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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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The Jewish Press Won’t Be Silenced


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For more than 50 years The Jewish Press has been the voice of the Jewish people.

We have stood up for the Jewish people, for the nation and for individuals. We have stood up when everyone else has been silent. We have stood up when it was unpopular to do so. We have stood up to praise, protect, and even reprimand our people when needed.

For years, it was The Jewish Press which waved the banner on the plight of agunot (women who were refused divorce documents by their recalcitrant husbands) when the rest of the Jewish world had nothing to say about that awful situation in which Jewish women were being trapped.

And we will continue to be the voice of the Jewish people, no matter who threatens us.

Last week we ran an op-ed article by Chaim Levin, a young man who has identified himself as both religious and homosexual.

We did not run this article to promote homosexuality. We did not run this article to condone anti-halachic behavior. We did not run this article to intimate that homosexual behavior could be a Jewish life choice.

We ran this article because, whether one wants to admit it or not, there is a serious problem that some members of our religious community face – day in and day out. It could be your chavrusah (study partner) in yeshiva, the guy sitting next to you in shul, or your brother in your very own home. And this is true whether you wear a black hat, a streimel, or a knit yarmulke.

Pretending that there are no frum Jews with homosexual inclinations won’t make the truth go away. It won’t make the internal conflicts they fight with their yetzer hara (evil inclination) disappear.

We were asked to publish the article in question after being approached by a therapist from within the frum community who primarily treats religious youth with drug abuse problems.

A significant number of suicide attempts are committed by boys from not just religious but rabbinic homes — because they thought they were homosexual and had no place in the Orthodox world they grew up in, even if they had never acted on those impulses.

Until politics exits the science, it won’t be known if homosexuality is genetic, hormonal, neurological, psychological, or a choice. The Torah itself is very clear on where it stands on homosexual acts.

But the Torah is also very clear on how one should treat one’s fellow Jew, and certainly one who tries to be religious — whether he or she succeeds or not — should not be driven by fellow Jews to contemplate suicide.

A situation where religious Jews are provoking children and adults who are different to consider suicide is unthinkable and unacceptable.

Following the publication of this op-ed, a number of Jewish Press advertisers were approached and threatened. They were told to stop advertising with The Jewish Press.

The Jewish Press won’t give in to threats and we won’t be silenced.

We thank our advertisers who have notified us that they plan to continue with us despite the threatening letters and that they won’t give into threats either, particularly when an article like this one may have very well have saved a Jewish life.

People can do teshuvah (repent) for many acts against halacha, but what forgiveness can there be for pushing someone so far that he or she would commit suicide?

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123 Responses to “The Jewish Press Won’t Be Silenced”

  1. RGreen says:

    You have a pro-gay agenda which you are trying to hide with your diatribe.

    Like many others, you pepper your comments with Hebrew words to sound frum and then you espouse an anit-frum agenda.

    It is ASSUR for a man to have sex with another man.

    That is where the disscussion begins on this topic.

    If you do not believe that (and cant say it) then you should not be posting on an Orthodox Jewish message board (unless you clearly state that you are posting as non-Orthodox

  2. Rebecca Silverstein says:

    I am a psychotherapist who works with people who are lesbian and gay, I am Jewish, and I am a board member of a professional group of psychotherapists. Thank you for your courage in publishing the article and standing up to those who want to silence the voices of reason around the conflicts between homosexuality and strong religious beliefs. There are no simple, clear or right answers for everyone, and the best that those of us who work with this population can do is help people find whatever peace they can with these conflicts. Pushing people to suicide is never the answer.

  3. simcha berkowitz says:

    I admire your stance

  4. John Roe says:

    Homosexuality – view of Rav Moshe Feinstein (1976 letter to gay Jewish man)

