By Sam Blustin
Note: This blog post was featured as part of our #HeshbonHodesh: Elul corner.
As a student at JTS, I started a group for male identifying clergy students looking to explore masculinity and allyship in a safe and supportive environment. Part educational, part challenge network, it created a network of colleagues who supported and challenged each other to be the best men and allies we could be. While I created that group out of a feeling of being alone in this work, I soon came to realize that there were many more men, not only at JTS but across the Jewish world and across generations at JTS, who were or had been engaged deeply in this work; it’s just that nobody knew about each other. We didn’t even know each other existed.
And then I graduated a year ago, and other than a few close individual bonds, that support network disappeared. I was excited, then, when Jeremy Winaker and the RA put out a call for male identifying clergy to gather for a book club, using the book Good Guys to open space for conversations about allyship and how we can show up in ways that lift up and help give voice to all those around us. I hadn’t realized how much I needed a community like the one Jeremy created, and how meaningful it was to once again be a part of a community of support and challenge. At the end, several of us expressed desire to create an ongoing group where we could continue to learn and support each other. I look forward to being a part of whatever is next!
Sam Blustin was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2020.