Riain Barton/øéòéï áøúåï wrote:
> The Bible [Torah] does not condemn homosexuality in general, but
> it does condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual
> that was part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at
> one time, in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and
> on the part of heterosexuals.
> Homosexuality And Judaism
> Ian Silver
> What is Homosexuality?
> The American Psychological Association (1996) says as follows:
> Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized:
> attraction to individuals of one's own gender; heterosexual,
> to individuals of the other gender; or bisexual, attractions to
> 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
> 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
> and homosexual behaviors. Many people of both genders experiment with
> their sexuality during adolescence. Many gay people date persons of
> opposite sex, to try to 'fit in'. Many heterosexuals will have at
> 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
> functioning. . . [Homosexuality] does not meet these criteria,
> a significant portion of gay and lesbian people were clearly
> with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology.
> . [Homosexuals are] able to function effectively in society, and
> who [seek psychiatric or psychological] treatment most often did so
> 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
> is more than likely, the internalization of society's stigmatization
> rejection of the natural inclination of gay people to desire people
> 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
> gay, for we cannot change genomes yet, and we cannot change
> ex post facto. It suffices to accept that people come to an
> and understanding that they are homosexual, and that this
> 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
> 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
> Jewish; one can 'convert' to Christianity, or live whatever
> but Judaism is what we are. To paraphrase: one can take the Jew out
> Judaism, but one can never take Judaism out of the Jew. Homosexuals
> and often do, lead heterosexual lives; yet their souls, their
> and their desires are and always will be towards members of their own
> Since homosexuality is not a choice, it stands to reason that
> cannot be 'recruited' to become gay or lesbian. There is much
> 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
> males, desperate for money for food or drugs. The movie, My Own
> Idaho, includes a discussion of this very issue by the actors
> 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
> There are gay athletes and heterosexual dress designers. Lifestyle,
> then, is as varied as the 7-10% of the cross-section of the
> 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
> includes the following homosexual Jews in its December birthday
> a.. Dr. Anna Freud was born on December 3rd, 1895. Anna,
> 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.
> is best known for having been the mayor of New York City.
> d.. Elly Bulkin was born on December 17th, 1944. Elly is
> author of "Enter Password: Recovery" and co-author of "Yours in
> 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
> 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
> and in lifestyle. So-called "drag queens" and "butch" women are small
> minorities. Homosexuals, by and large, are not looking for someone
> acts like a member of the opposite sex. A homosexual male is
> to his partner's maleness. As with any relationship, some people are
> more dominant or assertive than others, but the stereotypical
> relationship shown, for example, in Birdcage, is just that: a
> stereotype, not reflective of reality in all situations, as valid as
> assertion that "all Jews are rich".
> Many Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians urge
> to change, to search out therapy that will make them heterosexual.
> 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
> homosexual person's deep seated sexual feelings for others of the
> 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
> molest children or young adults, than heterosexuals. Likewise, there
> no evidence that homosexuals would be worse parents than
> (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
> in nature. (Firestone, 1994).
> Homophobia is strictly defined as an irrational fear of
> homosexuals. In modern usage, however, homophobia has a broader
> and includes the expression of negative bias against lesbians and gay
> men. It is bound up with a number of negative stereotypes about
> 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
> homosexuals may still ignore their existence and needs by assuming
> everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is the norm by
> other sexual orientations should be judged.
> A gentile homosexual man in his mid-20s told me the other day
> his mother recently married a Jewish man. He described meeting his
> 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
> "I myself am disgusted by this,'' he said. Weizman told the students
> 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,
> Doron, said he supported Weizman's position, and was quoted by
> army radio as calling homosexuality ``a despicable and abnormal
> 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
> 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
> community at large.
> The Biblical and Talmudic Positions on Homosexuality
> [Much of this section paraphrases the research of Jason
> who wrote his amazing paper on the subject last year, at age 14.]
> The Bible does not condemn homosexuality in general, but it
> condemn three things: homosexual rape, the ritual prostitution that
> part of the Canaanite fertility cult that was apparently, at one
> in Jewish practice as well, and homosexual lust and behavior on the
> of heterosexuals.
> Let us examine each of the three concepts mentioned above
> 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
> but because, to heterosexuals, homosexual acts would be unnatural.
> 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
> to things that apply universally, regardless of sexuality. There are
> that could conceivably be about male-male love, not just the sexual
> 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
> out to us, that we may know them." Since Lot responds to this request
> 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
> not a courtesy, but a religious duty. This idea is not only supported
> 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
> 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,
> 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
> in the form of a statement having to do with the rape and robbery of
> strangers. ("The Sodomites made an agreement among themselves
> stranger visited them they would force him to sodomy and rob him of
> money.") While such things are homosexual, it is also true that they
> in the context of rape, robbery, and inhospitality. In this case,
> 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
> men to become such, as it also does women.