    Igros Moshe(O.H. 4:115): The first thing you need to know is that homosexuality has the severe punishment of stoning and kares and it is also called disgusting by the Torah itself. It is one of the most debased sins and it even is prohibited for non‑Jews. This knowledge is a strong bulwark against the yetzer harah. Secondly it is inexplicable that there should be a lust for it. That is because in the creation of man himself there is no natural lust for homosexuality… The desire for homosexual relations is against natural lust and even the wicked do not have a desire for it itself. Rather their entire desire for it is only because it is something prohibited and the yetzer harah seduces them to rebel against the will of G‑d. This knowledge of what is the will of G‑d is a powerful protection against the yetzer harah. You have already defeated the yetzer harah in that you believe in G‑d and all the 13 principles of faith and the entire Torah. With this you can defeat the yetzer harah in this that it seduces you to rebel against G‑d and to anger Him. There is an explicit verse in HaAzinu “That with abominations they provoke Him to anger” [Devarim 32:16] Rashi says an example is homosexuality which is a sin which causes G‑d’s anger. He also says this regarding magic which interferes with the Heavenly family as is stated in Sanhedrin (67b). Thus the explanation of this verse is that it causes you to deny the decrees of Heaven and to act to anger G‑d – chas veshalom! The third thing is that homosexuality is an embarrassment even to the common man. Because the entire world – even the wicked – ridicule those who are homosexuals. Even in the eyes of the wicked who participate in these acts, he looks down on the one who did it with him and ridicules and insults him. This awareness will greatly strengthen you against the yezter harah. …Awareness of how debasing a sin is, is a good advice to strengthen oneself against the desire to do a sin which is disgusting and ridiculed such as this one. Because not only is it against the Torah which prohibits it with the most severe punishment, but it is also the greatest embarrassment to his whole family. The greatest advice to overcome this is to learn Torah in depth. This will save and guard you from all sins – even from the thoughts of sins as the Rambam states at the end of Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah: “Greater than all this, turn oneself and ones thoughts to words of Torah and expand one’s mind in wisdom.” So surely this will save you from the yetzer harah of this despised sin.

  5. John Roe says:

    And the 1986 letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, to a gay Jewish man:

    http://www.jonahweb.org/print.php?secId=322

  6. Ploni says:

    I stand alongside John Doe. I did some research which anybody can do. I started small informally and contacted Rosh Yeshivas and Rebbes in Brooklyn, in Monsey, in Lakewood, Far Rockaway, and Passaic. I asked simply: have any boys or young men died (under any circumstances) in the past 5 years. The sampling I am speaking of includes 1000’s of Talmidim ages 13 to Kollel. Then I went through death notices in the many papers and other records of the past few years, to see if deaths, even well covered up, could support Mr. Levins assertion. You know what Baruch Hashem I did not find one single loss of life that could even remotely be considered a suicide. No single vehicle accidents, no accidental drowning, no falls—nothing. Granted, I am not Havard or Yale or a professional investigative journalist but the suicide issue in the frum community is more than an exaggeration as I see it now. It is an out and out falsehood.

    I am not sure if it is a true “agenda” or just manipulative modis oparandi, . As an educator who worked closly with licensed Psychologists I know that suicide is almost always linked to depression, a diagnoses and illness that does not fit within “the gay is special argument” and is thus avoided altogether. In this construct, reparative therapy is a hoax and crackpot while what should we call it “Levin Video therapy and Op-eds” saves and changes lives? I have no doubt he can get 50 of his friends to say that they would have committed suicide if they had not seen his brave video. Which forgive me I do not buy. As he has proven himself to not honest in anyway other than in admitting his homosexuality.

    As for his lying about our children committing suicide to the entire Jewish community what can I say. I will be frank here, it is no news to anyone in chinuch that there is same sex attraction in every Yeshiva, has been since the beginning. The truth is that homosexual relations are forbidden period end of story. The tolerance already is there. I also know several gay men in the community they are driven to a life of Torah. Perhaps they have a deeper love of Torah and community. Mr. Levin is advocating we go the way of the goyim—plain and simple. The goyim have accepted same sex marriage, before that they accepted same sex relations. I do not think they want a place in community because if they did they would taken it. They want a place and a homosexual life style that includes physical sexual relations with other men. Which is assur. To Mr. Levin I would say we have no miracle to offer you at this time. No doubt science will in the future come up with something if the gay lobby does not commandeer or block real research. For now we have no answers. That is the honest truth, which is much more than you have offered to the Frum Jewish community. If the frum community wants to know what our gays our up to, check “Craigs List” under Men Seeking Men (frum or Orthodox). They have photos of what they will provide to our sons. Please parents don’t be fooled. It will only get worse not better.

    Right now while I do commend the Press for publishing all voices I am disappointed that there was no fact checking which I assume it part of good journalism. Call Nefesh they are listed in the yellow pages. He lied about children dying so he could be called a brave hero. But on the other hand maybe I am wrong and there are no suicides because Mr. Levin saved them, with his video and his op-ed piece. Then the world no longer needs therapy

  7. Michael says:

    With all respect to your husband his “professional” opinion is ignorant

    Most gay people date girls and realize the connection cant be made, for reasons out of their control or doing. The causes are not situational. My life experience attests to this.

  8. Bob Danek says:

    You speak out against suicide, yet you still condemn gays in your community? You still refer to homosexuality as “evil”?

