Discussion:
For Susan Cohen.....and Jackass Barton.......
(too old to reply)
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-22 07:12:52 UTC
And you the idiot that you are, missed the previous two posts that he
was replying to!!!

It was about a Jew who was refused service in a shop, and if you had
read all of that instead of sticking your nose into the middle of
something you might understand what is being argued now!!!!!!!!

But then what would you expect from someone with an e-mail address of
@ss.mil




"The Department of Defense" <***@ss.mil> wrote in message news:423fb2d6$***@alt.athenanews.com...
:I dont get this...... Can you explain it to me????????
:
: Vanilla Gorilla wrote:
: really wouldn't know, which is why I was asking. I grew up in Texas
: and Oklahoma, and then moved to Alaska, none of which are what you'd
: exactly call Jewish strongholds. I can honestly say, I am not sure
: I've ever personally known anyone who was Jewish, and if I have, they
: never mentioned it or did anything to indicate it. If J. Random Jew
: walks into a bakery in Hamburg to buy a loaf of bread, and isn't
: wearing any distinctive clothing or jewelry, and doesn't say or do
: anything to indicate he's Jewish, how does Equally Random Hun behind
: the counter know? If the Jew is wearing a Star of David on his lapel,
: or asks for kosher bread, that would be fairly obvious, sure, but what
: if he's not? Does the baker ask the ethnicity of everyone who comes
: in his shop who looks vaguely middle eastern? If five Israeli Jews
: and five Palestinians were in a room, and magically not trying to kill
: each other, could some German shopkeeper walk in and, without fail,
: point out which ones were which? They all look pretty much the same,
: to me.
:
: This has always been a puzzlement to me, probably because I've never
: been exposed to it. I just don't get it, and never have. Are there
: secret Jew-spotting techniques I've never heard about? Hidden cameras
: outside the entrances to all the local synagogues? And what about
: those Ethiopian Jews? Or Chinese Jews? They certainly don't "look
: Jewish", do they? And what about tourists? It's not like they are
: given special "Jew money" when they step up to the exchange booth, so
: that they can't buy anything without identifying themselves.
: --------------------------------------------------
:
: Which Barton replied:
: ________________________________________
: Because in you irrational bigotry you fail to see that you do not know
: the whole story and have not seen it happen!
:
: Orthodox are NOT the only Jews that wear "Jewish clothing, etc.
:
: *My comment* where was the bigotry in this V.G.s. comments? I can
find
: nothing but blind hate in Bartons ....
: ---------------------------------------------------------
: Then V.G. responded: Pay attention to what I put between the *s at the
end
:
: You've branded me a bigot, because I'm trying to understand something
: that doesn't make any sense to me? I'm not anti-Semitic by a long
: shot. I'm just asking some pertinent questions, that's all. Now, if
: some "evil Joo" banker repossessed your great-grandfather's farm and
: sent him to a debtor's prison, I could see how it might engender
: anti-Joo feelings that would inevitably get passed down through the
: generations, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm asking about
: someone getting treated differently for being a Joo, when there's no
: outward sign that they are one, and how much anti-Semitism is
: perceived, when it's really just some shithead being a shithead? As I
: said earlier, I really don't know, and if my asking the questions is
: offensive to you, that's not really my fault or problem, is it?
:
: Frankly, anti-Semitism is one of the prejudices I understand the
: least. If someone has personally fucked me over in some way, I'm
: going to hate them just as much, whether they're Jewish, Mexican,
: German, or space alien, and race don't enter into it. If they
: haven't, they're just some schmoe in funny clothes, and none of my
: concern. This is obviously not true of everyone else, which is what
: I'm trying to understand. If you're not going to try to answer my
: perfectly valid questions, you are cordially invited to go fuck
: yourself, and I mean that in the nicest possible way.
:
: *I've heard the alleged justification for hating Jews because they
: "killed Jesus", which of course is patent horse shit. The sins of all
: mankind killed Him, as the Last Sacrifice, so that He could rise again
: and offer redemption to all who truly want it. It's not a reason to
: hate Jews, it it's just an excuse, and anyone who's studied the Bible
: and other religions without an agenda can recognize the difference
: between the two. *
:
: Jesus was fulfilling OT prophecies that went back a
: thousand years, in the only way they could be fulfilled. Everything
: happened exactly when, where, and how it had to happen. Trying to
: assign blame for something like that is futile, at best, and at worst,
: blasphemous. It's trying or claiming to know the mind and motives of
: God, which we are neither able, nor meant to know.
: _______________________________________
:
: Which Barton replied:
:
: Jesus never existed. And the slight chance that he did, he was not
: divine and he did not fulfil even one prophecy of being the true
: moshiach [messiah].
:
: My Comments: Barton took the WHOLE thing out of context. V.G. never
said
: anything bad about any Jews and actually said it was horseshit that
people
: believes that people could persecute Jews on THAT point. Which Barton
who I
: AM CONVINCE IS A RETARD now completely ignored. I have always
respected you
: in these fora.... but you didnt seem to catch onto that, and just
chimed in
: on how you dont believe in Jesus, (which is fine) but that wasnt where
the
: thread was going, or it was at least a negligible portion of the
*gist* of
: the thread... BARTON himself is a freaking bigot.... in different ways
than
: others but I am convinced he is one of them.. So whats going on here?
:
:
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-22 07:13:27 UTC
Because he is an idiot.



"Susan Cohen" <***@verizon.net> wrote in message news:VfP%d.19574$***@trnddc07...
: Why did you mark this for me?
:
: Susan
:
:
The Department of Defense
2005-03-22 17:27:00 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
And you the idiot that you are, missed the previous two posts that he
was replying to!!!
It was about a Jew who was refused service in a shop, and if you had
read all of that instead of sticking your nose into the middle of
something you might understand what is being argued now!!!!!!!!
I did read it. Now shut up you shit stained fundie top poster. Your hormones
are acting up again.
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-23 07:26:39 UTC
My hormones???

What has my TESTOSTERONE LEVELS have to do with this???

fundie???????????????

BAWAHAHHAHHAWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAAHWAAHHA!!!

Yeah, this Queer Jew, registered Democrat and a proud liberal is a
fundie!!!!




"The Department of Defense" <***@ss.mil> wrote in message news:FzY%d.55260$***@newsread1.mlpsca01.us.to.verio.net...
:
: "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï" <***@zion.org.il> wrote in message
: news:HrP%d.54938$***@bignews5.bellsouth.net...
: > And you the idiot that you are, missed the previous two posts that
he
: > was replying to!!!
: >
: > It was about a Jew who was refused service in a shop, and if you had
: > read all of that instead of sticking your nose into the middle of
: > something you might understand what is being argued now!!!!!!!!
:
: I did read it. Now shut up you shit stained fundie top poster. Your
hormones
: are acting up again.
:
:
Gunner
2005-03-23 09:35:50 UTC
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 09:26:39 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Yeah, this Queer Jew, registered Democrat and a proud liberal is a
fundie!!!!
Talk about the kiss of death. Ill bet you have at least 4 groups of
Dems who simply dispise you.

Gunner


Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Susan Cohen
2005-03-23 18:26:47 UTC
Post by Gunner
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 09:26:39 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Yeah, this Queer Jew, registered Democrat and a proud liberal is a
fundie!!!!
Talk about the kiss of death. Ill bet you have at least 4 groups of
Dems who simply dispise you.
Hmm, I suppose there are bigoted Dems, & I suppose there are stupid Dems,
but wouldn't the groups overlap? They would hardly make 4 different ones....

Susan
Post by Gunner
Gunner
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Gunner
2005-03-24 05:29:55 UTC
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Gunner
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 09:26:39 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Yeah, this Queer Jew, registered Democrat and a proud liberal is a
fundie!!!!
Talk about the kiss of death. Ill bet you have at least 4 groups of
Dems who simply dispise you.
Hmm, I suppose there are bigoted Dems, & I suppose there are stupid Dems,
but wouldn't the groups overlap? They would hardly make 4 different ones....
Susan
Susan my dear...there are literally hundreds of bigoted and stupid Dem
groups. Its the nature of the breed.

Indeed...some overlap is likely, but not in all cases.

Gunner
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Gunner
Gunner
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
myal
2005-03-23 10:12:12 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Yeah, this Queer Jew, registered Democrat and a proud liberal is a
fundie!!!!
You forgot "top poster" in your coming out speech
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-23 10:41:34 UTC
Post by myal
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Yeah, this Queer Jew, registered Democrat and a proud liberal is a
fundie!!!!
You forgot "top poster" in your coming out speech
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Riain

i have removed your post

posting it once was bad enough but you do not have to spam every
thread on the forum

this is your last official warning

amend your ways or be banned

-- Declan Finlay, April 17, 2004

Don't waste your time replying to this guy Declan, he is only a
trouble maker and no matter how reasonable you are with him he carries
on regardless. I've never called outright for anyone to be banned
before - it's a step I normally disagree with - but in this case it
looks like the only option. He's completely clogging up the site,
he's insulting people and he's breaking just about every posting rule.
Can somebody please get rid of him?

-- Rachel Hicks, April 17, 2004

Moderation Note:

For anyone who is wondering Declan used to moderate on the site
but was away fro a while and now that he is back I asked him to
re-join the moderation team (he was still registered as a moderator so
there was no problem technically with this).

Last night I e-mailed the webmaster asking him to block Riain so
when he is back in the office this will be done.

He is being removed primarily for constant messages on the site
where he made ridiculous and personally insulting comments about
people. He kept reposting a message after I had removed it, and posted
one message along with my note about removed (I had removed it because
it was just a personal attack). He also sent me a few 'lovely'
messages off-list, one of which is too bad to repost. He is also
encourging his friends to ring some of the people involved in
organising the IAWM (including one person who I am not sure if they
are actively involved or not anymore) probably to make more wonderful
and lovely comments to them.

I will remove any of his posts until then, as the only reason for
the delay in removal is the practical issue of the webmaster being in
the office.

I had already asked for Riain to be removed before Declan
re-joined the team, so sorry if this seems a bit over your head
Declan.

-- Orla Ni Chomhrai, April 17, 2004

Thanks Orla, it's a relief to be finally rid of him. I'm sorry
that you had to put up with insulting personal messages -
unfortunately some people just have no shame. Keep up the good work -
it's much appreciated!
-- Rachel Hicks, April 17, 2004

http://tinyurl.com/3nfo6

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-23 17:24:54 UTC
And your point posting this from an Irish Anti-War website, that is
actually ran by the socialist part of Ireland and constantly bashes Jews
and Israel and bans anyone who disagrees with their lies???

What a fucking arse you are.




"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 21:12:12 +1100, myal <***@hotmail.com> wrote:
:
: >Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï wrote:
: >
: >>
: >> Yeah, this Queer Jew, registered Democrat and a proud liberal is a
: >> fundie!!!!
: >>
: >
: >You forgot "top poster" in your coming out speech
:
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
: Riain
:
: i have removed your post
:
: posting it once was bad enough but you do not have to spam every
: thread on the forum
:
: this is your last official warning
:
: amend your ways or be banned
:
: -- Declan Finlay, April 17, 2004
:
: Don't waste your time replying to this guy Declan, he is only a
: trouble maker and no matter how reasonable you are with him he carries
: on regardless. I've never called outright for anyone to be banned
: before - it's a step I normally disagree with - but in this case it
: looks like the only option. He's completely clogging up the site,
: he's insulting people and he's breaking just about every posting rule.
: Can somebody please get rid of him?
:
: -- Rachel Hicks, April 17, 2004
:
: Moderation Note:
:
: For anyone who is wondering Declan used to moderate on the site
: but was away fro a while and now that he is back I asked him to
: re-join the moderation team (he was still registered as a moderator so
: there was no problem technically with this).
:
: Last night I e-mailed the webmaster asking him to block Riain so
: when he is back in the office this will be done.
:
: He is being removed primarily for constant messages on the site
: where he made ridiculous and personally insulting comments about
: people. He kept reposting a message after I had removed it, and posted
: one message along with my note about removed (I had removed it because
: it was just a personal attack). He also sent me a few 'lovely'
: messages off-list, one of which is too bad to repost. He is also
: encourging his friends to ring some of the people involved in
: organising the IAWM (including one person who I am not sure if they
: are actively involved or not anymore) probably to make more wonderful
: and lovely comments to them.
:
: I will remove any of his posts until then, as the only reason for
: the delay in removal is the practical issue of the webmaster being in
: the office.
:
: I had already asked for Riain to be removed before Declan
: re-joined the team, so sorry if this seems a bit over your head
: Declan.
:
: -- Orla Ni Chomhrai, April 17, 2004
:
: Thanks Orla, it's a relief to be finally rid of him. I'm sorry
: that you had to put up with insulting personal messages -
: unfortunately some people just have no shame. Keep up the good work -
: it's much appreciated!
: -- Rachel Hicks, April 17, 2004
:
: http://tinyurl.com/3nfo6
:
:
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
:
: Lg
:
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-23 20:58:23 UTC
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:24:54 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
And your point posting this from an Irish Anti-War website, that is
actually ran by the socialist part of Ireland and constantly bashes Jews
and Israel and bans anyone who disagrees with their lies???
What a fucking arse you are.
You've become Mad, Barton. Raving like a lunatic. That is empirical,
and the source of that information is irrelevant. The fact remains,
you appear to be in need of a rubber room and a couple of straight
jackets.

Maybe a lobotomy is in your future? How about some electro convulsive
therapy to help you calm down.

Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-23 23:54:46 UTC
You are a psychiatrist?

It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and defend
themselves from people who wish to harm them???

You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to discredit a
JOOO, but you failed, as usual.



"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:24:54 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: <***@zion.org.il> wrote:
:
: >And your point posting this from an Irish Anti-War website, that is
: >actually ran by the socialist part of Ireland and constantly bashes
Jews
: >and Israel and bans anyone who disagrees with their lies???
: >
: >What a fucking arse you are.
:
: You've become Mad, Barton. Raving like a lunatic. That is empirical,
: and the source of that information is irrelevant. The fact remains,
: you appear to be in need of a rubber room and a couple of straight
: jackets.
:
: Maybe a lobotomy is in your future? How about some electro convulsive
: therapy to help you calm down.
:
: Lg
:
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 01:03:34 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
You are a psychiatrist?
It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and defend
themselves from people who wish to harm them???
You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to discredit a
JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.

It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters running
around in your head will go away.

Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have to
realize that people like these have always been around, and will
continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
fault is that? yours or theirs?

You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message of
Hope.

Lg
Jew and Zionist
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 05:11:27 UTC
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
Post by Lawrence Glickman
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
You are a psychiatrist?
It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and defend
themselves from people who wish to harm them???
You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to discredit a
JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters running
around in your head will go away.
Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have to
realize that people like these have always been around, and will
continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
fault is that? yours or theirs?
You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message of
Hope.
Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.

Oh, he's also bent:
http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 05:39:30 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
Post by Lawrence Glickman
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
You are a psychiatrist?
It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and defend
themselves from people who wish to harm them???
You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to discredit a
JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters running
around in your head will go away.
Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have to
realize that people like these have always been around, and will
continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
fault is that? yours or theirs?
You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message of
Hope.
Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
from that URL:

40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.

Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA

Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007

Looking to make friends in Israel now.

========================================================

For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
killfile the bunghole.

I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
individual.

Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 06:43:53 UTC
Baruch HaShem!!!!!!!!

You fucking filthy piece of dung!




"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:11:27 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: wrote:
:
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: ><***@comcast.net> wrote:
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >Oh, he's also bent:
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
:
: from that URL:
:
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
:
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
:
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
:
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
:
: ========================================================
:
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
:
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
:
: Lg
:
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 06:58:31 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
You fucking filthy piece of dung!
You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: ========================================================
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
: Lg
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 07:13:24 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
You fucking filthy piece of dung!
You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.

G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.

He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
un-natural Satanic Perversions.

Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 08:02:05 UTC
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general, but
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior
on the part of heterosexuals.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Homosexuality And Judaism

Ian Silver

What is Homosexuality?

http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html


The American Psychological Association (1996) says as follows:

Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers
to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.

Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
Psychiatric Association (1996) is very clear about this:

For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. .
. [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those
who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals
is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.

There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to
me, rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments
ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance
and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding
is authentic.

Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality.
The assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social
events? Who would choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be
beaten up, to be isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to
pretend to be what one is not?

In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle,
but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.

Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.

We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population
who are predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some
gays are politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous, some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos.
Some listen to Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and
dress carelessly. The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the
Jewish GLBT archive, (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual) http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/
includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-

a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October 9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He
is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted
to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion that "all Jews are rich".

Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
asserts that:

There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same
sex. . . [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so
because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ...
Gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation
positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).

Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social
adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role
identity or development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).

Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that
are so integral to Judaism?

The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996

told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man."
"I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi
Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's
army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.

It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large. Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the
last part of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative
movement has suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat
homophobia and heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the
community at large.

The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality

[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time,
in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part
of heterosexuals.

Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first, homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."

Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality, it should be "male temple prostitute."

The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since
homosexual acts are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does
not apply to them.

Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.

Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.

This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In
19:5 the men ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the
sexual content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive
implications for gays and lesbians.

In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.

The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not
a new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).

The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride, arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes
in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a
stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are
in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no
indicator of whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were,
heterosexuality would have to summarily be declared a sin along with
homosexuality since heterosexuals have raped people, as well.

Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".

In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.

Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob
Milgrom that this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions
by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew
word for female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute."
Rabbi Kelman quotes Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against
was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms
of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).

Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as
"abomination," it is used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its
practices.

In reference to this Norman Lamm states ( quoted in Kellner):

It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category
of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female
sex. This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one
against bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there
are many other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not
depict a social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".

In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."

In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.

To quote Jacob Rothman:

As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which
the onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only
on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were
fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to
fulfill this obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a
mitzvah, or a sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding, sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs
outside of marriage, and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex
is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners;
in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar;
at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah did not prohibit what it did not know".

Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And
then this (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the
community in the face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."

Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later
with the issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the
Biblical and halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the
indignity of religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with
much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.



A Midrash

There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What
can I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."

Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who
is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi,
may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.

The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.

It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different
skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.

by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54
Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS

The Traditional Viewpoint

As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
Rabbi Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality:
frustrates the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and
is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of
sexual fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been
the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although
it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.

The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Shmuel Boteach (1993):

Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to
say that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some
time consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that
can be used to create a thriving and happy community?"

In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at
the time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement,
says that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts
everything that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving,
long-suffering G-d who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and
compassion."

He continues:-

A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every
civilization throughout history, from the most religious and
conservative to the most secular and liberal, have not felt it was
sufficient to advocate certain sexual pathways, but have instituted laws
to enforce these pathways. . . Judaism does not prohibit or in any way
look down upon homosexual love. In the eyes of Judaism the love between
two men or two women can be as natural as the love between a man and a
woman. What it does prohibit is homosexual intercourse. . . An
attraction felt by a man for other men or by a woman for other women
would not be described by the Torah as 'disgusting' or offensive, G-d
forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and attractive being, whatever the
gender. Rather, it is acting upon that homosexual attraction which the
Torah forbids in the strongest possible language. A man's sexual
attraction to another man would be classified in the same category as
being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is sympathetic to the
attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs
that homosexual intercourse is unnatural.

For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there
anything that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed
for such purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no',
then why are they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and
crime against nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture
rather than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual
may find sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.

Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual arrangement,
specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a
fulfilling life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage.
Every time an Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being
sick, it is simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing
to reorient his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish
approach to homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the
benefits of heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as
well as a clear commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very
least, make a concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law.
Only after an herculean effort has been made in the direction of
heterosexuality can he or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish
prohibition against homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.

homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely
proscribed act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so,
and not because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act.
This approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
homosexuals logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential
identity with all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals
who find it too difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be
discouraged from participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal
life. If they point out the contradiction that their private life poses
to Jewish observance, and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized,
they should be told that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin:
because someone eats a ham and mayo sandwich does not in any way impair
their ability to participate fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
1993):

As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When
social conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as
the proper commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in
social consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider Boteach's
position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
about the Biblical injunction to procreate? Again, Levado points out:

We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of
"be fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and
a female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's
promise of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and
Sarah transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of
blessing includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is
a punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay
life does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish
children, but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means
that the ordinary relationship between making love and having children
is severed. There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since
its very transmission is dependent on both relationship and
reproduction. For Jews who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to
ensure that life conquers death, the infertility of our loving is at the
core of our struggle to understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and
self-indulgent. Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the
tasks of Jewish family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is
perceived as marginal to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of
this most central and sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.

Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the
mitzvah of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.


The Reform Position

In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989,
the UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.

In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.

The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
community appears in many instances, to push homosexuals into the
closet: the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly,
though sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think
Boteach's position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental
participation in Jewish life.

The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply"
was best articulated by Yoel Kahn (CCAR, 1989):

I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual families
to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe
that encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the
institution of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian
Jews are estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their
families of origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression.
Welcoming gay and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen
all our families, by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children,
parents and siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and
innermost lives hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm
that there can be more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz ,
in the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two
homosexuals is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are
changing the circumstances so that those who previously might not have
acted in a homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal
rabbis believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow
be 'recruited'. Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation,
some people who were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is
this regrettable, or desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had
such an option?

There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I
teach also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan
Rosenberg (Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words
that would result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their
families - not my G-d".

Rabbi Leila Berner, was quoted in 1996, thusly:

"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it,
I have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of God-wrestling,'"
said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many
other lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have
prevailed. Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through
a re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Michael Tolkin supports Rabbi Berner (Grishaver) when he says:

Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to
soften the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to
say that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy
the law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation
with Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
letter to his brother:

I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position

That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.

In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution supporting
lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in
Conservative congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the
Movement to increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian
and gay Jews. The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution
in November 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in
November 1991, but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness,
etc.) .

In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and
Judaism. The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth,
gave the (expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was
clearly and plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was
that, contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality
and were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
tells it:

Most within this group openly worried about the future viability
of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a slippery
slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued
that changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially accepted
as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern understanding
of the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.

New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so
as to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
homosexuals.. .
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to
be heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift
whose legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish
norms which apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual
sex . . . This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing
commitment ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving,
and Jewishly committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.

In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the Rabbinical
Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate homophobia
and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.

The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming.
"The goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that
Jewish gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but
are part of our own community and should be treated as such".

It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not
exist in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in
forming such a necessary organization.

A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of sexuality
and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs.
Torati, Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this,
both this year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence
of this is that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should
not be seen narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual
practices, but rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of
interactions that people and Jews have with each other". The resource
book, Twice Blessed (1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen
groups, and an outline for a workshop on homophobia.

Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.

The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts
it, "like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish
study and action, including affiliation and active participation in a
synagogue and in the Jewish community generally.

An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, "David",
wrote as follows (1996):-

In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian
Jews should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not
lead them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish
version of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between
total acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of
the Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has
so wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish
world-educator, volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered
by my sexuality. Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in
tikkun olam is somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or
who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the Synagogue,
including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is attempting
to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.

Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a Conservative
Jewish homosexual.

As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural contexts
in which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against
male homosexual behavior (and the Rabbinic prohibitions against
lesbianism):
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding homosexual
behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and
leading a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary
suspension) of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of
course, radically different from how the tradition has understood it for
centuries. However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving
nature of halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within
halakha. (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even
though traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
Three disclaimers:
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited acceptance
at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an understanding
of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those
who argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model
of heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
certainly support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of
expressing themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to
articulate this within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider
non-monogamous heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of
halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals. Currently,
many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a teshuvah
(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as women's
rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The Committee
on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.

In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.

a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.

b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced
with ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."

c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.

d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area
of San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group
in North America.

e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.

f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews
in the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
points out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships
because they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
ourselves.

g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.

h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.

i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is
with any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave
congregations because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal
(either the people or the congregations).

j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us".
That is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's
word. As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".

k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant. "According
to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The traditional
Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."

l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent, monogamous,
loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial ceremony)
on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
bases as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.

In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a
homosexual relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual
relationship. If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union
and a legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then
Jewish marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement
have done so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the
heterosexual marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of
marriage as an equal partnership based on mutual respect and love, then
we should, in my opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same
fashion as heterosexual couples.

The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman
is past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham
and Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other) synagogue?
The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.

If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as
an abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to
engage in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as
possible shape their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism
irrelevant to them too."

Postscript

In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have attempted
to counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.

This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in
any republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to
avoid the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also
to be happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.

About the author

I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington,
an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the University
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the University
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with
homosexual teenagers.

My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor
and Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
contact me at ***@sympatico.ca.

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_

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"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 06:58:31 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: wrote:
:
: >On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: ><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >
: >>Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
: >
: >Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
: >
: >>You fucking filthy piece of dung!
: >
: >You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
:
: I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
: FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
: is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
:
: G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
:
: He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
: not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
: un-natural Satanic Perversions.
:
: Lg
:
myal
2005-03-24 12:23:33 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general
Leviticus 18:22
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.


Leviticus 20:13
" 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have
done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be
on their own heads.

You were saying about the bible not condeming homosexuality ?

Top posting poofter .


