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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
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Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community


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Photo Credit: © Katja Heinemann/Aurora Select, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center

It’s been more than six months since The Jewish Press published an op-ed titled “Orthodox Homosexuals and the Pursuit of Self Indulgence.” In the article, the writer, while not mentioning my name, calls me shameless and self-indulgent and suggests that I learn to suffer in silence. He was referring to an anti-suicide video I made for the “It Gets Better” project. In the YouTube video I talk about the endless bullying in my childhood, the trauma of reparative therapy and my suicide attempt as a result of a frum community that seemed to not want me to exist simply because I was gay.

My message was that, with time, with understanding friends and with self-acceptance, it gets better. I hoped to tell other kids who may be on the brink of suicide to stick it out, because life gets better; even for gay Jews growing up in the Orthodox community. This video never talks about private behavior, never mentions any assur activity, and certainly does not divulge anything about what I do behind closed doors. However, simply because I talk about how I was bullied for being gay, the author tried to make me feel horrible for simply sending a message of hope. He succeeded in embarrassing me and making me feel unwanted by this community.

I wish I could say that this is the exception. But the truth is that despite the fact that I would never talk publicly about private personal behavior or engaging in sin, the frum world seems to see me as part of a “gay agenda” simply because I won’t stay quiet.

My name is Chaim Levin. I grew up in a heimishe family in Crown Heights. I love my mother, my father and my family. I had always felt different and was the subject of relentless bullying by other boys for “seeming” gay. When I was 17 I confided to a friend that I was attracted to men and not sexually attracted to women at all. When it came out, I was thrown out of yeshiva. For the longest time I felt so alone because I truly believed that I was the only person battling this secret war. My older siblings were getting married and having kids, and all I ever wanted was to be a part of the beautiful world my parents had raised me in. My dream was to marry a woman and live the life my family hoped and dreamed for me. I would never have chosen to be gay; I could not imagine anyone growing up in the Orthodox world who would choose to be someone who doesn’t fit into the values and norms of everyone around them.

So do I think that I was “born gay”? I don’t know and I am not sure how important that is. What is important is that it certainly is not something that I chose or had anything to do with. And I felt immense pressure to somehow change who I was.

After much time and research I found a well-known organization that “specialized” in reparative therapy. This organization had endorsements from a wide range of rabbanim and I was sure that it was the answer to all my problems. The organization’s executive director told me that he believes everyone can change if they simply put in the hard work. I would have done anything to change, and this message was just the hope I was looking for. I spent two years attending every group meeting, weekend, and individual life coaching sessions they offered. My parents and I paid thousands of dollars. Every day, every session, I was working and waiting to feel a shift in my desires or experience authentic change. That moment never came. I didn’t change, I never developed any sexual desire for women, and never stopped being attracted to men. Instead, I only felt more and more helpless because I wasn’t changing. The organization and its staff taught us that change only comes to those who truly want it and are willing to put in the work. So if I wasn’t changing, I was seen as someone who either really didn’t sincerely want it, or would not put in the necessary work. In other words, there was no one to blame but myself.

The worst part of my experience in reparative therapy came at the end. In a locked office, alone with my unlicensed “life coach,” I was told to undress, stand in front of the counselor and do things too graphic to describe in this article. I was extremely uncomfortable, but he said that I must do this for the sake of changing and that if I didn’t remove my clothing I wouldn’t be doing the work it takes to achieve change. I would do anything to change, and so I did what he asked me to do. It was probably the most traumatizing experience of my life.

I tried to tell people what happened, but the organization said it wasn’t true and refused to fire the life coach. But I have spoken to other men whom underwent the same experience. And I can only imagine how many other young men who this has happened to who have not yet come forward. One of the most frustrating aspects was that because this coach is not licensed by any professional board, he is unaccountable to any licensing committee. Since I was over eighteen and agreed to this kind of therapy, I am told that I have no legal recourse. But I do have my voice! Yet, even after coming forward with what happened, nothing has changed. I often hear that this therapy has helped people, that it is wonderful, but I wonder, how helpful can an organization be when it causes great suffering and pain to many who come to them for hope.

The recent Torah Declaration, signed by so many rabbis, only serves to perpetuate the notion that all homosexuals in the Orthodox community must change in reparative therapy. Unlike the helpful recent RCA statement on welcoming homosexuals or the “Statement of Principles” written and signed by over 200 responsible rabbis, the Torah Declaration does not demand that therapists must be board licensed. Unlike these other statements, it does not allow those for whom this kind of therapy is harmful or not working to seek other options. It kills me that this Torah Declaration will be used by parents to force their children into therapies that may be harmful to them. It frightens me that this Torah Declaration says that “change is mandated by the Torah,” when I know personally that change therapy has not worked and was so harmful for me. It hurts me to know that I am now being blamed by these rabbis and therapists for this failed therapy.

It confuses me that this Torah Declaration contains flawed arguments that would pass muster in the beis medrash. Saying that Hashem would never make a gay person unable to change is simplistic, inconsistent and flat-out wrong. If someone gets into an accident we would never say that we know he can be “cured” simply because his affliction is not genetic and he wasn’t born this way. We would never tell a deaf person (born deaf or not) that his nisayon is to find a way to hear again, so that he can be mekayem the mitzvah of shofar? Yet the Torah Declaration uses all of these arguments to make gay people feel that their nisayon in life is to change their sexuality, simply because it may not be genetic and Hashem would never make it unchangeable. This is the worst kind of rationalized homophobia.

I know first hand how this kind of societal bullying can lead to self-harm and suicide. I know of too many young men who have been pressured to stay in these kinds of therapies only to be tormented to point of taking their own lives. No one can bring these boys back. However, there are many Orthodox rabbis, frum therapists and organizations that remind us we are loved and that we belong. In the darkness of my days, a grass roots support community organization called JQY saved my life. JQY (www.JQYouth.org) is a group of over five hundred young Jews who grew up in the frum community. Their goal is to combat shame, bullying and ostracizing, while making families, yeshivas and communities safe and welcoming to their gay members. They do not advocate for any change in halacha, but rather assert that one can believe that certain behaviors are halachically prohibited and still be a happy, healthy and fulfilled person.

In JQY the right path for an individual is unique for each person. There are some members of JQY who are trying to change their orientation and many like me, who have tried for years and have discovered that it is not possible for them. We are all just trying to be the best that we can be. We learn from each other and are there for each other because we know how hard it is to be gay in a frum family. JQY is my logical family. We have support meetings, crisis resources, Yom Tov get-togethers and Shabbos meals where we know it is safe to be ourselves.

I now have a sense of pride about who I am. However, I understand the concept of “pride” as combating the years of self-shame and instead promoting a sense of personal self worth. Pride is not a celebration of any personal behavior or desire. Nowhere in my story do I ever mention prohibited behaviors. I know that “being gay” does not express anything about personal intimate behavior; it merely expresses an orientation. I do not support or encourage any sexual or intimate behavior. I adhere to the concept of tzniut (modesty), which demands that intimate behavior stays private and discrete, and has no place in the public forum. In fact I do not know any gay person from a frum background who doesn’t believe the same way.

This is not an appeal to change halacha or anyone’s political views. This is not a push for gay marriage or any legitimizing of gay marriage within Orthodoxy. I am simply asking my community not to judge. Remember the compassion we show to the agunah, who may also desire something that is halachically prohibited through no fault of her own. Similarly, why pressure someone to participate in a program or therapy that they may have laredy tried or which causes harm. Just because someone is honest about being gay, does not mean that he engages in any sin or chillul Hashem. No one should feel silenced or asked to lie about who they are. Abuse and cruelty should never be tolerated or ignored. We should assume the best about people’s actions and intentions and ask Hashem for guidance in situations where we do not have easy answers. A little humility goes a long way. Sometimes the kindest and most thoughtful response when it comes to very difficult situations is, “I don’t know, but I’m here for you because you are part of my family and community.”

This is why I have so much hakaras hatov (gratitude) to The Jewish Press for allowing me to tell my story, so that the frum community can hear what really happens to its gay sons, brothers, and family members.

May we be zoche to live in a world free of suffering.

About the Author: The author can be reached at magazine@jewishpress.com


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208 Responses to “Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community”

  1. Rich Dweck says:

    I could not have said it better. I went through 2 years of X-Gay therapy 13 years ago and at the end I was devastated, and yes thoughts of suicide did come to the forefront. Chaim has a lot of courage. If more of us spoke out, maybe we will see change and tolerance! If I can stop anyone from going through what I have, I will! I don’t care who thinks that I should not say a word and if I WANT to be gay, then I should just do it silently!
    My question is why are rabbis not working and seeing where they can find within the torah a way to understand homosexuality different. Where is the LEADERSHIP today? I feel like it is a “Boosha”that we do not see more rabbis standing up for the minority. It is an issue that is not going to just vanish!
    I don’t think it’s fair for any woman to have to go through being married to a gay man. Where is the “Sechel” of our leaders? I write about many issues such as these and list support organizations around the world. Please know that you are loved and no matter what anybody says, you have a bright future ahead! “It Gets Better” is a bit misleading to people going through this. It does get better, but only after it gets worse!
    Rabbis and leaders please do what you were chosen to do, LEAD! Thank you for reading this and see more at http://richdweck.blogspot.com/.

  2. You do realize your relationship with Hashem requires no rabbinic intermediary, and you needn’t remain in any community–religious or otherwise–just because you were born into it. It’s a wide and wonderful Jewish world. Spending your life arguing with Klal Yisrael’s most closed-minded elements just gives them more power to control your life and the lives of others. Better to find more loving religious Jewish pastures. Many more Jews (including religious Jews) will accept you unconditionally as a gay Jew than will reject you as a gay Jew. The decision is not the community’s. It’s yours.

  3. Daniel K. says:

    I appreciate you sharing your story but I feel that you are, in many ways, legitimizing institutional homophobia in the Orthodox communities.

    While you courageously speak at length about the harm and ineffectiveness of “reparative” “therapy,” you fall short because you do not mention that the unanimous medical and psychological view is that reparative therapy is only harmful, is junk science, and goes completely against accepted medical and psychological practices. Indeed, it is believed that the so-called therapy is responsible for more suicides than heterosexual marriages.

