Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

October 11, 2013

"Polyamorous Jews share love, seek acceptance"

Four weeks ago a writer for JTA, "The Global Jewish News Source," came poking around the polyinterwebs looking for Jewish polys to talk to for a story she was working on. Her story just appeared. I'm really glad that one of the people she found was Mai Li Pittard, a polyactivist force of nature in Seattle.

JTA, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (the name dates from 1919), is the major news agency serving Jewish-community newspapers and related media worldwide.

Married and dating: Polyamorous Jews share love, seek acceptance

By Talia Lavin

NEW YORK (JTA) — Bud Izen wasn’t prepared for the reaction he received the first time he brought his two girlfriends with him to synagogue in Eugene, Ore....

...Such arrangements remain far from mainstream acceptance. But in the wake of the progress made by gay and lesbian Jews in winning communal recognition for non-traditional partnerships, some polyamorous Jews are pushing to have their romantic arrangements similarly accepted.

“The only kind of queers who are generally accepted in some sects are monogamous married queers, upstanding queers,” said Mai Li Pittard, 31, a Jewish poly activist from Seattle. “Judaism right now is very oriented towards having 2.5 kids, a picket fence and a respectable job. There’s not a lot of respect for people on the fringe.”

A former editor of ModernPoly.com, a nationwide polyamory website, Pittard has been polyamorous for 10 years and is currently involved with three partners — two men and one woman. She is a violinist and vocalist in a fusion hip-hop klezmer band, the Debaucherantes, and likes to engage in culture jamming, the mixing of seemingly disparate cultural elements. Combining polyamory and Judaism is one example of that.

“For me, polyamory and Judaism make a lot of sense together,” Pittard said. “When I’m singing niggunim or hosting people at my Shabbat table, it’s just another way of experiencing a connection with a group of people.”

Pittard is frustrated by what she describes as a “white-bread,” conformist Jewish culture that refuses to accept polyamorous relationships. But some Jewish communities have been more accepting than others....

...For more than a decade, poly Jews have connected with one another on the email list AhavaRaba — roughly translated “big love” in Hebrew. The list’s 200-plus members come from across the country and use the forum to discuss jealousy, breakups, child rearing in multiple relationships and, in one case, a poly gathering in a sukkah. They also address the challenges of being poly in a community in which monogamy and marriage are still considered the ideal....

Read the whole 1100-word article (Oct. 10, 2013).




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