, but
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior
on the part of heterosexuals.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homosexuality And Judaism
Ian Silver
What is Homosexuality?
http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html
Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers
to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.
Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. .
. [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those
who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals
is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.
There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to
me, rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments
ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance
and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding
is authentic.
Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality.
The assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social
events? Who would choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be
beaten up, to be isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to
pretend to be what one is not?
In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle,
but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.
Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.
We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population
who are predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some
gays are politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous, some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos.
Some listen to Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and
dress carelessly. The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the
Jewish GLBT archive, (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual) http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/
includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-
a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October 9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He
is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted
to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion that "all Jews are rich".
Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same
sex. . . [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so
because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ...
Gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation
positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).
Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social
adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role
identity or development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).
Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that
are so integral to Judaism?
The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996
told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man."
"I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi
Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's
army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.
It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large. Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the
last part of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative
movement has suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat
homophobia and heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the
community at large.
The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality
[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]
The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time,
in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part
of heterosexuals.
Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first, homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."
Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality, it should be "male temple prostitute."
The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since
homosexual acts are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does
not apply to them.
Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.
Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.
This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In
19:5 the men ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the
sexual content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive
implications for gays and lesbians.
In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.
The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not
a new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).
The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride, arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes
in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a
stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are
in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no
indicator of whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were,
heterosexuality would have to summarily be declared a sin along with
homosexuality since heterosexuals have raped people, as well.
Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".
In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.
Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob
Milgrom that this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions
by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew
word for female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute."
Rabbi Kelman quotes Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against
was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms
of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).
Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as
"abomination," it is used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its
practices.
It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category
of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female
sex. This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one
against bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there
are many other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not
depict a social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".
In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."
In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.
As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which
the onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only
on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were
fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to
fulfill this obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a
mitzvah, or a sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding, sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs
outside of marriage, and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex
is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners;
in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar;
at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah did not prohibit what it did not know".
Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And
then this (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the
community in the face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."
Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later
with the issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the
Biblical and halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the
indignity of religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with
much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.
A Midrash
There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What
can I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."
Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who
is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi,
may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.
The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.
It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different
skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.
by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54
Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS
The Traditional Viewpoint
As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
frustrates the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and
is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of
sexual fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been
the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although
it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.
The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to
say that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some
time consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that
can be used to create a thriving and happy community?"
In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at
the time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement,
says that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts
everything that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving,
long-suffering G-d who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and
compassion."
He continues:-
A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every
civilization throughout history, from the most religious and
conservative to the most secular and liberal, have not felt it was
sufficient to advocate certain sexual pathways, but have instituted laws
to enforce these pathways. . . Judaism does not prohibit or in any way
look down upon homosexual love. In the eyes of Judaism the love between
two men or two women can be as natural as the love between a man and a
woman. What it does prohibit is homosexual intercourse. . . An
attraction felt by a man for other men or by a woman for other women
would not be described by the Torah as 'disgusting' or offensive, G-d
forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and attractive being, whatever the
gender. Rather, it is acting upon that homosexual attraction which the
Torah forbids in the strongest possible language. A man's sexual
attraction to another man would be classified in the same category as
being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is sympathetic to the
attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs
that homosexual intercourse is unnatural.
For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there
anything that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed
for such purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no',
then why are they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and
crime against nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture
rather than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual
may find sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.
Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual arrangement,
specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a
fulfilling life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage.
Every time an Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being
sick, it is simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing
to reorient his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish
approach to homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the
benefits of heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as
well as a clear commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very
least, make a concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law.
Only after an herculean effort has been made in the direction of
heterosexuality can he or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish
prohibition against homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.
homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely
proscribed act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so,
and not because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act.
This approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
homosexuals logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential
identity with all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals
who find it too difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be
discouraged from participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal
life. If they point out the contradiction that their private life poses
to Jewish observance, and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized,
because someone eats a ham and mayo sandwich does not in any way impair
their ability to participate fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When
social conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as
the proper commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in
social consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider Boteach's
position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of
"be fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and
a female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's
promise of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and
Sarah transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of
blessing includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is
a punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay
life does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish
children, but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means
that the ordinary relationship between making love and having children
is severed. There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since
its very transmission is dependent on both relationship and
reproduction. For Jews who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to
ensure that life conquers death, the infertility of our loving is at the
core of our struggle to understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and
self-indulgent. Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the
tasks of Jewish family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is
perceived as marginal to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of
this most central and sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.
Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the
mitzvah of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.
The Reform Position
In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989,
the UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.
In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.
The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
community appears in many instances, to push homosexuals into the
closet: the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly,
though sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think
Boteach's position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental
participation in Jewish life.
The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply"
I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual families
to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe
that encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the
institution of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian
Jews are estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their
families of origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression.
Welcoming gay and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen
all our families, by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children,
parents and siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and
innermost lives hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm
that there can be more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz ,
in the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two
homosexuals is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are
changing the circumstances so that those who previously might not have
acted in a homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal
rabbis believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow
be 'recruited'. Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation,
some people who were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is
this regrettable, or desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had
such an option?
There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I
teach also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan
Rosenberg (Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words
that would result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their
families - not my G-d".
"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it,
I have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of God-wrestling,'"
said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many
other lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have
prevailed. Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through
a re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to
soften the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to
say that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy
the law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation
with Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position
That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.
In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution supporting
lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in
Conservative congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the
Movement to increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian
and gay Jews. The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution
in November 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in
November 1991, but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness,
etc.) .
In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and
Judaism. The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth,
gave the (expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was
clearly and plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was
that, contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality
and were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
Most within this group openly worried about the future viability
of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a slippery
slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued
that changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially accepted
as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern understanding
of the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.
New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so
as to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
homosexuals.. .
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to
be heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift
whose legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish
norms which apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual
sex . . . This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing
commitment ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving,
and Jewishly committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.
In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the Rabbinical
Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate homophobia
and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.
The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming.
"The goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that
Jewish gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but
are part of our own community and should be treated as such".
It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not
exist in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in
forming such a necessary organization.
A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of sexuality
and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs.
Torati, Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this,
both this year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence
of this is that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should
not be seen narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual
practices, but rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of
interactions that people and Jews have with each other". The resource
book, Twice Blessed (1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen
groups, and an outline for a workshop on homophobia.
Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.
The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts
it, "like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish
study and action, including affiliation and active participation in a
synagogue and in the Jewish community generally.
An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, "David",
wrote as follows (1996):-
In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian
Jews should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not
lead them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish
version of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between
total acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of
the Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has
so wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish
world-educator, volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered
by my sexuality. Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in
tikkun olam is somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or
who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the Synagogue,
including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is attempting
to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.
Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a Conservative
Jewish homosexual.
As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural contexts
in which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against
male homosexual behavior (and the Rabbinic prohibitions against
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding homosexual
behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and
leading a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary
suspension) of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of
course, radically different from how the tradition has understood it for
centuries. However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving
nature of halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within
halakha. (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even
though traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited acceptance
at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an understanding
of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those
who argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model
of heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
certainly support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of
expressing themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to
articulate this within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider
non-monogamous heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of
halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals. Currently,
many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a teshuvah
(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as women's
rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The Committee
on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.
In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.
a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.
b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced
with ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."
c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.
d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area
of San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group
in North America.
e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.
f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews
in the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
points out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships
because they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
ourselves.
g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.
h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.
i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is
with any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave
congregations because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal
(either the people or the congregations).
j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us".
That is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's
word. As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".
k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant. "According
to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The traditional
Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."
l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent, monogamous,
loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial ceremony)
on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
bases as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.
In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a
homosexual relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual
relationship. If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union
and a legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then
Jewish marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement
have done so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the
heterosexual marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of
marriage as an equal partnership based on mutual respect and love, then
we should, in my opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same
fashion as heterosexual couples.
The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman
is past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham
and Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other) synagogue?
The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.
If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as
an abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to
engage in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as
possible shape their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism
irrelevant to them too."
Postscript
In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have attempted
to counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.
This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in
any republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to
avoid the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also
to be happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.
About the author
I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington,
an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the University
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the University
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with
homosexual teenagers.
My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor
and Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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American Psychological Association (1996) Answers to your
Questions About Sexual Orientation And Homosexuality.
Anonymous. (1993). Gayness and God: Wrestlings of an Orthodox
Rabbi. Tikkun 8 (5)
Anonymous. (1996). The Reform Jewish perspective on gay and
lesbian marriage: the recent CCAR resolution.
Anonymous. (1996). One Foot in the Closet and One Foot Out, at the
Jewish Theological Seminary. New Voices. March 4.
Balka, C., and Rose, A. (eds). (1989). Twice Blessed: On Being
Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press
Bazelon, E. (1996). Secrets of the Temple. New Republic, May 6.
to'evah
Boswell, J. (1994). Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York.
Random House.
Boteach, S. (1993) Reinterpreting Homosexuality as Human Sexuality
(available from gopher)
gopher://www.shamash.org/00/lists/oxford-judaism/homosexuality
Bulka, R. and Spero, M.H. (eds) (1982) A Psychology-Judaism
Reader. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas
Central Congress of American Rabbis (1989). Homosexuality and The
Rabbinate.
Diament, C., ed. (1989). Jewish Marital Status: A Hadassah Study.
London, Jason Aronson.
Dorff, E. (1994) Sex, Values and the Law. Jerusalem Report, August
25.
Dorff , E., Newman, L.E. (eds.) (1995),Contemporary Jewish ethics
and morality : a reader. New York: Oxford
Dorff , E. (1995) This Is My Beloved, This Is My Friend: A
Rabbinic Letter on Intimate Relations. New York. Rabbinical Assembly.
Fierstein, H. (1981) Torch Song Trilogy. The Gay Presses of New
York, also [Film] (1987), Paul Bogart, Producer
Firestone, D., et al (1994) Education Against Homophobia.
Unpublished paper.
Flax, H. (1995) Sex, Lies & Hebrew School. Moment. 20(2)
Goldfarb, R.S. (1995), United Synagogue Convention, submission to
Goldstein, H. (n.d.), Understand What It Means To Be Created in
the Image of God, in Being A Blessing: 54 Ways You Can Help People
Living With AIDS , Alef Design Group
Greenberg, B. (1981). On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society
Grishaver, J. L. (n.d.), Queer Halakhah. Unpublished paper
Sources and Commentary. New York, Ktav
Jewish Publication Society (1985). Tanakh: A new Translation of
the Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text.
Philadelphia.
Kantrowitz, B. (1996) Gay Families Come Out. Newsweek, November 4.
Sanhedrin Press
Kelman, S. (1995) Community and Diversity: A Teshuvah on Gay and
Lesbian Couples at Congregation Netivot Shalom. Berkeley, CA.
Knisley, J. (1996) Religion and Homosexuality: A Christian
Stand-Point. http://members.tripod.com/~Buznog/jason.htm
Latz, M. (1996). Affirmed But Waiting at Hebrew Union College. New
Voices. March 4.
Leder, S. (1995) The Real Abominations. Jewish Journal, May 4.
Lerner, M. (1994), Jewish Renewal: A path to Healing and
Transformation. New York: Harper
Lerner, M. (1993), Curing Homophobia & Other Conservative
Pathologies. Tikkun 8 (5)
Magonet, J. (ed) (1995). Jewish explorations of sexuality .
Providence, RI: Berghahn
Plaskow, J. (1990). Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a
Feminist Perspective. San Francisco. Harper & Row.
Raphael, L. (1990), Dancing on Tisha b'Av, New York , St. Martin's
Press
Raphael , L. (1992) Winter Eyes .New York, St. Martin's Press
Raphael , L. (1996) Journeys & Arrivals: On Being Gay and Jewish.
Boston: Faber and Faber
Romanoff, L. (1990) Your People, My People: Finding Acceptance and
Fulfillment as a Jew by Choice. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society
Analyzing the Need for Diversity in Approaching Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual
Politics. Unpublished paper.
Schwartz, B.D. (n.d.) The Jewish View of Homosexuality.
Shanks, H. (ed.) (1993). Homosexuality and Judaism. [Special
Issue] Moment, 18 (3)
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Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society
Torkelson, J. (1995). Rabbis to Relax Morality Rules: Conservative
Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News, August
17
Treadaway, D. (1996) Berner offers Jewish Approach to Issues of
Sexual Expression. New Voices. March 4.
Tucker, S. (1995). Our Queer World. The Humanist.
January/February.
_
Union of American Hebrew Congregations. (1995). A Resolution on
Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and
Gays in the Reform Movement.
Zelizer, G.L. (1995). Conservative Rabbis, their movement, and
American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)
Return to Top
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Rd
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Phone: 650-493-4661
: >On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >
: >>Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
: >
: >Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
: >
: >>You fucking filthy piece of dung!
: >
: >You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
: I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
: FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
: is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
: G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
: He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
: not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
: un-natural Satanic Perversions.
: Lg
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 16:03:42 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general
Leviticus 18:22
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
It also says not to rape or commit adultery.
IOW, it's the act, not the orientation.
Not that you will grasp or accept the truth, or ar even capable thereof - I
just like to post it on general principles.

Susan
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Leviticus 20:13
" 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have
done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on
their own heads.
You were saying about the bible not condeming homosexuality ?
Top posting poofter .
, but
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one
time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the
part of heterosexuals.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homosexuality And Judaism
Ian Silver
What is Homosexuality?
http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html
Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to
feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual
orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.
Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. . .
[Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those who
[seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals is
more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.
There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to me,
rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is gay,
for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments ex
post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance and
understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding is
authentic.
Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality. The
assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose their
sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and marginalised
by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social events? Who would
choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be beaten up, to be
isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to pretend to be what one
is not?
In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the intense
beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be Jewish;
one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle, but
Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.
Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.
We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle, then,
is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population who are
predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some gays are
politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are promiscuous,
some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos. Some listen to
Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and dress carelessly.
The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the Jewish GLBT archive,
(GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered/Transsexual)
http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/ includes the following
homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-
a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on October
9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He is
best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best known
for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted to
his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are more
dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a stereotype,
not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the assertion
that "all Jews are rich".
Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy
of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual orientation
. . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a homosexual
person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same sex. . .
[Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so because of
social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ... Gay men and
lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better
adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).
Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual parents
find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in
their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment,
popularity with friends, development of social sex role identity or
development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).
Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more 'natural
than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that are
so integral to Judaism?
The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996
told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man." "I
myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet. ``Like
alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is something
wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi Doron, said
he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's army radio as
calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.
It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at large.
Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a belief
system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the last part
of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative movement has
suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat homophobia and
heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the community at
large.
The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality
[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]
The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time, in
Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part of
heterosexuals.
Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The first,
homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even without
the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."
Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in reality,
it should be "male temple prostitute."
The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed importance
on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since homosexual acts
are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does not apply to them.
Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.
Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.
This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the Sodomites
with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In 19:5 the men
ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us,
that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by offering
his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the sexual
content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive implications for
gays and lesbians.
In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and Lot's
treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.
The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not a
new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).
The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as pride,
arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes in the
form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of strangers.
("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a stranger
visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his money.")
While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are in the
context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these sins are
not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no indicator of
whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were, heterosexuality would
have to summarily be declared a sin along with homosexuality since
heterosexuals have raped people, as well.
Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".
In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.
Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in ritual
intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob Milgrom that
this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions by a
particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The Deuteronomy
passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew word for
female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better translation of
kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute." Rabbi Kelman quotes
Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against was the pagan
tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms of illicit
behavior".(Kelman, 1995).
Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty because
it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as "abomination," it is
used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its practices.
It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category of
objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female sex.
This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both sexes
regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a Conservative
Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one against
bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there are many
other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not depict a
social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human behavior".
In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."
In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.
As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which the
onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is explained
that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the female is
subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this biblical and
physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only on providing
the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must master in order to
perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were fundamentally
concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to fulfill this
obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a mitzvah, or a
sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this understanding,
sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs outside of marriage,
and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex is
only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners; in
the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in the
missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar; at
permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The Torah
did not prohibit what it did not know".
Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are, despite
their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And then this
(rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the community in the
face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."
Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the practices
were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later with the
issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the Biblical and
halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the indignity of
religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a distinction
between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with much denial
that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.
A Midrash
There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What can
I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."
Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who is
walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi, may
there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the whole
story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed, only on
the condition that he never act in this manner again.
The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.
It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a problem
with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different skin
color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.
by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54 Ways
You Can Help People Living With AIDS
The Traditional Viewpoint
As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question Rabbi
Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality: frustrates
the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and is
biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course denies
the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of sexual
fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been the
majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although it
should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.
The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to say
that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some time
consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it to be
an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure alone, or
is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that can be used
to create a thriving and happy community?"
In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at the
time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement, says
that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts everything
that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving, long-suffering G-d
who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and compassion."
He continues:-
A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every civilization
throughout history, from the most religious and conservative to the most
secular and liberal, have not felt it was sufficient to advocate certain
sexual pathways, but have instituted laws to enforce these pathways. . .
Judaism does not prohibit or in any way look down upon homosexual love.
In the eyes of Judaism the love between two men or two women can be as
natural as the love between a man and a woman. What it does prohibit is
homosexual intercourse. . . An attraction felt by a man for other men or
by a woman for other women would not be described by the Torah as
'disgusting' or offensive, G-d forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and
attractive being, whatever the gender. Rather, it is acting upon that
homosexual attraction which the Torah forbids in the strongest possible
language. A man's sexual attraction to another man would be classified in
the same category as being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is
sympathetic to the attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction
into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs that
homosexual intercourse is unnatural.
For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there anything
that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed for such
purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no', then why are
they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and crime against
nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture rather
than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual may find
sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.
Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual arrangement,
specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a fulfilling
life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage. Every time an
Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being sick, it is
simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing to reorient
his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish approach to
homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the benefits of
heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as well as a clear
commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very least, make a
concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law. Only after an
herculean effort has been made in the direction of heterosexuality can he
or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish prohibition against
homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.
homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely proscribed
act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so, and not
because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act. This
approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of homosexuals
logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential identity with
all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals who find it too
difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be discouraged from
participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal life. If they point
out the contradiction that their private life poses to Jewish observance,
and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized, they should be told that
homosexuality is a sin like any other sin: because someone eats a ham and
mayo sandwich does not in any way impair their ability to participate
fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When social
conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as the proper
commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in social
consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider Boteach's
position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of "be
fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and a
female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's promise
of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and Sarah
transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of blessing
includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is a
punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay life
does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish children,
but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means that the
ordinary relationship between making love and having children is severed.
There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since its very
transmission is dependent on both relationship and reproduction. For Jews
who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to ensure that life conquers
death, the infertility of our loving is at the core of our struggle to
understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and self-indulgent.
Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the tasks of Jewish
family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is perceived as marginal
to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of this most central and
sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.
Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the mitzvah
of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.
The Reform Position
In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989, the
UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.
In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.
The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly, though
sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think Boteach's
position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental participation
in Jewish life.
The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply" was
I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual families
to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe that
encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the institution
of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian Jews are
estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their families of
origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression. Welcoming gay
and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen all our families,
by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children, parents and
siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and innermost lives
hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm that there can be
more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz , in
the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two homosexuals
is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are changing the
circumstances so that those who previously might not have acted in a
homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal rabbis believe
that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow be 'recruited'.
Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation, some people who
were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is this regrettable, or
desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had such an option?
There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I teach
also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan Rosenberg
(Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words that would
result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their families -
not my G-d".
"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it, I
have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of God-wrestling,'"
said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many other
lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have prevailed.
Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through a
re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to soften
the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to say
that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy the
law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation with
Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position
That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.
In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution supporting
lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in Conservative
congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the Movement to
increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian and gay Jews.
The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution in November
1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in November 1991,
but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness, etc.) .
In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and Judaism.
The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth, gave the
(expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was clearly and
plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was that,
contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality and
were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
Most within this group openly worried about the future viability
of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a slippery
slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued that
changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially accepted
as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern understanding of
the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.
New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so as
to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on homosexuals..
.
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to be
heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift whose
legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish norms which
apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual sex . . .
This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing commitment
ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving, and Jewishly
committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.
In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the Rabbinical
Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate homophobia
and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.
The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming. "The
goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that Jewish
gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but are part
of our own community and should be treated as such".
It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not exist
in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in forming
such a necessary organization.
A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of sexuality
and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs. Torati,
Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this, both this
year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence of this is
that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should not be seen
narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual practices, but
rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of interactions that
people and Jews have with each other". The resource book, Twice Blessed
(1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen groups, and an
outline for a workshop on homophobia.
Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.
The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts it,
"like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish study
and action, including affiliation and active participation in a synagogue
and in the Jewish community generally.
An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, "David",
wrote as follows (1996):-
In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian Jews
should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not lead
them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish version
of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between total
acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of the
Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has so
wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish world-educator,
volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered by my sexuality.
Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in tikkun olam is
somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the Synagogue,
including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is attempting
to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.
Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a Conservative
Jewish homosexual.
As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural contexts in
which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against male
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding homosexual
behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and leading
a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary suspension)
of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of course, radically
different from how the tradition has understood it for centuries.
However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving nature of
halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within halakha.
(The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even though
traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited acceptance
at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an understanding
of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those who
argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model of
heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I certainly
support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of expressing
themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to articulate this
within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider non-monogamous
heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals. Currently,
many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a teshuvah
(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as women's
rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The Committee
on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.
In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.
a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.
b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced with
ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."
c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.
d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area of
San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group in
North America.
e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.
f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews in
the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman points
out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships because
they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure" ourselves.
g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.
h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.
i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is with
any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave congregations
because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal (either the people or
the congregations).
j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us". That
is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's word.
As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".
k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant. "According
to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The traditional
Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."
l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent, monogamous,
loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial ceremony)
on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same bases
as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.
In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a homosexual
relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual relationship.
If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union and a
legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then Jewish
marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement have done
so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the heterosexual
marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of marriage as an equal
partnership based on mutual respect and love, then we should, in my
opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same fashion as
heterosexual couples.
The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman is
past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham and
Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other) synagogue?
The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.
If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as an
abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to engage
in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as possible shape
their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism irrelevant to them
too."
Postscript
In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have attempted to
counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.
This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in any
republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to avoid
the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also to be
happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.
About the author
I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington,
an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the University
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the University
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with homosexual
teenagers.
My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor and
Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Anonymous. (1996). The Reform Jewish perspective on gay and lesbian
marriage: the recent CCAR resolution.
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Jewish Theological Seminary. New Voices. March 4.
Balka, C., and Rose, A. (eds). (1989). Twice Blessed: On Being
Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press
Bazelon, E. (1996). Secrets of the Temple. New Republic, May 6.
Boswell, J. (1994). Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York.
Random House.
Boteach, S. (1993) Reinterpreting Homosexuality as Human Sexuality
(available from gopher)
gopher://www.shamash.org/00/lists/oxford-judaism/homosexuality
Bulka, R. and Spero, M.H. (eds) (1982) A Psychology-Judaism Reader.
Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas
Central Congress of American Rabbis (1989). Homosexuality and The
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London, Jason Aronson.
Dorff, E. (1994) Sex, Values and the Law. Jerusalem Report, August
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Firestone, D., et al (1994) Education Against Homophobia.
Unpublished paper.
Flax, H. (1995) Sex, Lies & Hebrew School. Moment. 20(2)
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Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Philadelphia.
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Kelman, S. (1995) Community and Diversity: A Teshuvah on Gay and
Lesbian Couples at Congregation Netivot Shalom. Berkeley, CA.
Knisley, J. (1996) Religion and Homosexuality: A Christian
Stand-Point. http://members.tripod.com/~Buznog/jason.htm
Latz, M. (1996). Affirmed But Waiting at Hebrew Union College. New
Voices. March 4.
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Lerner, M. (1994), Jewish Renewal: A path to Healing and
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Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News, August
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Sexual Expression. New Voices. March 4.
Tucker, S. (1995). Our Queer World. The Humanist. January/February.
_
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Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and
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American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)
Return to Top
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26790 Arastradero Rd
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Phone: 650-493-4661
: >On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >
: >>Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
: >
: >Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
: >
: >>You fucking filthy piece of dung!
: >
: >You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
: I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
: FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
: is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
: G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
: He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
: not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
: un-natural Satanic Perversions.
: Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 20:25:23 UTC
Don't forget it is an abomination NOT to keep kosher!

No more American Cheeseburgers and Pepperoni Pizzas for all them
so-called Christians!



