The late Lionel Blue, Britain’s first openly gay rabbi, would feel great empathy with the author of My Real Hue *.
He would understand his struggles with his sexuality; the desperate appeal of psychoanalysis and the monstrous love-hate relationship with a domineering, controlling mother.
Moreover, while of course retaining a profound Jewish identity, Blue was drawn to Christianity. So he may well also have understood, even admired how the pseudonymous ‘Dan Yves Eisner’ has not only became an active member of the Protestant United Church of Christ in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA but has become the only Jewish moderator (highest lay leader of a UCC Church) in the United States and possibly the world!
Now Eisner maintains that his Church activities “gave me a sense of belonging and affiliation I never inherited from my blood family”.
Eisner’s hastily sketched memoir begins and ends with what may or may not have happened to his French-born mother’s family when the Nazis invaded France. He does not consider the Christian Church’s role in fomenting the Holocaust or indeed the anti-homosexual hate its traditional teachings have inspired.
As Eisner’s brother is heterosexual and has led a conventional Jewish life despite experiencing the same dysfunctional upbringing, this reader has been left wondering if Eisner’s story is another example of the ongoing ‘nature versus nurture’ debate and whether, indeed, a broken personality like his is somehow drawn irresistibly towards a form of worship that runs in complete contradistinction to his heritage. It would undoubtedly need a psychoanalyst to help determine that.
Despite my many personal caveats, My Real Hue will most likely prove popular with those who enjoy fashionable topics like Holocaust memoirs, struggles with self and coming out as gay in a hostile world. I am, however, disappointed that the author employs a pen-name as heis protecting no-one but himself.
* My Real Hue is available from Amazon on Kindle ($9.99) and Paperback ($14.93).
© Natalie Wood (20 August 2017)