    Moreover, I understand that you are trying to be respectful of the homophobic readership of the Jewish Press. However, there is no benefit in obliging their animosity against gay people by declining to talk about homosexual relationships or accepting on its face the common argument by Orthodox community members that homosexuality is utterly incompatible with a religious life. Yes, gay Jews have sex. Gay Jews have loving, beautiful, Jewish relationships. Gay Jews are much like everyone else, only they understand that man is created by God as an imperfect being. Gay Jews are blessed to be free of insufferable righteousness that so permeates other pockets of the community. There is no need to mention the many worse “sins” than engaging in gay sex that so many active and proud Orthodox Jews commonly engage in.

    So my point is, it is about time the Orthodox communities accept that gay Jews exist, cannot be changed, and are not a problem. As well, gay Jews should feel free to be proud and open members of an Orthodox community; behaving otherwise only advances and legitimizes homophobia.

  4. jeffeyges says:

    Chaim, your courage is extraordinary, and I’m so sorry for your suffering. However, I must agree with Michael Doyle:

    “Spending your life arguing with Klal Yisrael’s most closed-minded elements just gives them more power to control your life and the lives of others. Better to find more loving religious Jewish pastures. Many more Jews (including religious Jews) will accept you unconditionally as a gay Jew than will reject you as a gay Jew.”

    In short – why remain within Orthodoxy?

  5. M. Weinstein says:

    This man should be treated with the utmost kindness and generosity by everyone. You don’t like what he has to say well too bad. Does he crave attention? Probably, but he is a product of this culture and has endured a great deal in his young life and is one of us. Sadly he will continue to endure and not because the frum community is so unjust, cruel or “homophobic” but because no matter what this man will never have children with a person he loves. How very sad. Think about it, while his former classmates move on through the various stages of life he will only be invited to Simchas but will never have one of his own. And I am sure he is smart enough and feeling enough to know this.

  6. Geoff-down under says:

    I commend this young man Chaim for telling and sharing his painful story and struggles. I agree with his questioning/opinion that who would choose this way of life especially in a frum community? Demanding he change is just not realistic, as he quite clearly has demonstrated and if one accepts that there is a Creator we must accept all of His creations even when they are dis-similar. As the deaf were once excluded from a minyan it is high time for authorities to “get with the programme” and get on with the business of legislating equality and to leave sarcasm, bullying and name calling behind and do something positive like seeing a way forward. If this Law is not in heaven and too far because it was revealed there lies the authority for Rabbis to act.
    I wish Chaim continued courage,luck and happiness in the years that lie ahead.

  7. Chaim Levin says:

    You both fail to notice the main point of this article being published:this isn’t about me anymore. Whether I remain orthodox, am orthodox or am not orthodox doesn’t take away from my experience, which until today, wasn’t ever acknowledged on such a public level. The point of this gesture is to send out a message of hope to the lost and confused people who think it’s not ok to come out, or think they’re trapped and will never find inner peace just because of who they are; i say this as this was true for me when I was younger and sure that something about myself was different, I felt so alone and I never felt any sense of inner peace until I met others like myself. When I was younger i would look to the jewish press every weekend for some mention of this topic, but to no avail, this topic was never discussed, until today. So in turn just think about the thousands of people reading this who are somewhat inspired and might even feel a little more hope simply because of this article being published and this experience becoming a reality.

  8. Josh Feigelson says:

    Kol hakavod for your courage, Michael. And kol hakavod to the Jewish Press for publishing your words. Chazak v’amatz.

  9. Jessica says:

    First of all I have to commend Chaim on his incredible strength in writing this article. I am sure that it took more courage then any of us will really be able to understand.

    Second to those who read this and think why would a person continue to identify as Orthodox after experiencing such things? I think it shows an incredible amount of maturity and faith in G-d. It would be easy to say if I can’t be who I feel like being here then I am not staying. In fact, many nonreligious Jews react like that to most Orthodox practices. If I can’t drive on saterday, eat a cheese burger, have sex before marriage etc then forget it! But I think that we, as human beings, make very poor judges of right and wrong. In the recent past (i.e. last 150 years) there have been many empowering social and political movements that have allowed previously marginalized minorities fair rights – However, the movement towards acceptance has move so far to the left that I believe we have lost an incredible amount of refinement in our modern society. (I am not speaking specifically to the gay issue addressed in the article but more of a general comment about Chaim’s choice to remain connect to the Orthodox community.)
    We could all take a page out of Chaim’s book – he clearly has a deep faith in G-d! This is a very difficult challenge to be tested with in one’s life. One we can not even begin to imagine! Despite being mistreated so consistently Chaim maintains faith in both G-d and the Jewish people. (That Orthodox people will wake up and deal with this issue – homosexual Jews – with the grace and support they deserve as Jews!)
    G-d should bless Chaim, and all of us, with the answer to his prayers and help him find the strength to overcome his tests.(Which should be very very few!)

  10. Sabina says:

    I don’t know what I am more impressed by: Chaim’s personal journey (and the guts to put it all out there) or the Jewish Press’s decision to publish it knowing it will anger many in the community who don’t like seeing any perspective but their own. But wow. It’s terrible what happened to Chaim at the hands of his “therapist” so I especially appreciate his bringing that issue to light and hope the practice of trying to brainwash the gay away can be stopped.

    An interesting followup piece to this might be why Chaim chose to remain in the Orthodox world, despite having been made to feel so unwanted.

  11. Happy Gay says:

    oy nebech

    first i think mazal tov is in order.

    chim is married why is that a secret ???

    tell everyone about your wife or husband.

    and i think when this happy kid was born he should have been institutionalized .. immediately.
    but how is this inteligent site copy such garbage from the jp ?

    enough telling people what to do.

    id you want to me married to a men you free to do it just Start your own religion
    and be a new Yoshke or call it “the chaim happy religion” maybe you be very lucky and they nail you to the cross and than you can be the messiah for this site
    so you can call your new religion “the chaim happy religion of failed messiah inc.”
    maybe if you were not born in a dysfunctional family you would have the girls interested in you.

    NEBECH.

  12. shem says:

    “In short – why remain within Orthodoxy?”

    i think you are missing chaim’s point. he is using his personal experiences as a call for a shift in attitude on behalf of the people who are unable to make the decision to not “remain within orthodoxy” – they are the children who, as we speak, are being tormented sometimes to a point of suicide.

  13. Gella says:

    Jeff, what do you think it means to “remain within Orthodoxy” first of all… are you asking why Chaim continues to identify as Orthodox, or why he wishes to remain within a certain community? The answer to the first should be obvious. A person’s religious identification is not predicated upon whether or not others who identify similarly accept said person or not. As for the community question, have you ever been kicked out of your home? It hurts. It really really hurts. I am not saying that it is right to stand for abuse, but the solution is not always to run away. Besides, the Orthodox will never progress to acceptance if all of the queers move out, or to the left. In fact, it would serve to reinforce the negative view of queerness, that it is incompatible with a “religious” lifestyle, which is patently untrue. It is a sign of love and compassion not to leave… we hope one day to help the Orthodox world see what they cannot, and thereby improve it, and its members. Leaving the Orthodox world “Queerenrein” is not helpful.

  14. Ya Ya says:

    While I agree with your question in some respects, to give up orthodoxy may be as challenging for some of us as it is to ‘give up’ being gay.

  15. Leah says:

    Chaim,
    May Hashem continue to give you the strength to live your life honestly among the orthodox community. I hope that you continue to use your voice to give support and hope for those that may feel alone and hopeless.
    I too grew up in Boro Park and went to an all girls orthodox school and thought that I was crazy as every classmate was getting engaged, married and building a family in klal Yisrael. I wanted nothing less as well, I tried it all, I went out on plenty of shiduchim, until one day I realized the truth about me. I too would NEVER have CHOSEN to be gay, all I ever wanted was to make my mother proud and fulfill her dream of me being under the chupah, I lived with a remendous amount of guilt for years…..Until I met this incredible person who directed the movie “Trembling Before God” and was fortunate to be in this outstanding documentary about the struggles gay orthodox jews have to endure in/out of their communities.
    I wish you the best of luck and yes, may we be zoche to live in a world free of suffering and shame.
    Leah

  16. sf says:

    Shame u went down that path. The reality is that when you die, you’re going to see how badly you failed at life. You know what the torah calls you? An abomination. You were not born into being gay you chose to be it. If you were not attracted to women its because you didn’t see the one that was meant for you to be attracted to. You were “attracted” to men because your yetzer harra knew exactly what was most difficult for you, and you failed that test.

    I hope that one day you can repent before you die.

  17. Zalman says:

    BS”D

    that was one of the Best write ups of the subject I’ve seen yet. beautiful, heartfelt and respectful.

    One thing that I hope all this leads to is an actual drive to real, scientific research into possible therapies that may have some affect.

    As with any other issue that we deal with, it would be immature to simply say that we can change. at the same time what Daniel K references in his comment is the utmost in unscientific statements. what else has science ever given up on? what is much more realistic is to accept the challenge that HaShem clearly gave us, and to work to do what we can. some may never be able to change at all, some my change so dramatically as to be able to marry a woman, be a great father and husband and most will likely fit somewhere in the middle.

    I am not talking about x-gay therapy, I am talking about long-term hormonal, psychological, etc. research which is simply not being done. is this the best that we can do? simply say “it gets better”? (although I applaud you for the help you give others in your situation by doing it in the respectful way that you do).

    As long as there are youth who want nothing else then to be like their parents, and as long as this desire runs as deep as it does, we owe it to them to work every angle spend any money until we can help those who would like the help.

  18. Havah says:

    I applaud Chaim’s courage and the courage of all of the brave young men and women in JQY. HaShem is not nearly as homophobic as certain parts of the Jewish community are. It is my sincere hope that before people in the frum community open their mouths to speak about gay people in general or a particular gay person specifically, that they will think about the averiot of Ona’at D’varim, Lashon Hara and Motzei Shem Ra.

  19. Sam says:

    Wow, brave man. “All Great Truths Begin as Blasphemies”. Keep telling your truth, keep loving yourself, and being aware of the incredible person that you are. If I could turn every negative message that will be on here into a positive I would. I grew up in a frum household too, am not religious anymore, but have found a pride and a sense of self that such a restrictive environment could not afford me. It does get better and for anyone reading this in the throws of it all, keep smiling and never forget that your truth can not be changed, shamed, or feared away. :)

  20. Vicki Polin says:

    Chaim, I want to thank you for writing this article and speaking out. You are a hero to so many.