"Susan Cohen" <***@verizon.net> wrote in message news:yxB0e.617$***@trnddc05...
:
: "myal" <***@hotmail.com> wrote in message
: news:***@news.chariot.net.au...
: > Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï wrote:
: >> The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general
: >
: > Leviticus 18:22
: > Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
:
: It also says not to rape or commit adultery.
: IOW, it's the act, not the orientation.
: Not that you will grasp or accept the truth, or ar even capable
thereof - I
: just like to post it on general principles.
:
: Susan
: >
: >
: > Leviticus 20:13
: > " 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them
have
: > done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will
be on
: > their own heads.
: >
: > You were saying about the bible not condeming homosexuality ?
: >
: > Top posting poofter .
: >
: >
: > , but
: >> it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual
prostitution
: >> that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently,
at one
: >> time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior
on the
: >> part of heterosexuals.
: >>
: >>
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
: >>
: >>
: >> Homosexuality And Judaism
: >>
: >> Ian Silver
: >>
: >> What is Homosexuality?
: >>
: >> http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html
: >>
: >>
: >> The American Psychological Association (1996) says as
follows:
: >>
: >> Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized:
homosexual,
: >> attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual,
attraction
: >> to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to
members
: >> of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are
sometimes
: >> referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
: >> Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it
refers to
: >> feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual
: >> orientation in their behaviors.
: >> It is very important to distinguish between homosexual
feelings,
: >> and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment
with
: >> their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of
the
: >> opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at
least
: >> one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
: >> orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental
sexual
: >> attraction is to people of his or her own gender.
: >>
: >> Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The
American
: >> Psychiatric Association (1996) is very clear about this:
: >>
: >> For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
: >> disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
: >> regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of
social
: >> functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria,
[because]
: >> a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly
satisfied
: >> with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of
psychopathology. . .
: >> [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and
those who
: >> [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
: >> reasons other than their homosexuality.
: >> In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
: >> self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
: >> others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems
and
: >> they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
: >> alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young
homosexuals is
: >> more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization
and
: >> rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people
of
: >> their own gender.
: >>
: >> There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
: >> genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is,
to me,
: >> rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay,
: >> for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments
ex
: >> post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance
and
: >> understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding
is
: >> authentic.
: >>
: >> Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in
homosexuality. The
: >> assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their
: >> sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised
: >> by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social events? Who
would
: >> choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be beaten up, to be
: >> isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to pretend to be
what one
: >> is not?
: >>
: >> In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not
something
: >> we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense
: >> beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish;
: >> one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle, but
: >> Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
: >> Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals
can,
: >> and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their
feelings,
: >> and their desires are and always will be towards members of their
own
: >> sex.
: >>
: >> Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that
one
: >> cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much
literature
: >> amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
: >> recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
: >> prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual
teen
: >> males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own
Private
: >> Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors
portraying
: >> young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
: >> orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
: >> specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited'
to
: >> change his/her orientation.
: >>
: >> We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
: >> Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are
stereotypical.
: >> There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then,
: >> is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population
who are
: >> predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some gays
are
: >> politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous,
: >> some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos. Some
listen to
: >> Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and dress
carelessly.
: >> The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the Jewish GLBT
archive,
: >> (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual)
: >> http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/ includes the following
: >> homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-
: >>
: >> a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895.
Anna, a
: >> prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October
: >> 9th, 1982.
: >> b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
: >> Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
: >> AIDS-related causes.
: >> c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924.
He is
: >> best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
: >> d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly
is the
: >> author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
: >> Struggle".
: >> e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th,
1966.
: >> Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known
: >> for being the son of Elliot Gould.
: >> There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including
Leonard
: >> Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
: >> Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
: >> 'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
:>> assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
: >> emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual
matters,
: >> and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are
small
: >> minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone
who
: >> acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is
attracted to
: >> his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more
: >> dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
: >> relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype,
: >> not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion
: >> that "all Jews are rich".
: >>
: >> Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge
homosexuals
: >> to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual.
This
: >> is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
: >> asserts that:
: >>
: >> There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy
: >> of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation
: >> . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual
: >> person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same sex. .
.
: >> [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so because
of
: >> social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ... Gay
men and
: >> lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are
better
: >> adjusted than those who have not done so.
: >> There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more
prone to
: >> molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise,
there is
: >> no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than
heterosexuals.
: >> (APA, 1996).
: >>
: >> Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents
: >> find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in
: >> their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment,
: >> popularity with friends, development of social sex role identity or
: >> development of sexual orientation
: >> Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and
heterosexist
: >> in nature. (Firestone, 1994).
: >>
: >> Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
: >> homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader
meaning
: >> and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and
gay
: >> men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about
lesbians
: >> and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
: >> practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural
: >> than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
: >> homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming
that
: >> everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by
which
: >> other sexual orientations should be judged.
: >> A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day
that
: >> his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his
new
: >> step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me,
"I
: >> have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
: >> faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with
these
: >> pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values'
that are
: >> so integral to Judaism?
: >>
: >> The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the
Associated
: >> Press on December 23, 1996
: >>
: >> told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did
not
: >> like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a
man." "I
: >> myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students
he
: >> opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like
: >> alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something
: >> wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi Doron,
said
: >> he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's army
radio as
: >> calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal phenomenon.''
: >> Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
: >> apologize for what he said.
: >>
: >> It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large.
: >> Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief
: >> system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the last
part
: >> of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative movement
has
: >> suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat homophobia
and
: >> heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the community
at
: >> large.
: >>
: >> The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality
: >>
: >> [Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason
Knisley,
: >> who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]
: >>
: >> The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it
does
: >> condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that
was
: >> part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one
time, in
: >> Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the
part of
: >> heterosexuals.
: >>
: >> Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above
before
: >> proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first,
: >> homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without
: >> the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."
: >>
: >> Second, many of the references to men having sex with other
men
: >> refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
: >> translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality,
: >> it should be "male temple prostitute."
: >>
: >> The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
: >> behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the
Canaanites,
: >> but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural.
This
: >> may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance
: >> on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since homosexual
acts
: >> are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does not apply to
them.
: >>
: >> Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most
refer
: >> to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There
are few
: >> that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual
act.
: >>
: >> Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom
and
: >> Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and
lesbians.
: >> Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem
to
: >> strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited
sex
: >> between male partners.
: >>
: >> This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites
: >> with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In 19:5
the men
: >> ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to
us,
: >> that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering
: >> his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the sexual
: >> content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive implications
for
: >> gays and lesbians.
: >>
: >> In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was
considered
: >> not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only
supported by
: >> the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's
: >> treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.
: >>
: >> The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
: >> loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is
not a
: >> new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
: >> Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
: >> homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to
be
: >> because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52,
it
: >> was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).
: >>
: >> The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride,
: >> arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes in
the
: >> form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers.
: >> ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a
stranger
: >> visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.")
: >> While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are in
the
: >> context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are
: >> not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no indicator
of
: >> whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were, heterosexuality
would
: >> have to summarily be declared a sin along with homosexuality since
: >> heterosexuals have raped people, as well.
: >>
: >> Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it
seems
: >> that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
: >> Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
: >> intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
: >> describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that
Jonathan
: >> "loved David as himself".
: >>
: >> In another passage, that has been used, there are references
to
: >> kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings
14:24,
: >> 15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
: >> translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
: >> however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the
Israelite
: >> men to become such, as it also does women.
: >>
: >> Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the
priests
: >> and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside
of the
: >> Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual
: >> intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob Milgrom
that
: >> this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions by a
: >> particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy
: >> passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew word
for
: >> female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of
: >> kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute." Rabbi Kelman
quotes
: >> Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against was the pagan
: >> tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms of illicit
: >> behavior".(Kelman, 1995).
: >>
: >> Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie
with a
: >> male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because
: >> it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as "abomination,"
it is
: >> used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its practices.
: >>
: >> In reference to this Norman Lamm states ( quoted in Kellner):
: >>
: >> It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination
is
: >> prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
: >> Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the
matter
: >> rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
: >> disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
: >> biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a
category of
: >> objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
: >> A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful",
according
: >> to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in
the
: >> context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the
Canaanites, the
: >> injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual
prostitution
: >> found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all
homosexual
: >> behavior because it does not make an injunction toward
female-female sex.
: >> This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes
: >> regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative
: >> Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one against
: >> bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there are
many
: >> other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not depict
a
: >> social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".
: >>
: >> In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
: >> further points out that "there is at least one instance where we,
as
: >> Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may,
according to
: >> the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
: >> involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
: >> non-mamzer."
: >>
: >> In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in
the
: >> name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not
obliterated
: >> from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns
for
: >> (males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The
same
: >> Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.
: >>
: >> To quote Jacob Rothman:
: >>
: >> As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five
concerns are
: >> reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed;
the
: >> procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty
of
: >> men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
: >> ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
: >> physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding
the
: >> nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
: >> fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11)
provides
: >> an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in
which the
: >> onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained
: >> that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is
: >> subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this biblical
and
: >> physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only on
providing
: >> the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must master in
order to
: >> perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were fundamentally
: >> concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to fulfill
this
: >> obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a mitzvah, or
a
: >> sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding,
: >> sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs outside of
marriage,
: >> and does not focus on arousing a woman.
: >> In reference to the other four concerns, the basic
understanding
: >> and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
: >> sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the
behavioral
: >> norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that
sex is
: >> only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex
partners; in
: >> the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the
: >> missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar;
at
: >> permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention
to
: >> women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it
will be
: >> procreative.
: >> Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex,
(Gen.
: >> 1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as
presented
: >> in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man,
so
: >> that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
: >> Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not
homosexuals.
: >> In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected
of
: >> homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah
: >> did not prohibit what it did not know".
: >>
: >> Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
: >> importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with
a
: >> rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and
lesbian
: >> Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite
: >> their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And then
this
: >> (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the community
in the
: >> face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."
: >>
: >> Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
: >> against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices
: >> were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later with
the
: >> issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the Biblical
and
: >> halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the indignity of
: >> religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction
: >> between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with much
denial
: >> that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.
: >>
: >>
: >>
: >> A Midrash
: >>
: >> There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter
4),
: >> which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from
Migdal
: >> Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his
horse
: >> by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
: >> exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how
ugly
: >> are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied,
"What can
: >> I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
: >> immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and
said,
: >> "I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not
forgive
: >> you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is
the
: >> vessel which You have made."
: >>
: >> Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the
people in
: >> town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet
him and
: >> greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other
man
: >> said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man
who is
: >> walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a
rabbi, may
: >> there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole
: >> story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on
: >> the condition that he never act in this manner again.
: >>
: >> The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
: >> welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those
issues
: >> up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity
is
: >> what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and
involvement
: >> with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
: >> community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and
our
: >> greatest hope.
: >>
: >> It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of
their
: >> skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem
: >> with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different skin
: >> color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
: >> different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is
not
: >> with the created but with the Creator.
: >>
: >> by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing
:54 Ways
: >> You Can Help People Living With AIDS
: >>
: >> The Traditional Viewpoint
: >>
: >> As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the
Traditionalist
: >> perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
: >> repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community.
Quoting
: >> Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's
ability for
: >> ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
: >> sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism
and
: >> homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
Rabbi
: >> Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality:
frustrates
: >> the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and is
: >> biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
: >> asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
: >> criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended
to
: >> those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies
: >> the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of sexual
: >> fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been the
: >> majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although
it
: >> should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements
have
: >> generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of
homosexuality,
: >> there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend
religious
: >> legitimacy to homosexual desire.
: >>
: >> The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by
Rabbi
: >> Shmuel Boteach (1993):
: >>
: >> Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very
idea
: >> of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is
primarily
: >> instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why
then
: >> should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
: >> objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
: >> behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we
can
: >> offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
: >> Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality
and
: >> mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is
willing to
: >> accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
: >> heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally
instinctive.
: >> Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any
sexual
: >> behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality
is
: >> based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
: >> behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not
to say
: >> that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
: >> heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual
congress,
: >> however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
: >> Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at
some time
: >> consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be
: >> an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or
: >> is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that can be
used
: >> to create a thriving and happy community?"
: >>
: >> In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who
at the
: >> time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement,
says
: >> that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
: >> appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective
being
: >> proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of
human
: >> sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional
sections of
: >> the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and
something
: >> deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
: >> simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity."
He
: >> criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
: >> homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts
everything
: >> that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving,
long-suffering G-d
: >> who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and compassion."
: >>
: >> He continues:-
: >>
: >> A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject
must
: >> begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator
to
: >> demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every
civilization
: >> throughout history, from the most religious and conservative to the
most
: >> secular and liberal, have not felt it was sufficient to advocate
certain
: >> sexual pathways, but have instituted laws to enforce these
pathways. . .
: >> Judaism does not prohibit or in any way look down upon homosexual
love.
: >> In the eyes of Judaism the love between two men or two women can be
as
: >> natural as the love between a man and a woman. What it does
prohibit is
: >> homosexual intercourse. . . An attraction felt by a man for other
men or
: >> by a woman for other women would not be described by the Torah as
: >> 'disgusting' or offensive, G-d forbid. A human is a warm, lovable,
and
: >> attractive being, whatever the gender. Rather, it is acting upon
that
: >> homosexual attraction which the Torah forbids in the strongest
possible
: >> language. A man's sexual attraction to another man would be
classified in
: >> the same category as being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah
is
: >> sympathetic to the attraction, but prohibits translating the
attraction
: >> into action.
: >> Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one
of
: >> nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any
beliefs that
: >> homosexual intercourse is unnatural.
: >>
: >> For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
: >> homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to
their
: >> points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual
union it
: >> would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
: >> natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there
anything
: >> that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed for
such
: >> purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no', then
why are
: >> they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and crime
against
: >> nature?
: >> Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
: >> 'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture
rather
: >> than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual
may find
: >> sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
: >> exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual
only
: >> after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures
into
: >> some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage
of
: >> marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry
women.
: >>
: >> Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
: >> relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities
. . .
: >> their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish
community
: >> worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
: >> husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
: >> chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed
have
: >> been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not
preclude the
: >> possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual
arrangement,
: >> specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment
should
: >> not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity,
but
: >> that that person should engage in building a family and find a
fulfilling
: >> life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage. Every
time an
: >> Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being sick, it
is
: >> simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing to
reorient
: >> his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish approach to
: >> homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the benefits
of
: >> heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as well as a
clear
: >> commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very least,
make a
: >> concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law. Only after
an
: >> herculean effort has been made in the direction of heterosexuality
can he
: >> or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish prohibition against
: >> homosexual behavior.
: >> Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and
inclusion of
: >> homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.
: >>
: >> homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely
proscribed
: >> act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so, and
not
: >> because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act.
This
: >> approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
homosexuals
: >> logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential
identity with
: >> all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals who find
it too
: >> difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be discouraged
from
: >> participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal life. If they
point
: >> out the contradiction that their private life poses to Jewish
observance,
: >> and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized, they should be told
that
: >> homosexuality is a sin like any other sin: because someone eats a
ham and
: >> mayo sandwich does not in any way impair their ability to
participate
: >> fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
: >> Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects
than a
: >> gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado
(Anon.,
: >> 1993):
: >>
: >> As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms
in a
: >> flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
: >> cautious process of change, which must always begin internally.
Halacha,
: >> as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is
a
: >> society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
: >> reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When
social
: >> conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as the
proper
: >> commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in social
: >> consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
: >> The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than
Boteach.
: >> As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
: >> heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider
Boteach's
: >> position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But,
what
: >> about the Biblical injunction to procreate? Again, Levado points
out:
: >>
: >> We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life,
fuller
: >> life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing
of "be
: >> fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male
and a
: >> female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's
promise
: >> of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and Sarah
: >> transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of
blessing
: >> includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is a
: >> punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay
life
: >> does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish
children,
: >> but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means that
the
: >> ordinary relationship between making love and having children is
severed.
: >> There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since its
very
: >> transmission is dependent on both relationship and reproduction.
For Jews
: >> who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to ensure that life
conquers
: >> death, the infertility of our loving is at the core of our struggle
to
: >> understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
: >> This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
: >> Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
: >> nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible.
Jews see
: >> the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for
their
: >> children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and
self-indulgent.
: >> Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the tasks of Jewish
: >> family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is perceived as
marginal
: >> to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of this most
central and
: >> sacred of communal tasks.
: >> The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.
: >>
: >> Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the
mitzvot
: >> that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children,
but
: >> there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
: >> options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a
teacher
: >> similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the
mitzvah
: >> of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.
: >>
: >>
: >> The Reform Position
: >>
: >> In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
: >> adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
: >> consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
: >> activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in
1989, the
: >> UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
: >> membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples,
and
: >> families.
: >>
: >> In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New
York
: >> Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis
of
: >> sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
: >> cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff."
This
: >> resolution has yet to be enacted.
: >>
: >> The Reform movement has accommodated a number of
predominantly
: >> homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
: >> provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people
can
: >> count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
: >> entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
: >> community appears in many instances, to push homosexuals into the
closet:
: >> the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly,
though
: >> sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think
Boteach's
: >> position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental
participation
: >> in Jewish life.
: >>
: >> The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and
multiply" was
: >> best articulated by Yoel Kahn (CCAR, 1989):
: >>
: >> I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual
families
: >> to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not
undermine the
: >> already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not
believe that
: >> encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the
institution
: >> of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian Jews
are
: >> estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their
families of
: >> origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression. Welcoming
gay
: >> and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen all our
families,
: >> by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children, parents and
: >> siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and innermost
lives
: >> hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm that there can
be
: >> more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
: >> This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard
Kravitz , in
: >> the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two
homosexuals
: >> is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are
changing the
: >> circumstances so that those who previously might not have acted in
a
: >> homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal rabbis
believe
: >> that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow be
'recruited'.
: >> Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation, some
people who
: >> were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is this
regrettable, or
: >> desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had such an option?
: >>
: >> There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet
Marder
: >> (Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
: >> congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I
teach
: >> also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan
Rosenberg
: >> (Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words that
would
: >> result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their
families -
: >> not my G-d".
: >>
: >> Rabbi Leila Berner, was quoted in 1996, thusly:
: >>
: >> "As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described
it, I
: >> have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of
God-wrestling,'"
: >> said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian.
"Just
: >> as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as
`Israel'--the one
: >> who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many
other
: >> lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have prevailed.
: >> Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through a
: >> re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of
a
: >> Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
: >> Michael Tolkin supports Rabbi Berner (Grishaver) when he
says:
: >>
: >> Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
: >> compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to
soften
: >> the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to
say
: >> that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy
the
: >> law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation
with
: >> Him....
: >> Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a
moving
: >> letter to his brother:
: >>
: >> I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this
week's
: >> portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
: >> believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only
have
: >> come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
: >> homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could
only
: >> have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know
today. It
: >> could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg;
your
: >> goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
: >> The Conservative Position
: >>
: >> That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
: >> Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to
the
: >> reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
: >> strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.
: >>
: >> In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of
the
: >> United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution
supporting
: >> lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
: >> reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in
Conservative
: >> congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the Movement
to
: >> increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian and gay
Jews.
: >> The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution in
November
: >> 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in November
1991,
: >> but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness, etc.) .
: >>
: >> In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
: >> Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and
Judaism.
: >> The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth, gave
the
: >> (expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was clearly
and
: >> plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was that,
: >> contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
: >> orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their
sexuality and
: >> were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff
(1995)
: >> tells it:
: >>
: >> Most within this group openly worried about the future
viability
: >> of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they
also
: >> asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a
slippery
: >> slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
: >> Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also
argued that
: >> changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
: >> long-standing law.
: >> Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially
accepted
: >> as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This
means
: >> that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative
Responsa,
: >> albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern
understanding of
: >> the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category
of
: >> to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly
dispensed
: >> with.
: >>
: >> New scientific findings and, more importantly, the
testimony of
: >> homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those
who are
: >> clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
: >> generally have intimations of their orientation early in their
lives and
: >> often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise
so as
: >> to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
homosexuals..
: >> .
: >> Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense
if
: >> the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
: >> Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose
to be
: >> heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered
an
: >> abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
: >> otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
: >> organizations and most mental health professionals assert that
sexual
: >> orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot
be
: >> changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family
life.
: >> ...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in
accord
: >> with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift
whose
: >> legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish norms
which
: >> apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual sex . .
.
: >> This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing commitment
: >> ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving, and
Jewishly
: >> committed relationships among homosexuals.
: >> This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as
full
: >> participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
: >> synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference"
for
: >> heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in
which
: >> two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also
called
: >> for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore
sexuality in
: >> general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact"
on
: >> the matter of homosexuality.
: >>
: >> In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff
wrote a
: >> report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the
Rabbinical
: >> Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a
Rabbinic
: >> Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
: >> responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate
homophobia
: >> and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
: >> Conservative synagogues.
: >>
: >> The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with
gay and
: >> lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more
welcoming. "The
: >> goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that
Jewish
: >> gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but are
part
: >> of our own community and should be treated as such".
: >>
: >> It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for
special
: >> constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
: >> Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and
Friends
: >> of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and
the
: >> synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not
exist
: >> in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in
forming
: >> such a necessary organization.
: >>
: >> A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of
sexuality
: >> and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs.
Torati,
: >> Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this, both
this
: >> year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence of
this is
: >> that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should not be
seen
: >> narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual practices,
but
: >> rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of interactions
that
: >> people and Jews have with each other". The resource book, Twice
Blessed
: >> (1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen groups, and an
: >> outline for a workshop on homophobia.
: >>
: >> Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
: >> programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.
: >>
: >> The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff
puts it,
: >> "like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish
study
: >> and action, including affiliation and active participation in a
synagogue
: >> and in the Jewish community generally.
: >>
: >> An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary,
"David",
: >> wrote as follows (1996):-
: >>
: >> In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
: >> Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and
lesbian Jews
: >> should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not
lead
: >> them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish
version
: >> of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between
total
: >> acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of the
: >> Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has
so
: >> wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and
liberal
: >> social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
: >> cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish
world-educator,
: >> volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered by my
sexuality.
: >> Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in tikkun olam
is
: >> somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or who I
love.
: >> This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The
Conservative
: >> movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the
Synagogue,
: >> including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is
attempting
: >> to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational
leaders.
: >> Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no
halachic
: >> prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and
Judges
: >> exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by
people who
: >> are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to
committed
: >> homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce
heterosexism and
: >> homophobia.
: >>
: >> Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
: >> Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a
Conservative
: >> Jewish homosexual.
: >>
: >> As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative
Jewish
: >> law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands
the
: >> traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
: >> different historical ages-which are often very different from our
own
: >> age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter
of
: >> reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural
contexts in
: >> which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against
male
: >> homosexual behavior (and the Rabbinic prohibitions against
lesbianism):
: >> 1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
: >> idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known,
but
: >> long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
: >> 2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding
homosexual
: >> behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has
only
: >> become widely understood fairly recently.
: >> Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that
the
: >> traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really
address the
: >> phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
: >> relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified
Jewishly.
: >> For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and
leading
: >> a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary
suspension)
: >> of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of course,
radically
: >> different from how the tradition has understood it for centuries.
: >> However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving nature of
: >> halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within
halakha.
: >> (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even
though
: >> traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
: >> Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically
participate
: >> equally in ritual life.)
: >> Three disclaimers:
: >> 1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
: >> Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
: >> unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
: >> Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more
open to
: >> the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison
with
: >> egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited
acceptance
: >> at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining
more
: >> adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the
idea
: >> (although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept
it).
: >> 2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a
*Conservative*
: >> perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an
understanding
: >> of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding
of
: >> halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was
revealed by
: >> God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have
written
: >> above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
: >> Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
: >> hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
: >> 3. What I have written above may also be problematic to
those who
: >> argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model
of
: >> heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
certainly
: >> support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of
expressing
: >> themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to articulate this
: >> within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider
non-monogamous
: >> heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of halakha).
: >> The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
: >> standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals.
Currently,
: >> many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
: >> ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a
teshuvah
: >> (responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
: >> paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories
under
: >> which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are
ethical
: >> issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
: >> advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as
women's
: >> rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of
our
: >> times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The
Committee
: >> on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated
to
: >> achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
: >> congregation is the final authority for the congregation,
Rabbinical
: >> Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.
: >>
: >> In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
: >> underlying assumptions.
: >>
: >> a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
: >> elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
: >> obligations.
: >>
: >> b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history
of
: >> persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been
faced with
: >> ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
: >> generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of
ways,
: >> only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."
: >>
: >> c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The
moral
: >> imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
: >> regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
: >> orientation.
: >>
: >> d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to
be
: >> noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay
Area of
: >> San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group
in
: >> North America.
: >>
: >> e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means
that
: >> rights and obligations apply to all.
: >>
: >> f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative
Jews in
: >> the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
points
: >> out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships
because
: >> they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
ourselves.
: >>
: >> g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman
states,
: >> "while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
: >> heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear."
Science is
: >> little help in this regard.
: >>
: >> h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do
with
: >> how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person."
He
: >> emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
: >> people's sexual behaviors.
: >>
: >> i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to
sanctify
: >> monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it
is with
: >> any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave
congregations
: >> because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal (either the
people or
: >> the congregations).
: >>
: >> j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of
us". That
: >> is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's
word.
: >> As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".
: >>
: >> k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that
Rabbi
: >> Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage
is
: >> defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to
be
: >> husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies.
Jewish
: >> law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is
an act
: >> performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their
personal
: >> status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this
change.
: >> Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
: >> homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant.
"According
: >> to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
: >> relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
: >> relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The
traditional
: >> Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals
under
: >> the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."
: >>
: >> l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
: >> importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is
quite
: >> appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
: >> individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent,
monogamous,
: >> loving, committed Jewish relationship."
: >> Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial
ceremony)
: >> on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people
of the
: >> same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
bases
: >> as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
: >> ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
: >> homosexual couples.
: >>
: >> In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a
homosexual
: >> relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual
relationship.
: >> If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union and a
: >> legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then
Jewish
: >> marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement have
done
: >> so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the heterosexual
: >> marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of marriage as an
equal
: >> partnership based on mutual respect and love, then we should, in my
: >> opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same fashion as
: >> heterosexual couples.
: >>
: >> The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
: >> factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the
woman is
: >> past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of
Abraham and
: >> Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
: >> officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
: >> requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other)
synagogue?
: >> The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the
need for
: >> companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
: >> (presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion,
and he
: >> loved her.
: >>
: >> If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should
value
: >> Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To
quote
: >> Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality)
as an
: >> abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to
engage
: >> in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as possible
shape
: >> their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism irrelevant to
them
: >> too."
: >>
: >> Postscript
: >>
: >> In preparing this combination research paper/resource
document, I
: >> would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
: >> material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis
Larry
: >> Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason
Knisley;
: >> Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy,
our
: >> children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver,
and
: >> my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to
be
: >> just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000
gay,
: >> lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have
attempted to
: >> counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me
so
: >> much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young
people are
: >> believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them
are
: >> Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing
fight
: >> believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
: >> religious communities.
: >>
: >> This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal
way,
: >> reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of
the
: >> United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent
members, or
: >> of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this
in any
: >> republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to
avoid
: >> the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also to
be
: >> happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.
: >>
: >> About the author
: >>
: >> I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married
with 3
: >> children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of
Wellington,
: >> an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the
University
: >> of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
: >> Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the
University
: >> of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
: >> vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
: >> served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the
Saskatchewan
: >> Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
: >> government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
: >> pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering
as a
: >> counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with
homosexual
: >> teenagers.
: >>
: >> My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an
active
: >> congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand,
Windsor and
: >> Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
: >> Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You
may
: >> contact me at ***@sympatico.ca.
: >>
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Conservative
: >> Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News,
August
: >> 17
: >>
: >> Treadaway, D. (1996) Berner offers Jewish Approach to Issues
of
: >> Sexual Expression. New Voices. March 4.
: >>
: >> Tucker, S. (1995). Our Queer World. The Humanist.
January/February.
: >>
: >> _
: >>
: >> Union of American Hebrew Congregations. (1995). A Resolution
on
: >> Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for
Lesbians and
: >> Gays in the Reform Movement.
: >>
: >> Zelizer, G.L. (1995). Conservative Rabbis, their movement,
and
: >> American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)
: >>
: >>
: >>
: >> Return to Top
: >>
: >> Congregation Beth Am
: >> 26790 Arastradero Rd
: >> Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
: >> Phone: 650-493-4661
: >> Email: ***@betham.org
: >>
: >>
: >>
: >>
: >>
: >> "Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in
message
: >> news:***@4ax.com...
: >> : On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 06:58:31 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: >> : wrote:
: >> :
: >> : >On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >> : ><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >> : >
: >> : >>Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
: >> : >
: >> : >Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
: >> : >
: >> : >>You fucking filthy piece of dung!
: >> : >
: >> : >You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
: >> :
: >> : I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
: >> : FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
: >> : is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
: >> :
: >> : G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
: >> :
: >> : He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d
will
: >> : not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by
his
: >> : un-natural Satanic Perversions.
: >> :
: >> : Lg
: >> :
:
:
Roberta Hatch
2005-03-24 20:52:53 UTC
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general
Leviticus 18:22
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
It also says not to rape or commit adultery.
IOW, it's the act, not the orientation.
Not that you will grasp or accept the truth, or ar even capable thereof - I
just like to post it on general principles.
< roughly 1000 (yes, one-thousand) lines of quoted text deleted>

Wow! A new record for Susan Cohen! She posts a three-sentence
followup and can't figure out how to delete one-thousand lines of quoted
text! And, to top it off, she's crossposted to six, count them, six
newsgroups where her drivel is off-topic in *at least* five of them. Is
it any wonder that there's a moderated soc.culture.jewish now?

Bobbi

---
Roberta Hatch '65 Panhead
Dykes on Bikes, San Francisco, CA (This space for rent)
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 23:01:40 UTC
Oh piss off Bobbi, your obsession, bullying, and immaturity does not
help your DYKE-self.



