Letter to Our Youth
by Rabbi Andy Bachman
I'm your Rabbi. As such, I am occasionally asked to share a few words
or thoughts when bad things happen to good people. In this case, I
want towrite some words, directly to you, about Tyler Clementi's
tragic suicide last week. If you haven't read about it, you can read
the story here from today's New York Times:[http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/nyregion/30suicide.html?_r=1&hp].
Tyler was secretly filmed having a sexual encounter with another guy
on the Rutgers campus and that scene was broadcast on-line, to his own
humiliation,which authorities think was the major factor in deciding
to take his own life. Rutgers University, where Tyler was a talented,
quiet and kind student, and the local police, are in charge of aninvestigation, the results of which we'll keep reading about in the
But I want to address you directly, whomever you may be. If you're
gay or straight or bi or transgender or youjust don't know, as a
Rabbi in the community, I care about you as a person made in the Image
of God. It really truly doesn't matter what other people think about
your struggle to be who you are inthe process of becoming.
At our synagogue, in our community, and hopefully in each and every
one of our homes, what matters is that you are welcome to be who you
are. And during aconfusing time like this when a young person takes
his own life like this because the pain and suffering of having been
humiliated is beyond what he can bear, you need to know that no matter
how badlyyou may feel about things going on in your own life, you
always have someone to talk to, a community that will accept you,
support you, and love you for who you are.
Tyler Clementi took his ownlife in part because we still live in an
imperfect world that judges people and attempts to hurt people, even
kill people, for being lesbian, gay, bi or transgender. That's sick,
I know. It's...
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