  21. Havah says:

    I am so disappointed to see so many people encouraging Chaim to leave Orthodoxy. People who are Orthodox cannot just decide one day to go to a Reform, Conservative or shul of any other denomination. I know you may find this hard to believe, but we really do follow all of the mitzvot (that we can) because they are just that, MITZVOT. Commanded of us. I once heard a JTS professor speak and he said, no one actually believes in the literal interpretation of Matan haTorah! I was shocked, because I do. I was shocked not that he did not, but that he thought people like me were a myth. I also could not, and still do not, understand why he kept kosher. Keeping kosher and keeping Shabbat are not easy things to do. If I did not believe that God required those of me, I would not do it. I do not understand why someone would go to all the trouble to keep kosher if it was not required of me. But it is, by the Highest Authority there is.

    Switching denominations is not merely an issue of going to a different shul. It is a different way of thinking. I would hope that Chaim can stay in his chosen community and not have to deal with homophobia, rather than be forced to chose a different community.

  22. Leon Gefen says:

    I have read a few similar articles to the one that is published in the Jewish Press. They all have one clear point that they all seem to sneak in . “We don’t want to discuss what we do behind closed doors” “We are not telling u what we do and we don’t ask what regular frim married couples do in their bedroom”.
    This seems to be the crux of the whole issue !! The two are wound together and very hard to seperate. If you have a gay orientation, and meet other gay’s and socialize with them, one thing leads to another. Only the biggest Tzadikim can refrain from such a temptation !
    Don’t get me wrong, I too am a gay frum person. In fact I was once a Rav. I could not avoid the temptation. I have sinned.
    This is where the Rabbonim are coming from. It is important and vital “what goes one behind closed doors”. Being gay is synanomous with gay sex. Don’t fool yourself. It’s difficult for any Rav to give a “Hechser” on “being gay” when that automatically will lead to grave sins.
    However I do agree with the writer of the article in respect to showing friendship to all members of klal yisroel. No one deserves to be “kicked out” or put in cherem , unless he is a danger to society.

  23. yael dvorah says:

    it is true that a person cannot change their own desires … private desires and yearnings are very often impossible to change … and should not be expected to change with the person’s own will … i recently read that the Chofetz Chaim cried to Ha-Shem daily to remove his hidden anger … even anger deep inside was impossible for the Chofetz Chaim to remove … your article is beautifully written and articulate … and your knowledge of yourself is tremendously admirable … to be true to ourselves is a tremendous goal, as we cannot function fully in this world without self-knowledge … including knowing our limitations … being abused and bullied can never help a person … it will push a person away … people, even well meaning people, are not the answer … if you want to be what you are not … if you want to give up what you feel you are or what you have … it is only Ha-Shem … he gives us our desires, sometimes the wrong desires … because without His help, we are trapped by them … the Chofetz Chaim was trapped by hidden anger, and he wanted it removed … Ha-Shem gave him that hidden anger … as uncomfortable and embarrassing as it was, Ha-Shem gave it to him so he could go back to Ha-Shem to ask Him to remove it … Ha-Shem works in very mysterious ways … you might not really be who you think you are … and with Ha-Shem’s help, you will become who you are meant to be ……

  24. Michael says:

    It is exactly because of the the above comments that “coming out” essays are not encouraged.

    Simply put, acceptance is the first step to legitimacy. And the act of homosex will never be OK according to the Torah (not according to one denomination or another. It’s Torah).

    Now you have people advising you to leave Torah, transgress Torah, and expect Torah observant Jews to accept the act (and if they don’t, let’s call them narrow minded).

    Thus, your important point was totally lost on those who wanted you to take the next step in your essay and put your stamp of approval on mishkav zachor.

    I do think your letter was a courageous one with many valid and important points. Your struggle has much worth.

  25. Tuvye R. says:

    Yasher koach for publishing this most heartfelt article.
    All of our children–straight, bi or gay–deserve our full love.

  26. Mordechai says:

    Thank you Chaim and the Jewish Press for sharing this amazing personal story. It took strength, courage, bravery and tremendous heart to allow this story to be heard. The entire Jewish Press deserves credit. I know so many gay and lesbian youth growing up in the Frum world. Whatever you think about some private actions being hallachically problematic, the only message should be that: WE LOVE YOU, WE WANT YOU, and THERE IS NOTHING SHAMEFULL ABOUT WHO YOU ARE!

    I am so saddened that some in the Orthodox world have pressured our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters into dangerous psuedo-therapies that send negative messages to those most vulnerable.

    Hashem should forgive us.

    It is us as a frum community that should do the Teshuva!

    -Yasher Koach Jewish Press for helping us all be a true Or Lagoyim

    Mordechai
    5 towns

  27. Yehuda says:

    Beautiful article.
    I was once a closed minded homophobe, but as I spent more time in the real world, I realized that gay people are just like everyone else.

    The whole argument that G-d wouldn’t create someone who was gay is stupid. Adultery is a sin, yet G-d creates men who can’t help but chase every skirt they see.

    Good luck to you, Chaim, and to every other gay Jew struggling for acceptance.
    I hope the age of acceptance is right around the corner.

  28. Moshe says:

    I know Chaim and I know he tried to change, its unfair to say he did not want to.
    I believe that every Jew whether gay or not must be accepted into the Jewish community.
    Its not like he asked to be gay or have same sex attractions.
    Bad things happen to good people, how many times we have said that.
    May be it’s a bad thing to be gay, may be its not.
    I have to respect Chaim as he does not talk about how and what he does he keeps that private, if you saw him in the street you would just think he another guy, just like the guy sitting at the computer next to you in the office, have you ever wondered if he’s gay, put the thought out of your head, he’s a human being and that’s what’s important.
    He did not rob a bank and did not kill or hurt anyone he has just got hurt in the system.
    I agree if you can change then try, but its not the end of the world if you can’t.
    If you want to change then there is no harm to try out therapy with organizations that do this, Chaim fell through the cracks and did not have luck on his side, there is no need for bulling him just because it did not work for him, but it may work for others.
    If there is a frum Jew or any Jew who wants to change, and he’s in the closet then its time you do something about it, its time you talk to someone.
    I wish Chaim all the best.
    Just one more thing I feel its fine to still remain frum and still be “gay” as long as you follow the guide lines.

  29. E says:

    SF, you make being gay seem to be the worst sin in the Torah! and its not and people fail to understand that. None of us are perfect Jews and each of us sin and don’t keep to every single law commanded to us. We as humans have desires and sometimes we just can’t control ourselves no matter how hard we try. Aren’t we commanded to love our fellow Jew?? Well, those who detest, dislike, hate another Jew for who they are is a sin unto itself.

    Being Gay isn’t a choice and it can’t be wrung out of someone. Try as they may people can’t just make themselves gay and develop feelings for someone of the opposite gender. Its innate. If it was a choice do you think everyone would choose to be gay? They suffer a lot for who they are and if they had a choice to undo their gayness they would (pending the person) so they wouldn’t have to be tortured, bullied, rejected, and hated by others.

  30. Yoreh Deah says:

    There are plenty of people with innate mental illnesses they can’t control such as schizophrenia, manic-depression, personality disorders, etc. That doesn’t and shouldn’t make their actions under the influence of their illness right or socially acceptable – just to a certain extent, understandable.
    As long as they don’t harm others, they shouldn’t be forced to undergo treatments to heal their disease – if they accept or want to live with that illness and assuming they can comprehend they are ill and can make that choice.
    But that doesn’t make their mental state or related actions normal either.
    We should have sympathy for those who suffer from mental illnesses.
    We may choose to ignore or have sympathy for the screaming cursing bag lady in the subway, but we shouldn’t get confused and say this should be considered socially acceptable and normal behavior.

  31. Anonymous Jew says:

    I’ve read the Jewish Press over many years. It gives me great pride that it has seen fit to publish this fine and much needed article. Chaim Levin has great courage to speak out – and he should not listen to his detractors. I think, firstly, that anyone who has not been in his situation has no right to talk; second, even if they had, everyone is entitled to their own experience, and their own views about it should be respected; and finally, it is unacceptable for any Jew to denounce the private practices of another that do not hurt them. This is bein adam leMakom. I hardly think Hashem needs us to do his dirty work for him, if He even wants us to. If He did, I imagine He would be much more concerned with addressing things like spousal abuse, corruption and turning a blind eye to famine and suffering in this world. I wish those were as big a priority in our communities as appearances and self-indulgent shows of piety.

  32. jeffeyges says:

    “If I can’t drive on saterday, eat a cheese burger, have sex before marriage etc then forget it!”

    Unfortunately, you’ve bought into the stereotypes of “frei yidden” presented to you by your teachers and rabbis.

  33. jeffeyges says:

    Judaism has always emphasized community over individual spirituality. It’s been said – and, I think, with justification – that it’s impossible to be a Jew in isolation. If one is rejected by the community, it impacts one’s ability to function as a Jew, to fulfill the mitzvot (although, as a secular person, that doesn’t matter much to me). At that point, “whether or not others who identify similarly accept said person” becomes paramount.

    In my opinion, to acknowledge that one is inherently gay, but at the same time to hold to a belief that God prohibits homosexual behavior and therefore requires one to live a life of celibacy and loneliness, and to believe that one will never know the reason until after one dies, is cognitive dissonance.

  34. jeffeyges says:

    “I know you may find this hard to believe, but we really do follow all of the mitzvot (that we can) because they are just that, MITZVOT. Commanded of us… I do not understand why someone would go to all the trouble to keep kosher if it was not required of me. But it is, by the Highest Authority there is.”

    That is a matter of opinion.

  35. jeffeyges says:

    Chaim,

    I don’t know whether or not you’ll see this, as I don’t know how much dissent from Orthodoxy the Jewish Press tolerates in these comment threads.

    “You both fail to notice the main point of this article being published:this isn’t about me anymore. Whether I remain orthodox, am orthodox or am not orthodox doesn’t take away from my experience, which until today, wasn’t ever acknowledged on such a public level. The point of this gesture is to send out a message of hope to the lost and confused people who think it’s not ok to come out, or think they’re trapped and will never find inner peace just because of who they are.. ”

    I understand that, and again, you’re to be commended for your courage. I hope your story, and that of others in your community who are coming out, *can* give hope to those who feel isolated and alone.

    However, as I said in my reply to Gella, below:

    “Judaism has always emphasized community over individual spirituality. It’s been said – and, I think, with justification – that it’s impossible to be a Jew in isolation. If one is rejected by the community, it impacts one’s ability to function as a Jew, to fulfill the mitzvot (although, as a secular person, that doesn’t matter much to me). At that point, “whether or not others who identify similarly accept said person” becomes paramount.