> Bible scholars today believe that these terms refer to the
> and priestesses of the Canaanite Fertility Cult. Evidence outside of
> 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
> by a particular priestly school, known as H (for Holiness). The
> Deuteronomy passage also seems to equate kedeshah with zonah, the
> 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
> was the pagan tradition that paid obeisance to pagan gods by all
> of illicit behavior".(Kelman, 1995).
> Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 tells the men of Israel not to "lie
> 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
> In reference to this Norman Lamm states ( quoted in Kellner):
> It may be . . . that an act characterized as an abomination
> prima facie disgusting and cannot further be defined or explained.
> Certain acts are considered to'evah by the Torah, and there the
> 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
> of objectionableness sui generis: it is a primary phenomenon.
> A better translation of to'evah might be "distasteful",
> to Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth. And since the injunctions are in the
> context of the Israelites imitating the practices of the Canaanites,
> 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
> sexes regarding having intercourse with animals. Stuart Kelman, a
> Conservative Rabbi, speculates that the prohibition may, in fact, be
> 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
> 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
> the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, officiate at a marriage
> involving the offspring of an adulterous couple (mamzer) to a
> In Genesis Rabbah 26:5 (cf: Hullin 92a-b), Rabbi Huna said in
> name of Rabbi Joseph, "The generation of the flood was not
> from the world until they wrote marriage contracts/wedding hymns for
> (males with) males and (people with) animals." (Grishaver, 4). The
> Rabbi Huna also equated lesbianism with harlotry.
> To quote Jacob Rothman:
> As described by Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the following five concerns
> reflected in the halakhic discussion of sexuality: economy of seed;
> procreative purpose of sex; the role of women and the conjugal duty
> 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
> nature of revelation in the Torah. For example, in reference to the
> fourth concern, it is understood that the Torah (Exodus 21:11)
> 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
> female is subdued and therefore must be aroused. As a result of this
> biblical and physiological understanding there is an emphasis not
> on providing the onah, but on the specific techniques that men must
> master in order to perform the latter correctly. The ancient rabbis
> fundamentally concerned with the proper methods of arousal in order
> 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
> and biases of the ancient rabbis largely dictates the parameters of
> sexual expression as defined in the halacha. Summarizing the
> norms that are generated from these beliefs, it can be stated that
> is only licit and sacred when it occurs: between opposite sex
> in the context of marriage; through vaginal intercourse; preferably
> the missionary style; at permitted times during the religious
> at permitted times during the woman's menstrual cycle; with attention
> women's satisfaction and pleasure; with the expectation that it will
> Thus, homosexuality violates the mitzvah of procreative sex,
> 1:28), as Rabbi Janet Marder points out. The natural order, as
> in Genesis, was that woman was created to fulfill and complete man,
> that man would not be alone. (Diament). This prohibition went with
> Rabbinic and Halachic assertions that Jews simply were not
> 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.
> 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
> 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;
> distinction between homosexual love, and homosexual practice, along
> much denial that loving homosexual relationships could be sustained.
> A Midrash
> There's a story in the Talmud, Masechet Derech Eretz (Chapter
> which relates that once Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from
> Eder, from his teacher's house, and he was riding leisurely on his
> by the seaside. A certain man chanced to meet him, and the man was
> exceedingly ugly. Rabbi Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how
> 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
> "I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "I will not
> you until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is
> vessel which You have made."
> Rabbi Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people
> town heard of the arrival of Rabbi Shimon, they came out to meet him
> 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
> is walking behind you." Thereupon he exclaimed, "If this man is a
> 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
> up with the Creator, not with the person who was created. Diversity
> what makes each of us special. Inclusiveness, welcoming, and
> with the diverse people who share this earth with us make us a holy
> community. Uniformity is destruction; diversity is our strength and
> 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
> skin color, discuss your problem with the One Who created people to
> different, if you're so inclined. But remember that your problem is
> 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
> perspective must begin by recognizing that there has been a general
> repudiation of homosexual relationships by the Jewish community.
> Moshe Spero (1979), homosexuality "destroys the individual's ability
> ontological fulfillment in the halakhic world." Expanding on this
> sentiment, many modern rabbis have attempted to explain why Judaism
> 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;
> is biologically and anatomically unnatural. Concluding his argument
> 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
> the majority opinion of both Conservative and Orthodox rabbis.
