or bodies. Yet we are the cornerstones who have inspired our religious and communal leaders to develop their compassion, moral courage, and halachic skill in finding livable solutions for communal inclusion. We are not the rejected stones, but spiritual human beings who are essential partners in joining and healing Klal Yisrael (our entire people).
The very next line in Tehillim, pasuk 118:23, proclaims:
“:מֵאֵת ה’ הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא נִפְלָאת בְּעֵינֵינוּ”
“This was from Hashem; it is wondrous in our eyes.”
As Orthodox Jews, we give thanks to Hashem not only for the increasing inclusion we are experiencing in religious and communal life, but also for the tole we play in helping those communities to improve their middot (values) in the process of responding to our presence and our needs within Orthodox Jewish communities.
Aren’t Orthodox Jews with same-gender loves, trans and/or non-binary genders, and/or intersex bodies a contradiction? How can you call yourselves observant or ‘frum’?
We live a halachic Jewish lifestyle. We defy the stereotypes about us in both LGBTQI spaces and Orthodox Jewish spaces. We create an affirming existence and support each other in living authentic, sacred lives. We are not a contradiction. We are your people, too.
Rabbis, lay leaders and educators, and community members who wish to understand: We invite you to come listen to us and value our lives.