    A life of denying who you are because an ancient book may or may not say it’s OK is NOT a life anyone wants to live. So you’re not really offering them anything at all.

  9. jrs says:

    <>

    What a ridiculous, and hypocritical statement! Just as one can have gay feelings & still do their best to be frum, so too, one can be fully accepting & respectful of everyone’s right to desire or even to practice a gay lifestyle—and nevertheless disagree with the ideologues who promote a diabolical liberal, leftist agenda (homosexual or otherwise)…
    ….people, apparently, like you, who politicize everything–and then say anyone who disagrees “lacks compassion, humanity, etc. “

    A classic bit of liberal distortion.

  10. Marcia Smith says:

    quoted from article: “We did not run this article to condone anti-halachic behavior. We did not run this article to intimate that homosexual behavior could be a Jewish life choice.”

    In that case, I sincerely regret signing the petition thanking you for this article. Won’t make that kind of mistake again.

  11. Yosef says:

    There is no question that we are on the road to Sodom and Gemmorah.

    In countries like those in the societies of the ancient cannanites and Egyptians this was acceptable.

    They were eventually wiped out.

    The JP is actually supporting making sodmoy acceptable.

    I think they will have to answer for this.

  12. Voter One says:

    So you can’t make a reasonable argument and therefore I have a non frum, pro gay agenda?

    Does everyone here with similar views have a non frum, pro gay agenda as well? Does the JP also have a non frum, pro gay agenda?

    No one questions homosexuality is assuer- but in the end, there are lots of things that are assur that must be dealt with.

    Is it enough child molestation or spousal abuse is assur- and therefore we do not deal with it? That is your argument you are making.

    Shall I make the presumption you take issue with reporting child or spousal abusers as well?

    As a personal matter, I do not have a pro gay agenda. In fact, I believe there are enormous psychological pressures and dysfunctions that influence many, many gay people.

    In the future, don’t speak for me, my hashkofos or my beliefs.

    You have made clear your inability to offer up civil and rational argument and have chosen instead to malign me, personally. Therefore, I will reply in kind.

    I can only hope no children or other kinds of victims have to rely on you for their safety. Inasmuch as you didn’t even address the issues I raised I can only make that conclusion. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point.

    Now, feel free to continue to insult me personally, (you can understand why your own hashkofos might come into question). It seems that is what you do best.

  13. Anonymous says:

    B”H the JP made their position quite clear. They said clearly homosexuality is against the the Torah and Halacha. They said clearly homosexualy behavior is not an acceptable option for a kosher Jewish life.

    Separate from this they said we have an obligation to to not mistreat these mizkeinim (and they are mizkeinim) in their fight against their yetser horoh.

    Everyone has their own yetser horoh they fight against. B’ezras Hashem they’ll find a way to overpower their’s, and stop trying to define deviancy down.

  14. Luke Bracken says:

    I applaud you on speaking about the truth in life, and the very real problems facing not just jewish people but people from all back grounds. If the jewish people are to survive and live on in a world of hate then discrimination and hate must be push pushed aside for love and respect. Hate must never win.

  15. Yehudit says:

    Hi, I am a gay woman who was married for over 20 years. I attempted suicide 2 times but B”H did not succeed. I have a friend whose 1st cousin who is was a frum boy who committed suicide so it is not true and while some people are compassionate and mean well others completely lack ahavas yisroel. Do not underestimate how these attitudes can adversely affect a person.
    I hear people talking about how homosexuality is an abomination but isn’t also motzei zerah levatalah a terrible sin and I know many guys do this and they are not condemned in the same way as gays.
    Lets treat everyone with compassion, love, dignity and respect. Aren’t we losing sight of the mitzvah of ahavas yisroel? Are these attitudes really what hakodesh baruch hu would have really wanted?

  16. Elaina Hershowitz says:

    My husband and non-homosexual children read and forwarded this Editorial to all of our friends. Reading your Editorial made us even prouder to be Jewish than we already were! Jewish people should NEVER stay silent in the face of wrong.
    If not us, who?
    If not now, when?
    Thank you for your courage.
    Elaina, Yudi and sons

  17. AS says:

    Kudos for taking a vocal stand against gay bashing. Now take an actual one. You regularly print columns and op-eds by writers, such as Steven Pruzansky, who on his personal blog, from his pulpit, and in signed letters condemns homosexuals, supports reparative therapy, and belittles bullying of gays and gay suicide. Please discontinue your relationship with these columnists. Send a message that you will not line the pockets of gay bashers.

  18. George says:

    If he stays away from “gays” (really insensitive of you to word it that way) he will be very alone in the world. this is part of their pain. They’ve felt alone and isolated all their lives.

