Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, a “deeply traditional and radically progressive” advocate for trans rights and a vocal ally for LGBTQ+ inclusivity, was selected as one of the New York Jewish Week’s 36 to Watch (formerly 36 Under 36). This distinction honors leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are making a difference in New York’s Jewish community. Trained at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Beis Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, he is the scholar-in-residence for Trans and Queer Jewish Studies at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan. Moskowitz lives on the Upper West Side.
For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.
New York Jewish Week: Tell us a little bit about the work you do.
Moskowitz: I’m the scholar-in-residence for Trans and Queer Jewish Studies at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBT+ synagogue. I’m also a David Hartman Center Fellow and the author of “Textual Activism” and “Graceful Masculinity.” My newest book, “Seasonal Resistance,” will be available at the end of 2022. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is providing language and a perspective that helps people to know that they do not have to choose between a religious identity and a queer identity. I am inspired by the bravery of so many people, especially young people, who are fighting to make their communities more inclusive.
How does your Jewish identity or experience influence your work?
My relationship with G-d as a parent requires me to treat all of G-d’s children as my siblings. G-d does not put extra people in this world.
Was there a formative Jewish experience that influenced your life path?
When I was working as a rabbi on a college campus, I had a student who was closeted and trans and he taught me the importance of rabbinic allyship.
What is your favorite place to eat Jewish food in New York?
What is your favorite book about New York?
“The Jews of Harlem” by Jeffrey Gurock.
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