> it should be noted that the Reform and Reconstructionists movements
> generally taken a more tolerant stance on the issue of homosexuality,
> there is still a failure on the part of the latter to extend
> legitimacy to homosexual desire.
> The most enlightened traditional viewpoint is expressed by
> Shmuel Boteach (1993):
> Homosexuality cannot be a sexual deviance because the very
> of a sexual deviance is a contradiction in terms. Sexuality is
> 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
> offer is that it is wrong merely and only because G-d said so. The
> Creator of the Universe expressed a preference for heterosexuality
> mandated that it alone be practiced by humans.. . Judaism is willing
> accept that homosexuality represents no more of an aberration than
> heterosexuality, because sexuality as a whole is naturally
> Not being a contemplative act, it is contradictory to label any
> 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
> 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
> to be an instrument for one particular variety of personal pleasure
> alone, or is it a part of the whole compliment of human qualities
> 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
> says that "While various papers have been published offering an
> appraisal, I have yet to see a coherent and wholesome perspective
> proffered, one which blends into an overall Jewish appraisal of human
> sexuality. At present, Homosexuality in the more traditional sections
> the Jewish community is treated as an aberration at best and
> 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
> 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
> to enforce these pathways. . . Judaism does not prohibit or in any
> look down upon homosexual love. In the eyes of Judaism the love
> two men or two women can be as natural as the love between a man and
> 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
> gender. Rather, it is acting upon that homosexual attraction which
> 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
> 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
> 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
> may find sexual fulfillment in an heterosexual relationship,given
> exposure." To Boteach, one can be a practicing Orthodox homosexual
> after all attempts at reorientation have failed. Boteach ventures
> some rather muddy waters by asserting that, as there is a shortage of
> marriageable Jewish males, homosexual men are obligated to marry
> 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
> possibility of finding sexual fulfillment in a heterosexual
> specifically marriage.... The desire of the Jewish establishment
> not only be that a homosexual should refrain from sinful activity,
> 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
> sick, it is simultaneously accepted that the homosexual can do
> to reorient his or her sexual condition. . . . the humane Jewish
> approach to homosexuality must be based on a positive appraisal of
> benefits of heterosexuality, rather than deploring homosexuality, as
> well as a clear commitment on the part of the homosexual to, at the
> 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
> 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
> and not because it is a minority or anatomically incongruent sexual
> This approach seeks to make the ostracisation or victimisation of
> homosexuals logically impossible, because it recognizes their
> identity with all humans. . . this does not mean that those
> 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
> 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
> their ability to participate fully in Jewish life.(emphasis mine).
> Boteach, a heterosexual, is more radical in many respects than
> gay Orthodox rabbi, writing under the pseudonym of Yaakov Levado
> As a traditionalist, I hesitate to overturn cultural norms in
> flurry of revolutionary zeal. I am committed to a slower and more
> cautious process of change, which must always begin internally.
> 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
> As Levado describes it, he is given only two options - act like a
> heterosexual, or be celibate. Perhaps Levado should consider
> position, and accept the change in today's social realities. But,
> about the Biblical injunction to procreate? Again, Levado points out:
> We are a people on the side of life-new life, more life,
> 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
> 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
> 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
> that the ordinary relationship between making love and having
> is severed. There is a deep challenge to the structure of Judaism,
> its very transmission is dependent on both relationship and
> reproduction. For Jews who feel bound by mitzvot, bound by the duty
> ensure that life conquers death, the infertility of our loving is at
> core of our struggle to understand ourselves in the light of the
> 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
> 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
> 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
> that are in my power to fulfill. I cannot marry and bear children,
> 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,
> 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
> 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
> to an equal status with heterosexual families, will we not undermine
> 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
> Jews are estranged from the synagogue, the Jewish community, and
> 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
> 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
> changing the circumstances so that those who previously might not
> acted in a homosexual manner, now might." It seems even some liberal
> rabbis believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle, and people can
> be 'recruited'. Indeed, if you include homosexuals in your
> some people who were closeted, will come out to the congregation. Is
> this regrettable, or desirable? What would Rabbi Levado say, if he
> such an option?
> There are several Reform responsa to Leviticus. Rabbi Janet
> (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
> that would result in so much suffering for the Gay community and
> families - not my G-d".
> Rabbi Leila Berner, was quoted in 1996, thusly:
> "As my friend and teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow has described
> I have been engaged in a passionate, long-term bout of
> said Berner, whose congregation is predominantly gay and lesbian.