    I don’t envy their struggle.

  19. George says:

    I have never struggled with this issue but I can tell how insensitive you are despite that.

    You cannot fathom for a minute that someone has a desire that they have struggled with. Wow, you must be so pure and holy!

    Did you read last week’s article? Did you read how the author tried for 2 years to not have this desire?

    Have YOU spent 2 years working on a midda, at personal cost and personal shame.

    Do you have no heart???

  20. Jay Mitchell says:

    one word of advise, put that foot forward and seek the one you love. I met one man which I love very deeeply and been togather for 25 years. We have been blessed. So stand tall put that foot forward and find the one you love. Be proud of your life togather. Give thanks every day.

  21. Lisa Liel says:

    I wonder how many of them were actually gay, as opposed to bi.

  22. E.B. says:

    That, and I also wonder how long their marriages lasted and what quality they were.

  23. E.B. says:

    Except that gay people don’t ostracize people who are not gay. They don’t tell them how to live their lives and they don’t view them as lesser human beings.

  24. Ben David says:

    It would be more to the point if you cited a real scientific basis for the “born that way” myth… every major medical association was pushed by activists to make pro-gay declarations – and every one has walked back those earlier statements as the human genome was mapped in the 1990s – revealing no genetic pattern associated with homosexuality…

    The gay rights movement is now trying to misuse studies of identical twins to imply genetic causation – but the correlation for homosexuality is an abysmally low 50 percent – and even lower in studies of twins raised apart.

    You write:
    It is appalling that religious communities of all stripes ignore forty years of research since the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the diagnostic manual.
    - – - – - – - – - – - -
    But the decision to remove homosexuality was not based on any research – it was a political power grab resulting from sit-ins by gay activists disrupting APA panels.

    The psychologist who removed homosexuality from the APA’s diagnostic manual (Dr. Robert L. Spitzer) later published research showing that sexual orientation could be changed – and was quickly attacked by the activists who previously praised him.

    This is a political game with little scientific basis… the only positive thing to come out of 40 years of “gay liberation” is that the dysfunctional behaviors that are the norm in the gay “community” are been revealed for all to see…

  25. Ben David says:

    In other words – We will continue our politically-correct pity-mongering to try and shift the moral goalposts of society… not through factual or moral discussion, but through the emotional manipulation of PC victimhood.

    Gays make up less than 2 percent of the population.
    There are more drunks and drug abusers than gays.

    So let’s try it this way:
    “You hateful sober people should show TOLERANCE for the alcoholic lifestyle!!”
    “You chauvinist fundamentalists shouldn’t JUDGE me for using drugs!!”

  26. Yankel Fried says:

    It is a shame that the Jewish Press is clearly not allowing any comments that question the article or comments. If the article stresses that Chaim Levin is talking about his case and desire WITHOUT ACTION, then how could they allow people like Zalman to comment when he openly publicizes his outright Torah violations? I have no hate in my heart for another Jew, however, I do know that the Torah forbids what they are doing. We must be tolerant and assist these people, but the manner in which you’re bringing this to light is quite distorted. If I were to publicize my “addiction” to murder, for instance, but claim that I am a completely “observant” Jew, and request the world’s mercy and compassion, that would be utterly absurd and painfully inappropriate. I leave everyone with a single question – what was done in the past? Where repulsive articles published publicly such as this? A Chilul Hashem is being made by those who publicize their private, and, yes, sinful deeds, and it is furthermore a Chilul Hashem for others to publish it. Hashem yiracheim! May every single one of you find salvation soon! I feel your pain, however, finding comfort through public acceptance is not the way to solve this epidemic.

  27. Yankel Fried says:

    Read all of the above comments of those who ACTED upon their desires and then say what you just said again. We need to be sensitive, but stop accepting these ACTIONS with such pity. I am certain that you would have no such patience for murderers and thieves. Any sinful desire must be overcome. This is no different, despite one’s claim to the contrary. Defend a mass murderer’s inclination for murder, and then defend these people afterwards.

  28. Yankel Fried says:

    Thank you for being the only sane person commenting yet. They can claim all they want that they do not condone the behavior, yet they can support a slew of comments from those who outright admit their actions. Sinful actions. This article and all those similar to it are creating a level of acceptance. People are beginning to feel comfortable in this sinful way of life, and, rather than working to change it, become satisfied. Furthermore, it is a tool for others to read it and consider to follow in these people’s path rather than working on it. Klal Yisroel! We all sin! However, find the courage and strength to overcome your desires! Stop demanding rights and acceptance! You cannot be accepted if you remain comfortable in a life of sin!

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