    “In my opinion, to acknowledge that one is inherently gay, but at the same time to hold to a belief that God prohibits homosexual behavior and therefore requires one to live a life of celibacy and loneliness, and to believe that one will never know the reason until after one dies, is cognitive dissonance.”

    Frankly, I think it calls the entire belief system into question, and I feel somewhat validated in that opinion by the reactionary comments below (although I’m glad to see that most of them are supportive).

  36. shanelear says:

    The author of “Orthodox Homosexuals and the Pursuit of Self Indulgence” succeeded only in showing we readers that he is ignorant, bigoted and that he represents the complete opposite of what Judaism is all about.

  37. Lisa says:

    Daniel, that’s your mistake. So you’ve rejected real (Orthodox) Judaism. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to do the same just because we’re gay. The idea that we should abandon God and the Torah and adopt heterodox positions merely because we’re gay is appalling to me. You don’t adjust your beliefs to make like run more smoothly. If Jews did that, there wouldn’t be any Jews left.

    The Torah is true. Torah Judaism is true. Being gay in that context is challenging, but primarily because of (a) community attitudes and (b) people like you. It’s people like you who do the most harm to people like us. Because you simply confirm the mistaken notion that there’s no place for us among other Torah believing Jews.

    You may think you’re helping, but you aren’t.

  38. Crown Heights Resident says:

    as i leave on the same block as chaim levin
    let me start by the Facts Chaim Levin in no way can be called
    Orthodox Jew (and that is his choince)he is working in Apple Store
    in manhatten on SHABBES that is why i am so surprise at the Jewish Press
    for publishing his Mental illnes in public.
    and this is not a secret where is he comming from and where is he going to
    real shame that unstable people bacome outspoken and preachers.
    people who follow some of this crazy person how he bashed his perents and made up stories about his own father know real well who is the Face behind the story.

    shame on all the people who give him corage to continue this path of destruction.

    and a question to you Mr Gay Chaim

    Orthodoxy is not for you in the form of crown heights .
    what are you doing in crown heights now find a place closer to work so you can do one less chilul chabbes and walk to work instead of driving to work.

    May the One who blessed our ancestors –

    Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

    Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah –

    bless and heal the one who is ill:

    Chaim
    son of
    Bella

    May the Holy Blessed One

    will send him, speedily,

    a complete healing –

    healing of the soul and healing of the body –

    along with all the ill,

    among the people of Israel and all humankind,

    soon,

    speedily,

    without delay,

    and let us all say: Amen!

  39. jacquelyn says:

    Thank you, Chaim, for surviving, expressing, and sharing your experience, I pray it helps open the minds of many, many people, and I hope you have found a community where you find peace and love you deserve.

  40. Lisa says:

    With all due respect, Leon, speak for yourself. There are frum Jews who are gay and lesbian and do *not* do forbidden things. If you were unable to control yourself, don’t put your failure out there as something everyone will fail at.

    You weren’t at the Eshel Shabbaton. I can assure you that the weekend was not at all about sex. My partner and I brought our 11 year old daughter, who is in 6th grade at an Orthodox day school. She and other kids her age had fun feeding the goats and doing a parasha play in the talent show on Motzaei Shabbat.

    You may think that you have to kill half of yourself in order for the other half to live. I assure you that you’re mistaken.

  41. Lisa says:

    You think? I grew up Conservative. Camp Ramah in Wisconsin Conservative. I almost went to JTS. And I can assure you that for 99% of Conservative and Reform Jews, that was right on the money.

  42. Lisa says:

    It’s possible to have a loving relationship and children without doing things that are forbidden. Fact.

    Why would you want to tell people otherwise? Are there challenges? There sure are. Were there challenges to being Jewish during the times of the Romans and the Catholics? Even more so. Is there an problem with most frum Jews not understanding the simple fact that “I am gay” does not mean “I am doing forbidden things” and that “I am frum” does not mean “I’m going to be alone and isolated for the rest of my life”? Yes. But posts like yours simply exacerbate the problem.

  43. Lisa says:

    It isn’t actually a matter of opinion, but we recognize that there are people who don’t realize that it’s true.

  44. Lisa says:

    I don’t know. I’m gay, and I have zero interest in changing the halakha or making any kind of aveira socially acceptable. Is it really that hard for you to understand that this isn’t about sex?

  45. Hashem straightens the bent! I am not saying this to say one way or the other. I am saying this to humans who think they have a say in the direction of Hashem. I do not know whether or not Hashem approves or disagrees with homosexuals. There are many mitsvahs (mitsvot) that are equivalent to all mitsvot. Charity is one. btw, every mitsvah is equal to another mitsvah so loving your neighbor as yourself makes you worthy of being a ‘Bet E-l’ (a dwelling place for Hashem) and that is the Jewish goal in life, to become a dwelling place for the Creator. Kol HaKavod to any human who recognizes that Hashem is the be all and end all. Hashem protects us from all evil, not a human. If it isn’t for the best, Hashem wouldn’t allow it! Yes, Hashem spoke to me and ALL He said was “Yirat Hashem, Love, Understanding, Forgiveness.” That is wisdom! Peace and Love to All!

  46. Doreen says:

    We’re made in Hashem’s image and maybe just maybe HE’s testing us, wanting us to understand and learn from those who are different.

  47. jeffeyges says:

    Whatever, Lisa. I wasn’t going to respond to you, but as you appear to have a problem with me, I’ll say the following.

    I’m assuming you’re the “Lisa” I’ve seen over the years on various frum blogs. If you are, your belligerent and combative attitude are well-enough known to be nearly legendary at this point. I won’t be drawn into your drama.

  48. leon gefen says:

    Lisa
    I truly admire u very much. U r from the tzadikim I was talking about. It would be interesting to run a survey about this.

  49. Rich Dweck says:

    To the Author: Crown Heights Resident,

    I was contemplating whether or not I should reply to your such ignorant comments. Do you realize how much you have in common with “right wing” Muslims and Christians? Where did the overall basic tenets of the torah get lost? When did law override the major themes of the torah? “Selem Elokim”, “Ben Adam L’chavero”, “Le’taken Olam” and others… I don’t think God gave you the authority to judge others.. I think he is well capable of dealing with the people he created. To judge anyone is to say he is not capable of running this glorious, diverse world. I would just think a bit more before you write…

  50. John says:

    You are an ass. Aside from lashon hara, you’re perpetuating (do they teach that word at your “school”?) sinash chinam, which we learn is the reason the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed.

    Two thousand years later and Jews still haven’t learned how to love each other. Shame.

  51. jeffeyges says:

    “I would just think a bit more before you write… ”

    Rich, I think if he were capable of that, he wouldn’t have written it in the first place.

  52. Rich Dweck says:

    Chaim has a lot of courage to write this. For many readers, they might think that this is something that should not be spoken about at all. I am sure this article will save lives. I really wonder how people think they have the right to judge others. I am very confident in knowing that being gay was and is in God’s plan. God is much smarter than most think. Before I came out, I went through a lot of what Chaim went through. No one should ever have to endure the pain and suffering that many of us go through. I think God has a much grander plan than what most think. If one looks at the text, they can derive many different explanations. It is quite easy to say that someone who is in fact innately homosexual is what the torah is talking about. What if it is talking about people that are not homosexual, but engage in homosexual acts? Homosexuality was looked at as an act for a very long time. Today it is not looked at as that, rather it is looked at as an alternate lifestyle that some have due to their sexuality.
    For anyone to say that the Jewish Press did not do the right thing by publishing this, does not understand Judaism. Judaism is not a religion of silence, although it might appear so based on many communities within. Part of what makes God great is that he created diversity. He did not create robots, not did he create all white males, same noses, bodies and so on. His greatness is that he did not go that route. I do not think that God loves any of his children less or more. Maybe I have a more global view, but the narrow minded “right wing” Jews are what is destroying Judaism. Just take a look at what is happening in Israel. We have “right wing” Jews calling women “WHORES”, telling women to sit in the back of the bus like the blacks had to years ago. We have “right wing” Jews that will not allow a modestly dressed woman to accept an award. I just wonder, what do these people think God wants from them. Do they really think God wants them embarrassing someone? When did it become ok to think learning torah all day makes one better than another. This world needs our help. The insulated ghettos that many orthodox live in is nice, but it heeds what “Ben Adam Le’chavero”, “Tikkun Olam”, “Pekuach Nefesh” are. Can one live in those communities and do these things? Yes, but that seems to be seldom cases. Some reach out to the world and some stay in a building for their entire life.
    I just cannot get over how people think that they are better than others. It is sad! If we did have a silent vote on this issue, we would have at least 70% that would have no issue and want to be supportive of others. The problem is the 30% or less make the loudest noise!

    Rich Dweck

  53. Lisa says:

    No, Jeffrey, you’d rather hurt Jews who are trying to maintain their frumkeit with your negativity.

  54. Lisa says:

    Leon, I’m a beinonit at best. You don’t have to be a super-tzaddik to limit actions to what’s halakhically permissible.