"Roberta Hatch" <***@luhar.net> wrote in message news:d1v9b5$mt2$***@blue.rahul.net...
: Susan Cohen <***@verizon.net> wrote:
: >"myal" <***@hotmail.com> wrote:
: >> Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï wrote:
:
: >>> The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general
:
: >> Leviticus 18:22
: >> Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
:
: >It also says not to rape or commit adultery.
: >IOW, it's the act, not the orientation.
: >Not that you will grasp or accept the truth, or ar even capable
thereof - I
: >just like to post it on general principles.
:
: < roughly 1000 (yes, one-thousand) lines of quoted text deleted>
:
: Wow! A new record for Susan Cohen! She posts a three-sentence
: followup and can't figure out how to delete one-thousand lines of
quoted
: text! And, to top it off, she's crossposted to six, count them, six
: newsgroups where her drivel is off-topic in *at least* five of them.
Is
: it any wonder that there's a moderated soc.culture.jewish now?
:
: Bobbi
:
: ---
: Roberta Hatch '65 Panhead
: Dykes on Bikes, San Francisco, CA (This space for rent)
myal
2005-03-24 22:01:36 UTC
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general
Leviticus 18:22
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
It also says not to rape or commit adultery.
IOW, it's the act, not the orientation.
Not that you will grasp or accept the truth, or ar even capable thereof - I
just like to post it on general principles.
Susan
Are you saying arse fucking is out , but its OK to be lusting after
it... this is acceptable for Jews ?
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Leviticus 20:13
" 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have
done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on
their own heads.
You were saying about the bible not condeming homosexuality ?
Top posting poofter .
, but
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one
time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the
part of heterosexuals.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homosexuality And Judaism
Ian Silver
What is Homosexuality?
http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html
Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to
feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual
orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.
Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. . .
[Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those who
[seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals is
more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.
There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to me,
rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is gay,
for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments ex
post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance and
understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding is
authentic.
Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality. The
assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose their
sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and marginalised
by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social events? Who would
choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be beaten up, to be
isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to pretend to be what one
is not?
In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the intense
beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be Jewish;
one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle, but
Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.
Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.
We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle, then,
is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population who are
predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some gays are
politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are promiscuous,
some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos. Some listen to
Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and dress carelessly.
The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the Jewish GLBT archive,
(GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered/Transsexual)
http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/ includes the following
homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-
a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on October
9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He is
best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best known
for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted to
his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are more
dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a stereotype,
not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the assertion
that "all Jews are rich".
Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy
of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual orientation
. . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a homosexual
person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same sex. . .
[Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so because of
social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ... Gay men and
lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better
adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).
Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual parents
find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in
their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment,
popularity with friends, development of social sex role identity or
development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).
Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more 'natural
than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that are
so integral to Judaism?
The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996
told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man." "I
myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet. ``Like
alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is something
wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi Doron, said
he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's army radio as
calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.
It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at large.
Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a belief
system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the last part
of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative movement has
suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat homophobia and
heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the community at
large.
The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality
[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]
The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time, in
Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part of
heterosexuals.
Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The first,
homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even without
the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."
Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in reality,
it should be "male temple prostitute."
The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed importance
on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since homosexual acts
are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does not apply to them.
Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.
Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.
This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the Sodomites
with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In 19:5 the men
ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us,
that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by offering
his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the sexual
content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive implications for
gays and lesbians.
In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and Lot's
treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.
The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not a
new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).
The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as pride,
arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes in the
form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of strangers.
("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a stranger
visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his money.")
While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are in the
context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these sins are
not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no indicator of
whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were, heterosexuality would
have to summarily be declared a sin along with homosexuality since
heterosexuals have raped people, as well.
Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".
In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.
Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in ritual
intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob Milgrom that
this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions by a
particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The Deuteronomy
passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew word for
female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better translation of
kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute." Rabbi Kelman quotes
Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against was the pagan
tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms of illicit
behavior".(Kelman, 1995).
Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty because
it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as "abomination," it is
used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its practices.
It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category of
objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female sex.
This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both sexes
regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a Conservative
Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one against
bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there are many
other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not depict a
social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human behavior".
In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."
In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.
As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which the
onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is explained
that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the female is
subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this biblical and
physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only on providing
the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must master in order to
perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were fundamentally
concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to fulfill this
obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a mitzvah, or a
sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this understanding,
sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs outside of marriage,
and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex is
only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners; in
the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in the
missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar; at
permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The Torah
did not prohibit what it did not know".
Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are, despite
their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And then this
(rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the community in the
face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."
Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the practices
were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later with the
issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the Biblical and
halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the indignity of
religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a distinction
between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with much denial
that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.
A Midrash
There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What can
I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."
Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who is
walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi, may
there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the whole
story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed, only on
the condition that he never act in this manner again.
The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.
It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a problem
with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different skin
color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.
by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54 Ways
You Can Help People Living With AIDS
The Traditional Viewpoint
As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question Rabbi
Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality: frustrates
the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and is
biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course denies
the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of sexual
fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been the
majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although it
should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.
The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to say
that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some time
consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it to be
an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure alone, or
is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that can be used
to create a thriving and happy community?"
In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at the
time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement, says
that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts everything
that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving, long-suffering G-d
who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and compassion."
He continues:-
A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every civilization
throughout history, from the most religious and conservative to the most
secular and liberal, have not felt it was sufficient to advocate certain
sexual pathways, but have instituted laws to enforce these pathways. . .
Judaism does not prohibit or in any way look down upon homosexual love.
In the eyes of Judaism the love between two men or two women can be as
natural as the love between a man and a woman. What it does prohibit is
homosexual intercourse. . . An attraction felt by a man for other men or
by a woman for other women would not be described by the Torah as
'disgusting' or offensive, G-d forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and
attractive being, whatever the gender. Rather, it is acting upon that
homosexual attraction which the Torah forbids in the strongest possible
language. A man's sexual attraction to another man would be classified in
the same category as being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is
sympathetic to the attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction
into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs that
homosexual intercourse is unnatural.
For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there anything
that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed for such
purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no', then why are
they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and crime against
nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture rather
than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual may find
sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.
Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual arrangement,
specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a fulfilling
life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage. Every time an
Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being sick, it is
simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing to reorient
his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish approach to
homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the benefits of
heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as well as a clear
commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very least, make a
concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law. Only after an
herculean effort has been made in the direction of heterosexuality can he
or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish prohibition against
homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.
homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely proscribed
act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so, and not
because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act. This
approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of homosexuals
logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential identity with
all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals who find it too
difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be discouraged from
participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal life. If they point
out the contradiction that their private life poses to Jewish observance,
and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized, they should be told that
homosexuality is a sin like any other sin: because someone eats a ham and
mayo sandwich does not in any way impair their ability to participate
fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When social
conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as the proper
commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in social
consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider Boteach's
position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of "be
fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and a
female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's promise
of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and Sarah
transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of blessing
includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is a
punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay life
does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish children,
but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means that the
ordinary relationship between making love and having children is severed.
There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since its very
transmission is dependent on both relationship and reproduction. For Jews
who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to ensure that life conquers
death, the infertility of our loving is at the core of our struggle to
understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and self-indulgent.
Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the tasks of Jewish
family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is perceived as marginal
to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of this most central and
sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.
Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the mitzvah
of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.
The Reform Position
In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989, the
UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.
In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.
The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly, though
sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think Boteach's
position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental participation
in Jewish life.
The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply" was
I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual families
to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe that
encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the institution
of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian Jews are
estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their families of
origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression. Welcoming gay
and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen all our families,
by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children, parents and
siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and innermost lives
hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm that there can be
more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz , in
the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two homosexuals
is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are changing the
circumstances so that those who previously might not have acted in a
homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal rabbis believe
that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow be 'recruited'.
Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation, some people who
were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is this regrettable, or
desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had such an option?
There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I teach
also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan Rosenberg
(Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words that would
result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their families -
not my G-d".
"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it, I
have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of God-wrestling,'"
said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many other
lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have prevailed.
Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through a
re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to soften
the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to say
that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy the
law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation with
Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position
That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.
In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution supporting
lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in Conservative
congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the Movement to
increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian and gay Jews.
The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution in November
1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in November 1991,
but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness, etc.) .
In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and Judaism.
The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth, gave the
(expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was clearly and
plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was that,
contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality and
were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
Most within this group openly worried about the future viability
of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a slippery
slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued that
changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially accepted
as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern understanding of
the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.
New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so as
to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on homosexuals..
.
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to be
heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift whose
legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish norms which
apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual sex . . .
This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing commitment
ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving, and Jewishly
committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.
In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the Rabbinical
Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate homophobia
and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.
The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming. "The
goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that Jewish
gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but are part
of our own community and should be treated as such".
It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not exist
in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in forming
such a necessary organization.
A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of sexuality
and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs. Torati,
Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this, both this
year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence of this is
that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should not be seen
narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual practices, but
rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of interactions that
people and Jews have with each other". The resource book, Twice Blessed
(1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen groups, and an
outline for a workshop on homophobia.
Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.
The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts it,
"like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish study
and action, including affiliation and active participation in a synagogue
and in the Jewish community generally.
An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, "David",
wrote as follows (1996):-
In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian Jews
should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not lead
them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish version
of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between total
acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of the
Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has so
wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish world-educator,
volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered by my sexuality.
Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in tikkun olam is
somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the Synagogue,
including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is attempting
to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.
Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a Conservative
Jewish homosexual.
As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural contexts in
which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against male
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding homosexual
behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and leading
a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary suspension)
of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of course, radically
different from how the tradition has understood it for centuries.
However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving nature of
halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within halakha.
(The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even though
traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited acceptance
at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an understanding
of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those who
argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model of
heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I certainly
support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of expressing
themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to articulate this
within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider non-monogamous
heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals. Currently,
many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a teshuvah
(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as women's
rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The Committee
on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.
In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.
a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.
b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced with
ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."
c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.
d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area of
San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group in
North America.
e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.
f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews in
the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman points
out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships because
they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure" ourselves.
g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.
h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.
i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is with
any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave congregations
because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal (either the people or
the congregations).
j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us". That
is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's word.
As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".
k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant. "According
to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The traditional
Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."
l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent, monogamous,
loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial ceremony)
on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same bases
as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.
In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a homosexual
relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual relationship.
If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union and a
legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then Jewish
marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement have done
so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the heterosexual
marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of marriage as an equal
partnership based on mutual respect and love, then we should, in my
opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same fashion as
heterosexual couples.
The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman is
past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham and
Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other) synagogue?
The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.
If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as an
abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to engage
in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as possible shape
their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism irrelevant to them
too."
Postscript
In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have attempted to
counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.
This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in any
republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to avoid
the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also to be
happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.
About the author
I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington,
an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the University
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the University
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with homosexual
teenagers.
My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor and
Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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American Psychological Association (1996) Answers to your Questions
About Sexual Orientation And Homosexuality.
Anonymous. (1993). Gayness and God: Wrestlings of an Orthodox
Rabbi. Tikkun 8 (5)
Anonymous. (1996). The Reform Jewish perspective on gay and lesbian
marriage: the recent CCAR resolution.
Anonymous. (1996). One Foot in the Closet and One Foot Out, at the
Jewish Theological Seminary. New Voices. March 4.
Balka, C., and Rose, A. (eds). (1989). Twice Blessed: On Being
Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press
Bazelon, E. (1996). Secrets of the Temple. New Republic, May 6.
Boswell, J. (1994). Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York.
Random House.
Boteach, S. (1993) Reinterpreting Homosexuality as Human Sexuality
(available from gopher)
gopher://www.shamash.org/00/lists/oxford-judaism/homosexuality
Bulka, R. and Spero, M.H. (eds) (1982) A Psychology-Judaism Reader.
Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas
Central Congress of American Rabbis (1989). Homosexuality and The
Rabbinate.
Diament, C., ed. (1989). Jewish Marital Status: A Hadassah Study.
London, Jason Aronson.
Dorff, E. (1994) Sex, Values and the Law. Jerusalem Report, August
25.
Dorff , E., Newman, L.E. (eds.) (1995),Contemporary Jewish ethics
and morality : a reader. New York: Oxford
Dorff , E. (1995) This Is My Beloved, This Is My Friend: A Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. New York. Rabbinical Assembly.
Fierstein, H. (1981) Torch Song Trilogy. The Gay Presses of New
York, also [Film] (1987), Paul Bogart, Producer
Firestone, D., et al (1994) Education Against Homophobia.
Unpublished paper.
Flax, H. (1995) Sex, Lies & Hebrew School. Moment. 20(2)
Goldfarb, R.S. (1995), United Synagogue Convention, submission to
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Image of God, in Being A Blessing: 54 Ways You Can Help People Living
With AIDS , Alef Design Group
Greenberg, B. (1981). On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society
Grishaver, J. L. (n.d.), Queer Halakhah. Unpublished paper
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Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Philadelphia.
Kantrowitz, B. (1996) Gay Families Come Out. Newsweek, November 4.
Sanhedrin Press
Kelman, S. (1995) Community and Diversity: A Teshuvah on Gay and
Lesbian Couples at Congregation Netivot Shalom. Berkeley, CA.
Knisley, J. (1996) Religion and Homosexuality: A Christian
Stand-Point. http://members.tripod.com/~Buznog/jason.htm
Latz, M. (1996). Affirmed But Waiting at Hebrew Union College. New
Voices. March 4.
Leder, S. (1995) The Real Abominations. Jewish Journal, May 4.
Lerner, M. (1994), Jewish Renewal: A path to Healing and
Transformation. New York: Harper
Lerner, M. (1993), Curing Homophobia & Other Conservative
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Boston: Faber and Faber
Romanoff, L. (1990) Your People, My People: Finding Acceptance and
Fulfillment as a Jew by Choice. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society
Analyzing the Need for Diversity in Approaching Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual
Politics. Unpublished paper.
Schwartz, B.D. (n.d.) The Jewish View of Homosexuality.
Shanks, H. (ed.) (1993). Homosexuality and Judaism. [Special Issue]
Moment, 18 (3)
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Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News, August
17
Treadaway, D. (1996) Berner offers Jewish Approach to Issues of
Sexual Expression. New Voices. March 4.
Tucker, S. (1995). Our Queer World. The Humanist. January/February.
_
Union of American Hebrew Congregations. (1995). A Resolution on
Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and
Gays in the Reform Movement.
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American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)
Return to Top
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Rd
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Phone: 650-493-4661
: >On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >
: >>Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
: >
: >Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
: >
: >>You fucking filthy piece of dung!
: >
: >You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
: I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
: FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
: is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
: G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
: He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
: not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
: un-natural Satanic Perversions.
: Lg
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 07:18:09 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
You fucking filthy piece of dung!
You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.

G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.

He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
un-natural Satanic Perversions.

And for historical context, it is for some reason SODOM & GAMORRAH
were burned off the face of the earth by G-d, because ass-fucking is
an unforgivable perversion in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sodomite, Sodomy, Hellfire, Lot's Wife turned into a pillar of Salt
for even =looking= in the direction of that wickedness.

JUDGEMENT DAY WILL COME, RAINMAN, AND YOU HAVE CONDEMNED YOURSELF WITH
YOUR WICKED ACTS.

CALL NOT YOURSELF A JEW ANYMORE. YOU ARE A PERVERSION IN THE EYES OF
ANYTHING HOLY.

rebbi
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 07:35:40 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:18:09 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
Post by Lawrence Glickman
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
You fucking filthy piece of dung!
You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
un-natural Satanic Perversions.
And for historical context, it is for some reason SODOM & GAMORRAH
were burned off the face of the earth by G-d, because ass-fucking is
an unforgivable perversion in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Sodomite, Sodomy, Hellfire, Lot's Wife turned into a pillar of Salt
for even =looking= in the direction of that wickedness.
JUDGEMENT DAY WILL COME, RAINMAN, AND YOU HAVE CONDEMNED YOURSELF WITH
YOUR WICKED ACTS.
CALL NOT YOURSELF A JEW ANYMORE. YOU ARE A PERVERSION IN THE EYES OF
ANYTHING HOLY.
His latest profile on gaydar.co.uk is a lot more vague than his
previous one. He used to advertise his preference for sucking dicks.
Daniel Bernard
2005-03-24 07:44:48 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:35:40 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
wrote:

Merde! No wonder he gets on so well with Susie. They have something in
common to talk about.
--
amicalement,

Daniel
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 10:26:04 UTC
Post by Daniel Bernard
Merde! No wonder he gets on so well with Susie. They have something in
common to talk about.
A couple of Irish wannabe jews who got conned into 'conversion'. LOL
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 07:51:21 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
His latest profile on gaydar.co.uk is a lot more vague than his
previous one. He used to advertise his preference for sucking dicks.
He's a filthy little pig.
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 08:03:50 UTC
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general, but
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior
on the part of heterosexuals.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Homosexuality And Judaism

Ian Silver

What is Homosexuality?

http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html


The American Psychological Association (1996) says as follows:

Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers
to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.

Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
Psychiatric Association (1996) is very clear about this:

For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. .
. [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those
who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals
is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.

There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to
me, rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments
ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance
and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding
is authentic.

Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality.
The assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social
events? Who would choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be
beaten up, to be isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to
pretend to be what one is not?

In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle,
but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.

Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.

We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population
who are predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some
gays are politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous, some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos.
Some listen to Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and
dress carelessly. The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the
Jewish GLBT archive, (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual) http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/
includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-

a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October 9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He
is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted
to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion that "all Jews are rich".

Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
asserts that:

There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same
sex. . . [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so
because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ...
Gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation
positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).

Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social
adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role
identity or development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).

Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that
are so integral to Judaism?

The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996

told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man."
"I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi
Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's
army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.

It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large. Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the
last part of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative
movement has suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat
homophobia and heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the
community at large.

The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality

[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time,
in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part
of heterosexuals.

Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first, homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."

Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality, it should be "male temple prostitute."

The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since
homosexual acts are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does
not apply to them.

Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.

Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.

This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In
19:5 the men ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the
sexual content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive
implications for gays and lesbians.

In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.

The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not
a new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).

The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride, arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes
in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a
stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are
in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no
indicator of whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were,
heterosexuality would have to summarily be declared a sin along with
homosexuality since heterosexuals have raped people, as well.

Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".

In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.

Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob
Milgrom that this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions
by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew
word for female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute."
Rabbi Kelman quotes Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against
was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms
of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).

Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as
"abomination," it is used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its
practices.

In reference to this Norman Lamm states ( quoted in Kellner):

It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category
of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female
sex. This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one
against bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there
are many other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not
depict a social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".

In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."

In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.

To quote Jacob Rothman:

As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which
the onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only
on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were
fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to
fulfill this obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a
mitzvah, or a sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding, sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs
outside of marriage, and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex
is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners;
in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar;
at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah did not prohibit what it did not know".

Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And
then this (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the
community in the face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."

Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later
with the issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the
Biblical and halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the
indignity of religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with
much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.



A Midrash

There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What
can I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."

Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who
is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi,
may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.

The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.

It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different
skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.

by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54
Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS

The Traditional Viewpoint

As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
Rabbi Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality:
frustrates the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and
is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of
sexual fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been
the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although
it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.

The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Shmuel Boteach (1993):

Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to
say that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some
time consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that
can be used to create a thriving and happy community?"

In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at
the time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement,
says that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts
everything that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving,
long-suffering G-d who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and
compassion."

He continues:-

A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every
civilization throughout history, from the most religious and
conservative to the most secular and liberal, have not felt it was
sufficient to advocate certain sexual pathways, but have instituted laws
to enforce these pathways. . . Judaism does not prohibit or in any way
look down upon homosexual love. In the eyes of Judaism the love between
two men or two women can be as natural as the love between a man and a
woman. What it does prohibit is homosexual intercourse. . . An
attraction felt by a man for other men or by a woman for other women
would not be described by the Torah as 'disgusting' or offensive, G-d
forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and attractive being, whatever the
gender. Rather, it is acting upon that homosexual attraction which the
Torah forbids in the strongest possible language. A man's sexual
attraction to another man would be classified in the same category as
being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is sympathetic to the
attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs
that homosexual intercourse is unnatural.

For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there
anything that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed
for such purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no',
then why are they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and
crime against nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture
rather than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual
may find sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.

Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual arrangement,
specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a
fulfilling life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage.
Every time an Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being
sick, it is simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing
to reorient his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish
approach to homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the
benefits of heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as
well as a clear commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very
least, make a concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law.
Only after an herculean effort has been made in the direction of
heterosexuality can he or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish
prohibition against homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.

homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely
proscribed act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so,
and not because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act.
This approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
homosexuals logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential
identity with all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals
who find it too difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be
discouraged from participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal
life. If they point out the contradiction that their private life poses
to Jewish observance, and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized,
they should be told that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin:
because someone eats a ham and mayo sandwich does not in any way impair
their ability to participate fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
1993):

As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When
social conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as
the proper commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in
social consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider Boteach's
position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
about the Biblical injunction to procreate? Again, Levado points out:

We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of
"be fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and
a female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's
promise of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and
Sarah transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of
blessing includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is
a punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay
life does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish
children, but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means
that the ordinary relationship between making love and having children
is severed. There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since
its very transmission is dependent on both relationship and
reproduction. For Jews who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to
ensure that life conquers death, the infertility of our loving is at the
core of our struggle to understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and
self-indulgent. Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the
tasks of Jewish family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is
perceived as marginal to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of
this most central and sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.

Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the
mitzvah of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.


The Reform Position

In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989,
the UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.

In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.

The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
community appears in many instances, to push homosexuals into the
closet: the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly,
though sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think
Boteach's position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental
participation in Jewish life.

The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply"
was best articulated by Yoel Kahn (CCAR, 1989):

I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual families
to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe
that encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the
institution of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian
Jews are estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their
families of origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression.
Welcoming gay and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen
all our families, by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children,
parents and siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and
innermost lives hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm
that there can be more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz ,
in the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two
homosexuals is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are
changing the circumstances so that those who previously might not have
acted in a homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal
rabbis believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow
be 'recruited'. Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation,
some people who were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is
this regrettable, or desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had
such an option?

There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I
teach also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan
Rosenberg (Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words
that would result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their
families - not my G-d".

Rabbi Leila Berner, was quoted in 1996, thusly:

"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it,
I have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of God-wrestling,'"
said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many
other lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have
prevailed. Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through
a re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Michael Tolkin supports Rabbi Berner (Grishaver) when he says:

Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to
soften the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to
say that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy
the law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation
with Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
letter to his brother:

I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position

That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.

In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution supporting
lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in
Conservative congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the
Movement to increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian
and gay Jews. The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution
in November 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in
November 1991, but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness,
etc.) .

In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and
Judaism. The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth,
gave the (expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was
clearly and plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was
that, contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality
and were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
tells it:

Most within this group openly worried about the future viability
of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a slippery
slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued
that changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially accepted
as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern understanding
of the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.

New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so
as to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
homosexuals.. .
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to
be heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift
whose legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish
norms which apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual
sex . . . This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing
commitment ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving,
and Jewishly committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.

In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the Rabbinical
Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate homophobia
and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.

The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming.
"The goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that
Jewish gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but
are part of our own community and should be treated as such".

It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not
exist in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in
forming such a necessary organization.

A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of sexuality
and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs.
Torati, Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this,
both this year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence
of this is that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should
not be seen narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual
practices, but rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of
interactions that people and Jews have with each other". The resource
book, Twice Blessed (1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen
groups, and an outline for a workshop on homophobia.

Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.

The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts
it, "like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish
study and action, including affiliation and active participation in a
synagogue and in the Jewish community generally.

An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, "David",
wrote as follows (1996):-

In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian
Jews should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not
lead them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish
version of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between
total acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of
the Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has
so wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish
world-educator, volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered
by my sexuality. Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in
tikkun olam is somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or
who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the Synagogue,
including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is attempting
to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.

Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a Conservative
Jewish homosexual.

As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural contexts
in which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against
male homosexual behavior (and the Rabbinic prohibitions against
lesbianism):
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding homosexual
behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and
leading a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary
suspension) of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of
course, radically different from how the tradition has understood it for
centuries. However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving
nature of halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within
halakha. (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even
though traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
Three disclaimers:
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited acceptance
at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an understanding
of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those
who argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model
of heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
certainly support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of
expressing themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to
articulate this within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider
non-monogamous heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of
halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals. Currently,
many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a teshuvah
(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as women's
rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The Committee
on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.

In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.

a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.

b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced
with ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."

c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.

d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area
of San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group
in North America.

e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.

f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews
in the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
points out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships
because they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
ourselves.

g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.

h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.

i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is
with any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave
congregations because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal
(either the people or the congregations).

j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us".
That is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's
word. As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".

k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant. "According
to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The traditional
Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."

l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent, monogamous,
loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial ceremony)
on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
bases as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.

In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a
homosexual relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual
relationship. If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union
and a legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then
Jewish marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement
have done so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the
heterosexual marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of
marriage as an equal partnership based on mutual respect and love, then
we should, in my opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same
fashion as heterosexual couples.

The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman
is past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham
and Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other) synagogue?
The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.

If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as
an abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to
engage in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as
possible shape their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism
irrelevant to them too."

Postscript

In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have attempted
to counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.

This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in
any republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to
avoid the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also
to be happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.

About the author

I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington,
an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the University
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the University
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with
homosexual teenagers.

My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor
and Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
contact me at ***@sympatico.ca.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

American Psychiatric Association (1996) Gay and Lesbian Issues.

American Psychological Association (1996) Answers to your
Questions About Sexual Orientation And Homosexuality.

Anonymous. (1993). Gayness and God: Wrestlings of an Orthodox
Rabbi. Tikkun 8 (5)

Anonymous. (1996). The Reform Jewish perspective on gay and
lesbian marriage: the recent CCAR resolution.

Anonymous. (1996). One Foot in the Closet and One Foot Out, at the
Jewish Theological Seminary. New Voices. March 4.

Balka, C., and Rose, A. (eds). (1989). Twice Blessed: On Being
Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press

Bazelon, E. (1996). Secrets of the Temple. New Republic, May 6.

Blutinger, J. (1996) email to ***@shamash.org, Subject:
to'evah

Boswell, J. (1994). Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York.
Random House.

Boteach, S. (1993) Reinterpreting Homosexuality as Human Sexuality
(available from gopher)
gopher://www.shamash.org/00/lists/oxford-judaism/homosexuality

Bulka, R. and Spero, M.H. (eds) (1982) A Psychology-Judaism
Reader. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas

Central Congress of American Rabbis (1989). Homosexuality and The
Rabbinate.

Diament, C., ed. (1989). Jewish Marital Status: A Hadassah Study.
London, Jason Aronson.

Dorff, E. (1994) Sex, Values and the Law. Jerusalem Report, August
25.

Dorff , E., Newman, L.E. (eds.) (1995),Contemporary Jewish ethics
and morality : a reader. New York: Oxford

Dorff , E. (1995) This Is My Beloved, This Is My Friend: A
Rabbinic Letter on Intimate Relations. New York. Rabbinical Assembly.

Fierstein, H. (1981) Torch Song Trilogy. The Gay Presses of New
York, also [Film] (1987), Paul Bogart, Producer

Firestone, D., et al (1994) Education Against Homophobia.
Unpublished paper.

Flax, H. (1995) Sex, Lies & Hebrew School. Moment. 20(2)

Goldfarb, R.S. (1995), United Synagogue Convention, submission to
listserv gay jews <***@shamash.nysernet.org>, Nov 6.

Goldstein, H. (n.d.), Understand What It Means To Be Created in
the Image of God, in Being A Blessing: 54 Ways You Can Help People
Living With AIDS , Alef Design Group

Greenberg, B. (1981). On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society

Grishaver, J. L. (n.d.), Queer Halakhah. Unpublished paper

Herring, B. (1984). Jewish Ethics and Halakhah for Our Time:
Sources and Commentary. New York, Ktav

Jewish Publication Society (1985). Tanakh: A new Translation of
the Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text.
Philadelphia.

Kantrowitz, B. (1996) Gay Families Come Out. Newsweek, November 4.

Kellner, M. M., ed. (1978) Contemporary Jewish Ethics. New York:
Sanhedrin Press

Kelman, S. (1995) Community and Diversity: A Teshuvah on Gay and
Lesbian Couples at Congregation Netivot Shalom. Berkeley, CA.

Knisley, J. (1996) Religion and Homosexuality: A Christian
Stand-Point. http://members.tripod.com/~Buznog/jason.htm

Latz, M. (1996). Affirmed But Waiting at Hebrew Union College. New
Voices. March 4.

Leder, S. (1995) The Real Abominations. Jewish Journal, May 4.

Lerner, M. (1994), Jewish Renewal: A path to Healing and
Transformation. New York: Harper

Lerner, M. (1993), Curing Homophobia & Other Conservative
Pathologies. Tikkun 8 (5)

Magonet, J. (ed) (1995). Jewish explorations of sexuality .
Providence, RI: Berghahn

Plaskow, J. (1990). Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a
Feminist Perspective. San Francisco. Harper & Row.

Raphael, L. (1990), Dancing on Tisha b'Av, New York , St. Martin's
Press

Raphael , L. (1992) Winter Eyes .New York, St. Martin's Press

Raphael , L. (1996) Journeys & Arrivals: On Being Gay and Jewish.
Boston: Faber and Faber

Romanoff, L. (1990) Your People, My People: Finding Acceptance and
Fulfillment as a Jew by Choice. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society

Rothman, J. (1996) Judaism, Homosexuality, and Political Activism:
Analyzing the Need for Diversity in Approaching Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual
Politics. Unpublished paper.

Schwartz, B.D. (n.d.) The Jewish View of Homosexuality.

Shanks, H. (ed.) (1993). Homosexuality and Judaism. [Special
Issue] Moment, 18 (3)

Springer, J., et al (1995, 6), Re: Conservative movement,
submission to listserv gay jews <***@shamash.nysernet.org>

Strassfield, S. and S. (eds). (1976) The Second Jewish Catalog.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society

Torkelson, J. (1995). Rabbis to Relax Morality Rules: Conservative
Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News, August
17

Treadaway, D. (1996) Berner offers Jewish Approach to Issues of
Sexual Expression. New Voices. March 4.

Tucker, S. (1995). Our Queer World. The Humanist.
January/February.

_

Union of American Hebrew Congregations. (1995). A Resolution on
Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and
Gays in the Reform Movement.

Zelizer, G.L. (1995). Conservative Rabbis, their movement, and
American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)



Return to Top

Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Rd
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Phone: 650-493-4661
Email: ***@betham.org




"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:35:40 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: wrote:
:
: >His latest profile on gaydar.co.uk is a lot more vague than his
: >previous one. He used to advertise his preference for sucking dicks.
:
: He's a filthy little pig.
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 10:25:13 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:51:21 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
Post by Lawrence Glickman
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
His latest profile on gaydar.co.uk is a lot more vague than his
previous one. He used to advertise his preference for sucking dicks.
He's a filthy little pig.
He was beaten up in 'Israel' for being bent. And now he wants to go
back for more! It must be that Christian Brothers education.
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 08:03:38 UTC
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general, but
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior
on the part of heterosexuals.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Homosexuality And Judaism

Ian Silver

What is Homosexuality?

http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html


The American Psychological Association (1996) says as follows:

Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers
to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.

Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
Psychiatric Association (1996) is very clear about this:

For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. .
. [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those
who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals
is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.

There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to
me, rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments
ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance
and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding
is authentic.

Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality.
The assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social
events? Who would choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be
beaten up, to be isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to
pretend to be what one is not?

In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle,
but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.

Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.

We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population
who are predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some
gays are politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous, some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos.
Some listen to Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and
dress carelessly. The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the
Jewish GLBT archive, (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual) http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/
includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-

a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October 9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He
is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted
to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion that "all Jews are rich".

Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
asserts that:

There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same
sex. . . [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so
because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ...
Gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation
positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).

Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social
adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role
identity or development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).

Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that
are so integral to Judaism?

The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996

told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man."
"I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi
Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's
army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.

It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large. Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the
last part of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative
movement has suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat
homophobia and heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the
community at large.

The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality

[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time,
in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part
of heterosexuals.

Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first, homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."

Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality, it should be "male temple prostitute."

The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since
homosexual acts are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does
not apply to them.

Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.

Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.

This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In
19:5 the men ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the
sexual content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive
implications for gays and lesbians.

In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.

The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not
a new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).

The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride, arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes
in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a
stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are
in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no
indicator of whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were,
heterosexuality would have to summarily be declared a sin along with
homosexuality since heterosexuals have raped people, as well.

Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".

In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.

Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob
Milgrom that this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions
by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew
word for female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute."
Rabbi Kelman quotes Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against
was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms
of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).

Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as
"abomination," it is used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its
practices.

In reference to this Norman Lamm states ( quoted in Kellner):

It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category
of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female
sex. This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one
against bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there
are many other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not
depict a social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".

In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."

In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.

To quote Jacob Rothman:

As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which
the onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only
on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were
fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to
fulfill this obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a
mitzvah, or a sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding, sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs
outside of marriage, and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex
is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners;
in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar;
at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah did not prohibit what it did not know".

Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And
then this (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the
community in the face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."

Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later
with the issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the
Biblical and halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the
indignity of religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with
much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.



A Midrash

There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What
can I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."

Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who
is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi,
may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.

The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.

It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different
skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.

by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54
Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS

The Traditional Viewpoint

As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
Rabbi Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality:
frustrates the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and
is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of
sexual fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been
the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although
it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.

The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Shmuel Boteach (1993):

Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to
say that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some
time consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that
can be used to create a thriving and happy community?"

In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at
the time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement,
says that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts
everything that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving,
long-suffering G-d who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and
compassion."

He continues:-

A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every
civilization throughout history, from the most religious and
conservative to the most secular and liberal, have not felt it was
sufficient to advocate certain sexual pathways, but have instituted laws
to enforce these pathways. . . Judaism does not prohibit or in any way
look down upon homosexual love. In the eyes of Judaism the love between
two men or two women can be as natural as the love between a man and a
woman. What it does prohibit is homosexual intercourse. . . An
attraction felt by a man for other men or by a woman for other women
would not be described by the Torah as 'disgusting' or offensive, G-d
forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and attractive being, whatever the
gender. Rather, it is acting upon that homosexual attraction which the
Torah forbids in the strongest possible language. A man's sexual
attraction to another man would be classified in the same category as
being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is sympathetic to the
attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs
that homosexual intercourse is unnatural.

For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there
anything that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed
for such purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no',
then why are they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and
crime against nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture
rather than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual
may find sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.

Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual arrangement,
specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a
fulfilling life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage.
Every time an Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being
sick, it is simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing
to reorient his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish
approach to homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the
benefits of heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as
well as a clear commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very
least, make a concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law.
Only after an herculean effort has been made in the direction of
heterosexuality can he or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish
prohibition against homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.

homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely
proscribed act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so,
and not because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act.
This approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
homosexuals logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential
identity with all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals
who find it too difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be
discouraged from participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal
life. If they point out the contradiction that their private life poses
to Jewish observance, and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized,
they should be told that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin:
because someone eats a ham and mayo sandwich does not in any way impair
their ability to participate fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
1993):

As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When
social conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as
the proper commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in
social consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider Boteach's
position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
about the Biblical injunction to procreate? Again, Levado points out:

We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of
"be fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and
a female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's
promise of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and
Sarah transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of
blessing includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is
a punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay
life does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish
children, but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means
that the ordinary relationship between making love and having children
is severed. There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since
its very transmission is dependent on both relationship and
reproduction. For Jews who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to
ensure that life conquers death, the infertility of our loving is at the
core of our struggle to understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and
self-indulgent. Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the
tasks of Jewish family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is
perceived as marginal to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of
this most central and sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.

Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the
mitzvah of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.


The Reform Position

In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989,
the UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.

In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.

The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
community appears in many instances, to push homosexuals into the
closet: the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly,
though sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think
Boteach's position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental
participation in Jewish life.

The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply"
was best articulated by Yoel Kahn (CCAR, 1989):

I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual families
to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe
that encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the
institution of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian
Jews are estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their
families of origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression.
Welcoming gay and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen
all our families, by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children,
parents and siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and
innermost lives hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm
that there can be more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz ,
in the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two
homosexuals is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are
changing the circumstances so that those who previously might not have
acted in a homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal
rabbis believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow
be 'recruited'. Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation,
some people who were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is
this regrettable, or desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had
such an option?

There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I
teach also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan
Rosenberg (Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words
that would result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their
families - not my G-d".

Rabbi Leila Berner, was quoted in 1996, thusly:

"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it,
I have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of God-wrestling,'"
said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many
other lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have
prevailed. Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through
a re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Michael Tolkin supports Rabbi Berner (Grishaver) when he says:

Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to
soften the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to
say that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy
the law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation
with Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
letter to his brother:

I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position

That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.

In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution supporting
lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in
Conservative congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the
Movement to increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian
and gay Jews. The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution
in November 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in
November 1991, but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness,
etc.) .

In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and
Judaism. The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth,
gave the (expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was
clearly and plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was
that, contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality
and were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
tells it:

Most within this group openly worried about the future viability
of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a slippery
slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued
that changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially accepted
as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern understanding
of the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.

New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so
as to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
homosexuals.. .
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to
be heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift
whose legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish
norms which apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual
sex . . . This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing
commitment ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving,
and Jewishly committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.

In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the Rabbinical
Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate homophobia
and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.

The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming.
"The goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that
Jewish gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but
are part of our own community and should be treated as such".

It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not
exist in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in
forming such a necessary organization.

A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of sexuality
and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs.
Torati, Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this,
both this year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence
of this is that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should
not be seen narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual
practices, but rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of
interactions that people and Jews have with each other". The resource
book, Twice Blessed (1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen
groups, and an outline for a workshop on homophobia.

Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.

The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts
it, "like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish
study and action, including affiliation and active participation in a
synagogue and in the Jewish community generally.

An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, "David",
wrote as follows (1996):-

In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian
Jews should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not
lead them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish
version of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between
total acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of
the Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has
so wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish
world-educator, volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered
by my sexuality. Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in
tikkun olam is somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or
who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the Synagogue,
including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is attempting
to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.

Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a Conservative
Jewish homosexual.

As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural contexts
in which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against
male homosexual behavior (and the Rabbinic prohibitions against
lesbianism):
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding homosexual
behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and
leading a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary
suspension) of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of
course, radically different from how the tradition has understood it for
centuries. However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving
nature of halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within
halakha. (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even
though traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
Three disclaimers:
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited acceptance
at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an understanding
of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those
who argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model
of heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
certainly support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of
expressing themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to
articulate this within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider
non-monogamous heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of
halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals. Currently,
many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a teshuvah
(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as women's
rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The Committee
on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.

In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.

a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.

b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced
with ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."

c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.

d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area
of San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group
in North America.

e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.

f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews
in the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
points out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships
because they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
ourselves.

g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.

h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.

i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is
with any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave
congregations because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal
(either the people or the congregations).

j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us".
That is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's
word. As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".

k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant. "According
to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The traditional
Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."

l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent, monogamous,
loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial ceremony)
on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
bases as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.

In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a
homosexual relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual
relationship. If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union
and a legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then
Jewish marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement
have done so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the
heterosexual marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of
marriage as an equal partnership based on mutual respect and love, then
we should, in my opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same
fashion as heterosexual couples.

The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman
is past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham
and Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other) synagogue?
The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.

If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as
an abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to
engage in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as
possible shape their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism
irrelevant to them too."

Postscript

In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have attempted
to counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.

This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in
any republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to
avoid the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also
to be happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.

About the author

I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington,
an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the University
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the University
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with
homosexual teenagers.

My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor
and Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
contact me at ***@sympatico.ca.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

American Psychiatric Association (1996) Gay and Lesbian Issues.

American Psychological Association (1996) Answers to your
Questions About Sexual Orientation And Homosexuality.

Anonymous. (1993). Gayness and God: Wrestlings of an Orthodox
Rabbi. Tikkun 8 (5)

Anonymous. (1996). The Reform Jewish perspective on gay and
lesbian marriage: the recent CCAR resolution.

Anonymous. (1996). One Foot in the Closet and One Foot Out, at the
Jewish Theological Seminary. New Voices. March 4.

Balka, C., and Rose, A. (eds). (1989). Twice Blessed: On Being
Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press

Bazelon, E. (1996). Secrets of the Temple. New Republic, May 6.

Blutinger, J. (1996) email to ***@shamash.org, Subject:
to'evah

Boswell, J. (1994). Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York.
Random House.

Boteach, S. (1993) Reinterpreting Homosexuality as Human Sexuality
(available from gopher)
gopher://www.shamash.org/00/lists/oxford-judaism/homosexuality

Bulka, R. and Spero, M.H. (eds) (1982) A Psychology-Judaism
Reader. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas

Central Congress of American Rabbis (1989). Homosexuality and The
Rabbinate.

Diament, C., ed. (1989). Jewish Marital Status: A Hadassah Study.
London, Jason Aronson.

Dorff, E. (1994) Sex, Values and the Law. Jerusalem Report, August
25.

Dorff , E., Newman, L.E. (eds.) (1995),Contemporary Jewish ethics
and morality : a reader. New York: Oxford

Dorff , E. (1995) This Is My Beloved, This Is My Friend: A
Rabbinic Letter on Intimate Relations. New York. Rabbinical Assembly.

Fierstein, H. (1981) Torch Song Trilogy. The Gay Presses of New
York, also [Film] (1987), Paul Bogart, Producer

Firestone, D., et al (1994) Education Against Homophobia.
Unpublished paper.

Flax, H. (1995) Sex, Lies & Hebrew School. Moment. 20(2)

Goldfarb, R.S. (1995), United Synagogue Convention, submission to
listserv gay jews <***@shamash.nysernet.org>, Nov 6.

Goldstein, H. (n.d.), Understand What It Means To Be Created in
the Image of God, in Being A Blessing: 54 Ways You Can Help People
Living With AIDS , Alef Design Group

Greenberg, B. (1981). On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society

Grishaver, J. L. (n.d.), Queer Halakhah. Unpublished paper

Herring, B. (1984). Jewish Ethics and Halakhah for Our Time:
Sources and Commentary. New York, Ktav

Jewish Publication Society (1985). Tanakh: A new Translation of
the Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text.
Philadelphia.

Kantrowitz, B. (1996) Gay Families Come Out. Newsweek, November 4.

Kellner, M. M., ed. (1978) Contemporary Jewish Ethics. New York:
Sanhedrin Press

Kelman, S. (1995) Community and Diversity: A Teshuvah on Gay and
Lesbian Couples at Congregation Netivot Shalom. Berkeley, CA.

Knisley, J. (1996) Religion and Homosexuality: A Christian
Stand-Point. http://members.tripod.com/~Buznog/jason.htm

Latz, M. (1996). Affirmed But Waiting at Hebrew Union College. New
Voices. March 4.

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Press

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Fulfillment as a Jew by Choice. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society

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Politics. Unpublished paper.

Schwartz, B.D. (n.d.) The Jewish View of Homosexuality.

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Issue] Moment, 18 (3)

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Torkelson, J. (1995). Rabbis to Relax Morality Rules: Conservative
Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News, August
17

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_

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Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and
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American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)



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Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Rd
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Phone: 650-493-4661
Email: ***@betham.org




"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 06:58:31 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: wrote:
:
: >On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: ><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >
: >>Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
: >
: >Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
: >
: >>You fucking filthy piece of dung!
: >
: >You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
:
: I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
: FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
: is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
:
: G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
:
: He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
: not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
: un-natural Satanic Perversions.
:
: And for historical context, it is for some reason SODOM & GAMORRAH
: were burned off the face of the earth by G-d, because ass-fucking is
: an unforgivable perversion in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
:
: Sodomite, Sodomy, Hellfire, Lot's Wife turned into a pillar of Salt
: for even =looking= in the direction of that wickedness.
:
: JUDGEMENT DAY WILL COME, RAINMAN, AND YOU HAVE CONDEMNED YOURSELF WITH
: YOUR WICKED ACTS.
:
: CALL NOT YOURSELF A JEW ANYMORE. YOU ARE A PERVERSION IN THE EYES OF
: ANYTHING HOLY.
:
: rebbi
P***@hotmail.com
2005-03-24 12:15:50 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general, but
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual
prostitution
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and
behavior
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
on the part of heterosexuals.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Homosexuality And Judaism
Ian Silver
What is Homosexuality?
http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html
homosexual,
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual,
attraction
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers
to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual
feelings,
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.
Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria,
[because]
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly
satisfied
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. .
. [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those
who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young
homosexuals
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.
There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to
me, rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change
environments
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an
acceptance
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this
understanding
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
is authentic.
Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality.
The assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social
events? Who would choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be
beaten up, to be isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to
pretend to be what one is not?
In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not
something
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever
lifestyle,
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their
feelings,
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.
Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much
literature
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors
portraying
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.
We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are
stereotypical.
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the
population
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
who are predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some
gays are politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous, some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos.
Some listen to Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and
dress carelessly. The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the
Jewish GLBT archive, (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual)
http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-
a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October 9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He
is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is
attracted
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to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical
homosexual
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relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion that "all Jews are rich".
Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge
homosexuals
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to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same
sex. . . [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so
because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ...
Gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation
positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than
heterosexuals.
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(APA, 1996).
Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social
adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role
identity or development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and
heterosexist
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in nature. (Firestone, 1994).
Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that
are so integral to Judaism?
The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996
told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man."
"I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi
Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by
Israel's
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army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.
It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large. Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the
last part of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative
movement has suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat
homophobia and heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the
community at large.
The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality
[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason
Knisley,
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who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]
The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time,
in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part
of heterosexuals.
Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first, homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."
Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality, it should be "male temple prostitute."
The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the
Canaanites,
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but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since
homosexual acts are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does
not apply to them.
Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.
Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.
This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In
19:5 the men ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the
sexual content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive
implications for gays and lesbians.
In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was
considered
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not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.
The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not
a new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).
The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride, arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes
in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves
whenever a
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stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are
in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no
indicator of whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were,
heterosexuality would have to summarily be declared a sin along with
homosexuality since heterosexuals have raped people, as well.
Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".
In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the
Israelite
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men to become such, as it also does women.
Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob
Milgrom that this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were
additions
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by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew
word for female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute."
Rabbi Kelman quotes Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against
was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms
of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).
Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as
"abomination," it is used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its
practices.
It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a
category
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of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful",
according
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to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female
sex. This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one
against bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there
are many other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not
depict a social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".
In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."
In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not
obliterated
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from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.
As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11)
provides
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an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which
the onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only
on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were
fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to
fulfill this obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a
mitzvah, or a sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding, sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs
outside of marriage, and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic
understanding
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and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the
behavioral
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norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex
is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex
partners;
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in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious
calendar;
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at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as
presented
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in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not
homosexuals.
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In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah did not prohibit what it did not know".
Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And
then this (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the
community in the face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."
Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later
with the issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the
Biblical and halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the
indignity of religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with
much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.
A Midrash
There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What
can I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."
Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who
is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi,
may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.
The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and
involvement
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with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.
It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a
different
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skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.
by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54
Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS
The Traditional Viewpoint
As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the
Traditionalist
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perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
frustrates the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and
is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of
sexual fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been
the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis.
Although
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it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend
religious
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legitimacy to homosexual desire.
The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is
primarily
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instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally
instinctive.
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Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to
say that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual
congress,
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however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some
time consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that
can be used to create a thriving and happy community?"
In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at
the time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch
movement,
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says that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and
something
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deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts
everything that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving,
long-suffering G-d who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and
compassion."
He continues:-
A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every
civilization throughout history, from the most religious and
conservative to the most secular and liberal, have not felt it was
sufficient to advocate certain sexual pathways, but have instituted laws
to enforce these pathways. . . Judaism does not prohibit or in any way
look down upon homosexual love. In the eyes of Judaism the love between
two men or two women can be as natural as the love between a man and a
woman. What it does prohibit is homosexual intercourse. . . An
attraction felt by a man for other men or by a woman for other women
would not be described by the Torah as 'disgusting' or offensive, G-d
forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and attractive being, whatever the
gender. Rather, it is acting upon that homosexual attraction which the
Torah forbids in the strongest possible language. A man's sexual
attraction to another man would be classified in the same category as
being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is sympathetic to the
attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs
that homosexual intercourse is unnatural.
For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there
anything that would lead us to believe that the human hand was
designed
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for such purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no',
then why are they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and
crime against nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture
rather than nature, then there exists the possibility that a
homosexual
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may find sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.
Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual
arrangement,
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specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a
fulfilling life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage.
Every time an Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being
sick, it is simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do
nothing
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to reorient his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish
approach to homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the
benefits of heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as
well as a clear commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very
least, make a concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law.
Only after an herculean effort has been made in the direction of
heterosexuality can he or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish
prohibition against homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.
homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely
proscribed act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so,
and not because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act.
This approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
homosexuals logically impossible, because it recognizes their
essential
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identity with all humans. . . this does not mean that those
homosexuals
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who find it too difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be
discouraged from participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal
life. If they point out the contradiction that their private life poses
to Jewish observance, and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized,
because someone eats a ham and mayo sandwich does not in any way impair
their ability to participate fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When
social conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as
the proper commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in
social consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider
Boteach's
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position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of
"be fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and
a female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's
promise of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and
Sarah transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of
blessing includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is
a punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay
life does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish
children, but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means
that the ordinary relationship between making love and having
children
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is severed. There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since
its very transmission is dependent on both relationship and
reproduction. For Jews who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to
ensure that life conquers death, the infertility of our loving is at the
core of our struggle to understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and
self-indulgent. Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the
tasks of Jewish family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is
perceived as marginal to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of
this most central and sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.
Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the
mitzvah of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.
The Reform Position
In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989,
the UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.
In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.
The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
community appears in many instances, to push homosexuals into the
closet: the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate
Jewishly,
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though sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think
Boteach's position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental
participation in Jewish life.
The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply"
I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual
families
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to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe
that encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the
institution of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian
Jews are estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their
families of origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression.
Welcoming gay and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen
all our families, by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting
children,
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parents and siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and
innermost lives hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm
that there can be more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz ,
in the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two
homosexuals is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are
changing the circumstances so that those who previously might not have
acted in a homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal
rabbis believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow
be 'recruited'. Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your
congregation,
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some people who were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is
this regrettable, or desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had
such an option?
There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I
teach also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan
Rosenberg (Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words
that would result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their
families - not my G-d".
"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it,
I have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of
God-wrestling,'"
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said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many
other lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have
prevailed. Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through
a re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to
soften the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to
say that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy
the law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic
conversation
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with Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position
That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.
In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution
supporting
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lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in
Conservative congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the
Movement to increase awareness, understanding and concerns for
lesbian
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and gay Jews. The Women's League adopted essentially the same
resolution
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in November 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in
November 1991, but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness,
etc.) .
In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and
Judaism. The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth,
gave the (expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was
clearly and plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was
that, contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality
and were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
Most within this group openly worried about the future
viability
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of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a
slippery
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slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued
that changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially
accepted
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as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern
understanding
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
of the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.
New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so
as to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
homosexuals.. .
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to
be heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift
whose legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish
norms which apply to heterosexual relationships would govern
homosexual
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sex . . . This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing
commitment ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous,
loving,
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and Jewishly committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.
In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the
Rabbinical
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Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate
homophobia
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and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.
The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming.
"The goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that
Jewish gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but
are part of our own community and should be treated as such".
It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not
exist in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in
forming such a necessary organization.
A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of
sexuality
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and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs.
Torati, Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this,
both this year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one
consequence
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of this is that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should
not be seen narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual
practices, but rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of
interactions that people and Jews have with each other". The resource
book, Twice Blessed (1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen
groups, and an outline for a workshop on homophobia.
Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.
The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts
it, "like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish
study and action, including affiliation and active participation in a
synagogue and in the Jewish community generally.
An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary,
"David",
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
wrote as follows (1996):-
In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian
Jews should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not
lead them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish
version of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way
between
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total acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of
the Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has
so wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish
world-educator, volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been
hindered
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by my sexuality. Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in
tikkun olam is somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or
who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the
Synagogue,
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including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is
attempting
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to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.
Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a
Conservative
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Jewish homosexual.
As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural
contexts
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in which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against
male homosexual behavior (and the Rabbinic prohibitions against
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding
homosexual
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behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and
leading a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary
suspension) of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of
course, radically different from how the tradition has understood it for
centuries. However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving
nature of halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within
halakha. (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even
though traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited
acceptance
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at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an
understanding
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of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those
who argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model
of heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
certainly support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of
expressing themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to
articulate this within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider
non-monogamous heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of
halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals.
Currently,
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many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a
teshuvah
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(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as
women's
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rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The
Committee
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on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.
In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.
a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.
b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced
with ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."
c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.
d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area
of San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group
in North America.
e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.
f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews
in the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
points out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual
relationships
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because they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
ourselves.
g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.
h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.
i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is
with any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave
congregations because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal
(either the people or the congregations).
j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us".
That is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's
word. As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us
today".
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k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant.
"According
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to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The
traditional
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Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."
l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent,
monogamous,
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loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial
ceremony)
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on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
bases as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs
commitment
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ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.
In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a
homosexual relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual
relationship. If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union
and a legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then
Jewish marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement
have done so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the
heterosexual marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of
marriage as an equal partnership based on mutual respect and love, then
we should, in my opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same
fashion as heterosexual couples.
The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman
is past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham
and Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other)
synagogue?
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The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.
If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as
an abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to
engage in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as
possible shape their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism
irrelevant to them too."
Postscript
In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have
attempted
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
to counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.
This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in
any republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to
avoid the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also
to be happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.
About the author
I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of
Wellington,
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an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the
University
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the
University
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with
homosexual teenagers.
My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor
and Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
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Latz, M. (1996). Affirmed But Waiting at Hebrew Union College. New
Voices. March 4.
Leder, S. (1995) The Real Abominations. Jewish Journal, May 4.
Lerner, M. (1994), Jewish Renewal: A path to Healing and
Transformation. New York: Harper
Lerner, M. (1993), Curing Homophobia & Other Conservative
Pathologies. Tikkun 8 (5)
Magonet, J. (ed) (1995). Jewish explorations of sexuality .
Providence, RI: Berghahn
Plaskow, J. (1990). Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a
Feminist Perspective. San Francisco. Harper & Row.
Raphael, L. (1990), Dancing on Tisha b'Av, New York , St. Martin's
Press
Raphael , L. (1992) Winter Eyes .New York, St. Martin's Press
Raphael , L. (1996) Journeys & Arrivals: On Being Gay and Jewish.
Boston: Faber and Faber
Romanoff, L. (1990) Your People, My People: Finding Acceptance and
Fulfillment as a Jew by Choice. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society
Rothman, J. (1996) Judaism, Homosexuality, and Political
Analyzing the Need for Diversity in Approaching Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual
Politics. Unpublished paper.
Schwartz, B.D. (n.d.) The Jewish View of Homosexuality.
Shanks, H. (ed.) (1993). Homosexuality and Judaism. [Special
Issue] Moment, 18 (3)
Springer, J., et al (1995, 6), Re: Conservative movement,
Strassfield, S. and S. (eds). (1976) The Second Jewish Catalog.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society
Conservative
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News, August
17
Treadaway, D. (1996) Berner offers Jewish Approach to Issues of
Sexual Expression. New Voices. March 4.
Tucker, S. (1995). Our Queer World. The Humanist.
January/February.
_
Union of American Hebrew Congregations. (1995). A Resolution on
Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and
Gays in the Reform Movement.
Zelizer, G.L. (1995). Conservative Rabbis, their movement, and
American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)
Return to Top
Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Rd
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Phone: 650-493-4661
: >On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >
: >>Baruch HaShish!!!!!!!!
: >
: >Why are you babbling in yiddish, you bent Irish fairy?
: >
: >>You fucking filthy piece of dung!
: >
: >You fucking filthy little shirtlifter!
: I don't know if Rainman is aware of this, but
: FUCKING MEN IN THE ASS WITH YOUR PENIS
: is an "Abomination" in the eyes of The Lord.
: G-d have mercy on this individual's soul.
: He commits heinous crimes of Satanic Proportions, and thinks G-d will
: not know about it. Rainman is a deranged _fool_. Condemned by his
: un-natural Satanic Perversions.
: And for historical context, it is for some reason SODOM & GAMORRAH
: were burned off the face of the earth by G-d, because ass-fucking is
: an unforgivable perversion in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
: Sodomite, Sodomy, Hellfire, Lot's Wife turned into a pillar of Salt
: for even =looking= in the direction of that wickedness.
: JUDGEMENT DAY WILL COME, RAINMAN, AND YOU HAVE CONDEMNED YOURSELF WITH
: YOUR WICKED ACTS.
: CALL NOT YOURSELF A JEW ANYMORE. YOU ARE A PERVERSION IN THE EYES OF
: ANYTHING HOLY.
: rebbi
It seems a lot of homophobic people aren't able to grasp the very
scientific root of the situation. The words unnatural and/or
supernatural simply should be stricken from the language. They attempt
to descibe things that you would never encounter in nature. If an act
occurs, it does so because the laws of physics allow it to occur. This
is nature. Unnatural or supernatural events simply do not occur. No
one can do something that nature prohibits. It's really that simple.
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic viewpoint
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a homosexual
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them. When
(on the street and not in a prison situation) it's far more likely
that, if a man is going to be raped, it will probably be done a a group
of very aggressive females, which means that they're not going to "take
you from behind" they're going to beat your member until it's hard and
then force you (at gun or knife point) to take them. I have heard of
that happening, and it seems, with the increase of "girl gangs" this
type of initiation ceremony is on the increase. It seems much more
likely that homosexuals are going to be interested in other homosexuals
(duh!) rather than going out of their way to rape an heterosexual.
And, if a homosexual finds you attractive, that's not a terrible thing
either--be glad somebody does.
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 16:06:04 UTC
<***@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:***@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

One thing I could never understand about the homophobic viewpoint
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a homosexual
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.

[snip rest]


It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men are
afraid of being treated the way they treat women.

Susan
P***@hotmail.com
2005-03-24 16:15:38 UTC
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
[snip rest]
It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men are
afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
Susan
At first glance, I'd have to say that makes a lot of sense. That
is, if you're a bastard. I guess that's why it never bothered me. I
suppose if you have a mindset that says, "It's OK to take", you might
be a bit concerned that others might also feel that way.
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 16:43:12 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
[snip rest]
It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men
are
Post by P***@hotmail.com
afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
Susan
At first glance, I'd have to say that makes a lot of sense. That
is, if you're a bastard. I guess that's why it never bothered me.
Exactly.

Susan

I
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
suppose if you have a mindset that says, "It's OK to take", you might
be a bit concerned that others might also feel that way.
g***@netscape.net
2005-03-24 16:33:03 UTC
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic viewpoint,
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.

Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Post by P***@hotmail.com
[snip rest]
It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men are
afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
No doubt a male hysteria of some kind..
Post by P***@hotmail.com
Susan
bd4u
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 16:43:36 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic viewpoint,
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Yes, that's the other universal.

