Saturday, December 26, 2009

Steven Goldstein: "The loud, gay, New York Jew who's making a difference"

"Steven Goldstein (pictured) jokes that his office in suburban New Jersey is 'like the Jewish Museum of Montclair.' A sage-looking rabbi peers down from a lithograph on one wall, and a print of Theodor Herzl hangs from another. There are a Hebrew movie poster and a mezuza. Goldstein, however, doesn't work for a Jewish organization; he is the founder, chair and CEO of Garden State Equality, the primary advocacy group now pushing for marriage for gay men and lesbians in New Jersey," reports At the moment, the organization is in the midst of an intense political race to pass a gay marriage bill before the current New Jersey governor, Democrat Jon Corzine, leaves office January 19, 2010; Corzine's successor, Republican Chris Christie, has said that he will veto any such bill.

Thickset, with a knit yarmulke and mussed gray-black hair, Goldstein, 47, is proud to be gay, he said, but "Judaism is by far the essential part to my identity." He enrolled in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2005, one year after founding Garden State Equality. But in 2006, he took a leave of absence from rabbinical school to take on the job of running Garden State Equality full time. He plans to go back to studying for the rabbinate in the fall of 2010. Perhaps it's appropriate, then, that Goldstein is flamboyant - flamboyantly Jewish, that is. READ MORE