  55. morah yoheved says:

    first of all … i want to say that desire is not the beginning of temptation … i have attended a rebbetzin’s class in my neighborhood for over four years and we have gone over Rav Eliyahu Dessler’s book numerous times … desire is the product of giving … first comes the giving, then comes the desire and love … to have a ‘sexual attraction towards women’ when you have never given anything to a woman … is, according to R. Dessler, impossible …

    second … i have been an assistant and substitute teacher in the yeshiva pre-schools and elementary schools (both these schools are attached to upper grade schools such as middle and high schools) for over 20 years and i can completely feel for any young boy or young man who has been victimized by bullying … and i can attest that it is rampant … particularly for boys …

    it is amazing to me that in a culture such as our beautiful Jewish culture, where gentleness and kindness, softness and meekness, are qualities that are so revered in our rabbeim and in our own aspirations … that when a male child has these qualities he becomes the brunt of shame …. i have been in pre and first grade classes where a shy male child, timid about making friends or speaking up when someone takes something from him or even hurts him, is called ‘baby’ and other names … i have been in the upper grades where these characteristics are even less tolerated … and the victim is hit, spat on, pushed, called ‘girl’, ‘baby’, and ‘gay’. i recently broke up a group of third grade boys during recess who had surrounded a classmate and were throwing things at him because he started crying after the group took the ball he was playing with … after grabbing the ball from him his classmates proceeded to surround him and taunt him for crying …

    is this how we reward sensitivity in boys? i remember i taught the kindergarten in my own son’s class … had i not been there i would never have witnessed this … his class was boys and girls, as they did not separate the sexes until first grade … he was enjoyably playing with a girl classmate in one of the school’s sandboxes … they were both building a remarkable structure out of sand … they both were very involved and working very seriously … mind you, these were 5 year old children … a group of older boys come over and starting singing ‘Beni’s got a girlfriend … Beni’s got a girlfriend’ … it was so revolting i couldn’t believe it … this was in a frum yeshiva … my son, who himself was always my most quiet and timid child, was almost in tears and ran away to the swings … the little girl was terrified …. even my shooing the older boys away didn’t stop them from the singing … they followed my son to the swings …. where the words of their song changed to ‘Beni, your wife is waiting … don’t go’ …

    i don’t know what the consequences of all this humiliation early on causes … possibly the results are showing up in young men like Chaim and his friends … i once read that R. Yaacov Kaminetsky said that ‘shame is the greatest pain’ … shamed for being sensitive? for enjoying playing with a little girl classmate from kindergarten? for being frightened and upset that a group of fellow classmates forced you to give up your ball?

    shaming, humiliation, bullying … all these are forbidden by our Holy Torah for more than one reason … it not only hurts the victim … but personalities and behaviors are formed by our experiences … my son ran away from his beautiful young childhood friend because he was humiliated for playing with her … do we shame our young people when they have opposite-sex friends as young children? what can this result in? surely not good feelings towards the opposite sex for some …

    i continue to work in the yeshivas … and continue to see this behavior in the schools that do not have strict and serious no-loshon hora/no onoas dvorim policies … which need to be top priority if we are to raise sensitive and gentle men … without the open wounds, scars, and alternative lifestyles that loshon hora and onoas dvorim can often produce …

  56. tzfatisha says:

    chaim -
    first of all i think that sexuality and sexual orientation are on a continuum, so a few people are 100% straight and a few 100% gay, the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle and where exactly we fit may change over our lifetime. eg someone may be 70/30 and change to being more 50/50 or it may be just that at one time the 70% is in the forefront and at another time the 30% is in the forefront.
    i also believe that homosexuality as such is a construct – until the 19C it didn’t exist as a concept. yes people participated in homosexual acts (or not) but they didn’t see themselves or others as homosexual, they just saw certain behaviour as homosexual.
    perhaps it would help everyone to go back to this idea -
    also i heard recently that certain rabbis were trying to encourage frum gay men and women to marry each other – this could be a solution for some people if they want to remain in the ‘frum world’ while still being able to act on their sexual preference (or not -depending on how mitzva observant they want to be)
    even in the non-jewish/ non frum world gay people may choose to have children together or participate in joint child rearing.
    of course each person has to come to their own compromise – but it’s hard to get round the torah’s prohibition of certain homosexual acts -and stay frum -
    let’s face it frumkite with it’s emphasis on family life is hard for single people -gay or straight – and with so many people not finding their ‘beshert’ for whatever reason -the community as a whole needs to find a way to include single people -gay or straight- without relegating them to the ‘children’s table’ or making them feel that they don’t count because they aren’t married. perhaps if we can solve this it would help gay people to feel less excluded too.

  57. eli says:

    Just as a quick side-note: homosexuality hasn’t been considered a mental illness since 1974. Ask any licensed psychologist. Religious values may be different, but there is no religious encyclopedia for mental illness.

  58. Michelle says:

    Chaim, I just want you to know that I’m an Orthodox Jew who completely supports you and what you are doing. I’m frankly ashamed of the way this community can treat people sometimes, and I know a lot of fellow Orthodox Jews who feel the same way. Be who you are, and be proud.

  59. Mark Roth says:

    Don’t be fooled! People like Chaim Levin and JQY want the gay agenda and the gay lifestyle to be embraced and accepted. I know first hand. I am struggling with same sex attractions but I have not and will not give up my struggle. I am still trying to fight against my yetzer hora and that’s why I was mocked by them. These people go to Gay “Pride” Parades where all sorts of horrible displays take place and they support legalizing gay marriage and believe in gays raising children. And if a young gay Jew comes to them and refuses to accept the gay agenda he will likely be ostracized by them. Don’t be fooled!

  60. shaina says:

    Kol hacavod to you for speaking for others that can’t. I hope you find a place where your happy and comfortable in the jewish world.

  61. Rich Dweck says:

    JQY does not advocate any lifestyle. They are there for support and have people that have many different ideas. My personal opinion is that the Orthodox world is killing off people. Saving a life is one of the basic tenets of the torah and I believe they help very much allow people to know that whatever they choose God loves them. Maybe that is just my idea, but I think with all the disdain, bullying and terrible messages that are recieved throughout our childhood, that it pushing people to the opposite end. I know when I was younger and dealing with my issues and realizing that “Reparative Therapy” does not work, it caused me to drink and use and totally go off. I felt I was unworthy of a life and that god hated me. I had noone and no group to help me in dealing with it. It’s not like our yeshiva education ever spoke about sex or sexuality. I was so niave and it’s taken me years to become the man I am today. Today I have a spiritually that I have never had. I believe I was given a mission that is very different and special just like many of you. My life is unconventional and I feel that god made it that way. God guides me in my life and cares about me and every single purpose. You can see my blog that speaks about much of this called the “Pink Elephant”. The address is richdweck.blogspot.com ….

  62. michele says:

    Hi. Lisa
    You sound like you have found a comfortable place for yourself and your family within Orthodoxy so Kol Hakavod to you. I am writing in complete ignorance so please excuse any language to be considered thoughtless but here’s my question: I remember reading an article many years ago in the Jewish Press (despite what Chaim wrote in his piece above, there was at least one article back in the late 80s or early 90′s). That article explained that while relations between gay men are strictly and unconditionally prohibited by the Torah, lesbian relationships are “merely” prohibited Rabinically and even then not necessarily unconditionally. (If memory serves me correctly). Is this not true? And if yes, how can you reprimand Leon G? Isn’t there a better chance that he DOES speak for most gay men by saying being gay = gay sex but not necessarily for all gay women since the Torah (as opposed to the Rabbis) does not necessarily even call lesbian behavior “sex”…. ?

  63. Crown St Resident says:

    May the One who blessed our ancestors –

    Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

    Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah –

    bless and heal the one who is ill:

    Chaim
    son of
    Bella

    May the Holy Blessed One

    will send him, speedily,

    a complete healing –

    healing of the soul and healing of the body –

    along with all the ill,

    among the people of Israel and all humankind,

    soon,

    speedily,

    without delay,

    and let us all say: Amen!

  64. Lisa says:

    Actually, Michelle, what’s forbidden for two women is, according to most sources, forbidden from the Torah and not only rabbinically. Not that it would have been okay to ignore rabbinic laws either.

    But yes, it’s much easier for women. And I said what I did based on what I’ve been told by some frum gay men.

  65. eli says:

    As a JQY member for two and a half years, I can tell you JQY in no way ostracizes any members. If you were isolated from the community, I’m sorry you felt that way. Many of us struggle but I’m not sure what you mean by “giving up”. There is nothing wrong with secular gay marriage, gay people raising children or anything of the sort, if you are opposed to those issues, that is your agenda- who has the right to say which one is right and which one is wrong? With so many needy children in the world how can you deny a loving supportive family with two parents, regardless of their gender? But never have I heard JQY ostracize someone for their struggle. And a pride parade is simply a display of confidence and love, after so many years of rejection and hatred- can you blame someone for wanting to attend? Never has JQY marched in inappropriate garb or partook of behaviors in the parade.

  66. eli says:

    Chaim is not sick, nor is it your place to judge him for being so. I promise you, as someone who has struggled with sexuality- it is not something that can be davened away. And until you are in the shoes of someone like Chaim, or myself, who is gay, you cannot possibly understand what we go through. You cannot daven to make it better, it doesn’t work. I tried that method for ten years and I’m still gay.

  67. Batya says:

    I never seen this statement in other discussions about this sensitive subject: “Just because someone is honest about being gay, does not mean that he engages in any sin or chillul Hashem.” Kudos to you, Chaim.

    Hashem’s Torah acknowledges that people have desires that are not permitted, but we are commanded not to act on the desires. In all the “gay” discussions I’ve heard, it seems there runs the undercurrent that acceptance of people with this orientation presumes acceptance of these activities. Why is this so? Not to equate one’s orientation with addiction, the success of the many 12-step programs show that people with exceptionally strong desires for addictive materials (alcohol, drugs) or activities (gambling) can overcome the need to act out on their overwhelming physical and/or psychological needs and feelings. Their compulsions may be unimaginably strong to those of us who are not so afflicted. But through these programs, many an alcoholic need never take another drink, or gambler need never gamble again.

    Whether a frum gay man must go through “reorientation” and marry, it still stands to reason that one who is challenged in this manner need not act on his desires; the strongest deterrent to the behavior being love of Hashem and His Torah. Undoubtedly, it would be difficult and painful to go without any intimate relationship at all, but aren’t these relationships proscribed by the Torah for the unmarried, divorced people, widows and widowers as well? Many divorced Jews refrain from visiting the “No Tell Motel” despite many opportunities to do so. The desire wasn’t gone, but Torah was their guide. One can be heterosexual, but not acting on it.

    As observant Jews, we exercise choices every day guided by Torah principles. It is instilled in us from the time we were small. I will never forget the question my 3-year old son asked when offered candy by a family member: “Is it kosher?” Talk about managing strong desires!

    Let us consider that one may be gay but not acting upon it and show lovingkindness to all Jews.

  68. M. Berman says:

    Mark, You are right and nobody is fooled. Be strong–you are the one with courage and heart and a head. They have an agenda and they may not be very honest in how they present themselves(but they are sure victims). Within the context of that agenda they seek to manipulate others. All the letters that praised and encouraged and offered admiration were from people in JQY–not your average from person. They try to make themselves look important. No doubt somebody said hey write letters so we look really important. The fact is that the gays are obsessed with the from community and feel slighted because they no longer belong to a community based on families and having children. The community does not integrate most “singles” in very well whatever the reason.

