Kim Gotlieb (he, him)
Jewish; Cisgender Gay Man; Psychotherapist, Counsellor
Kim expresses his intention (Kavanah) for faith and spirituality in a way that makes spirituality, religion and identity accessible and relatable to people around him. His openness and authentic presence is a gift not just to his Jewish tradition and community, but also to those who genuinely wish to enter into a conversation, a dialogue about the higher things of life. This portrait of him gives us an insight to his religious practice, his abiding faith, his humour and how joy, courage and wisdom dances side by side with resilience, hope and flourishing.
In front of a sky-blue coloured backdrop, Kim wearing a yarmulke (skullcap) swirling as he puts on his Tallit (prayer shawl) that has rainbow coloured stripes on it. The portrait captures a moment akin to him putting on the Tallit through a grand gesture of a swirling dance.
Reflections from Kim:
“Tikkun Olam” means “Repair of the World” and is an important responsibility within the Jewish narrative, which inspires me to engage in social action initiatives like this exhibition. Jacob’s famous line, “G-d was in this place and I, I did not know it.” (Breishit/Genesis 28:16) encourages me to see a little bit of G-d in everything and everyone.”
“The ‘Shema’ is a foundational prayer in the Jewish liturgy which speaks to the Unity of all Things. The ‘Amidah’ prayer, means ‘Standing’ and invites us to consider what it means to stand before the Creative Source, the Divine Presence. When I recite the Shema at night before going to sleep I am comforted to know that I am joining with Jewish people around the world, who share in this ritual. It is also an anchor which remains constant, while my emotional states can vary from day to day. Making ritual choices like going to pray early in the morning, or avoiding eating certain foods, helps to challenge my limited egoic sense of self, inviting a deeper connection with the spiritual realms.”
“A teaching from the famous Rabbi Hillel states, “If not for myself, then who shall be for me. If not for others, then what am I. If not now, when?” His other famous quote is “What you find hateful in others, do not do” These provide a template from which I remind myself to do what I can to make the world as kind, compassionate and respectful as can.”
"While the Progressive strand of Judaism has come along way in relation to queer inclusion, there are many aspects of gender diversity which have not found a place of comfort and support. Orthodox Judaism has limited elements of acceptance and the Ultra-Orthodox remain often antagonistic to LGBTIQA+ rights. I pray that each of us, in our own way can lean towards creating a world of care and compassion for all the diverse expressions of humanity that seek to find refuge in the comfort of religious or spiritual community.”
"I appreciate the vision and effort that has made this project possible. I hope both this exhibition and whatever online platforms interface with it, will inspire people to reflect on whatever informs their values, so that the world can be a safer, more creative expression of the humanity which unites us all, regardless of our individual and unique diversity.
Photographed by Andrew Ratter of Studio Commercial