Being a lesbian and an Orthodox Jew isn’t necessarily a paradox. After all, the sections of the Torah which prohibit homosexuality don’t contain a single word about lesbianism. Still, in Orthodox culture, the social stigma of lesbianism is every bit as significant as male homosexuality.
Keep Your Wives Away from Them is a collection of stories from lesbian Orthodox Jews. The mostly-autobiographical stories are sometimes funny, sometimes snarky, often sad. A transsexual professor at an Orthodox university writes about the love of literature that bonds her with her students, though she knows they’ll never understand her life outside the classroom. Another woman remembers growing up and being told that hugging boys was wrong, and then, much later, facing a very different desire that was also forbidden. One chapter even analyzes the portrayal of lesbianism in traditional Jewish sources in an in-depth text study.
The anthology’s main goal is to share firsthand experiences of people who balance both a religious lifestyle and a lesbian identity. Even within that narrow classification, these stories exhibit a huge range of emotions and experiences.