  69. tnyc says:

    My heart goes out to Chaim Levin, and to others who experienced what he did. I grew up in an Orthodox home. Since as early as I can remember (approximately the age of 7), I always noticed, and was attracted to men, and not women. Growing up, I wasn’t sure what the attraction meant. People may try to say that I wasn’t born this way. I can’t say for sure just like they can’t say for sure. What I can say, with certainty, is that I’ve always felt this way. As I grew nearer to marriageable age, I didn’t know how I could possibly marry a woman when I had zero attraction to women, and didn’t want to put myself or an unsuspecting young woman into a situation that would lead to disaster down the road. I resisted all calls from well meaning friends and relatives to get married, but suffered years of being ostracized because I remained unmarried. Like Chaim, I contemplated suicide at different points in my life, primarily in my late teens, when I was living in a Yeshiva community I knew would never accept me, and would in fact want nothing to do with me if they knew my true feelings. I hated myself. I feared that I would lose all contact with my family if they ever learned my secret, and that’s what it was, a deep secret. I lived in fear of anybody figuring it out. Call it a nisayon, call it whatever you want. I lived a tormented life. I’m not saying that the orthodox community should do any particular thing or another in response, but the community should be aware that there are kids out there who have these exact same feelings, and are likely as scared and confused as I was. I was fortunate to attend a secular graduate school where I was exposed to people who at least let me know I deserved to remain alive despite my feelings of attraction. To put things in perspective, I am now a successful professional with a wonderful group of friends (many Jewish, some frum, some not frum, and many non-Jewish). I observer many Mitzvot, and try my best to be honest in dealings with others, to give charity to yeshivas, Jewish causes, hospitals, etc.. I try my hardest to respect my parents (I’ve never discussed this with them), and my relatives. I have come to my own realization that I can observe as best as I can, and that when my time comes to meet with Hashem, I will have my explanations ready because I have been tested with a tremendous test. What can the orthodox community do? At a minimum, have compassion for all, make sure kids don’t bully and tease kids who are different, and stop the pressure to get married (especially for those over 30 who may not be married because they are gay, but don’t want to be public about it).

  70. sf says:

    Being gay isn’t the worst sin in the torah but it clearly states that the punishment for it is death.

    Additionally, humans can always control themselves, if you cannot it’s because you’re fooling yourself into thinking that. God doesn’t give you a challenge you cannot overcome.

    As for loving jews – who said i detest/dislike/hate gays? I didn’t say that, i merely said i pity them and feel bad and hope that they repent. Big difference.

    Saying “being gay isn’t a choice” is like saying, “a murderer has no choice”, they just feel the need to do it and can’t stop. Obviously a person can control both as they are choices. Just because they suffer for their choice doesn’t make it ok to use the suffering as an excuse to make it ok.

  71. jeffeyges says:

    “God doesn’t give you a challenge you cannot overcome.”

    One of the most ubiquitous rationalizations in the history of religion.

  72. Leon Gefen says:

    Dear Lisa:

    I am not aware of any biblical /torah prohabition for two women to have any sort of “sexual” or intimate relationship. Please enlighten us to your sources. Also I must say I am astonished that you base your viewpoint concerning gay men from what you “heard from some guys” !!! how would that hold out in the science lab ??? And by the way I am “also” freindly with “some” gay frum men…..and they told me the opposite !

  73. sf says:

    And its amazing that you still don’t understand it.

  74. Rich Dweck says:

    Batya and Sf and other haters, no one asked your opinion and not only that, you have no right to tell anyone what they are doing is right or wrong. God and every human have their own relationship. I don’t considerit a struggle either.. I think we need to look back at the text and figure out all possible meanings. They say any bet din that kills even one person in 70 years has blood on their hands, but how could they say that if the Torah says you should kill anybody.
    Now, stop the nonsense and leave others alone.
    I do not think God puts a struggle in front of someone that they can’t handle. I do believe that is not a struggle and came to the realization after it couldn’t change that god created me this way and wants me to be happy. I’m sure he really doesn’t care about your opinions. God created diversity for a reason! That is what makes him great! We are not all the same and we all have different paths. You may not think someone else is doing wrong, but you should know God is taking care of everything! No one needs your pity prayers either. Don’t mock God! Thank you Chaim for bringing the pink elephant to people’s attention!

  75. Leon Gefen says:

    you can even take it a step further…..why can’t we show compassion and love to a fellow jew even if he in fact DID act on his feelings ?? Since when are we taught that its ok to hate other jews if they don’t folow the torah ? You mean toi tell me that it’s ok to hate those jews who don’t keep Shabbos ?? I agree there is a difference between a Mumar L’hacis (one who transgresses to spite) and a Mumar L’teovon (one who transgresses out of hunger)….but most gay jews who engage in sex can surely be classified as a Mumar L’teovon, they are not doing it to spite anyone. Please read Rabbi Chaim Rappoports book “Judaism and Homosexuality”. He elaborates more on this theme.

  76. Leon Gefen says:

    Hey SF,

    I am a frum gay person, and I agree with what u said…we do have a choice to commit the sin of Mishcav zochor (sodomy) . We are not forced into it. ….but I think u are confusing what the article and people on here are trying to say. Being gay is one thing and acting on those feelings are two different things.
    Being gay means merely having feelings……there is no sin for that, and many professionals have declared that thoses feelings ( or orientations ) are inborn and not chosen.

  77. Lisa says:

    “Being gay isn’t the worst sin in the torah but it clearly states that the punishment for it is death.”

    Really? You must have a different Torah than the rest of us.

  78. Lisa says:

    Leon, I don’t have any problem believing the men who told me that they were celibate. So okay, there are others who aren’t up to that challenge. That doesn’t make those who are insignificant.

    As far as your other question, http://www.starways.net/odfaq/ will answer it.

  79. morah yoheved says:

    while we may be considered ‘haters’ or people who don’t understand, i agree with you completely … what is more, it is quietly becoming known that viewing pornography greatly contributes to any and all sexual behavior other than what is permitted in halacha …

    Pornography is one of those modern plagues that has become completely irresistible to its victims…. including thousands of frum Jews … married, young adult single, high school, middle school, and sadly, elementary school yeshiva students as well … the comments on this blog can be easily replaced with comments from people dealing with porn: struggling, overwhelming attraction, overwhelming desire, etc.

    porn is a multi-billion dollar industry and legal in america … millions of law abiding and kind and generous people watch it …. the reason why frum Jews have such issues with porn is because halacha does not permit the viewing of anything not tzniusdik … it is irrelevant if it is legally permitted, recommended, encouraged, enjoyed, popular … it doesn’t matter … if it conflicts with halacha, any Jew who wants to truly keep halacha knows that it has to go …

    there is a remarkable 12-step program that aims to wean frum Jews off of porn at: http://www.guardyoureyes.org/ …. according to the people struggling with this, it is not easy … for some, it is an unbearable struggle that necessitates a lot of help from a lot of people … sometimes, it truly takes a village ….

    we live in a highly un-tzniusdik and immoral society, with gay issues just one small fraction of what people are dealing with. as frum Jews, everything revolves around our mitzvot, and it is a remarkable compass to guide us. If the Torah goal is to have a loving, peaceful marriage between one man and one woman, than the deviations among Jews are many, including pre-marital relations, heterosexual promiscuity, domestic violence, the aguna issue, and porn ….

    people are extremely weak … that goes for young, old, men, women …. human beings of every shape, size, and color are simply not capable of protecting themselves from the myriad of dangers and temptations that now share this world with us.

    as taken from the remarkably versatile, life-saving, and life-changing 12-step preamble: ‘We will suddenly realize that G-d is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves ….’

  80. Rich Dweck says:

    morah yoheved:

    To compare a lifestyle to Porn is ignorant! Today, Homosexuals get married, have children, respectful and are not much different than heterosexuals. It is not rampant wild homosexuality of rape and pillaging. I wonder what planet you are from… People don’t commit suicide over porn, people don’t establish a mutually loving relationship. You know what, maybe you should go to therapy to become celibate! I hope you never have to deal with an issue such as this. You know if God created btwn 5-10% of his people as homosexual, then you have to think it was on purpose. He wants every person in the world to live up to their potential. He loves everyone and knows how to do his job! Remember, everyone was created in the image of God! May God open your eyes. May god show you his ways. May god have mercy on you!
    My blog: http://richdweck.blogspot.com/

  81. Daniel A. says:

    Lisa, Jews have, for hundreds of years, “adjust[ed] their beliefs to make life run more smoothly.” This has happened over a number of issues, reasons, cases, etc., and Jews have survived, and will survive for an eternity.

    If I read your post correctly, isn’t that just what you are doing, and implying, by being a lesbian, but avoiding same sex “sex.”?
    The Jews have tried “reparative therapy,” as have Christians, Muslims, and every other religion. The fact that there are still gay men and women in those groups should tell you something about denial of what is instinctively a part of being gay: the desire and need to be with one of the same sex. Denial of what is deep within you is not going to make one a better co-religionist.

    Just out of curiosity, do you know whether non-gays (Orthodox or not) “do *not* do forbidden things.”? I might add, that in the case of gays, it is not a matter of not being able to control, as you say, but to accept what comes with the territory. Otherwise, one is not only deceitful with those around us, but more importantly, with ourselves, and hypocritical to the faith.

  82. Isaac says:

    Your comment is extremely hateful and cruel. Chaim didn’t ask for for condescension or pity. I’m sure you crawled out from under your rock long enough to hear that there are other options for having children, besides traditional “husband/wife” situation. And I’m sure he will find his bashert and happily share many simchos with him.

  83. sf says:

    the only cruel thing here is you supporting him.

  84. D says:

    Michael – That is a clear truth.

  85. Richard Sherwin says:

    An honest and moving statement. Hopefully, it’ll minimally start bringing some kindness and compassion and acceptance as Jews and fellow human beings to men like the speaker; it might even result, tho I doubt it, in the Frum community demanding its ‘changers’ get public qualifications before being allowed to tamper with others’ souls, let alone bodies. The situation IS complex, especially given the ages of the young men in yeshivot, and the very male society they develop within. Since there are no clear solutions, minimally, we should be slow to judge and exclude.

