He says he had been routinely sexually assaulted by his cousin, Sholom Eichler, as a child.
Nearly every day, from the time Levin was 6 until he was 10, Eichler, six years his senior, waited on Levin’s aunt and uncle’s front porch for him to come home from school. Later, when a teenaged Levin realized he was attracted to other boys, he thought it must be the direct result of that abuse.
“I used to tell people in yeshiva, ‘Oh, I was abused as a child, and by consequence, this thing happened to me, and I have this problem that I’m working on fixing,’” Levin says.
The more SSA activity you have experienced, the more neural pathways, habits you have built up that have to be overcome.
Then you begin to build up new neural pathways that help you reach your goal of growing out of SSA,” she wrote. “No, I'm not.” “And you can't really explain what a neural pathway is?
The retreats were run by People Can Change (PCC), a conversion organization founded by Rich Wyler, a Mormon who says he’s “ex-gay.” Having “unwanted same-sex attraction,” he explains, “comes from an emotional deficit around same-gender bonding.
It comes oftentimes from this sense of a deficit in inner sense of masculinity.” Some men try to “close that gap romantically.” Wyler began organizing weekend programs in 2002.
A NARTH therapist put Goldberg in touch with Elaine Berk, who also had a gay child, and was also Jewish.
Together, they opened up JONAH in Jersey City, and began offering referrals to conversion therapy practitioners.Every two weeks, he’d have a phone session with a therapist back in Brooklyn.“The motto was, ‘Just for today, I’m not going to touch another boy.’ That’s how we were dealing with it.” But that was untenable, and just before he turned 18, while back in New York, he had sex with a man he met on Craigslist.Goldberg” in emails to clients and their parents, as well as on the promotional website for his 2009 book, Meanwhile, Berk handled clients and ran an active email “listserv” for JONAH men, where they could write emails asking for encouragement when the therapy didn’t seem to be working, or when their crushes on male friends became too hard to repress.Berk regularly responded to the men, issuing reminders of the ramifications of what she called “the gay deathstyle”: AIDS, bowel disease, early death, and, as she put it in one email, “lives based on soul-numbing promiscuity.” Berk also offered wide-ranging analysis of what causes people to be gay.The goal of that counseling was to turn Unger from gay to straight.