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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Letters To The Editor

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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

 

Torah Declaration’s Stance As the press representative for the Committee for the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality, I am writing to express the committee members’ combination of sadness and dismay at Chaim Levin’s article. 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. They therefore express regret at Mr. Levin’s personal unsuccessful experience in trying to overcome his SSA.

The Committee knows that individuals undergoing therapy for any issue will have varying results, but the Committee recognizes that SSA, like many other unwanted behaviors, such as alcoholism or even obesity, can be controlled, altered, and healed. They key word is “unwanted.” Contrary to Chaim Levin’s suggestion, no one is proposing that anyone be forced into any kind of therapy. Members of the Committee, however, are living proof that, through a combination of gender-affirming therapy and the process of teshuvah, it is possible to heal from the emotional wounds that caused SSA and live – with Torah-sanctioned love and intimacy – lives in harmony with their Orthodox Jewish beliefs and values.

Committee members who, before therapy, felt no attraction to women whatsoever, today report that they have been able to overcome or manage their inclinations to the degree that they are now very attracted to them. Those who have married have wives who knew about their struggles with SSA and were able to see past it, giving their husbands love and support as striving human beings and Jews.

The complete Declaration, with its list of more than 200 signators (leading Orthodox rabbis from across the religious and political spectrum, community leaders, and mental-health professionals), is available at www.TorahDec.org, along with the Committee’s full response to Chaim Levin. The rabbis – who represent members of the chassidish, yeshivish, Chabad, Sephardic, and Modern Orthodox/Yeshiva University communities – include R’ Yisroel Belsky, R’ Moshe Green, R’ Shmuel Kamenetsky, R’ Sam Kassin, R’ Avrohom Y. Nelkenbaum, R’ Yisroel Neuman, R’ Steven Pruzansky, R’ Yisroel Reisman, R’ Hershel Schachter, R’ Moshe Soloveichik, R’ Moshe Dovid Tendler, and R’Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.

Many of them signed on because the Torah Declaration demands respect for all people and says those with SSA who yearn to live in consonance with the Torah must receive the loving, compassionate support of the Jewish community while they engage on the path toward healing. The message from the Committee and the Torah Declaration’s signators is that life-saving change is possible.

The Committee hopes that, after reading the full Declaration, other rabbis, community leaders, and mental-health professionals will consider signing as well, thereby making a significant difference in this important struggle to protect the Torah way of life.
Susan L. Rosenbluth
Englewood, NJ

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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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