Susan
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Post by P***@hotmail.com
[snip rest]
It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men
are
Post by P***@hotmail.com
afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
No doubt a male hysteria of some kind..
Post by P***@hotmail.com
Susan
bd4u
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 17:00:01 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic viewpoint,
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Typical liberal limp-wristed logic. I bet you're bent too.
g***@netscape.net
2005-03-24 17:10:05 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic viewpoint,
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Typical liberal limp-wristed logic.
You are mistaking "acceptance" of others, as a "liberal bent"..
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
I bet you're bent too.
.. I KNOW all about yer right wing christian bent, and it's about
as far right as -you- can bend it without breaking it.

stick with the facts, your imaginings don't count.

bd4u
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 17:16:38 UTC
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic viewpoint,
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Typical liberal limp-wristed logic.
You are mistaking "acceptance" of others, as a "liberal bent"..
Why would you want to accept those with sexual disorientations,
whether they be for the same sex, for animals, for close relatives,
for corpses, whatever?
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
I bet you're bent too.
.. I KNOW all about yer right wing christian bent, and it's about
as far right as -you- can bend it without breaking it.
stick with the facts, your imaginings don't count.
Stick your "facts" up your jew ass. But don't sneeze.
g***@netscape.net
2005-03-24 17:25:20 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic
viewpoint,
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Typical liberal limp-wristed logic.
You are mistaking "acceptance" of others, as a "liberal bent"..
Why would you want to accept those with sexual disorientations,
whether they be for the same sex, for animals, for close relatives,
for corpses, whatever?
Since your arguements have NO foundation whatsoever in the
LAW, I can disregard them until such a time that it becomes
LAW.
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
I bet you're bent too.
.. I KNOW all about yer right wing christian bent, and it's about
as far right as -you- can bend it without breaking it.
stick with the facts, your imaginings don't count.
Stick your "facts" up your jew ass. But don't sneeze.
Hehh, -you- talk about animals, and then go and act like
one. Who the "animal" is here is quite obvious, IMHO.

bd4u
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 19:19:12 UTC
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape
them.
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic
viewpoint,
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Typical liberal limp-wristed logic.
You are mistaking "acceptance" of others, as a "liberal bent"..
Why would you want to accept those with sexual disorientations,
whether they be for the same sex, for animals, for close relatives,
for corpses, whatever?
Since your arguements have NO foundation whatsoever in the
LAW, I can disregard them until such a time that it becomes
LAW.
What does the law have to do w/morality, jew asshole?
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
I bet you're bent too.
.. I KNOW all about yer right wing christian bent, and it's about
as far right as -you- can bend it without breaking it.
stick with the facts, your imaginings don't count.
Stick your "facts" up your jew ass. But don't sneeze.
Hehh, -you- talk about animals, and then go and act like
one. Who the "animal" is here is quite obvious, IMHO.
Take your humble opinion and shove it up your fat jew ass too.
g***@netscape.net
2005-03-24 19:25:32 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape
them.
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic
viewpoint,
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a
homophobe
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a
homophobe
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Typical liberal limp-wristed logic.
You are mistaking "acceptance" of others, as a "liberal bent"..
Why would you want to accept those with sexual disorientations,
whether they be for the same sex, for animals, for close
relatives,
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
for corpses, whatever?
Since your arguements have NO foundation whatsoever in the
LAW, I can disregard them until such a time that it becomes
LAW.
What does the law have to do w/morality, jew asshole?
What kind of question is that? Do -you- *really* expect an answer?

Hehh..

Go back to kindygarten or somethin, you musta had chimpanzee's
for parents if -you- gotta ask that.

bd4u
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
I bet you're bent too.
.. I KNOW all about yer right wing christian bent, and it's about
as far right as -you- can bend it without breaking it.
stick with the facts, your imaginings don't count.
Stick your "facts" up your jew ass. But don't sneeze.
Hehh, -you- talk about animals, and then go and act like
one. Who the "animal" is here is quite obvious, IMHO.
Take your humble opinion and shove it up your fat jew ass too.
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 22:16:12 UTC
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
viewpoint
Post by P***@hotmail.com
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
homosexual
Post by P***@hotmail.com
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape
them.
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic
viewpoint,
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a
homophobe
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a
homophobe
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
of being found out.
Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
figure it out for themselves somehows.
Typical liberal limp-wristed logic.
You are mistaking "acceptance" of others, as a "liberal bent"..
Why would you want to accept those with sexual disorientations,
whether they be for the same sex, for animals, for close
relatives,
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
for corpses, whatever?
Since your arguements have NO foundation whatsoever in the
LAW, I can disregard them until such a time that it becomes
LAW.
What does the law have to do w/morality, jew asshole?
What kind of question is that?
Obviously one beyond you.
Post by g***@netscape.net
Do -you- *really* expect an answer?
Not from an asshole like you, no.
Post by g***@netscape.net
Hehh..
Hehh? Is yiddish already?
Post by g***@netscape.net
Go back to kindygarten or somethin, you musta had chimpanzee's
for parents if -you- gotta ask that.
And this from the jew cretin who thinks plural's take apostrophe's.
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 20:28:08 UTC
Oh boy! You must be very sheltered!!!

I know plenty of heterosexual women that hate homosexuals! And even more
conservative then men when it comes to discrimination against
homosexuals.





<***@netscape.net> wrote in message news:***@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
:
: Susan Cohen wrote:
: > <***@hotmail.com> wrote in message
: > news:***@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
: >
: > One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
: viewpoint
: > is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
: homosexual
: > man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
: >
:
: The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic viewpoint,
: is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
: want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
: married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
: female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
: strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
: of being found out.
:
: Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
: figure it out for themselves somehows.
:
:
:
: > [snip rest]
: >
: >
: > It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men
: are
: > afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
:
: No doubt a male hysteria of some kind..
:
: >
: > Susan
:
: bd4u
:
g***@netscape.net
2005-03-24 20:55:01 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Oh boy! You must be very sheltered!!!
I know plenty of heterosexual women that hate homosexuals! And even more
conservative then men when it comes to discrimination against
homosexuals.
Yeah, where at? How come I don't see any on the web?
Any woman Homophobe, is probably damned lucky if they
even have a *man*. I don't see where the women are
the *vocal* majority here, or in the *real* world either
on the issues of Homosexuality.

IMHO, in general relationships between men and women are
ALL screwed up and if they lived according to the LAW
they wouldn't be. Homosexuality is like the issue of polygamy.
Altho the LAW allows for it, the LAW also provides for
discretionary wisdom to be used! The LAW provides for ALL.

bd4u
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >
: > One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
: viewpoint
: > is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
: homosexual
: > man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
: >
: The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic viewpoint,
: is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
: want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
: married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
: female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
: strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
: of being found out.
: Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
: figure it out for themselves somehows.
: > [snip rest]
: >
: >
: > It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men
: are
: > afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
: No doubt a male hysteria of some kind..
: >
: > Susan
: bd4u
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 22:22:15 UTC
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Oh boy! You must be very sheltered!!!
I know plenty of heterosexual women that hate homosexuals! And even
more
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
conservative then men when it comes to discrimination against
homosexuals.
Yeah, where at? How come I don't see any on the web?
Any woman Homophobe, is probably damned lucky if they
even have a *man*. I don't see where the women are
the *vocal* majority here, or in the *real* world either
on the issues of Homosexuality.
IMHO, in general relationships between men and women are
ALL screwed up and if they lived according to the LAW
they wouldn't be. Homosexuality is like the issue of polygamy.
Altho the LAW allows for it, the LAW also provides for
discretionary wisdom to be used! The LAW provides for ALL.
Are you just another jew shyster?
P***@hotmail.com
2005-03-24 22:40:29 UTC
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Oh boy! You must be very sheltered!!!
I know plenty of heterosexual women that hate homosexuals! And even
more
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
conservative then men when it comes to discrimination against
homosexuals.
Yeah, where at? How come I don't see any on the web?
Any woman Homophobe, is probably damned lucky if they
even have a *man*. I don't see where the women are
the *vocal* majority here, or in the *real* world either
on the issues of Homosexuality.
Here's where I have to say...uh...my wife, the Catholic, is pretty
homophobic. If someone doesn't like homophobics, are the
antihomophobic or homophobophobic? Enquiring minds want to know.
Post by g***@netscape.net
IMHO, in general relationships between men and women are
ALL screwed up and if they lived according to the LAW
they wouldn't be. Homosexuality is like the issue of polygamy.
Altho the LAW allows for it, the LAW also provides for
discretionary wisdom to be used! The LAW provides for ALL.
bd4u
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >
: > One thing I could never understand about the homophobic
: viewpoint
: > is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a
: homosexual
: > man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
: >
: The thing I could never understand about the Homophobic
viewpoint,
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: is why they are crying about something they claim they don't
: want to begin with. On top of that, I hardly ever see a homophobe
: married or with a girlfriend. Neither have I ever met a homophobe
: female either. it seems to be strictly a male thing for some
: strange reason. Maybe they is just chickenshit males afraid
: of being found out.
: Oh well, enuff worrying about THEIR manhood. They gotta
: figure it out for themselves somehows.
: > [snip rest]
: >
: >
: > It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that
men
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: are
: > afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
: No doubt a male hysteria of some kind..
: >
: > Susan
: bd4u
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 22:50:57 UTC
Post by P***@hotmail.com
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Oh boy! You must be very sheltered!!!
I know plenty of heterosexual women that hate homosexuals! And even
more
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
conservative then men when it comes to discrimination against
homosexuals.
Yeah, where at? How come I don't see any on the web?
Any woman Homophobe, is probably damned lucky if they
even have a *man*. I don't see where the women are
the *vocal* majority here, or in the *real* world either
on the issues of Homosexuality.
Here's where I have to say...uh...my wife, the Catholic, is pretty
homophobic. If someone doesn't like homophobics, are the
antihomophobic or homophobophobic? Enquiring minds want to know.
Anybody who doesn't like homophobes® is either liberal or bent or
both.

<b'rissed>
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 16:53:47 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 16:06:04 GMT, "Suzy the convert"
Post by P***@hotmail.com
One thing I could never understand about the homophobic viewpoint
is that you have grown heterosexual men being afraid that a homosexual
man is going to find them so attractive as to want to rape them.
[snip rest]
It's been surmised that one of the roots of homophobia is that men are
afraid of being treated the way they treat women.
Suzy
Is this why you're so afraid of Bobbi Hatch, you thick Irish cunt?
LOL
Gunner
2005-03-24 09:17:05 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:53 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Baruch HaShem!!!!!!!!
You fucking filthy piece of dung!
Snicker...putz

Gunner
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: ========================================================
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
: Lg
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 06:52:45 UTC
Looks like Larry will be dead long before meself! Amazing how Lawrence,
Gunner, and Myal, all belong to a separate MAC FORUM...

http://www.macforumz.com/ftopic-144419-15.html

"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message

Pour some fresh nitroglycerin pills into a piece of wood on the top.
Make sure they're in a ziplock baggie to keep moisture out.

There will be no *evidence* left over when that one goes off.

Lg

Lawrence Glickman
External


Since: Oct 04, 2004
Posts: 5

(Msg. 18) Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:29 pm
Post subject: Re: Mac compatable webcam for home
surveillance?
Archived from groups: alt>survival, others (more info?)

On Wed, 02 Mar 2005 22:29:33 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"
It's my understanding that nitro pills aren't explosive.
At all. But, it's a
cute idea.
I haven't tried the experiment, but I have nitro patches and
liquid (
for my heart ) up the wazzoo. So if I want to do an
experiment, it
will be outdoors this summer in the backyard bar-b-q grill
;-)

I highly suspect that said grill will become disintegrated,
with maybe
just the wheels left in my yard, if that much.

The dose equivalent is 0.4 micrograms times 200. Is that
enough to do
anything? If what I read on the "net" is accurate, is enough
to level
a -house-. A guy who supposedly tossed 2 nitro pills into
his
fireplace turned it into dust, IIRC.

This idea needs some personal testing, in a hole built to
direct the
BLAST upwards instead of taking out my new windows and
knocking down a
wall ;0

Lg
The dose equivalent is 0.4 micrograms times 200. Is that enough to do
anything? If what I read on the "net" is accurate, is enough to level
a -house-. A guy who supposedly tossed 2 nitro pills into his
fireplace turned it into dust, IIRC.
0.4 micrograms times 200 is still less than a milligram.

A stick of dynamite, made partly of nitroglycerine, is around a 100-200
grams. So you are less than this by a factor of 100,000.

The math is clear.


--Tim May


"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:11:27 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: wrote:
:
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: ><***@comcast.net> wrote:
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >Oh, he's also bent:
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
:
: from that URL:
:
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
:
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
:
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
:
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
:
: ========================================================
:
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
:
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
:
: Lg
:
Gunner
2005-03-24 09:17:12 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:52:45 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Looks like Larry will be dead long before meself! Amazing how Lawrence,
Gunner, and Myal, all belong to a separate MAC FORUM...
http://www.macforumz.com/ftopic-144419-15.html
It appears that the Rainman doesnt have a clue how the internet and
mirrors work.

ROFLMAO!

What a putz

Gunner
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Pour some fresh nitroglycerin pills into a piece of wood on the top.
Make sure they're in a ziplock baggie to keep moisture out.
There will be no *evidence* left over when that one goes off.
Lg
Lawrence Glickman
External
Since: Oct 04, 2004
Posts: 5
(Msg. 18) Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:29 pm
Post subject: Re: Mac compatable webcam for home
surveillance?
Archived from groups: alt>survival, others (more info?)
On Wed, 02 Mar 2005 22:29:33 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"
It's my understanding that nitro pills aren't explosive.
At all. But, it's a
cute idea.
I haven't tried the experiment, but I have nitro patches and
liquid (
for my heart ) up the wazzoo. So if I want to do an
experiment, it
will be outdoors this summer in the backyard bar-b-q grill
;-)
I highly suspect that said grill will become disintegrated,
with maybe
just the wheels left in my yard, if that much.
The dose equivalent is 0.4 micrograms times 200. Is that enough to do
anything? If what I read on the "net" is accurate, is enough to level
a -house-. A guy who supposedly tossed 2 nitro pills into his
fireplace turned it into dust, IIRC.
This idea needs some personal testing, in a hole built to
direct the
BLAST upwards instead of taking out my new windows and
knocking down a
wall ;0
Lg
The dose equivalent is 0.4 micrograms times 200. Is that enough to do
anything? If what I read on the "net" is accurate, is enough to level
a -house-. A guy who supposedly tossed 2 nitro pills into his
fireplace turned it into dust, IIRC.
0.4 micrograms times 200 is still less than a milligram.
A stick of dynamite, made partly of nitroglycerine, is around a 100-200
grams. So you are less than this by a factor of 100,000.
The math is clear.
--Tim May
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: ========================================================
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
: Lg
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
myal
2005-03-24 12:08:15 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Looks like Larry will be dead long before meself! Amazing how Lawrence,
Gunner, and Myal, all belong to a separate MAC FORUM...
http://www.macforumz.com/ftopic-144419-15.html
Idiot , terp , imbicele , nitwit , jerk , numbskull , wanker ....

Nope

Words just don't do justice to your level of stupidity .
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 06:55:52 UTC
Date: 02 Oct 2004 13:10:41
From: Lawrence Glickman
Subject: Re: Generator hard starting problem SOLVED

On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 10:47:11 -0700, "SQLit" <***@cox.net >
wrote:

Have you seen the price of new batteries and chargers ???!!!#@!&*^

I buy Milwaukee brand plug-me-ins and they've never failed me yet.
Power up the gazoo. And yes, I have inverters, but they only go to
600 watts ;( And they're not the best waveform for a motor.

For the Hole Hawg, that thing draws 7.5 Amps at 120 volts, or, 900
WATTS ! Of course, you _need_ 900 watts to rotate a 100 pound
flywheel that is connected to a 4 stroke crankshaft.

Won't be getting any 900 watts out of a cordless anything, unless it
is the new Russian Dildo I saw today on a porn website. The lady
riding it didn't look to happy, but you know, they have to get her
used to having cars park in there somehow.....

As soon as she starts using it for an ashtray, they'll know she's
ready for the street.

Is this HELL we're living in or -what- ??????

Lg

"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:11:27 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: wrote:
:
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: ><***@comcast.net> wrote:
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >Oh, he's also bent:
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
:
: from that URL:
:
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
:
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
:
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
:
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
:
: ========================================================
:
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
:
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
:
: Lg
:
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 06:57:29 UTC
Re: .22 is the best defensive caliber - 2003-02-15 Loading Image...
(1/1) 2003-02-15 10-06-27_DCE.JPG (image jpeg 52KB)
***@comcast.net




"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:11:27 GMT, ren#***@anglic#n.org (The +Revd)
: wrote:
:
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: ><***@comcast.net> wrote:
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >Oh, he's also bent:
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
:
: from that URL:
:
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
:
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
:
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
:
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
:
: ========================================================
:
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
:
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
:
: Lg
:
Gunner
2005-03-24 09:17:20 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:57:29 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Re: .22 is the best defensive caliber - 2003-02-15 10-06-27_DCE.JPG
(1/1) 2003-02-15 10-06-27_DCE.JPG (image jpeg 52KB)
Yes and?

Gunner
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >
: >Barton isn't even a real jew. He's a 'convert'.
: >
: >http://gaydar.co.uk/riain_il
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: ========================================================
: For health reasons, mental and otherwise, I am going to have to
: killfile the bunghole.
: I knew there was something seriously..."out of adjustment" with this
: individual.
: Lg
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Gunner
2005-03-24 05:35:13 UTC
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
Post by Lawrence Glickman
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
You are a psychiatrist?
It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and defend
themselves from people who wish to harm them???
You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to discredit a
JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters running
around in your head will go away.
Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have to
realize that people like these have always been around, and will
continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
fault is that? yours or theirs?
You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message of
Hope.
Lg
Jew and Zionist
Shalom Larry. Well done.

Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually the
task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I sorta
figure he doesnt have one.

Gunner


Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 06:05:22 UTC
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
Post by Lawrence Glickman
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
You are a psychiatrist?
It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and defend
themselves from people who wish to harm them???
You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to discredit a
JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters running
around in your head will go away.
Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have to
realize that people like these have always been around, and will
continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
fault is that? yours or theirs?
You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message of
Hope.
Lg
Jew and Zionist
Shalom Larry. Well done.
Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually the
task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I sorta
figure he doesnt have one.
This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a Fate that
is most likely going to be a product of his stated lifestyle:

to wit:

40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.

Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA

Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007

Looking to make friends in Israel now.
=====================================================

I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back door
with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents himself
to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the mucous
membranes in the oral cavity.

Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or perhaps has
a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating away at
his necessary *bits.*

He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural causes,
as most queers do.

Lg
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Gunner
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 07:35:41 UTC
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a simple
internet profile.

I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...

Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!

Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew??? Typical
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!



"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:35:13 GMT, Gunner <***@lightspeed.net>
: wrote:
:
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: ><***@comcast.net> wrote:
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >>
: >>Lg
: >>Jew and Zionist
: >
: >Shalom Larry. Well done.
: >
: >Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually
the
: >task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I
sorta
: >figure he doesnt have one.
:
: This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a Fate that
: is most likely going to be a product of his stated lifestyle:
:
: to wit:
:
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
:
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
:
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
:
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: =====================================================
:
: I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back door
: with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
: common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents himself
: to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the mucous
: membranes in the oral cavity.
:
: Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or perhaps has
: a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating away at
: his necessary *bits.*
:
: He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural causes,
: as most queers do.
:
: Lg
:
:
: >Gunner
: >
: >
: >Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
: >all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
: >and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
: > michael
:
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 07:50:39 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a simple
internet profile.
I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew??? Typical
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a post as
he has.

Susan
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >>
: >>Lg
: >>Jew and Zionist
: >
: >Shalom Larry. Well done.
: >
: >Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually
the
: >task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I
sorta
: >figure he doesnt have one.
: This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a Fate that
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: =====================================================
: I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back door
: with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
: common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents himself
: to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the mucous
: membranes in the oral cavity.
: Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or perhaps has
: a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating away at
: his necessary *bits.*
: He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural causes,
: as most queers do.
: Lg
: >Gunner
: >
: >
: >Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
: >all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
: >and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
: > michael
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 07:56:24 UTC
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a simple
internet profile.
I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew??? Typical
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a post as
he has.
Susan
I see you two "girls" have something in common.

Were Rainman my own son, I would smite him with a sword. Through the
heart.

And then burn him to ashes in a funeral pyre of gasoline and wood.

Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 08:02:19 UTC
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general, but
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior
on the part of heterosexuals.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Homosexuality And Judaism

Ian Silver

What is Homosexuality?

http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html


The American Psychological Association (1996) says as follows:

Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers
to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.

Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
Psychiatric Association (1996) is very clear about this:

For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. .
. [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those
who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals
is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.

There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to
me, rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments
ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance
and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding
is authentic.

Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality.
The assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social
events? Who would choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be
beaten up, to be isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to
pretend to be what one is not?

In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle,
but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.

Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.

We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population
who are predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some
gays are politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous, some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos.
Some listen to Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and
dress carelessly. The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the
Jewish GLBT archive, (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual) http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/
includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-

a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October 9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He
is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted
to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion that "all Jews are rich".

Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
asserts that:

There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same
sex. . . [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so
because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ...
Gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation
positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).

Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social
adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role
identity or development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).

Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that
are so integral to Judaism?

The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996

told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man."
"I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi
Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's
army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.

It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large. Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the
last part of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative
movement has suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat
homophobia and heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the
community at large.

The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality

[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time,
in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part
of heterosexuals.

Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first, homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."

Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality, it should be "male temple prostitute."

The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since
homosexual acts are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does
not apply to them.

Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.

Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.

This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In
19:5 the men ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the
sexual content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive
implications for gays and lesbians.

In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.

The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not
a new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).

The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride, arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes
in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a
stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are
in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no
indicator of whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were,
heterosexuality would have to summarily be declared a sin along with
homosexuality since heterosexuals have raped people, as well.

Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".

In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.

Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob
Milgrom that this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions
by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew
word for female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute."
Rabbi Kelman quotes Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against
was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms
of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).

Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as
"abomination," it is used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its
practices.

In reference to this Norman Lamm states ( quoted in Kellner):

It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category
of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female
sex. This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one
against bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there
are many other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not
depict a social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".

In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."

In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.

To quote Jacob Rothman:

As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which
the onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only
on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were
fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to
fulfill this obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a
mitzvah, or a sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding, sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs
outside of marriage, and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex
is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners;
in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar;
at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah did not prohibit what it did not know".

Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And
then this (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the
community in the face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."

Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later
with the issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the
Biblical and halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the
indignity of religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with
much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.



A Midrash

There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What
can I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."

Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who
is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi,
may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.

The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.

It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different
skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.

by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54
Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS

The Traditional Viewpoint

As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
Rabbi Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality:
frustrates the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and
is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of
sexual fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been
the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although
it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.

The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Shmuel Boteach (1993):

Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to
say that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some
time consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that
can be used to create a thriving and happy community?"

In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at
the time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement,
says that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving in an intolerant,
homophobic manner. As Boteach says, "this approach contradicts
everything that Judaism stands for in the form of a good, loving,
long-suffering G-d who asks His creatures to emulate His mercy and
compassion."

He continues:-

A sympathetic and mature Jewish approach to this subject must
begin with the premise that it is not unreasonable for the Creator to
demand that His people regulate their sexual activity. Every
civilization throughout history, from the most religious and
conservative to the most secular and liberal, have not felt it was
sufficient to advocate certain sexual pathways, but have instituted laws
to enforce these pathways. . . Judaism does not prohibit or in any way
look down upon homosexual love. In the eyes of Judaism the love between
two men or two women can be as natural as the love between a man and a
woman. What it does prohibit is homosexual intercourse. . . An
attraction felt by a man for other men or by a woman for other women
would not be described by the Torah as 'disgusting' or offensive, G-d
forbid. A human is a warm, lovable, and attractive being, whatever the
gender. Rather, it is acting upon that homosexual attraction which the
Torah forbids in the strongest possible language. A man's sexual
attraction to another man would be classified in the same category as
being tempted to eat at McDonald's. The Torah is sympathetic to the
attraction, but prohibits translating the attraction into action.
Boteach's argument, based on that of the Rebbe, z"l, is one of
nurture, rather than nature. He does, however, criticize any beliefs
that homosexual intercourse is unnatural.

For all those on the right fringe who argue absurdly that
homosexuality is a 'crime against nature,' and bring proofs to their
points of view from human anatomy and the seeming heterosexual union it
would suggest, I ask this: is oral sex or anal intercourse any more
natural than homosexuality. And how about masturbation? Is there
anything that would lead us to believe that the human hand was designed
for such purposes? And if the answer to both these questions is 'no',
then why are they only combating 'homosexuality' as an aberration and
crime against nature?
Since homosexuality is assumed to be environmental, it can be
'cured' through therapy." If homosexuality is a product of nurture
rather than nature, then there exists the possibility that a homosexual
may find sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given enough
exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual only
after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures into
some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry women.

Homosexual men must focus, not only on personal sexual and
relational satisfaction, but also on their larger responsibilities . . .
their lifestyles have repercussions that effect the Jewish community
worldwide, and leave many unhappy Jewish women who will never have
husbands.... The homosexual is a sexual being like all others, and
chooses his or her sexual preference. While he or she may indeed have
been born with a specific sexual disposition, that does not preclude the
possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual arrangement,
specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment should
not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity, but
that that person should engage in building a family and find a
fulfilling life within the holy heterosexual institution of marriage.
Every time an Orthodox representative looks upon a homosexual as being
sick, it is simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do nothing
to reorient his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish
approach to homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of the
benefits of heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as
well as a clear commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the very
least, make a concerted effort to live in accordance with divine law.
Only after an herculean effort has been made in the direction of
heterosexuality can he or she be justified in rejecting the Jewish
prohibition against homosexual behavior.
Ultimately, Boteach argues for understanding for, and inclusion of
homosexuals within the aegis of traditional Judaism.

homosexuality is not a deviance, but simply a divinely
proscribed act which becomes wrong because the Torah labels it to be so,
and not because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual act.
This approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
homosexuals logically impossible, because it recognizes their essential
identity with all humans. . . this does not mean that those homosexuals
who find it too difficult to refrain from homosexual life should be
discouraged from participating fully in all areas of Jewish communal
life. If they point out the contradiction that their private life poses
to Jewish observance, and use this as an excuse to remain ostracized,
they should be told that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin:
because someone eats a ham and mayo sandwich does not in any way impair
their ability to participate fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than a
gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado (Anon.,
1993):

As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in a
flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
cautious process of change, which must always begin internally. Halacha,
as an activity, is not designed to affect social revolution. It is a
society-building enterprise that maintains internal balance by
reorganizing itself in response to changing social realities. When
social conditions shift, we experience the halachic reapplications as
the proper commitment to the Torah's original purposes. That shift in
social consciousness in regard to homosexuality is a long way off.
The Orthodox establishment is far less comprehending than Boteach.
As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider Boteach's
position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But, what
about the Biblical injunction to procreate? Again, Levado points out:

We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life, fuller
life. The creation story invited the rabbis to read God's blessing of
"be fruitful and multiply" as a command to have two children, a male and
a female. Every Jewish child makes the possibility of the Torah's
promise of a perfected world more real, more attainable. Abraham and
Sarah transmit the vision by having children. Often the portrayal of
blessing includes being surrounded with many children. Childlessness is
a punishment and curse in the tradition, barrenness a calamity. ..Gay
life does not prevent the possibility of producing or raising Jewish
children, but it makes those options very complicated. Being gay means
that the ordinary relationship between making love and having children
is severed. There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism, since
its very transmission is dependent on both relationship and
reproduction. For Jews who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty to
ensure that life conquers death, the infertility of our loving is at the
core of our struggle to understand ourselves in the light of the Torah.
This problem, among others, lies at the root of much of the
Jewish community's discomfort with gay people. To a people that was
nearly destroyed fifty years ago, gay love seems irresponsible. Jews see
the work of their lives in light of the shaping of a world for their
children. By contrast, gay people appear narcissistic and
self-indulgent. Gay people's sexuality is thus a diversion from the
tasks of Jewish family and the survival that it symbolizes, and is
perceived as marginal to the Jewish community because we are shirkers of
this most central and sacred of communal tasks.
The solution Levado advocates is a creative one.

Holding fast to the covenant demands that I fulfill the mitzvot
that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children, but
there are other ways to build a family. Adoption and surrogacy are
options. If these prove infeasible, the tradition considers a teacher
similar to a parent in life-giving and thus frames a way that the
mitzvah of procreation can be symbolically fulfilled.


The Reform Position

In 1987, the UAHC (the Synagogue arm of the Reform movement)
adopted a resolution that sexual orientation should not be a
consideration for membership of, or participation in Congregational
activities. Congregations were urged to be inclusive. Again, in 1989,
the UAHC reaffirmed its commitment to promoting full congregational
membership opportunities for homosexual Jews, as singles, couples, and
families.

In 1995, a resolution was proposed to the UAHC by the New York
Federation of Reform Synagogues, "not to discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation in matters relating to the employment of rabbis,
cantors, educators, executives, administrators or other staff." This
resolution has yet to be enacted.

The Reform movement has accommodated a number of predominantly
homosexual Synagogues and Temples within it. On the one hand, this
provides a Jewish spiritual and communal environment where people can
count on acceptance and support. On the other hand, however, this
entrenches a form of apartheid for homosexual Jews. The Orthodox
community appears in many instances, to push homosexuals into the
closet: the Reform movement allows homosexuals to participate Jewishly,
though sometimes they prefer them to do it separately. I rather think
Boteach's position is the more enlightened path: full, non-judgmental
participation in Jewish life.