  86. morah yoheved says:

    Mr. Dweck,

    i don’t think you understood what i said … i didn’t compare people who were practicing ‘gay sex’ to porn … porn is a fantasy media which was created for commercial profits … it is an american business … it has nothing to do with real people … on the other hand, there are real Jews who have sexual practices contrary to Torah … this can include many categories, heterosexual included …. on my post i actually wrote that ‘viewing pornography greatly contributes to any and all sexual behavior other than what is permitted in halacha’ … that means that viewing these things can encourage many different sexual behaviors, or even thoughts, that are contrary to Torah …. just as going into a non-kosher restaurant when you are hungry might cause you to eat, or greatly desire, food that is non-kosher …

    and another thing about this ‘lifestyle’ thing … i don’t buy into this nonsense … people are people, and everyone has a good lifestyle if they are happy with their lives … which has nothing to do with halacha …

    we are talking about sexual practices and relationships according to halacha … and that is what the entire topic of gay … or porn … or shalom bayis … or domestic violence …. or lack of tznius …..or tormenting a woman by withholding a get … is all about … 613 mitzvot, remember? …. where is the shame in not trying to fulfill them? when did an aveira become a ‘lifestyle’? is eating non-kosher a ‘lifestyle’? is shopping on shabbos a ‘lifestyle’? do Jews who eat chometz on pesach have their own particular ‘lifestyle’? …. call it what it is … according to Jews (we are not talking about the regular run of the mill american gays) … its not for us … in other words, we have the Torah, they don’t … they can eat non-kosher, we can’t … for Jews, whether you’re willing to admit it or not, or whether you choose to do it or not …. its still an aveira … its that simple …

  87. Rich Dweck says:

    My friend,

    You have no right to judge others! Bottom line, remember something called spirituality? Maybe that has been lost in the religious world. Everybody has their own relationship with God. NOBODY HAS A MONOPOLY ON GOD! We are all special. Maybe you should focus on loving and treating every person with respect and kindness!

  88. Jessica says:

    For the record I didn’t grow up religious either (reform)!

  89. Hila says:

    I don’t believe Halachot are in place for us to condemn each other for failing to keep them, I feel they are there instead to teach us to love one another as we are and understand that all Hashem asks of each of us is to give it our all. The rest is up to him to weigh.

  90. Jessica says:

    I always find it fascinating that people who do not practice Orthodox Judaism can comment so strongly on what it means to be a practicing Orthodox Jew. When I was becoming religious several secular Jews that I knew had several inaccurate and hurtful ideas about religious Jews. I would think that the only person who really have an opinion on what it is like to be a homosexual frum Jew is one. No one else could come close to knowing what it feels like, the challenges etc.

    That is not to say that the frum world is perfect. There are certainly things that we, as imperfect human beings, bring into the Torah world that are very much against Torah. There is always the human element in practicing religion. It is very easy to blame the religion for the inconsistencies, judgements etc. but it is really the humans involved in practicing it! Being religious is not the same as being perfect…

  91. morah yoheved says:

    i truly feel sorry that you have had the horrible experiences of the ‘rehabilitation therapy’ … i actually did not know that it existed in the frum community and it was probably very traumatic … i can see it has warped your view of anyone frum … i know you feel every frum is out to condemn you … but i do try to hold every Jew with respect and loving kindness …even if it is not coming across, that also pertains to you and all Jews ….

    it is not the person but the act that i have issues with … i am sure you are a good, kind person, fully deserving of all the best in this world that G-d can give …

    and i personally feel that anyone who has defined themselves as ‘gay’ should never be ‘rehabilitated’ … it is a life choice, and as long as you don’t hurt anyone with it, who can judge? what ever you do is between you and Ha-Shem …

    if you think that the anecdote is forcing gays into straight relationships … get this … spouse abuse is the leading cause of death for women in america … something called mysogny (hatred of women) exists in millions of ‘straight’ relationships and marriages across the globe … and this is from men who would never even dream of doing anything ‘gay’ … do i think that ‘straight’ relationships are the answer? anything harmful and dysfunctional hurts everyone, and that goes for men, women, children … everyone … no matter what …

    just remember that this is the beginning of ‘gay’ acceptance in america … and in many countries, including Israel … secular laws change …. 50 years ago a 14 year old black child (emmett till) was killed and grotesquely mutilated by a mob of whites in mississippi because he said hello to a white woman … and his killers were considered heroes … now we have a black man in the white house … what i am saying is that accepting new sexual orientations is in its infancy … and from past experience and history … acceptance of gays might only be the beginning … what would you say if in 50 years from now laws to accept brother/sister unions were accepted and considered normal? what if father/daughter or mother/son unions become protected and legal in the future of the world? being gay has nothing to do with it … it is a society that is at risk of throwing out ancient and historic relationships in favor of replacing them with frivolous and temporary things that have little value and gross moral issues.

    you, as a person, just like all good people, deserve all that society can give. what you do in your private life, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, including yourself, is not the issue … what is the issue is that in a society that changes its laws to accommodate the preferences of its citizens … i would bet that brother/sister unions will become all the rave in years to come … it happened in egypt centuries ago … it’s happened in the history of the world numerous times … and, reiterating what was said on this blog regarding the innate nature of homosexuality, sibling love and lust is also an innate basic human desire …. for many people, the love of one’s siblings or parents is extremely strong … who is to say that this love won’t turn sexual in the future … protected with all sort of rights and legalities …. only time will tell …

  92. Jessica says:

    It seems to me that there are two issues here:

    Is it wrong to be homosexual?
    How does the Torah view homosexuality?

    The first question has to do with a personal opinion. Just like at one point in history people with Black skin weren’t considered to be human beings these opinions change and are sometimes WAY off the mark. Why is a picture of a woman nursing her baby so inappropriate but a picture of the same women in a string bikini is acceptable?

    The Torah is constant. The values and morals in the Torah do not change. The mitzvos in the Torah do not change either. The thing that changes is how society sees certain issues. Yes at one time homosexuality was considered a psychological illness; now it is not. That is irrelevant according to Torah because just like eating a cheese burger engaging in homosexual activity is assur.

    I don’t know if anyone is actually reading my posts but as I mentioned before the human element involved in the practice of Orthodox Judaism is where we really run into trouble.

    Hashem commanded us to love our fellow Jew.

    What people find so upsetting is that there are Orthodox Jews who would reject, bully and hurt Jews who have homosexual feelings.

    Now I hope to never have to deal with a frum person who identifies as homosexual in my personal life. (As in its a huge challenge – I am not homophobic, grew up totally secular and had gay friends etc.) I would not wish it on anyone! I have no idea what it is like to be in such a position.

    Without separating society’s views from Torah this argument will go one forever. Torah is not a personal attack on homosexuals! There are people who are attracted to small children. That is not acceptable in Torah either… that said if it was acceptable in society everyone would be outraged by that. I hope the discrepancy is clear here. Basically, people are not enough to judge right and wrong. People are imperfect, selfish, prideful and so on. The Torah was given us for the purpose.

    It really breaks my heart to read the posts of people who are so disenfranchised with the Torah. Each Jew as a special soul regardless if they have homosexual feelings, angry feelings, or other assur urges. I am so sorry for those Jews who had such a terrible experience with Orthodoxy. I feel very blessed to have become religious among supportive and accepting people. Just like there are people who make mistakes in the world there are Orthodox Jews who make mistakes!

  93. Yosef says:

    Jessica,

    That was really nice comment.

  94. Yosef says:

    In all fairness reparative therapy does work for countless people.

    All therapies have a success and failure ‘rate.’

    Listen to this psychologist who deals with this on a daily basis:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_GLo3hD964

    Lets keep some perspective.

  95. Chaim Levin says:

    Yosef, you neglect to answer one very important question that I asked in my article: How can you help people on the backs of hurting others?

    You need understand that these “therapies” cause real harm to some people, many people, and the fact that they aren’t backed by any legitimate scientific body is another reason to be wary of these techniques.

    As someone who was personally hurt by these practices with many friends who endured similar pains from our experiences in reparative therapy, it’s about time people understand that these ideas of changing people so that they fit to our society norms or some people’s “norms”, is harmful can’t be sanctified by any god governed body of people.

    Everyone’s relationship with god is special, and the god inside me, the god that i know, the god that i love, the god that gave me the strength to get here loves me as I am; one is always acceptable to his or her god the way they see and feel. God is love.

  96. Andy Marcus says:

    First of all, I appreciate the Jewish Press’ publication of Mr. Levin’s piece, not to mention Mr. Levin’s courage. The hateful words and actions that is institutionalized against gay people in some quadrants of the frum world, epitomized by the venomous op ed piece to which Mr. Levin is responding must stop. The kind of abuse that is meted out in yeshivot and day schools is prfoundly sinful. And it is people like Chaim Levin and many others who are finding their voices who are helping to eliminate this scurge from our communities. And I would like to echo Lisa’s comments to say that gay and lesbian people who chose to remain frum or to become frum go to great lengths to harmonize our lives with the mandates of the Torah and halachah. We do not abaondon halachos that are inconvenient. Just like every other observant Jew, we do as many mitzvot as we can. Every single day. You show me somebody who says he or she does all 613, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and I will show you a liar. I think we should all encourage each other to keep all of the miztvot, and remind each other that Hashem expects our repentance when we miss the mark.

  97. Andy Marcus says:

    It is you who need to repent, sf.

  98. Andy Marcus says:

    Dear Anonymous Crown Heights Resident –

    I wish that you had the pride of authorship to publish your name. That you hide your name implies that you are not proud of your comments. If Mr. Levin no longer obeserves Shabbos, do you think calling him sick, telling stories about his family and other things to shame him will help him come back to observance? Or do you think the abuse he has suffered in Crown Heights by people who have the same views as you could be one of the reasons he has no place in an observant community? I’m going with Door No. 2. I pray that you learn what ahavas Yisroel means – and learn to love all Jews. Just as I pray that all Jews do more and more mitzvot every day, including keeping the Shabbos.

  99. Lisa says:

    Well, I can’t agree with that last paragraph, Chaim. Sorry, but that isn’t how Orthodox Judaism works any more than some of the hateful things that have been said here. God isn’t love; God is God. And one is *not* always acceptable to God. If one violates God’s commandments, that’s not okay. Even if one feels otherwise.

    Please don’t give people the impression that every frum Jew who is gay feels the way you’ve just expressed. It isn’t true.

  100. Havah says:

    Dear Crown Heights Resident,

    Maybe Chaim is no longer frum, but I am. I am gay and frum. I keep shabbes, kosher, tzniut, my children attend Orthodox day schools, I go to an Orthodox shul and pasken by an Orhtodox rabbi. NOT MO light either.

    Is it easier because I am a lesbian and not a gay man, of course it is. But there are frum gay people out there.

    It is possible to believe in Torah MiSinai and be gay and not do anything assur.

  101. Mark Roth says:

    Lisa, so well said! Bravo!

  102. mm says:

    …And it’s their personal nisayon in this world to go against what their desires are telling them and do what Hashem and the Torah tells us to do, or not to do. Just because a person does something or behaves a way that is against the Torah because he feels the desire doesnt mean he should go with this desire and ignore the fact that Hashem unequivocally forbids certain things.

