A few months ago, a young Orthodox rabbi decided to “come out of the closet,” in a sense, when he publicly identified himself as an “LGBT ally,” referring to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder of Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice group, and a director of the UCLA Hillel, explained that he felt he had been quiet for too long and wanted to say what he felt was the truth.
With the controversial idea that gays and lesbians can be “cured” through therapy rippling across the Orthodox Jewish world of late, Rabbi Simcha Feuerman recently found himself in something of a dilemma.
The rabbi is a licensed clinical social worker who serves as the president of Nefesh, a prominent international network of Orthodox mental health professionals. But he is also an Orthodox Jew who believes that homosexuality is prohibited by Jewish law and that “many people who wrestle with homosexual feelings and want to change them can be helped.”
As Facebook has become more popular (500 million people is popular, right?), there have been several status update gimmicks. Some are just to be fun (dopplegangers) and others are funny with a cause (women posting their bra color in support of breast cancer research).
Now, the gay-rights organization GLAAD has come up with the idea of making your Facebook profile pic purple in support of LGBT Youth.
Orthodox leaders say they are trying to affirm their opposition to gay-bashing and bullying
without seeming to accept homosexual behavior.
When the Republican candidate for New York governor, Carl Paladino, addressed an Orthodox crowd on Sunday about his opposition to gay pride parades and how children shouldn’t be “brainwashed” into thinking being homosexual is OK, he clearly thought he’d find a receptive audience.
He was right.
Orthodox viewpoints on homosexuality are derived from the Torah, which is clear in its condemnation of male gay sex, and Orthodox leaders almost uniformly oppose celebrating gay identity.
This past spring, my partner and I moved to Cincinnati. Soon after we arrived, an Orthodox synagogue in town prohibited our attendance. The rabbi of the shul called apologetically to inform us that the ruling had come from a rabbi whose authority exceeded his own. I decided to call this rabbi, who is the head of a prominent yeshiva and a respected halachic authority. I wanted to meet him personally to discuss the decision with him. He agreed to speak with me on the phone.
A deep Jewish ethical value is not like the piercing, intermittent light of a laser, cutting through hard metals, but it is like the diffuse, continuous light of the sun, warming our planet, a source of energy and life. “God created humankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them…” (Genesis 1:27). In the Jewish tradition, one of the main human values understood to be inherent in this verse is the aspiration of kavod habriyot, variously translated as individual honor or human dignity.
Israeli group Bat Kol to launch English website as ‘life-net’ for those struggling with acceptance.
Like so many newly religious American immigrants to Israel, 20-year-old Sarah Weil immersed herself in Torah studies and the intricacies of Jewish law, learning intently with the strictest chasidic rebbetzins in various Jerusalem seminaries.
“I desperately wanted to keep Torah and mitzvot and be in the Orthodox world,” said Weil, who made aliyah in 2005.
Three leading Modern Orthodox rabbis and personal teachers of mine (Nathaniel Helfgot, Aryeh Klapper, and Yitzchak Blau) recently released a statement of principles on how Orthodoxy can and must relate to homosexuals in our community.
Dr. Laura Schlesinger, whose top-rated radio show dishes out ìtough loveî for her callersí ìmoral dilemmas,î has come under increasing attack by gays of late. They are charging that her persistent critique of homosexuality is ìinviting gay children to see themselves as less than fully human.î
At issue, in part, is Judaismís views on homosexuality, which Dr. Laura, an observant Jew, cites as a source for her opinions, though rabbis are divided along denominational lines on the issue.