The Reform responsum to the issue of "be fruitful and multiply"
was best articulated by Yoel Kahn (CCAR, 1989):

I have been repeatedly asked: If we elevate homosexual families
to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine the
already precarious place of the traditional family? I do not believe
that encouraging commitment, stability and openness undermines the
institution of family - it enhances it. At present, many gay and lesbian
Jews are estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and their
families of origin because of continued fear, stigma and oppression.
Welcoming gay and lesbian families into the synagogue will strengthen
all our families, by bringing the exiles home and by reuniting children,
parents and siblings who have been forced to keep their partners and
innermost lives hidden. Kelal Yisrael is strengthened when we affirm
that there can be more than one way to participate in the Covenant.
This is not by any means, a majority position. Leonard Kravitz ,
in the same booklet, wrote that "if the relationship between two
homosexuals is granted the status of kiddushin, a public matter, we are
changing the circumstances so that those who previously might not have
acted in a homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal
rabbis believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can somehow
be 'recruited'. Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your congregation,
some people who were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is
this regrettable, or desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he had
such an option?

There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet Marder
(Grishaver) , said in 1985 "I believe, and I teach my (homosexual)
congregants, that Jewish law condemn their way of life (sic). But I
teach also that I cannot accept that law as authoritative." Alan
Rosenberg (Grishaver) wrote in 1995, "G-d could not have written words
that would result in so much suffering for the Gay community and their
families - not my G-d".

Rabbi Leila Berner, was quoted in 1996, thusly:

"As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described it,
I have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of God-wrestling,'"
said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian. "Just
as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the one
who has struggled with God and humans--and prevailed, so I and many
other lesbian and gay Jews have wrestled with Judaism and have
prevailed. Rather than run from our tradition, we engage with it through
a re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of a
Jewish ethic of sexuality based on deeply-rooted Jewish values."
Michael Tolkin supports Rabbi Berner (Grishaver) when he says:

Since Lev. 18:22 is as open to interpretation as any other
compound sentence in the Torah.... There are ways of reading it to
soften the harshest understanding, but... it might be more courageous to
say that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to defy
the law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic conversation
with Him....
Rabbi Steven Leder (1995) reinforces this position, in a moving
letter to his brother:

I know what the Torah says about homosexuality in this week's
portion; it's called "abomination punishable by death." But I don't
believe a loving God could have written such a thing. It could only have
come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could only
have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today. It
could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg; your
goodness and your deep Jewish soul.
The Conservative Position

That it has taken so long to get to the position of the
Conservative movement, in preparing this paper, should indicate to the
reader that finding a 'middle point', as the Conservative movement
strives to do, is difficult and at times, unmanageable.

In May 1990, the Rabbinical Assembly (the spiritual arm of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism)passed a resolution supporting
lesbian/gay civil rights, deploring violence against lesbians/gays,
reiterating that gays and lesbians are welcome as members in
Conservative congregations, and calling on synagogues and arms of the
Movement to increase awareness, understanding and concerns for lesbian
and gay Jews. The Women's League adopted essentially the same resolution
in November 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution in
November 1991, but omitted the fourth point (calling for awareness,
etc.) .

In 1992, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) Committee on Law and
Standards adopted two responsa on the issue of homosexuality and
Judaism. The majority report, written by then Chair Rabbi Joel Roth,
gave the (expectedly) conservative opinion that homosexuality was
clearly and plainly prohibited by the Torah as a to'evah ,and that was
that, contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and sexual
orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality
and were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff (1995)
tells it:

Most within this group openly worried about the future viability
of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they also
asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a slippery
slope which would make it impossible for us as a movement to affirm
Jewish sexual values of any sort. Some within this group also argued
that changing moral perceptions are.... Not sufficient reason to change
long-standing law.
Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially accepted
as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This means
that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern understanding
of the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category of
to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
with.

New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony of
homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who are
clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives and
often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise so
as to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
homosexuals.. .
Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense if
the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose to
be heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered an
abomination, for that implies that the person could choose to do
otherwise. In addition, ... since all of the relevant professional
organizations and most mental health professionals assert that sexual
orientation is ingrained in a person from an early age and cannot be
changed, homosexuals do not pose a threat to heterosexual, family life.
...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in accord
with classical Jewish views of the body and sexuality as God's gift
whose legitimate pleasures it is a sin to deny. . . The same Jewish
norms which apply to heterosexual relationships would govern homosexual
sex . . . This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing
commitment ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous, loving,
and Jewishly committed relationships among homosexuals.
This means that gay men and lesbians should be welcomed as full
participating members of the Jewish community and Conservative
synagogues. Nonetheless Tradition expresses a clear "preference" for
heterosexuality, especially when it comes to raising children (in which
two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also called
for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality in
general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact" on
the matter of homosexuality.

In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote a
report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the Rabbinical
Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a Rabbinic
Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate homophobia
and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
Conservative synagogues.

The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay and
lesbian Jews, to explore how the congregation may be more welcoming.
"The goal would be to sensitize synagogue members to the fact that
Jewish gays, lesbians and their families are not an outside group but
are part of our own community and should be treated as such".

It was suggested that, in synagogues with programs for special
constituencies, such programs might be created for homosexual Jews.
Information regarding support groups, such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays) could be disseminated by the synagogue, and the
synagogue might host such groups. At present, such a group does not
exist in London, but a well-motivated Synagogue group could help in
forming such a necessary organization.

A third suggestion was the inclusion of discussions of sexuality
and homosexuality as a part of adult and teen education programs.
Torati, Or Shalom's adult education group, has indeed included this,
both this year and in previous sessions. As Dorff says, "one consequence
of this is that Jewish homosexuals, like Jewish heterosexuals, should
not be seen narrowly as people who engage in certain kinds of sexual
practices, but rather as people and as Jews, with the full range of
interactions that people and Jews have with each other". The resource
book, Twice Blessed (1989) includes a comprehensive curriculum for teen
groups, and an outline for a workshop on homophobia.

Dorff's final suggestion is that Tikkun Olam (Social action)
programs be organized to advance the human rights of homosexuals.

The corollary of this outreach activity is that , as Dorff puts
it, "like all other Jews, gays and lesbians have the duties of Jewish
study and action, including affiliation and active participation in a
synagogue and in the Jewish community generally.

An anonymous student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, "David",
wrote as follows (1996):-

In a highly controversial and publicized decision, the
Conservative Movement's leadership stated that while gay and lesbian
Jews should be accepted in the community and synagogues, they should not
lead them, and as such, would not ordain openly gay rabbis-the Jewish
version of "don't-ask-don't-tell." This decision fell half-way between
total acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of
the Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that has
so wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and liberal
social issues has evaded the issue of gay and lesbian leadership. I
cannot imagine how the roles I have assumed in the Jewish
world-educator, volunteer, gabbai, donor and dugmah-have been hindered
by my sexuality. Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation in
tikkun olam is somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how or
who I love.
This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the Synagogue,
including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is attempting
to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational leaders.
Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and Judges
exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people who
are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism and
homophobia.

Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a Conservative
Jewish homosexual.

As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative Jewish
law) IS binding. The Conservative Movement, however, understands the
traditional halakhic sources (Bible, Talmud, etc.) as products of
different historical ages-which are often very different from our own
age! Deciding what is halakhically permissible is not only a matter of
reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural contexts
in which they developed. Regarding the biblical prohibitions against
male homosexual behavior (and the Rabbinic prohibitions against
lesbianism):
1) the classic halakhic positions were formulated when
idolatrous, incestuous, hedonistic, etc. homosexuality was known, but
long-term, monogamous same-sex relationships were not.
2) there was an assumption of free choice regarding homosexual
behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has only
become widely understood fairly recently.
Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that the
traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address the
phenomenon of gay life as we understand it today. Gay/lesbian
relationships can-and should!--be recognized and sanctified Jewishly.
For me, there is no incompatibility between being gay and
leading a halakhic life...the former is not a violation (or temporary
suspension) of the latter. Understanding sexuality this way is, of
course, radically different from how the tradition has understood it for
centuries. However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving
nature of halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes within
halakha. (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different: even
though traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led the
Conservative Movement to rule that women may halakhically participate
equally in ritual life.)
Three disclaimers:
1. This is certainly not the unanimous viewpoint within the
Conservative Movement. Many continue to see homosexual behavior as
unconditionally forbidden. However, I believe that more and more
Conservative Jews-laypeople as well as rabbis-are becoming more open to
the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison with
egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited acceptance
at first, which slowly diffuses throughout the movement, gaining more
adherents as people become more used to and comfortable with the idea
(although, of course, there will always be those who don't accept it).
2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an understanding
of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed by
God to Moses at Sinai will strongly disagree with what I have written
above. We have different understandings of the history of halakha.
Neither view can be "proven" more correct or true than the other;
hopefully, we can agree to disagree.
3. What I have written above may also be problematic to those
who argue that gay sexuality should not be confined to the narrow model
of heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
certainly support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways of
expressing themselves sexually to do so, I an uncomfortable to
articulate this within a halakhic framework (just as I would consider
non-monogamous heterosexual relationships to fall outside the purview of
halakha).
The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals. Currently,
many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a teshuvah
(responsum) on the issue (1995). As a preliminary, he explained,
paraphrasing Seymour Siegel, z"l that there are four categories under
which new laws or changes to older ones are necessary these are ethical
issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as women's
rights and cases involving marriage to a kohen; and the needs of our
times, in the case of driving to the synagogue on Shabbat. The Committee
on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly is mandated to
achieve a balance between change and tradition. The rabbi of each
congregation is the final authority for the congregation, Rabbinical
Assembly resolutions notwithstanding.

In considering this issue, Rabbi Kelman makes twelve sets of
underlying assumptions.

a.. All human beings are created in God's image (betzelem
elohim) and may enjoy what is commonly called human rights, and
obligations.

b.. Jews and homosexuals share a commonality, a history of
persecution and suffering. Historically, Jews have always been faced
with ethical decisions. "It seems to me that the defining issue for our
generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of ways,
only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."

c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The moral
imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
orientation.

d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to be
noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay Area
of San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population group
in North America.

e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means that
rights and obligations apply to all.

f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative Jews
in the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
points out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual relationships
because they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
ourselves.

g.. The issue of choice is a moot one. Rabbi Kelman states,
"while I do not hold to the view that would equate homosexual and
heterosexual marriage, the matter of choice remains unclear." Science is
little help in this regard.

h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do with
how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person." He
emphasizes that as a Rabbi, he is uncomfortable with delving into
people's sexual behaviors.

i.. There is a fear that a Congregational decision to sanctify
monogamous homosexual relationships may drive members away. So it is
with any and every change. Change is uncomfortable. People leave
congregations because they are too rigid, or they are too liberal
(either the people or the congregations).

j.. "We are figuring out just what it is God wants of us".
That is by no means clear. If we are Orthodox Jews, the Torah is God's
word. As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us today".

k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage is
defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to be
husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies. Jewish
law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an act
performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their personal
status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this change.
Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant. "According
to Jewish tradition, 'the covenant (brit) is the foundation for
relationships. Its aim is to create mutually exclusive reciprocal
relationships based on choice and accountability..'....The traditional
Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals under
the rules of property, not to mark a covenant."

l.. In his final argument, Rabbi Kelman discusses the
importance of blessings, berachot. "It seems to me...that it is quite
appropriate for any rabbi to ask for the blessings of God on two
individuals who are joining together in a loyal, permanent, monogamous,
loving, committed Jewish relationship."
Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial ceremony)
on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of the
same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
bases as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs commitment
ceremonies, which he renames b'ritot riyut (Covenants of love) for
homosexual couples.

In my opinion, if "marriage" is an unsuitable term for a
homosexual relationship, it is an unsuitable term for a heterosexual
relationship. If we reject the concept of marriage as an economic union
and a legalistic structure involving super- and subordination, then
Jewish marriage ceremonies must be restructured. The Reform movement
have done so. If, however, we wish to preserve the form of the
heterosexual marriage ceremony, while protecting the substance of
marriage as an equal partnership based on mutual respect and love, then
we should, in my opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the same
fashion as heterosexual couples.

The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the woman
is past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of Abraham
and Sarah. We cannot expect such miracles in our age. Yet Rabbis duly
officiate at the marriages of 80 year olds. Are fertility tests a
requirement of any rabbi, or any Conservative (or any other) synagogue?
The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need for
companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
(presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and he
loved her.

If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should value
Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To quote
Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality) as
an abomination... would surely agree that if homosexuals are going to
engage in sex, they should strive to let as many Jewish values as
possible shape their relations. To do otherwise... makes Judaism
irrelevant to them too."

Postscript

In preparing this combination research paper/resource document, I
would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis Larry
Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason Knisley;
Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver, and
my brother, Michael Shalev, who demonstrate in their lives, how to be
just, thinking, loving Jews. I dedicate my efforts to the 2,000 gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people whom I have attempted
to counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me so
much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people are
believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them are
Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing fight
believing homosexual people are involved in, for inclusion in their
religious communities.

This paper is my responsibility: it does not in any formal way,
reflect the views of Or Shalom Congregation or its leadership, of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism or its constituent members, or
of any particular organization. Please acknowledge the use of this in
any republication. As a side note, I have, in writing this, tried to
avoid the uses of the terms, 'gay' or 'straight'. To be gay means also
to be happy: to be straight, means also to be narrow.

About the author

I am a retired teacher and high school counselor, married with 3
children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington,
an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the University
of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the University
of Manitoba. My human rights involvement is life-long: I am a past
vice-president of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, and
served a 6 month term as a human rights officer for the Saskatchewan
Human Rights Commission. My 16 years in municipal and provincial
government included 4 years as an educational planner, and 10 as a
pension supervisor. For the past 3 years, I have been volunteering as a
counselor on the internet, coordinating a program to work with
homosexual teenagers.

My Jewish involvement is also life-long. I have been an active
congregant in Orthodox synagogues in Wellington, New Zealand, Windsor
and Hamilton, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
contact me at ***@sympatico.ca.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

American Psychiatric Association (1996) Gay and Lesbian Issues.

American Psychological Association (1996) Answers to your
Questions About Sexual Orientation And Homosexuality.

Anonymous. (1993). Gayness and God: Wrestlings of an Orthodox
Rabbi. Tikkun 8 (5)

Anonymous. (1996). The Reform Jewish perspective on gay and
lesbian marriage: the recent CCAR resolution.

Anonymous. (1996). One Foot in the Closet and One Foot Out, at the
Jewish Theological Seminary. New Voices. March 4.

Balka, C., and Rose, A. (eds). (1989). Twice Blessed: On Being
Lesbian or Gay and Jewish. Boston: Beacon Press

Bazelon, E. (1996). Secrets of the Temple. New Republic, May 6.

Blutinger, J. (1996) email to ***@shamash.org, Subject:
to'evah

Boswell, J. (1994). Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York.
Random House.

Boteach, S. (1993) Reinterpreting Homosexuality as Human Sexuality
(available from gopher)
gopher://www.shamash.org/00/lists/oxford-judaism/homosexuality

Bulka, R. and Spero, M.H. (eds) (1982) A Psychology-Judaism
Reader. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas

Central Congress of American Rabbis (1989). Homosexuality and The
Rabbinate.

Diament, C., ed. (1989). Jewish Marital Status: A Hadassah Study.
London, Jason Aronson.

Dorff, E. (1994) Sex, Values and the Law. Jerusalem Report, August
25.

Dorff , E., Newman, L.E. (eds.) (1995),Contemporary Jewish ethics
and morality : a reader. New York: Oxford

Dorff , E. (1995) This Is My Beloved, This Is My Friend: A
Rabbinic Letter on Intimate Relations. New York. Rabbinical Assembly.

Fierstein, H. (1981) Torch Song Trilogy. The Gay Presses of New
York, also [Film] (1987), Paul Bogart, Producer

Firestone, D., et al (1994) Education Against Homophobia.
Unpublished paper.

Flax, H. (1995) Sex, Lies & Hebrew School. Moment. 20(2)

Goldfarb, R.S. (1995), United Synagogue Convention, submission to
listserv gay jews <***@shamash.nysernet.org>, Nov 6.

Goldstein, H. (n.d.), Understand What It Means To Be Created in
the Image of God, in Being A Blessing: 54 Ways You Can Help People
Living With AIDS , Alef Design Group

Greenberg, B. (1981). On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society

Grishaver, J. L. (n.d.), Queer Halakhah. Unpublished paper

Herring, B. (1984). Jewish Ethics and Halakhah for Our Time:
Sources and Commentary. New York, Ktav

Jewish Publication Society (1985). Tanakh: A new Translation of
the Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text.
Philadelphia.

Kantrowitz, B. (1996) Gay Families Come Out. Newsweek, November 4.

Kellner, M. M., ed. (1978) Contemporary Jewish Ethics. New York:
Sanhedrin Press

Kelman, S. (1995) Community and Diversity: A Teshuvah on Gay and
Lesbian Couples at Congregation Netivot Shalom. Berkeley, CA.

Knisley, J. (1996) Religion and Homosexuality: A Christian
Stand-Point. http://members.tripod.com/~Buznog/jason.htm

Latz, M. (1996). Affirmed But Waiting at Hebrew Union College. New
Voices. March 4.

Leder, S. (1995) The Real Abominations. Jewish Journal, May 4.

Lerner, M. (1994), Jewish Renewal: A path to Healing and
Transformation. New York: Harper

Lerner, M. (1993), Curing Homophobia & Other Conservative
Pathologies. Tikkun 8 (5)

Magonet, J. (ed) (1995). Jewish explorations of sexuality .
Providence, RI: Berghahn

Plaskow, J. (1990). Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a
Feminist Perspective. San Francisco. Harper & Row.

Raphael, L. (1990), Dancing on Tisha b'Av, New York , St. Martin's
Press

Raphael , L. (1992) Winter Eyes .New York, St. Martin's Press

Raphael , L. (1996) Journeys & Arrivals: On Being Gay and Jewish.
Boston: Faber and Faber

Romanoff, L. (1990) Your People, My People: Finding Acceptance and
Fulfillment as a Jew by Choice. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society

Rothman, J. (1996) Judaism, Homosexuality, and Political Activism:
Analyzing the Need for Diversity in Approaching Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual
Politics. Unpublished paper.

Schwartz, B.D. (n.d.) The Jewish View of Homosexuality.

Shanks, H. (ed.) (1993). Homosexuality and Judaism. [Special
Issue] Moment, 18 (3)

Springer, J., et al (1995, 6), Re: Conservative movement,
submission to listserv gay jews <***@shamash.nysernet.org>

Strassfield, S. and S. (eds). (1976) The Second Jewish Catalog.
Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society

Torkelson, J. (1995). Rabbis to Relax Morality Rules: Conservative
Jews Tackle Sexual Issues in New Report, in Rocky Mountain News, August
17

Treadaway, D. (1996) Berner offers Jewish Approach to Issues of
Sexual Expression. New Voices. March 4.

Tucker, S. (1995). Our Queer World. The Humanist.
January/February.

_

Union of American Hebrew Congregations. (1995). A Resolution on
Promoting Equal Employment and Leadership Opportunities for Lesbians and
Gays in the Reform Movement.

Zelizer, G.L. (1995). Conservative Rabbis, their movement, and
American Judaism. Judaism. 3(292)



Return to Top

Congregation Beth Am
26790 Arastradero Rd
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Phone: 650-493-4661
Email: ***@betham.org




"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:50:39 GMT, "Susan Cohen" <***@verizon.net>
: wrote:
:
: >
: >"Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï" <***@zion.org.il> wrote in message
: >news:TYt0e.51018$***@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
: >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
: >> internet profile.
: >>
: >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: >>
: >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
: >>
: >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
: >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
: >
: >I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post as
: >he has.
: >
: >Susan
:
: I see you two "girls" have something in common.
:
: Were Rainman my own son, I would smite him with a sword. Through the
: heart.
:
: And then burn him to ashes in a funeral pyre of gasoline and wood.
:
: Lg
:
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 08:05:44 UTC
Spam report id 1388001431 sent to: ***@comcast.net
Spam report id 1388001435 sent to: ***@imaphost.com





"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:50:39 GMT, "Susan Cohen" <***@verizon.net>
: wrote:
:
: >
: >"Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï" <***@zion.org.il> wrote in message
: >news:TYt0e.51018$***@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
: >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
: >> internet profile.
: >>
: >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: >>
: >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
: >>
: >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
: >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
: >
: >I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post as
: >he has.
: >
: >Susan
:
: I see you two "girls" have something in common.
:
: Were Rainman my own son, I would smite him with a sword. Through the
: heart.
:
: And then burn him to ashes in a funeral pyre of gasoline and wood.
:
: Lg
:
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 08:09:43 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 10:05:44 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
ROFLMAO !!!
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >
: >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
: >> internet profile.
: >>
: >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: >>
: >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
: >>
: >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
: >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
: >
: >I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post as
: >he has.
: >
: >Susan
: I see you two "girls" have something in common.
: Were Rainman my own son, I would smite him with a sword. Through the
: heart.
: And then burn him to ashes in a funeral pyre of gasoline and wood.
: Lg
Gunner
2005-03-24 09:16:56 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 02:09:43 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
Post by Lawrence Glickman
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 10:05:44 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
ROFLMAO !!!
Seems you found the single nerve the Rainman has left.

That Anal Insertion Disease has really done a number on his brain
cells.

Gunner
Post by Lawrence Glickman
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >
: >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
: >> internet profile.
: >>
: >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: >>
: >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
: >>
: >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
: >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
: >
: >I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post as
: >he has.
: >
: >Susan
: I see you two "girls" have something in common.
: Were Rainman my own son, I would smite him with a sword. Through the
: heart.
: And then burn him to ashes in a funeral pyre of gasoline and wood.
: Lg
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 16:07:14 UTC
Post by Gunner
That Anal Insertion Disease has really done a number on his brain
cells.
Sigh,
This lack of maturity on the internet is depressing.

Susan
Gunner
2005-03-24 16:37:56 UTC
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Gunner
That Anal Insertion Disease has really done a number on his brain
cells.
Sigh,
This lack of maturity on the internet is depressing.
Susan
So is the kvetching about subjects that its apparent you know little
about, along with the support you give to someone who is obviously
deranged, ignorant and bigoted.

Not to mention your and his crossposting into a survival group
composed of rugged individualists who simply dont give a damn, and
will argue with a can of tomato soup simply for the hell of it. Or in
your and the Rainmans case...cabbages.

Gunner


Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 08:14:30 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 10:05:44 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
You slay me you old queer.
Queenie I mean. Fairy appropriate you gotta "run to mommy" cause you
can't HANDLE THE TRUTH!

You _solicit_ on the Internet for Vice! And then you purport to
REPORT ME for mirroring your exact Curriculum Vitae as posted at your
website?

You are fucking =insane= Rainman.
Kill yourself. You will feel better, and the headaches that bother
you will be gone forever.

Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 20:29:58 UTC
You are not a Jew at all!

You are a liar and a disgusting man.

You are calling me old, at age 40??????????

I am not the one who has the bad heart and about ready to croak!



"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 10:05:44 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: <***@zion.org.il> wrote:
:
: >Spam report id 1388001431 sent to: ***@comcast.net
: >Spam report id 1388001435 sent to: ***@imaphost.com
:
: You slay me you old queer.
: Queenie I mean. Fairy appropriate you gotta "run to mommy" cause you
: can't HANDLE THE TRUTH!
:
: You _solicit_ on the Internet for Vice! And then you purport to
: REPORT ME for mirroring your exact Curriculum Vitae as posted at your
: website?
:
: You are fucking =insane= Rainman.
: Kill yourself. You will feel better, and the headaches that bother
: you will be gone forever.
:
: Lg
:
myal
2005-03-24 22:37:09 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
You are not a Jew at all!
You are a liar and a disgusting man.
You are calling me old, at age 40??????????
Yeah , thats old from where Im looking at it

Ya old poof .
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
I am not the one who has the bad heart and about ready to croak!
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 10:05:44 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: You slay me you old queer.
: Queenie I mean. Fairy appropriate you gotta "run to mommy" cause you
: can't HANDLE THE TRUTH!
: You _solicit_ on the Internet for Vice! And then you purport to
: REPORT ME for mirroring your exact Curriculum Vitae as posted at your
: website?
: You are fucking =insane= Rainman.
: Kill yourself. You will feel better, and the headaches that bother
: you will be gone forever.
: Lg
Tim May
2005-03-24 08:26:19 UTC
Send a "spam report" like this on me and they will do nothing but laugh.

(On the other hand, if they do anything but laugh or ignore your spam
report, their families will need to be incinerated, and you and your
family will need to be converted to "turkeys" : arms and legs
surgically removed, with tourniquets to prevent death, then eyes and
tongue removed. Ears are left functional, to hear the wails of other
family members, not yet punished.)


--Tim May
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 08:28:26 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 00:26:19 -0800, Tim May
Post by Tim May
Send a "spam report" like this on me and they will do nothing but laugh.
(On the other hand, if they do anything but laugh or ignore your spam
report, their families will need to be incinerated, and you and your
family will need to be converted to "turkeys" : arms and legs
surgically removed, with tourniquets to prevent death, then eyes and
tongue removed. Ears are left functional, to hear the wails of other
family members, not yet punished.)
--Tim May
Moral:

If you don't want to get bitten, don't fuck with "the snake."
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 20:31:02 UTC
You are the one coming here and fucking with the wrong people, you cunt.



"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 00:26:19 -0800, Tim May
: <***@removethis.got.net> wrote:
:
: >In article <Vou0e.51027$***@bignews1.bellsouth.net>, Riain
: >Barton/øéòéï áøúåï <***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >
: >> Spam report id 1388001431 sent to: ***@comcast.net
: >> Spam report id 1388001435 sent to: ***@imaphost.com
: >>
: >
: >Send a "spam report" like this on me and they will do nothing but
laugh.
: >
: >(On the other hand, if they do anything but laugh or ignore your spam
: >report, their families will need to be incinerated, and you and your
: >family will need to be converted to "turkeys" : arms and legs
: >surgically removed, with tourniquets to prevent death, then eyes and
: >tongue removed. Ears are left functional, to hear the wails of other
: >family members, not yet punished.)
: >
: >
: >--Tim May
:
: Moral:
:
: If you don't want to get bitten, don't fuck with "the snake."
myal
2005-03-24 22:39:03 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
You are the one coming here and fucking with the wrong people, you cunt.
lets keep it clean , rainman old poof , trynot to be talking come ,
fucking , and sex all the time , hey old queer ?
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 00:26:19 -0800, Tim May
: >
: >>
: >
: >Send a "spam report" like this on me and they will do nothing but
laugh.
: >
: >(On the other hand, if they do anything but laugh or ignore your spam
: >report, their families will need to be incinerated, and you and your
: >family will need to be converted to "turkeys" : arms and legs
: >surgically removed, with tourniquets to prevent death, then eyes and
: >tongue removed. Ears are left functional, to hear the wails of other
: >family members, not yet punished.)
: >
: >
: >--Tim May
: If you don't want to get bitten, don't fuck with "the snake."
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 16:06:35 UTC
His post wasn't spam so much as it was filth.

Susan
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >
: >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
: >> internet profile.
: >>
: >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: >>
: >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
: >>
: >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
: >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
: >
: >I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post as
: >he has.
: >
: >Susan
: I see you two "girls" have something in common.
: Were Rainman my own son, I would smite him with a sword. Through the
: heart.
: And then burn him to ashes in a funeral pyre of gasoline and wood.
: Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 20:31:22 UTC
exactly and was reported for that reason.