> as Jacob wrestled with the divine angel and emerged as `Israel'--the
> 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
> a re-evaluation of its sacred texts and teachings and a reframing of
> 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
> say that it means exactly what we don't want it to mean. Better to
> the law, to stand in direct rebellion to G-d, in a heroic
> 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
> come from well-meaning but ignorant humans who could not see that
> homosexuality was part of God's diverse plan for humanity. It could
> have come from people who knew almost nothing of what we know today.
> could only have come from people who did not know my brother Greg;
> 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
> 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
> 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
> and gay Jews. The Women's League adopted essentially the same
> in November 1992. The United Synagogue adopted a similar resolution
> 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
> that, contemporary understandings of the nature of sexuality and
> orientation notwithstanding. Homosexuals who acted on their sexuality
> and were not celibate were sinning, period. As Rabbi Elliot Dorff
> tells it:
> Most within this group openly worried about the future
> of the Jewish family if homosexual relations are condoned, and they
> asserted that (acceptance of homosexuality) would establish a
> 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
> long-standing law.
> Rabbi Dorff wrote a minority opinion that was officially
> as such by the fact that it received the requisite 8 votes. This
> that it is an acceptable part of the official Conservative Responsa,
> albeit a minor one. Basically, he states that our modern
> of the nature of sexuality and sexual orientation makes the category
> to'evah inoperable in this matter and should be halachicly dispensed
> New scientific findings and, more importantly, the testimony
> homosexuals themselves provide us with ample evidence that those who
> clearly homosexual do not choose to be so. On the contrary, they
> generally have intimations of their orientation early in their lives
> often do everything in their power to convince themselves otherwise
> as to avoid the stigma and prejudice which society inflicts on
> homosexuals.. .
> Since legal demands or prohibitions only make logical sense
> the people being commanded can fulfil them, and since the Torah and
> Jewish tradition clearly assumed the homosexual's ability to choose
> be heterosexual, .... (h)omosexuality should no longer be considered
> 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
> ...Recommending celibacy for homosexuals is... cruel, and not in
> 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
> sex . . . This would lead some (Rabbis) to advocate performing
> commitment ceremonies as a way of creating strong, monogamous,
> 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
> two parents, one of each sex, is to be desired). The paper also
> for the formation of a movement-wide commission to explore sexuality
> general and to look into how our understanding of it might "impact"
> the matter of homosexuality.
> In the sprit of this earlier responsum, 1995, Rabbi Dorff wrote
> report on behalf of the Commission on Human sexuality of the
> Assembly, entitled, "This is my Beloved, This is My Friend:", a
> Letter on Intimate Relations. The report reaffirmed Dorff's earlier
> responsum, and made a strong plea for programs to eliminate
> and heterosexism, in order that homosexuals be fully welcomed in
> Conservative synagogues.
> The first suggestion was for synagogue groups to meet with gay
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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,
> 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
> 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
> total acceptance of the Reform Movement and the outright rejection of
> the Orthodox Movement. It is unclear to me how an institution that
> so wholeheartedly embraced egalitarianism, biblical critique and
> 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
> by my sexuality. Nor will I even try to imagine how my participation
> tikkun olam is somehow lessened in the eyes of Hashem because of how
> who I love.
> This is an evolving situation, in my opinion. The Conservative
> movement has endorsed the full participation of women in the
> including the roles of rabbi and cantor, and our synagogue is
> to develop its own ways of dealing with women as congregational
> Some might assert that the issues are different: there is no halachic
> prohibition against leadership by women, and our Matriarchs and
> exemplify this leadership. We accept Synagogual leadership by people
> are not fully shomrei mitzvot. To deny leadership roles to committed
> homosexual Jews would be hypocrisy, and would reinforce heterosexism
> Michelle Kwitkin, in a posting on December 30, 1996, to the
> Internet listserv, "gayjews", summarized the position of a
> Jewish homosexual.
> As a Conservative Jew, I believe that halakha (=normative
> 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
> reading the texts, but also understanding the social/cultural
> 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
> behavior; the fixed/unchangeable nature of sexual orientation has
> become widely understood fairly recently.
> Thus, many Conservative Jews-myself included-would say that
> traditional prohibitions against homosexuality do NOT really address
> 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
> centuries. However, my (Conservative) understanding of the evolving
> nature of halakha allows for-and sometimes even demands!--changes
> halakha. (The status of women in Jewish ritual is not so different:
> though traditional sources forbid it, changed social reality has led
> 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
> the possibility of full acceptance of gay Jews. Again, a comparison
> egalitarianism (within Conservative) is instructive: limited
> 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
> 2. This is how I understand gay issues, from a *Conservative*
> perspective. What I have written above is predicated on an
> of halakha which is VERY different from an Orthodox understanding of
> halakha. Naturally, somebody who believes that the Torah was revealed
> 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
> of heterosexual norms (i.e., monogamous relationships). While I
> certainly support the right of those who choose non-traditional ways
> 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
> The most controversial of all issues from a Conservative
> standpoint, is that of commitment ceremonies for homosexuals.
