About Temicha


Temicha is intended to assist Orthodox Jewish parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals. Temicha provides comfort and support to parents by providing a venue for parents to communicate with one another anonymously. Temicha also provides parents with information about developments in the Orthodox community related to sexual and gender identity issues. Temicha is designed to help parents through the challenging process of coming to terms with their child’s sexual/gender identity.


Temicha provides a moderated email discussion listserv. Our moderators aim to take a minimal role in group discussions and intend to guide group discussion only when necessary or when specific information is requested from group members. Temicha is a warm and accepting place for parents to communicate with one another without fear of being judged. The Temicha list is NOT intended to assist parents in attempts to alter their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The goal of the list is to provide parents with a forum through which they can receive support and keep their families intact while coming to terms with their child’s sexual/gender identity. Participation on the list is completely free of charge and parents may stay on the email list for as long as they wish.

Some common issues that Orthodox parents might struggle with:

  • How can I support my child while staying true to Halacha?
  • Does my child’s sexual orientation/gender identity mean that he or she will be alone unless he or she abandon's frumkeit?
  • What made my child turn out the way he or she did?
  • Is it possible for my child to change?
  • How can I help guide my child to make healthy decisions?
  • How do I deal with my child being in a same-sex relationship?
  • How can I help my other children cope with their sibling’s sexual/gender identity?
  • How will this affect shidduch prospects for my other children?
  • How should I respond to hurtful comments my child receives from Rabbeim, Family members, or members of the community?

About the Moderators

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna serves as University Chaplain and Rabbi at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University. He is
currently Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Wagner Graduate School for Public Service at NYU, where he lectures on spiritual and multifaith leadership. Since 2002, Rabbi Sarna has guided the astounding growth of the NYU Jewish community, now the largest Jewish population of any private university. He is the editor of The Koren Shabbat Evening Siddur (2011) and Orthodox Forum Series: Toward a Jewish Perspective on Culture (forthcoming).

Rabbi Sarna founded the Jewish Learning Fellowship at NYU, a “school-within- a-school”, offering intensive ten-week courses of exploration in Jewish thought. With nearly a thousand alumni since its birth in 2007, the Fellowship now serves as a national educational model for Jewish campus groups. Rabbi Sarna was awarded the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence from Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in 2008 and in 2009 was listed as one of“36-under-36 Change-makers” by the New York Jewish Week. As an undergraduate student at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Sarna co-founded Eimatai, a leadership training program for high school students, Mimaamakim: Journal of Jewish Art, and Nachalah: The Yeshiva University Journal for the Study of Bible.

Rabbi Sarna is married to Dr. Michelle Waldman Sarna, Director of the Edgies Early Childhood Center at the Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side. They have five children.

Naomi Mark, L.C.S.W.

Naomi Mark, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, was trained at the Columbia School of Social Work and at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Ms. Mark was an adjunct clinical professor of social work at Columbia University School of Social Work, a faculty member at the Institute of Psychosocial Oncology and the Educational Coordinator for Social Work Education at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she also served on its hospital-wide Ethics Committee. Currently, in addition to maintaining her private practice, Ms. Mark is the Deputy Director of the Office of Staff Development and Training Operations for NYC’s Human Resources Administration and regularly conducts training workshops on family/work issues for Performance Strategies International, L.L.C. Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists and others.

She appeared in films such as the award winning documentary “Trembling Before G-d”, and was the Coordinator of the Trembling Before G-d Mental Health Project. She has been interviewed on Good Day New York (channel 5, New York City) in a segment on “The Myth of the Evil Stepmother” , serves as a consultant to the Stepfamily Foundation and is Certified in the administration of the Myers Briggs Personality Profile Indicator.  She has served as the book editor for the academic journal of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work ‘s Social Work Forum, has presented papers at many conferences, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and has published many articles in professional journals. (Ms. Mark’s article “Identities in Conflict: Forging an Orthodox Gay Identity” was published in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health 2008.)          

She and her husband Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard are the parents of five daughters.
Dr. Erez Harari, Ph.D.

Dr. Erez Harari completed his bachelor of science degree with highest honors at Brooklyn College, City University of New York and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Fordham University. Over the course of his graduate studies, he has trained in various clinical settings, including the Fordham University Counseling Center, the Addictions Institute at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, the Intensive Personality Disorders Program at Bellevue Hospital, and the Inwood Community Services Center. He was also awarded a senior teaching fellowship at Fordham University. He is currently completing a fellowship at Yale University's Department of Psychiatry conducting Dialectical Behavior Therapy for individuals struggling with borderline personality disorder and co-morbid substance use disorders at Yale-New Haven Hospital's Intensive Outpatient Program.

In 2001 he co-founded and currently serves as co-executive director of JQY, an organization that provides support for and advocates on behalf of lgbt Orthodox Jews. Over the past ten years, this organization has flourished under his leadership and currently consists of over 500 members worldwide. In addition to providing direct care to this population through monthly support meetings, JQY is committed to educating mental health professionals about providing competent care to individuals who experience religious and sexual identity conflicts. JQY organizes numerous panels each year at various universities and mental health settings focused on providing support and appropriate care to this community. His doctoral research has focused on the relationship between religion, spirituality and mental health in gay Orthodox Jews.

Dr. Michelle Friedman, M.D.

Dr. Michelle Friedman did her undergraduate work at Barnard College where she majored in religion. After medical school at the New York University School of Medicine, she did an internship in medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital and then a residency in psychiatry at Mt. Sinai where she is on staff as an associate clinical professor of psychiatry. She then went on to receive a certificate in psychoanalysis at the Columbia University Institute.

At the present time, Dr. Friedman is devoting much of her professional time to the interface of psychiatry and religious life. She has spoken widely and published articles in both academic and popular journals. In addition to her private practice, she is the director of pastoral counseling at the open orthodox rabbinical seminary in Manhattan, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. She is working on a book that describes that program and discusses essential components of pastoral counseling education for clergy of all faith traditions.

Note: Although members are free to consult with one another about mental health issues and referrals, the role of the moderators is not to be a resource for mental health advice or referrals. Although mental health professionals will be moderating the list, their role is solely to guide discussions and ensure that the list guidelines are maintained by members, not to provide mental health consultations or referrals.

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