"Susan Cohen" <***@verizon.net> wrote in message news:fAB0e.23429$***@trnddc07...
:
: "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï" <***@zion.org.il> wrote in message
: news:Vou0e.51027$***@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
: > Spam report id 1388001431 sent to: ***@comcast.net
: > Spam report id 1388001435 sent to: ***@imaphost.com
:
: His post wasn't spam so much as it was filth.
:
: Susan
: >
: >
: >
: >
: >
: > "Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message
: > news:***@4ax.com...
: > : On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:50:39 GMT, "Susan Cohen"
<***@verizon.net>
: > : wrote:
: > :
: > : >
: > : >"Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï" <***@zion.org.il> wrote in message
: > : >news:TYt0e.51018$***@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
: > : >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
: > simple
: > : >> internet profile.
: > : >>
: > : >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: > : >>
: > : >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even
masturbate!
: > : >>
: > : >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
: > Typical
: > : >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels
inferior!
: > : >
: > : >I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such
a
: > post as
: > : >he has.
: > : >
: > : >Susan
: > :
: > : I see you two "girls" have something in common.
: > :
: > : Were Rainman my own son, I would smite him with a sword. Through
the
: > : heart.
: > :
: > : And then burn him to ashes in a funeral pyre of gasoline and wood.
: > :
: > : Lg
: > :
: >
: >
:
:
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 10:27:24 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:50:39 GMT, "Suzy the convert"
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a simple
internet profile.
I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew??? Typical
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a post as
he has.
Suzy
Why would you be embarrassed, Suzy? You're not jewish - you're a
thick Irish cunt.
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >>
: >>Lg
: >>Jew and Zionist
: >
: >Shalom Larry. Well done.
: >
: >Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually
the
: >task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I
sorta
: >figure he doesnt have one.
: This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a Fate that
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: =====================================================
: I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back door
: with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
: common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents himself
: to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the mucous
: membranes in the oral cavity.
: Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or perhaps has
: a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating away at
: his necessary *bits.*
: He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural causes,
: as most queers do.
: Lg
: >Gunner
: >
: >
: >Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
: >all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
: >and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
: > michael
g***@netscape.net
2005-03-24 16:21:04 UTC
Who wouldn't be embarrassed being around -you-.
They don't come anymore embarrassing than -you-, dude.
Can't even take -you- to a dog show for mixed breeds,
that's how *bad* -you- are!

What a shame..
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:50:39 GMT, "Suzy the convert"
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a simple
internet profile.
I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even
masturbate!
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew??? Typical
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a post as
he has.
Suzy
Why would you be embarrassed, Suzy? You're not jewish - you're a
thick Irish cunt.
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:35:13 GMT, Gunner
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution
complex, not
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >>
: >>Lg
: >>Jew and Zionist
: >
: >Shalom Larry. Well done.
: >
: >Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually
the
: >task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I
sorta
: >figure he doesnt have one.
: This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a Fate that
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: =====================================================
: I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back door
: with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
: common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents himself
: to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the mucous
: membranes in the oral cavity.
: Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or
perhaps has
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating away at
: his necessary *bits.*
: He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural causes,
: as most queers do.
: Lg
: >Gunner
: >
: >
: >Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
: >all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily
recognized
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
: > michael
ren##n.org (The +Revd)
2005-03-24 16:55:53 UTC
Post by g***@netscape.net
Who wouldn't be embarrassed being around -you-.
They don't come anymore embarrassing than -you-, dude.
Can't even take -you- to a dog show for mixed breeds,
that's how *bad* -you- are!
What a shame..
Why don't you do yourself a favour and fuck yourself, you jew asshole?
Post by g***@netscape.net
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:50:39 GMT, "Suzy the convert"
in
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
internet profile.
I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even
masturbate!
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post as
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
he has.
Suzy
Why would you be embarrassed, Suzy? You're not jewish - you're a
thick Irish cunt.
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:35:13 GMT, Gunner
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/=F8=E9=F2=E9=EF
=E1=F8=FA=E5=EF"
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry
and
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is
"toast."
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution
complex, not
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get
onto
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you
have
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and
will
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death,
whose
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become
nuts.
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a
message
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
of
: >>Hope.
: >>
: >>Lg
: >>Jew and Zionist
: >
: >Shalom Larry. Well done.
: >
: >Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its
usually
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
the
: >task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but
I
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
sorta
: >figure he doesnt have one.
: This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a
Fate that
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back
door
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
: common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents
himself
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the
mucous
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: membranes in the oral cavity.
: Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or
perhaps has
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating
away at
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: his necessary *bits.*
: He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural
causes,
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: as most queers do.
: Lg
: >Gunner
: >
: >
: >Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of
the
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily
recognized
Post by ren##n.org (The +Revd)
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
: > michael
=20
Jaelkay
2005-03-24 11:50:11 UTC
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a simple
internet profile.
I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew??? Typical
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a post
as.
he has.
Susan
I feel quite certain he feels more than a little embarrassed to have you
pair of Irish idiots posting in the forum as experts on all things Jewish,
and further embarrassment at your claims to be Jews.

Barton is an ugly person, physically, morally, ethically and spiritually.

JK
Susan Cohen
2005-03-24 16:08:31 UTC
Post by Jaelkay
Post by Susan Cohen
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a simple
internet profile.
I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew??? Typical
of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a post
as.
he has.
Susan
I feel quite certain he feels more than a little embarrassed to have you
pair of Irish idiots posting in the forum as experts on all things Jewish,
and further embarrassment at your claims to be Jews.
I'm sure someone as ignorant and bigoted as he is would think just like you
do.
(Big Hint: when you look for facts, don;t look to other bigots to provide
them)
Post by Jaelkay
Barton is an ugly person, physically, morally, ethically and spiritually.
Funny, I was thinking the same about you - tho' I am only guessing at the
physical part.
You *act* like you're unattractive.

Susan
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 20:32:31 UTC
Who the fuck are you???

One I am from IRELAND and JEWISH with a degree in Jewish Studies, as
well as an ISRAELI.

Two, Susan is an American not Irish, and is an Orthodox Jew!

WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?????????????



"Jaelkay" <***@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:***@individual.net...
:
: "Susan Cohen" <***@verizon.net> wrote in message
: news:jju0e.18210$***@trnddc01...
: >
: > "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï" <***@zion.org.il> wrote in message
: > news:TYt0e.51018$***@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
: >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
: >> internet profile.
: >>
: >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: >>
: >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
: >>
: >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
: >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
: >
: > I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post
: > as.
: > he has.
: >
: > Susan
:
: I feel quite certain he feels more than a little embarrassed to have
you
: pair of Irish idiots posting in the forum as experts on all things
Jewish,
: and further embarrassment at your claims to be Jews.
:
: Barton is an ugly person, physically, morally, ethically and
spiritually.
:
: JK
:
:
:
Jaelkay
2005-03-24 21:48:22 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Who the fuck are you???
One I am from IRELAND and JEWISH with a degree in Jewish Studies, as
well as an ISRAELI.
Two, Susan is an American not Irish, and is an Orthodox Jew!
WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?????????????
: I feel quite certain he feels more than a little embarrassed to have
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
you
: pair of Irish idiots posting in the forum as experts on all things
Jewish,
: and further embarrassment at your claims to be Jews.
: Barton is an ugly person, physically, morally, ethically and
spiritually.
: JK
I rest my case.

Note: Australians consider a Bachelor of Arts degree as a joke. "BA" is an
acronym for Bachelor of Attendance. Don't have to do much work to be
provided with one. With you expansive academic credentials, you are probably
being headhunted left, right and centre.

I would think the degree you continuously mention, is slightly less relevant
in today's world than a qualification as a naval gunner.

You are a very sick individual. I have no desire to ever see any of your
nonsense again - therefore - PLONK
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 23:04:58 UTC
HAHAHAHAH typical bigoted behaviour... run little wallaby run away!!!

Australians can assume all the want, it does not make it a fact.

A B.A. is liberal arts can be a joke, but that is not what mine is in.

You obviously know very little about Jewish Studies and how much money
can be made.



"Jaelkay" <***@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:***@individual.net...
:
: "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï" <***@zion.org.il> wrote in message
: news:BlF0e.52381$***@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
: > Who the fuck are you???
: >
: > One I am from IRELAND and JEWISH with a degree in Jewish Studies, as
: > well as an ISRAELI.
: >
: > Two, Susan is an American not Irish, and is an Orthodox Jew!
: >
: > WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?????????????
:
: : I feel quite certain he feels more than a little embarrassed to have
: > you
: > : pair of Irish idiots posting in the forum as experts on all things
: > Jewish,
: > : and further embarrassment at your claims to be Jews.
: > :
: > : Barton is an ugly person, physically, morally, ethically and
: > spiritually.
: > :
: > : JK
: > :
:
: I rest my case.
:
: Note: Australians consider a Bachelor of Arts degree as a joke. "BA"
is an
: acronym for Bachelor of Attendance. Don't have to do much work to be
: provided with one. With you expansive academic credentials, you are
probably
: being headhunted left, right and centre.
:
: I would think the degree you continuously mention, is slightly less
relevant
: in today's world than a qualification as a naval gunner.
:
: You are a very sick individual. I have no desire to ever see any of
your
: nonsense again - therefore - PLONK
:
:

myal
2005-03-24 22:40:18 UTC
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Who the fuck are you???
One I am from IRELAND and JEWISH with a degree in Jewish Studies, as
well as an ISRAELI.
You'd be the original irish joke then .
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
Two, Susan is an American not Irish, and is an Orthodox Jew!
WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?????????????
: >
: >> Amazing how you think you can know about sexual habits from a
simple
: >> internet profile.
: >>
: >> I am HIV NEGATIVE, that it is none of your business...
: >>
: >> Of course with your bad ticker, you probably can't even masturbate!
: >>
: >> Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow Jew???
Typical
: >> of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who feels inferior!
: >
: > I am incredibly embarrassed to think that a Jew could write such a
post
: > as.
: > he has.
: >
: > Susan
: I feel quite certain he feels more than a little embarrassed to have
you
: pair of Irish idiots posting in the forum as experts on all things
Jewish,
: and further embarrassment at your claims to be Jews.
: Barton is an ugly person, physically, morally, ethically and
spiritually.
: JK
Gunner
2005-03-24 09:16:47 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 09:35:41 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
<***@zion.org.il> wrote:


So Rainman, Is that why you are so angry and have to attack a fellow
Jew??? Typical of someone with low self-esteem and of someone who
feels inferior!

Gunner
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >>
: >>Lg
: >>Jew and Zionist
: >
: >Shalom Larry. Well done.
: >
: >Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually
the
: >task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I
sorta
: >figure he doesnt have one.
: This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a Fate that
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: =====================================================
: I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back door
: with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
: common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents himself
: to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the mucous
: membranes in the oral cavity.
: Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or perhaps has
: a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating away at
: his necessary *bits.*
: He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural causes,
: as most queers do.
: Lg
: >Gunner
: >
: >
: >Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
: >all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
: >and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
: > michael
Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
michael
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 07:41:31 UTC
what lifestyle would that be, JEWISH???

So we see you are also a homophobic BIGOT! What a surprise, NOT!

You think you are bothering me by posting my Yahoo Profile???

What a sad pathetic old bigot you are!!!

http://profiles.yahoo.com/riain912


"Lawrence Glickman" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...
: On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 05:35:13 GMT, Gunner <***@lightspeed.net>
: wrote:
:
: >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:03:34 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
: ><***@comcast.net> wrote:
: >
: >>On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 01:54:46 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
: >><***@zion.org.il> wrote:
: >>
: >>>You are a psychiatrist?
: >>>
: >>>It isn't acceptable for people to point out LIES and bigotry and
defend
: >>>themselves from people who wish to harm them???
: >>>
: >>>You are just another Jew-Hating cunt trying to find a way to
discredit a
: >>>JOOO, but you failed, as usual.
: >>
: >>It appears to me ( and others as well ) that your brain is "toast."
: >>You seem to be suffering from some kind of persecution complex, not
: >>too dissimilar from paranoiac schizophrenia.
: >>
: >>It's too early in the game to say for certain, but if you get onto
: >>some doctor-recommended medication, maybe the little monsters
running
: >>around in your head will go away.
: >>
: >>Regarding your assertions about "lies, bigotry" and so on, you have
to
: >>realize that people like these have always been around, and will
: >>continue to be around, and if you let them hound you to death, whose
: >>fault is that? yours or theirs?
: >>
: >>You give them permission to drive you nuts, you WILL become nuts.
: >>Take it from someone who has been there and returned with a message
of
: >>Hope.
: >>
: >>Lg
: >>Jew and Zionist
: >
: >Shalom Larry. Well done.
: >
: >Will you administer the coup de gras with the Katana? Its usually
the
: >task of the best friend of the old boy committing sepuku...but I
sorta
: >figure he doesnt have one.
:
: This victim of procreation, Rainman, is going to meet with a Fate that
: is most likely going to be a product of his stated lifestyle:
:
: to wit:
:
: 40-year-old Queer Jewish Man, originally from Ireland.
:
: Currently living in Savannah, Georgia, USA
:
: Moving back to Israel in 2006/2007
:
: Looking to make friends in Israel now.
: =====================================================
:
: I think that his propensity for poking boys and men in the back door
: with his wee-wee is going to be his downfall. It should also be
: common knowledge that being a cocksucker such as he represents himself
: to be, opens up one to the vector of infection through the mucous
: membranes in the oral cavity.
:
: Perhaps he has already contracted a fatal dose of HIV, or perhaps has
: a syphlitic infection working away inside his cranium, eating away at
: his necessary *bits.*
:
: He will die soon enough, that is certain. And from un-Natural causes,
: as most queers do.
:
: Lg
:
:
: >Gunner
: >
: >
: >Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the
: >all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized
: >and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious.
: > michael
:
Lawrence Glickman
2005-03-24 07:49:52 UTC
On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 09:41:31 +0200, "Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï"
Post by Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
what lifestyle would that be, JEWISH???
you are a Jew IN NAME ONLY!
No Holy Entity could consider you to be anything other than vile
FILTH!

Lose the Jew tag. You are =not= entitled to it.

Lg
Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï
2005-03-24 08:02:32 UTC
The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general, but
it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution
that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior
on the part of heterosexuals.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Homosexuality And Judaism

Ian Silver

What is Homosexuality?

http://www.betham.org/kulanu/iansilver.html


The American Psychological Association (1996) says as follows:

Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized: homosexual,
attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual, attraction
to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to members
of either gender. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes
referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers
to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their
sexual orientation in their behaviors.
It is very important to distinguish between homosexual feelings,
and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of the
opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at least
one homosexual experience. This does not per se establish sexual
orientation. A homosexual, then, is a person whose fundamental sexual
attraction is to people of his or her own gender.

Many people feel that homosexuality is an illness. The American
Psychiatric Association (1996) is very clear about this:

For a mental condition to be considered as a psychiatric
disorder, it should either regularly cause emotional distress or
regularly be associated with clinically significant impairment of social
functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria, [because]
a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly satisfied
with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology. .
. [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and those
who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so for
reasons other than their homosexuality.
In my counseling practice, I find that most issues relate to
self-acceptance, families, peers, dating, and lack of acceptance by
others. Sexual orientation does not, per se, cause these problems and
they are found in all social groups. The high level of suicide,
alcoholism and other forms of self-rejection amongst young homosexuals
is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization and
rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people of
their own gender.

There is much debate about what causes homosexuality: is it a
genome, or is it environmental? Nature, or nurture? The debate is, to
me, rather abstract. Realistically, it does not matter why a person is
gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change environments
ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an acceptance
and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this understanding
is authentic.

Many Orthodox Jewish sources emphasize choice in homosexuality.
The assumption is that people choose to be gay. People do not choose
their sexuality. In any case, who would choose to be oppressed and
marginalised by society? Who would choose to be excluded from social
events? Who would choose to be ridiculed, to be stigmatized, to be
beaten up, to be isolated? Who would want to be forced to hide, to
pretend to be what one is not?

In these ways, homosexuals are like Jews. Judaism is not something
we choose, but is that which is chosen for us, by birth or by the
intense beliefs which lead one to conversion. One can pretend not to be
Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever lifestyle,
but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out of
Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals can,
and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their feelings,
and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
sex.

Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that one
cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much literature
amongst fundamentalist Christian groups, alleging that homosexuals
recruit young people to their 'lifestyle'. It is true that male
prostitutes are often recruited from amongst homeless heterosexual teen
males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own Private
Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors portraying
young hustlers. The prostitutes saw themselves as heterosexual in
orientation, in proportion to the general population. Beyond this
specific type of recruitment, a heterosexual cannot be 'recruited' to
change his/her orientation.

We hear much about the so-called 'homosexual lifestyle'.
Homosexuals are not stereotypical, any more than Jews are stereotypical.
There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the population
who are predominantly or exclusively homosexual in orientation. Some
gays are politically conservative; some are wild radicals. Some are
promiscuous, some are monogamous. Some live in so-called gay ghettos.
Some listen to Abba and dress well; others listen to Wynona Judd and
dress carelessly. The Internet website, Twice Blessed, which is the
Jewish GLBT archive, (GLBT stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgendered/Transsexual) http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/oneigla/tb/
includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday list:-

a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna, a
prominent psychologist and the daughter of Sigmund Freud, died on
October 9th, 1982.
b.. Dr. Gilbert Miller was born on December 5th, 1934.
Gilbert, the father of two sons, died on August 8th, 1986 from
AIDS-related causes.
c.. Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12th, 1924. He
is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is the
author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
Struggle".
e.. Jason Emanuel Gould was born on December 29th, 1966.
Jason, a handsome actor and filmmaker, will probably always be best
known for being the son of Elliot Gould.
There are many other famous Jewish homosexuals, including Leonard
Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Allen Ginsburg, Janis Ian, Marcel Proust,
Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas. We see no specific commonality, no
'lifestyle', in this group of Jewish homosexuals. Along with this
assumption about lifestyle, is the allegation that some homosexuals
emulate the roles found in heterosexual couples, both in sexual matters,
and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone who
acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is attracted
to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical homosexual
relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as the
assertion that "all Jews are rich".

Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge homosexuals
to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual. This
is dangerous territory. The American Psychiatric Association (1996)
asserts that:

There is no published scientific evidence supporting the
efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change ones sexual
orientation . . . There is no evidence that any treatment can change a
homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the same
sex. . . [Any] person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so
because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, ...
Gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation
positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.
There is absolutely no evidence that homosexuals are more prone to
molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there is
no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than heterosexuals.
(APA, 1996).

Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual
parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of
children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social
adjustment, popularity with friends, development of social sex role
identity or development of sexual orientation
Jewish society, is for the most part, homophobic and heterosexist
in nature. (Firestone, 1994).

Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader meaning
and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about lesbians
and gay men . . . Heterosexism [describes] a spectrum of ideas and
practices that assume heterosexuality is superior to and/or more
'natural than homosexuality . . . Individuals who neither hate nor fear
homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming that
everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by which
other sexual orientations should be judged.
A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day that
his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his new
step-grandparents and their family. To paraphrase his words to me, "I
have learned a lot of Yiddish, lately: shiksa, shaygetz, goy,
faygele....." What a positive image of Judaism we portray, with these
pejorative, bigotted terms? Are these the Jewish 'family values' that
are so integral to Judaism?

The President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, quoted by the Associated
Press on December 23, 1996

told a group of high school students in Haifa that he did not
like "a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man."
"I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students he
opposed the growing trend of homosexuals coming out of the closet.
``Like alcoholism, I don't think we need to encourage it or say it is
something wonderful,'' he said. Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi, Bakshi
Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by Israel's
army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
phenomenon.''
Weizman later issued a "statement of regret" , but did not
apologize for what he said.

It can be argued that this is but a reflection of society at
large. Judaism, however, is more than a reflection of society. We are a
belief system based on justice and positive ethical behaviors. In the
last part of my paper, I will discuss ways in which the Conservative
movement has suggested that we, as members of Or Shalom, can combat
homophobia and heterosexism, within ourselves, our congregation, and the
community at large.

The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality

[Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason Knisley,
who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it does
condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that was
part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one time,
in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the part
of heterosexuals.

Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above before
proceeding to the Biblical references regarding homosexuality. The
first, homosexual rape, would be sinful (if not completely evil) even
without the word "homosexual" prefacing the word "rape."

Second, many of the references to men having sex with other men
refer to the Canaanite fertility cult. For instance, some English
translations of the word kedeshim render it "sodomites" when, in
reality, it should be "male temple prostitute."

The final point regards heterosexuals imitating homosexual
behavior. This is probably in place because of not only the Canaanites,
but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural. This
may also have been stated because ancient Greek society placed
importance on all men taking a male lover as well as a wife. Since
homosexual acts are not unnatural to homosexuals, this statement does
not apply to them.

Biblical references to homosexuality are very few, and most refer
to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are few
that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual act.

Rothman (1996) states that confronting the account of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Genesis is extremely difficult for gay men and lesbians.
Indeed, even without considering the halacha, these passages seem to
strongly indicate that the founding Jewish communities prohibited sex
between male partners.

This connection is made by juxtaposing the request of the
Sodomites with the final destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God. In
19:5 the men ask, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request by
offering his virgin daughters as substitutes, few have questioned the
sexual content of this account, and therefore the prohibitive
implications for gays and lesbians.

In the ancient Near East, hospitality to travelers was considered
not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported by
the Leviticus 19:33, but by the marked contrast between Abraham and
Lot's treatment of the angels and the townsmen's' treatment of them.

The violation that the people of Sodom made was not that of a
loving, homosexual relationship, but of inhospitality. This idea is not
a new interpretation since most comments, both within and without the
Bible, make the sins of Sodom out to be various things, but not
homosexuality. For example, Isaiah 1:9 & ff. and 3:9 declare it to be
because of a lack of social justice. According to Ezekiel 16:46-52, it
was disregard for the poor. (Schwartz, n.d.).

The Talmud and Midrashim often refer to the sins of Sodom as
pride, arrogance, and inhospitality. One mention of homosexuality comes
in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves whenever a
stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of his
money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they are
in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case, these
sins are not foreign to heterosexuality, either, and should be no
indicator of whether homosexuality is a sin. And if it were,
heterosexuality would have to summarily be declared a sin along with
homosexuality since heterosexuals have raped people, as well.

Other mention of homosexuality is limited. In Gen. 39, it seems
that both Potiphar and his wife had a sexual interest in the young
Joseph. (cf Gen. Rabba 91:1/Sotah 16b). I Sam. 18-20 describes the
intense love between David and Jonathan, in terms used nowadays to
describe homosexual love. Frequently, the point is made that Jonathan
"loved David as himself".

In another passage, that has been used, there are references to
kadesh and kedeshim mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I Kings 14:24,
15:12, & 22:46, II Kings 23:7, and in Job 36:14. Some English
translations render it as "sodomite(s)." The literal translation,
however, is "holy man" or "holy men." This passage forbids the Israelite
men to become such, as it also does women.

Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the priests
and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of the
Bible tends to support the inference that both of these engaged in
ritual intercourse with male worshippers. It is asserted by Jacob
Milgrom that this and other later sections of Deuteronomy were additions
by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the Hebrew
word for female prostitute. Because of this, it seems a far better
translation of kadesh and kedeshim would be "male cult prostitute."
Rabbi Kelman quotes Harold Schulweis: "What the Bible inveighed against
was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all forms
of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).

Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie with a
male as with a woman;" the latter verse invokes the death penalty
because it is toevah. While toevah is usually translated as
"abomination," it is used, in the Bible, to refer to idolatry and its
practices.

In reference to this Norman Lamm states ( quoted in Kellner):

It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination is
prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the matter
rests. It is, as it were, a visible reaction, an intuitive
disqualification of the act, and we run the risk of distorting the
biblical judgment if we rationalize it. To'evah constitutes a category
of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful", according
to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites, the
injunctions are probably directed toward the homosexual prostitution
found in the Canaanite cult. It cannot be to prohibit all homosexual
behavior because it does not make an injunction toward female-female
sex. This cannot be an oversight since injunctions were made toward both
sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be one
against bisexuality. Referring to to'evah, Boteach (1993) says "there
are many other uses of the word to'evah in the Torah which would not
depict a social loathing or repulsion of a particular mode of human
behavior".

In terms of Conservative Jewish practice, Rabbi Kelman (1995)
further points out that "there is at least one instance where we, as
Conservative Rabbis, disregard to'evah completely. We may, according to
the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
non-mamzer."

In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in the
name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not obliterated
from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
(males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The same
Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.

To quote Jacob Rothman:

As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns are
reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed; the
procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty of
men to engage in intercourse weekly (the onah); and the concern for
ritual purity. All five are based largely on ancient conceptions of
physiology, anthropology, and various theological claims regarding the
nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11) provides
an outline for conjugal rights. In the Mishna, the frequency in which
the onah must be provided is further specified. In addition, it is
explained that male sexual energy is boundless, while the energy of the
female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not only
on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis were
fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order to
fulfill this obligation. To be able to arouse a wife is viewed as a
mitzvah, or a sacred obligation for men. Therefore, according to this
understanding, sex between men is not a mitzvah because it occurs
outside of marriage, and does not focus on arousing a woman.
In reference to the other four concerns, the basic understanding
and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the behavioral
norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that sex
is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex partners;
in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably in
the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious calendar;
at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention to
women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will be
procreative.
Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex, (Gen.
1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as presented
in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man, so
that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not homosexuals.
In Kiddushin 82a, Rabbi Judah stated that "Jews are not suspected of
homosexuality". As Rabbi Bradley Artson points out (Grishaver) "The
Torah did not prohibit what it did not know".

Plaskow observes (Lerner, 1993) that "it's ironic that the
importance of procreation in the Jewish world is often coupled with a
rejection of homosexuality and the marginalization of gay and lesbian
Jews who want to become part of the Jewish community and who are,
despite their homosexuality, having children and raising families. And
then this (rejection) is argued for in the name of preserving the
community in the face of feeling that there aren't enough of us."

Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, establishes rigid prohibitions
against homosexual behavior, although he later asserts that the
practices were unknown. (Hilkhot Issurei Biah 22:2). I will deal later
with the issue of procreation and homosexuality. In summary, the
Biblical and halachic prohibitions are based on three things: the
indignity of religious harlotry; the primacy of family in Judaism; and a
distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along with
much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.



A Midrash

There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter 4),
which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from Migdal
Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his horse
by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly
are the children of Abraham our father." The other man replied, "What
can I do for you? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." Rabbi Shimon
immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said,
"I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not forgive
you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the
vessel which You have made."

Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in
town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him and
greeted him with the words, "Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man
said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who
is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi,
may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the
whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed,
only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.

The Holy One created all kinds of people. We have to accept,
welcome, and love that diversity God created, or else take those issues
up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity is
what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and involvement
with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and our
greatest hope.

It is not up to us to judge people based on the color of their
skin, or their gender, or their sexual orientation. If you have a
problem with the fact that a person is gay, a woman, or of a different
skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to be
different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is not
with the created but with the Creator.

by Rabbi Harris Goldstein, from the book: Being A Blessing :54
Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS

The Traditional Viewpoint

As Rothman (1996) points out, any discussion of the Traditionalist
perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community. Quoting
Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability for
ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism and
homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In reference to this question
Rabbi Norman Lamm (quoted in Kellner) has stated that homosexuality:
frustrates the divine intent of procreation; undermines the family; and
is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument he
asserts that homosexuals should be viewed as patients rather than
criminals. As a result, psychological assistance must be extended to
those who cannot avoid homosexual desire. This statement of course
denies the possibility of viewing homosexuality as a viable form of
sexual fulfillment and personal expression. Regrettably, this has been
the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis. Although
it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements have
generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend religious
legitimacy to homosexual desire.

The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by Rabbi
Shmuel Boteach (1993):

Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very idea
of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is primarily
instinctive, and deviation is incompatible with an instinct. Why then
should homosexuality be frowned upon? Can we say it is anymore
objectionable than some of the other forms of sexuality or sexual
behavior that are sanctioned by Torah law? The only explanation we can
offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality and
mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing to
accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally instinctive.
Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any sexual
behavior unnatural. However, the Jewish objection to homosexuality is
based purely on the fact that G-d has revealed the forms of sexual
behavior He deems to be holy, and those which are not. This is not to
say that any form is any more natural. It does mean that, aside from
heterosexuality, G-d has proscribed all other forms of sexual congress,
however desirable or gratifying, to humankind.
Boteach goes on to state that "Every young person must at some
time consider their sexuality and what they intend to do with it. Is it
to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities that
can be used to create a thriving and happy community?"

In considering homosexuality, this young Orthodox rabbi, who at
the time he wrote this paper, was involved with the Lubavitch movement,
says that "While various papers have been published offering an Halakhic
appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective being
proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections of
the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and something
deeply shameful, a sickness, at worst. . .The problem with this
simplistic dismissal of such an emotive issue is its inhumanity." He
criticizes much of modern Orthodoxy for behaving