> many Reform rabbis, and about 15 Conservative rabbis perform such
> ceremonies for homosexual couples. Rabbi Stuart Kelman wrote a
> (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
> issues, as in the cases of the agunah or the mamzer; technological
> advances, such as transplants; social change, in areas such as
> 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
> 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
> 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
> generation is how we treat the "other", defined in any number of
> only one of which concerns gays and lesbians."
> c.. God and humanity share a common moral framework. The
> imperative to do justly , as Plaskow points out, applies equally,
> regardless of whether homosexuals have any 'choice' in terms of
> d.. Geographical context is a major determinant. It is to
> noted that Rabbi Kelman's Conservative congregation is in the Bay
> of San Francisco, which houses the largest homosexual population
> in North America.
> e.. When a synagogue calls itself egalitarian, that means
> rights and obligations apply to all.
> f.. Forbiddens (issurim) are dealt with by Conservative
> in the context that we are not literal, Torah Jews. As Rabbi Kelman
> points out, if we object to the consecration of homosexual
> because they are forbidden , we must be sure to "be very, very pure"
> 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
> little help in this regard.
> h.. Rabbi Kelman points out that "sexual ethics has to do
> how we treat the other person, not the gender of the other person."
> 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
> 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
> word. As Conservative Jews, we must look at "God's will for us
> k.. It is in discussing language and perceptions that Rabbi
> Kelman's teshuvah becomes somewhat unclear. Traditionally, marriage
> defined as a social institution whereby a man and a woman choose to
> husband and wife, according to religious and/or civil ceremonies.
> law sets out marriage as two separate acts: Kiddushin (erusin) is an
> performed by a man and a woman which leads to a change in their
> status, while nisuin brings about the legal consequences of this
> Thus, Rabbi Kelman sees the term, "marriage" as being unsuited to a
> homosexual relationship. He prefers the term, brit, covenant.
> 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
> Jewish wedding ceremony legally functions to join two individuals
> 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,
> loving, committed Jewish relationship."
> Consequently, Rabbi Kelman permits an aufruf (prenuptial
> on the shabbat preceding a commitment ceremony between two people of
> same sex. He allows joint aliyot for homosexual couples on the same
> bases as for heterosexual couples; and he allows and performs
> 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
> 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,
> we should, in my opinion, allow homosexual couples to marry in the
> fashion as heterosexual couples.
> The obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", is not always a
> factor in heterosexual Jewish marriages. Elderly Jews, where the
> is past child-bearing age, cannot always be seen in the light of
> 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)
> The primary justification for marriage is that it satisfies the need
> companionship. Abraham exiled his fertile wife, and stayed with the
> (presumably) infertile Sarah. Why? Because she was his companion, and
> loved her.
> If we wish to preserve Jewish family values, then we should
> Jewish families, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. To
> Rabbi Dorff (1994), "even those who continue to see (homosexuality)
> 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."
> In preparing this combination research paper/resource document,
> would like to thank the many people who have contributed ideas and
> material to this rather rambling document; in particular, Rabbis
> Lander and Stuart Kelman; Msgr. John Cody; Gabriel Elias; Jason
> Nettie Schwartz; Joel Grishaver; and above all, to my wife, Judy, our
> children, Melanie, David and Laura, my parents, Eve and Syd Silver,
> 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
> to counsel and support over the past three years. They have taught me
> much, and given me great respect and honor. Most of the young people
> believers in one of the three Monotheistic religions: many of them
> Jewish: I hope that this small effort will assist in the ongoing
> 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,
> 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
> 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
> children. I have an honors B.A. from Victoria University of
> an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and a B.Ed. from the
> of Toronto, all in political science; and a Post-Baccalaureate
> Certificate in Education, in counseling psychology, from the
> 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
> 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;
> Conservative congregations in Winnipeg, and London, Ontario. You may
> contact me at ***@sympatico.ca.
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> submission to listserv gay jews <***@shamash.nysernet.org>
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> 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
> : 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
> : ><***@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
> : 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
> : 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
> : YOUR WICKED ACTS.
> : CALL NOT YOURSELF A JEW ANYMORE. YOU ARE A PERVERSION IN THE EYES
> : 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.