Kissing Girls On Shabbat: I Was Married To A Hasidic Man, But In Love With A Woman

Inside the love I sought under the cover of night, away from my community's watchful eyes.

Girl, kissing girls discovering her true self in the cover of darkness on shabbat Courtesy of Author, Getty Images, Taisiya Kozorez | Canva

At nineteen, I was in love with a woman. I was also engaged to a man my Hasidic (extreme sect within Orthodox Judaism) family had chosen. I followed what I believed was the will of God and stood under a holy wedding canopy while my lover watched, in tears. I gave birth to two children before questioning whether God’s will was truly represented in my marriage. I knew that leaving my marriage could come at a high cost and that my community had a strong history of taking and keeping the children of those who dissented.


At 24, I employed the best strategy I could think of and signed a divorce agreement in which I pledged to raise my children in the strictest version of the Orthodox Jewish faith. I spent the following years taking calculated risks, dating men and women, wearing jeans under my long skirts, and daring to visit bars and casinos. The following excerpt from my memoir, Kissing Girls on Shabbat, is a glimpse inside the love I sought under the cover of night, away from my community's watchful eyes.

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I was on the dance floor at the Stonewall Inn on a Saturday night. I wore the skinny jeans I kept in the back of my closet for airports and vacations, and my eyes were set with glitter and liner. Eli was at home, back on Long Island, with my sleeping children and the illusion that I was attending a trauma conference for the weekend. My wig was in the bottom of my suitcase a few blocks away, at a Chelsea hotel. I was aware that the lying should be causing me some stress, but I could breathe, in the room that swirled in colored lights and the scent of so many perfumes mingled together.


I sat on a bar stool, turned sideways through the shoulders clad in leather and lace, and ordered a drink. I sipped and met the eyes of women with short barber haircuts, women in baggy cargo pants and bare belly buttons, women who smirked back at me, welcomed me, dared me.

“Wanna dance?” a caramel-skinned woman leaned close to my ear.

I let her pull me up as if it were a normal Saturday night for me — as if her hand around my waist was the most natural thing in the world. I felt her hips against mine, and her gentle movements made my legs seem almost graceful as they stepped with hers.


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Surrounded by rainbow flags and the sound of Lady Gaga, we danced. She rose to her toes to reach my face, to pull my lips toward hers, and then I was tasting her, being tasted by her, until we consumed each other in a space beyond the bar, in a space that felt something like heaven.

“Whooot whooot!”

We came back down onto the wooden floor, back into the mass of pheromones and round butts.

Her face flushed. “Ignore my stupid friends,” she said.

I spun around, put my hand out, and introduced myself to the friends.

She tugged my arm and whispered, “Let’s get out of here.”


In my hotel room, we poured drinks and tossed snippets of conversation around, coy and warm and laden words. For about two minutes. The force that had been drawing us together all night took over in the dim light of the private room. I felt my body move on its own, my fingers on the button of her jeans, my elbows shrugging out of my tank top, until there was nothing between us. 

I felt her mouth on me, as her tongue drew rivers from between my legs, and matching streams came down my face, as my entire being let go. Finally. Blessedly. I was in my body with someone else and I felt every breath and pulsation and every desperate grasp of skin. I tasted the sea salt on her stomach, down the inside of her legs. I heard the pleasure in her coarse breaths, in her visceral moans.

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All through the night, we consumed each other. We drifted off into naps and woke up glimmering in desire, submerging within one another. There were words too, "You’re so beautiful" and "I want to feel you again" and "Don’t stop."


When dawn broke through the window curtains, we pulled the blanket over our naked bodies. My hand on her butt and hers around my rib cage, we looked at each other for the first time in hours, without speaking. We allowed the awe to wash over us, to coat us, just like we had coated each other.

I was gay! I was thirty-two years old, and I finally knew. One million percent. I was gay. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I wanted to run through Chelsea in the morning light and twirl around with my arms out.

@shrinkette Here’s a sneak peak of the audio recording of my new book Kissing Girls on Shabbat! 🎧 You can pre-order the Audible version using the link in my bio! #booktok #queerbook #newbooks #readinglist #audiobook ♬ original sound - Dr. Sara Glass

A small part of me wished I had known before I gave my body away — before I choked down stardust, year after year, numbing the rough shards as they moved through my body. I wished I had known that I was drawn to actual stars, that their effervescence matched mine, that when I swallowed starlight, my skin glowed from the inside and my heart did backflips. The knowledge had been inside me all along. I just wished I had been allowed to look for it.


I thanked her over brunch at Westville. I talked about how busy my schedule was, and friended her on Facebook for later, sometime during the summer maybe. Then I headed home, my mind clear. I knew what needed to happen.

Copyright © 2023 by Sara Glass. From the forthcoming book KISSING GIRLS ON SHABBAT by Sara Glass to be published by One Signal Publishers, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed by permission. 

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Sara Glass, PhD, LCSW, is an NYC-based therapist, writer, and speaker who helps members of the queer community and individuals who have survived trauma to live bold, honest, and proud lives. She is the author of her debut memoir, Kissing Girls on Shabbat.