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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Letters To The Editor

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More Debate On Gays And The Orthodox Community

 

Standing Up To Bullies I just wanted to tell Chaim Levin (“Surviving Bullying, Silencing and Torment for Being Gay in the Frum Community,” Family Issues section, Jan. 27) that I’m so sorry for everything he has gone through simply because he is gay. There is no excuse for bullying or for other people to judge him.

I was bullied as a child from the age of 6 until 13, and it was terrible. I thought about suicide as a child due to the bullying. No one deserves to go through that. My daughter is the “little Naama” from Beit Shemesh, who was bullied and harassed for allegedly being dressed immodestly. Because I was bullied as a child, I could not let anyone do that to my child.

Kol Hakavod to Chaim for standing his ground and not letting people trash him. I hope he won’t let any of the negativity get to him. Hadassa Margolese Beit Shemesh, Israel

 

Feels For Chaim But… Chaim Levin is a fellow Jew who is clearly in a very painful place. My inner being hurts for him simply because he is my brother and the Torah commands me to ache for him just as I would for my own wounds and sores.

If Chaim’s only message was to stop the harassment of LGBT youth, I and many others would be supportive. God did not grant us ordinary Jews the power to penalize or degrade anyone for not following halacha as we see fit. We can gently and lovingly express our concerns to the individual but we can never employ physical, emotional, or verbal abuse in the process.

But what comes through in his article, his video, and his interview last week on Zev Brenner’s show is deeply disturbing. Though Chaim claims not to be advocating for a change in halacha, he apparently wants halacha-abiding Jews to accept an idea the Torah does not. Yes, we should be accepting of Chaim as a human being and fellow Jew – but we cannot embrace homosexuality as the Torah does not embrace it.

Chaim also expresses anger toward the coalition of rabbis who put their names to the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality. Chaim needs to understand that this was not a personal attack on him. Rabbis have an obligation to make the Torah’s position on homosexuality clear. Why is it that Chaim feels he should have the right to say what he wants but is bothered when rabbis say what the Torah wants?

Having said that, I wish Chaim inner peace, tranquility, happiness and fulfillment in all his endeavors in life. Malka Bergstein (Via E-Mail)

 

Emerge From The Dark Ages After reading Chaim Levin’s eloquent appeal for compassion and then hearing him plead his cause with obvious sincerity and good will on the Zev Brenner Show this past Saturday night, one cannot help being overcome with a deep sense of pain for his plight.

However, before the frum community is able to render people like Chaim the acceptance they so badly need and deserve, we need to emerge from the dark ages of thought reflected in a letter to the editor last week by reader Jacob Richman.

Mr. Richman implied that the Torah frowns on an individual with same-sex attraction even if he or she refrains from acting on it. But the Torah does not frown on people for the way they were created so long as they refrain from sinning. The challenge for individuals born with an attraction to the same sex is not that they attempt to change themselves into something they cannot be – but rather that they try to conform their behavior to what the Torah demands of all of us. Lawrence Kulak Brooklyn, NY

 

Evidence Of An Agenda Chaim Levin’s recent article and appearances on video and Jewish radio provide ample evidence of an agenda far more wide-ranging than merely opposing bullying and reparative therapy.

It’s an exact duplication of the militant homosexual activist playbook: Desensitize society through constant discussion of homosexuality, urges, etc. Create feelings of guilt in others by exaggerated, unsubstantiated claims of Jewish homosexual suicides due to “bullying,” discrimination, etc. Gain public sympathy by using the media, and then solidify gains by forming organizations like Jewish Queer Youth.

Rashi (Devarim 25:18) describes Hashem’s eternal enemy, Amalek, as practitioners of homosexuality. Rambam rules that one who is tempted to sin disguise himself, sin secretly and act the hypocrite in public so as not to desensitize society to sin. Urging youth to join in a group that identifies itself with Amalek-type behavior reinforces negative self-identification and more often than not results in sinful misbehavior.

Imagine a Jewish adulterers’ Shabbaton, an “intimacy for the under-aged” shul or an adult incest organization forming a minyan. How about articles by and organizations of mamzeirim who demand sympathy and change because Jews are halachically forbidden to marry them? These are all spiritual oxymorons and would constitute a fifth column in the Torah community.

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5 Responses to “Letters To The Editor”

  1. Chaim Levin says:

    The letters here are a mix of both positive but the one that stood out to me most was the one from “Rabbi” Yehuda Levin, the infamous so called “Rabbi” that has made some of the most abhorrent, offensive, inhumane and insensitive statements about gay people, and gay people in the Jewish Community. On a side note, so that it’s clear, I’m not related to this man in any way, I’m ashamed to share the same last name of someone that’s so shamelessly hateful and irresponsible with his words.

