Sense of community includes elements such as sense of belonging, mutual interdependence, trust, shared goals and values, and shared history. It is associated with benefits for both the members and the community and is believed to be stronger in religious minority groups. This qualitative study describes the experiences of the Jewish Orthodox community among Orthodox Jewish gay men. In-depth interviews were conducted with 22 men about their experiences of being gay in their Orthodox communities. A content analysis revealed four themes: community as a home, community as a comprehensive provider, community as a strict behavior regulator, and community as punitive toward gay men. Findings suggest that Orthodox Jewish gay men have mixed feelings about their community; being satisfied with a community that provides for all their needs, but also living in constant fear of the negative consequences they and their families may endure if their homosexuality will be revealed. Recommendations for social work practice are provided.
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- Orthodox Jews
- gay men
- qualitative research
- sense of community