When It Comes To Gay Marriage, Are Reform Rabbis Torah-phobic?
10/13/2010 - 14:38
Jonathan Mark

We know Reform rabbis support gay marriage. And, yes, they support intermarriage, too. They've got the Jewish marriage thing all figured out.

We know.

And we know that Reform clergymen love "dialogue" with any imam or priest, anywhere, any time.

"Dialogue," by the way, is a fancy Reform rabbi word for what us regular folks call "a conversation," just like a "collation" after Temple is a fancy Reform rabbi word for what the rest of call a kiddush.

One thing we don't know is why Reform rabbis, great advocates for tolerance, use words of incitement and intolerance when it comes to Orthodox Jews.

One fancy Reform word that's used too often, when referring to the Orthodox, is "homophobic." You almost can't find an article on Jews and homosexuality in which Reform rabbis (and other liberal Jews) aren't calling Orthodox rabbis "homophobic."

You'd think Reform rabbis, with their terrific vocabularies, could come up with a better word.

That is, if their intent is to "dialogue" and persuade, rather than insult.

A "phobia" is defined as an irrational fear, even a psychological disorder.

However, if we want to be fair, the Orthodox objection, both legally and culturally, to the sanctification of homosexual marriages is rooted in the Torah, like it or not.

Anyone who seriously aspires to fidelity to the Torah and centuries of rabbinic tradition shouldn't be branded with a psychological disorder.

Any rabbi, no matter the denomination, ought to be somewhat understanding of that, even sympathetic, even in disagreement.

If Reform clergy were serious about fostering a greater Orthodox acceptance of gay marriage and gay relationships, they wouldn't immediately diagnose Orthodox Jews as having a psychological disorder but they'd "dialogue" intelligently -- and without insult --- regarding biblical verse and Talmudic texts -- making the scholarly case for alternative and sympathetic interpretations.

Try persuading, instead of a pie-throwing contest.

Dear Reform rabbis, you wouldn't like it if Orthodox Jews started calling Reform rabbis "Torah-phobic," would you?

By the way, when's the last time a Reform rabbi dared to call an imam, or the vast Muslim world, "homophobic"?

Hey, Reform rabbis, try this. Why don't you start talking to (and about) Orthodox rabbis with the same respect you'd give an imam?


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If Orthodox rabbis and institutions refuse to perform same sex marriages, that's their privilege. However, to advocate laws that would present Reform rabbis and institutions (and also non-Jewish institutions) from doing so is akin to Reform Jews advocating laws that would force same sex marriage upon Orthodox rabbis and institutions.

I know of no advocacy to stop other marriages forbidden by halakha by Orthodox Jews in the U.S. Examples would be marriages of a Jew to a non-Jew in the absence of a recognized conversion, enforcement of the laws of mumzerim on a civil law basis, requirement of a kosher gett prior to a second marriage, etc.

From their website: "As an affiliate, WRJ (Riverdale Temple) provides many services to the temple, hosting its Oneg Shabbat collation each week and coordinating many fund raising events that support the temple's operations."
Those who are critiquing Mr. Mark are right on. It's not so much the content of what he is saying, but the venom and anger that have dominated his blog posts over the past few months. There are other bloggers on the Jewish Week site who bring very different perspectives--Julie Wiener for one. And while those of a conservative socio/religious/political persuasion might find her views controversial or even upsetting, she does not alienate her readers by spewing her remarks with nastiness. Mr. Mark does, and on a rather consistent basis.
well done! it is about time that the non-orthodox community show the respect to the orthodox community that they show our non-jewish counterparts.
I am not a member of the Reform movement. I found Mr. Mark's recurrent rhetorical usage of "Reform rabbis this" and "Reform rabbis that" to be quite snarky, and not at all contributing to the civil level of dialogue and discourse that the topic deserves.
The comments attacking Jonathan Mark prove his point. Those who preach tolerance clearly mean tolerance for anyone who agrees with them. It is a one-way respect that they desire.
Hineni said it better than I could have. Mark has really outdone himself with this sanctimonius tripe.
Reformism is BS and everyone knows it, including the Reform. It is a carnival mirror version of Judaism, or a variation on Christianity, take your pick. I have more in common with a religious Muslim than I do with a Reformist.
Exactly. They are open minded and warm to the people that want to destroy them the most, and take out their claws in regards to people that actually follow the Torah. At least the "humanistic rabbi" from above admits that he/she is a) atheist and b) disrespects the Torah. The question begs, however, WHY ARE YOU A "RABBI"?
Hey Jonathan Mark, Maybe if your tone wasn't so condescending and childish, Reform rabbis and others would give your opinions the time of day. Jon

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