    Rabbi Levin, have you not heard any of our words? Have you not realized how the condemnation of so many young innocent people, comparing them to the likes of “amalek” (the Jewish enemy), only contributes to people feeling rejected, unwanted, and closer to suicide? Every single day I bang my head in the wall to try and understand how anyone could dare give you any respect and consider you a Rabbi when your lack of basic humane decency and compassion is so apparent.

    “Evidence Of An Agenda
    Chaim Levin’s recent article and appearances on video and Jewish radio provide ample evidence of an agenda far more wide-ranging than merely opposing bullying and reparative therapy.
    It’s an exact duplication of the militant homosexual activist playbook: Desensitize society through constant discussion of homosexuality, urges, etc. Create feelings of guilt in others by exaggerated, unsubstantiated claims of Jewish homosexual suicides due to “bullying,” discrimination, etc. Gain public sympathy by using the media, and then solidify gains by forming organizations like Jewish Queer Youth.
    Rashi (Devarim 25:18) describes Hashem’s eternal enemy, Amalek, as practitioners of homosexuality. Rambam rules that one who is tempted to sin disguise himself, sin secretly and act the hypocrite in public so as not to desensitize society to sin. Urging youth to join in a group that identifies itself with Amalek-type behavior reinforces negative self-identification and more often than not results in sinful misbehavior.

    Imagine a Jewish adulterers’ Shabbaton, an “intimacy for the under-aged” shul or an adult incest organization forming a minyan. How about articles by and organizations of mamzeirim who demand sympathy and change because Jews are halachically forbidden to marry them? These are all spiritual oxymorons and would constitute a fifth column in the Torah community.

    I have tremendous sympathy for those challenged by temptations and unkosher desires. As you do with cancer, you never stop trying to find a better treatment to cure yourself. If all therapies fail, as a last resort you use chemicals to stop the urge to act in a forbidden manner. (This resolution is ordered by European courts for offenders and it works.) Unpleasant, surely; but better than committing adultery, homosexuality or incest. Rabbi Yehuda Levin Brooklyn, NY”

    Really Rabbi Levin? You’re gonna really and try and play the “gay agenda” card on me because I dared to go public and decry your hatred, intolerance and demands that people like me suffer in abusive practices to change ourselves? Do you really think that people don’t see past your exterior features that make you look like like rabbi? How can anyone objectively adhere to any point that you make when you spread such a heartless cold messaage that is flat out a chillul hashem (casting god in a bad light), anti Jewish, anti deccency, and completely unrational. I hope that every single person reading this letter realizes that just because you have the ability to draw a lot of attention to your hateful videos doesn’t mean that most people take you seriously; even myself, and I consider myself a more “secular” person, don’t think you represent the views of god or the Jewish people, and almost every person I know has condemed you both in public and in private made to me and many people that I know. Many people have told me that I shouldn’t even bother responding to you, that giving you attention is only adding to the fuel of your negative message, but I can’t live in silent any longer as you directly attack me and the millions of other people like me.

    In case you didn’t hear it (even though I’ve said it more times than I can count at this point, in public), I was sexually abused under the AUSPICES of JONAH. I know some people are saying that I’ve been over exaggerating my experience and that I’m the only one making these claims which makes it look like I’m lying, but no matter what anyone says about me or my claims, it’s true, this did happen to me and to many others others. It’s clear as glass that this experience was sexual abuse at it’s best; being that Alan Downing used his position at the time to manipulate me into comiting those unspeakable acts, it was also abuse of authority, do you not see that? this happened to me under an organization that you promote. It doesn’t really surprise me (but somehow still does), that nor you or any of the people responsible for the “Torah Declaration” have completely ignored my claims by simply saying that you feel “sympathy” for my “negative and unsuccessful efforts at changing”. How can you continue ignoring something that’s so real and so obvious? What will it take for the signers of this declaration to understand the dangers involved when a life coach forces his client to undress and touch himself for the sake of “change”, to realize that they have blood on their hands, and are committing the cardinal sin of “vilifnei iver (not placing a stumbling block in frontof a blind man”) by endorsing an organization that offers false hopes to helpless youth and subjects people to this sort of “treatment” by it’s counselors.

    “As you do with cancer, you never stop trying to find a better treatment to cure yourself. If all therapies fail, as a last resort you use chemicals to stop the urge to act in a forbidden manner”

    Do you really not see anything wrong with this statement? What kind of chemicals are you even talking about? Based on your comparission of homosexuality to cancer I think it’s safe to say the chemicals you refer are to be compared to like chemicals used on cancer patients (chemotherapy). So aside from wanting to subject Innocent people to the dangerous therapy and sexual abuse that takes place at JONAH, you’re actually implying that we take chemicals as lethal as chemotherapy “to stop the urge to act in a forbidden manner”? As I’ve stated so many times, this dialogue isn’t about actions, this is about identity, yes ,real gay identity that is true for me and thousands of other Jewish people out there. The more you make such statements you are only alienating your own people, frum people, that see right through the name “Rabbi” and right into your hateful and intolerant “agenda”.

    I hope you take a look in the mirror and realize soon enough that you owe a serious apology to the thousands of people that you hurt because of your message of hatred, a message of hatred so strong that it’s the equivalent to the evil of the messages being spread the Westboro Baptist Church that carry around banners saying “Jews Killed Jesus”. And for all the people who felt so rejected by your words, that felt so hopeless because of your words to the point where they took their own lives, I don’t know how you can ever undo the damage you did to them, but I wish you luck in trying

  2. Avi Kopstick says:

    Who is Susan L Rosenbluth anyway, and why is she the press representative for the Committee for the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality?

    … Before we answer that question though, it would be even better to know who this committee consists of. After all, why should they get to unrestrainedly attack my friends, like Chaim and Ely and Jason, without at all having to expose themselves in return? Seems pretty cowardly.

    … Also I want to point out: “Because at least half of the 25 members of the Committee who wrote the Torah Declaration have themselves undergone gender-affirming therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA), they know, first-hand, that healing is not easy.” Half of 25 equals 12 to 13. Not such a representative sample if you think about it.

    But back to my first question: Susan L. Rosenbluth is the owner, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Voice and Opinion. With just a cursory google search of the terms “Susan L Rosenbluth” and “homosexuality” you will find that she has been writing and publishing promotional articles in her paper for JONAH ever since 1999. Looks to be about one per year or every other year. So we know she’s definitely a friend of JONAH’s.

    Now the question is: What is she doing representing this committee, which consists of a group of people whom we have no idea about? If you ask me, I’d guess it was just JONAH again in disguise. And instead of reading “The Committee for the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality,” you should really just read “JONAH: The committee of people who decided that it’s okay for 18-19 year old boys to be sexual molested during controversial therapy sessions, sessions that have been rejected by almost every single psychological/psychiatric association in America.”

    Sounds conspiratorial, but I probably wouldn’t put it past them. *shrugs*

  3. Andy Marcus says:

    Let’s all take Yehuda Levin’s comments with a grain of salt, given that this very same hateful little man claimed that Hashem had Leiby Kletzky killed because Jews permitted the New York State legislature to recognize same sex marraige. Consider the source – then disregard anything that comes out of his sinfully hateful mouth.

  4. Sruly C. says:

    Yehuda Levin (I’ll not defile our term “Rabbi” by association with him) confuses the “Mishkav Zachar” of Amalek with modern homosexual identity. This is a grave error on his part. The act of Amalek was an act of hate, not love, and is the a different beast. A careful reading of the passage he cites in Devarim 25, the famous “Zechiras Amalek” passage everyone goes to shul to hear, reveals that the michkav zachar of Amalek was an act of anger, hatred, and humiliation in the context of war. This is made clear because after Amalek committed this act, the following Rashi says Amalek then killed the Israelites, cut off their organs, and flung the bloody severed body parts heavenward in a gesture of defiance of God’s commandment of Milah. This obviously is entirely different behavior from anything Chaim Levin has discussed.

    Orthodox gay youth embody a vastly different outlook from that represented by Amalek. Instead of wanting to rape and murder Jews like Amalek, they come from a place of love and desire for acceptance. So vastly different are these groups that Yehuda Levin probably violates the commandment of Zechiras Amalek by confusing orthodox boys with Amaleki soldiers. His campaign is further chotei u’machti by confusing others about the meaning of Zechiras Amalek and damaging many of our community’s precious youth and adults.

    Anyone can do a google search for the term “Mishkav Zachar” in the Torah and apply hurtful words indiscriminately. Our actual rabbis know how to read a line of gemarah and think about what Hashem meant.

    One side point: Hashem has no enemies. Yehuda Levin calls Amalek “Hashem’s eternal enemies.” No. Hashem is almighty. The devil as enemy of God is a Christian concept. I understand he’s been campaigning with Christians against gays, but please remember some basic hashkafah!

  5. S. Cohen says:

    Dear Editor,
    My letter is late in coming being that I live out of town and receive the Jewish Press late. As a subscriber to the Jewish Press I feel that publishing Chaim Levins article compromised the the moral standards and torah values that this newspaper has consistently upheld. Homosexuality has no place in a publication that quotes halachah and discusses divrei torah. I believe that the Jewish Press unwittingly promoted the gay agenda disguised in an article about acceptance and anti bullying.
    I hope that in the future the Jewish Press will not compromise their values, and mine, so that I can continue bringing this otherwise informative and professional newspaper into my home.

    Sincerely S. Cohen
    Israel

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