    I’m just waiting for the day when bestiality becomes the norm, when people will fight for recognition that it’s ok, and they will tell us that they are predisposed to this condition, and they still want to live an observant life, even though they engage in this abhorrent behavior.

    Lisa, it’s not about doing things that are sinful, its about the very nature that you are accepting this behavior or slant as your fate. Whether you agree or not Gd forbids these relations/relationships but yet created many of you with this desire…that means there is a way out. period. He wouldn’t have forbidden something without a way out. Lashon hara is sooo hard to refrain from, yet, it MUST be possible to accomplish because Gd expects it from us.

    I know people who had addictions to certain things and were able to go against their desires and change, it’s hard work, but it can be done. I believe this is no different. No different than any other forbidden behavior/act in the Torah.

    I’m so sorry for the torment the frum gay person must go through, I wish you success in finding your way out.

  103. Mark Roth says:

    Don’t be fooled people! I know the author and I know many people like him in JQY. I also tried reparative therapy(a group called JONAH) and it’s not as bad as he makes it out to be, not by a long shot. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t about the possible merits or demerits of reparative therapy. The REAL GOAL of people like Chaim and his friends is for the Orthodox Jewish world, and indeed the entire world to fully accept and embrace homosexuality as a lifestyle fully equal to hetherosexuality. They believe in legalizing gay marriage and that gays should raise children and be fully welcomed in your local shul. Every year they march with tzitzis and kippahs at the gay “pride” parade where the most disgusting and repulsive displays take place, things too graphic to mention here. Unlike tthe author who is misguided but who means well and who I trully sorry for, I have not given up. I will NEVER give up. I am still fighting my yetzer hora, but they don’t think it’s a yetzer hora. They think it’s just that “god made me this way” and it’s actually their yetzer tov.

  104. mm says:

    Batya and Sf and other haters, no one asked your opinion and not only that, you have no right to tell anyone what they are doing is right or wrong. God and every human have their own relationship. I don’t considerit a struggle either.. I think we need to look back at the text and figure out all possible meanings. They say any bet din that kills even one person in 70 years has blood on their hands, but how could they say that if the Torah says you should kill anybody.
    Now, stop the nonsense and leave others alone.
    I do not think God puts a struggle in front of someone that they can’t handle. I do believe that is not a struggle and came to the realization after it couldn’t change that god created me this way and wants me to be happy. I’m sure he really doesn’t care about your opinions. God created diversity for a reason! That is what makes him great! We are not all the same and we all have different paths. You may not think someone else is doing wrong, but you should know God is taking care of everything! No one needs your pity prayers either. Don’t mock God! Thank you Chaim for bringing the pink elephant to people’s attention!

    Richie,
    How could God -forbid something outright in the Torah, create you with those tendencies and then, while you transgress them want you to be happy??? How could He want you to be happy when you are disobeying His laws????
    Wow, maybe He shouldn’t have forbidden homosexuality altogether because He created so many people like this, I guess He made a big mistake, I mean He probably didn’t realize how many people would end up with this slant-oh, but wait, He did, because HE created them! And HE forbids behaviors like these outright…no mistake here, He gave you guys these nisayonot to overcome, (wow, how you’ve bought into the theory that it is not true). So, does He just give us things that we cannot overcome, we should just indulge in every forbidden thing in the Torah because we came to peace with it that this is what we desire and gave up trying to control it/overcome it? Should I speak lashon hara all day because God gave me a big mouth? Should I come to peace with the fact that I’m attracted to my dog? Should I lash out at my family and friends with anger because He created me with this insatiable anger? should I eat myself into oblivion because He created me with the ta’ava for food-OR should I work towards becoming the best Jew I can by fighting & refraining from engaging in the ta’avot He gave me. They may always exist, but isn’t it my job here on earth to overcome my desire to do wrong?? If not, then what are we here for?
    Someone compared this to addiction and I agree, without Hashem’s help you will not succeed, we believe that, The 12 steps work, truly it’s not about controlling your desires but of giving it over to God, to let Him help you find your way back.
    You have obviously come to peace with what Hashem put in your lap, the shame is that you gave up trying to overcome these desires given to you, to be able to observe Orthodox Judaism. And, even though you don’t want it, I have pity for you, that you gave up on using your opportunities to do Hashem’s will

  105. mm says:

    Kol hakavod, Mark!
    I admire your determination, May Hashem assist you quickly in your aspirations…Not easy, but so admirable…Hatzlacha raba!

  106. Rich Dweck says:

    It is so interesting that you few out there think you can judge someone. You defy the idea of God. Give God a little more credit is all I’m saying. You have no idea what and who God is happy with.
    http://richdweck.blogspot.com/

  107. spacedout BT says:

    The issue here is whether or not “reparative” therapy is effective or even professionally recognized as legitimate by the reputable health field.

  108. Chaim Levin says:

    Just so that were clear, aside from the fact that the content of your comment wasn’t very understandable, using my own mother’s name to post such a comment isn’t clever in anyway and doesn’t serve to effectively communicate any legitimate point.

    On behalf of my mother, Bella Levin, kindly refrain from using her name in any of your comments; if you really care about all the people you mention above, I think a good start would be by not pretending to be someone else while hiding behind the internet, let alone my mother.

    Thanks,

    Chaim Levin (author of the above article)

  109. Rich Dweck says:

    No need to get nasty. Though some people do not agree here, does not mean that we cannot practice love and tolerance. Where is the midot and where is the loving thy neighbor? Why do people think it is ok to judge others? Unless you have been in this persons exact shoes, you will never know what they have been through. An answer that would be correct here is ” Unfortunately I do not understand this issue or have ever been through it, so I cannot judge. The only thing I know is what I have been talk in school about the passage in the torah. This does not mean much because I am not a scholar. I know what is right for me and what I follow and interpret, but I have no right pushing that on to you!” Sometimes people have to look at how hurtful their words are. You never know if what you say might end someone’s life. I would be careful as it does say guard your tongue. People might want to focus on laws btwn man and man. Please put your focus in an area of love and kindness!

  110. bella levin says:

    There used to be a show in the sixties called To Tell The Truth, basically three different people would pose as a real person and the object of the game was to choose the real person. Basically I am the real BELLA LEVIN and I never made a single comment on my son’s Chaim article. But now I will.

    Chaim is my son, whom I love dearly and would do anything for him. I stand beside him, behind him and in front of him to anyone that will harm him again.
    For Chaim everyday when he wakes up he faces a moutain to climb of 90 degrees steep, and so far he faces this mountain fearlessly and courageously every single day.

    His being frum or not has nothing to do with the article, that has to do with the disappintment he got from the people he faced. The people that go to far ends of the world to open Chabad Houses to make other people frum outrightly called him a SHAYGETZ on Kingston AVE. THese are the people that are responsible for him not being frum.

    What Chaim has gone through in his life is undescribable and because of his strength and persistance he will succeed. He still has his ups and downs and probably will for a very long time, till he finds himself. But nobody has the right to judge my child, no one knows what he went through and no one should put him down. He is a son, a brother, a grandson and most important a HUMAN BEING and should be treated as such.

    THE REAL BELLA LEVIN his mother

  111. HW says:

    Thanks Chaim for speaking out and thanks to the Jewish Press for publishing! For anyone interested check out: International Association for Suicide Prevention and become a friend on Facebook. You won`t be the first frum gay person to join, that I can promise you!

  112. E and S Milch says:

    I know intelligent, caring “Frummies”…. I suspected there were the “others”!! How sad to read, and have confirmed, that suspicions were well taken!!
    Just as with the “extremes” in any belief, they are seldom, if ever, reachable….their “leanings” were learned, NOT INBORN, and, yet, they remain steeled against compromise. How ironic that these bearers of learned behaviors fight to alter those with natural behaviors! Kudos to any and all “lights” shed on such intolerance….. our wonderful family is a true spectrum of LIFE…. may we continue to love and adore each and every stripe in that spectrum!! Amen!!

  113. Rich Dweckcl says:

    This article inspired me to write an article yesterday on “I never knew ‘Baseless Hatred’ was inherent”. Take a look if you are interested

    http://richdweck.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-never-thought-baseless-hatred-was.html?m=1

    This might help somewhat explain why we have all these wars within and Btwn religions..

  114. Jon says:

    Chaim, I am sorry you have had such a negative experience in reparative therapy and I empathize with you. But I don’t think it is right, and I would even say it is harmful to others, to suggest and immediately assume everyone else will experience the same exact thing in the entire field of reparative therapy. You are being extreme by saying this, and you loose credibility by making such statements.

    The fact is, reparative therapy does work for some people, and some have gone on to live married and fulfilled lives. Those people exist. And you exist too, and sure your story should be heard. But to deny the other stories, and to act as if your experience should define the entire world is wrong to those who have a right to choose reparative therapy if that is what they want.

    This attitude is essentially very limiting. There are Orthodox individuals who simply don’t want to be gay. They want to fulfill every Torah commandment as best as possible. And you are basically saying to them, sorry, but you are screwed – either live the gay life and abandon your moral beliefs about Judaism or surpress your urges and live a life of celibacy. How fair is that? Don’t you think you are harming such individuals by saying to the world reparative therapy is not going to work for you and it will harm you because that is what it did to me? And do you actually believe wholeheartedly everyone who walks through reparative therapy is going to be harmed and it definitely won’t work for them?

    That is why you sound extreme with comments like your here and why you loose credibility. It makes your article here look much weaker than had you just admitted this is my experience and my experience alone, and that everyone has a right to choose what they want and for some, reparative therapy actually works. If you’d adopt this attitude, your message would go further than it already is.

  115. Sarah- and im not afraid to use my REAL name. says:

    It is sad that you dont even have the guts to use your own name, but its sickening that you would forge the name of his mother to post such horrible things. And who do you think you are to be telling people what they are doing is wrong? Last i checked tsinat chinam is also a sin, one that you are more than guilty of, clearly. So before you go around talking to people like you’re better then them maybe its time to take a good look in the mirror and self reflect on the disgusting human being you have turned out to be. You call yourself religious?! to be a good jew you need to be a good person first, something that you are not. Get off the internet and go learn something, you’re words are worth nothing you coward.

  116. Pinny Gold says:

    Chaim Levin is a hero!!!!

    No matter how much hatred any one will put out there, this is the truth.

    Chaim Levin has the courage to stand up for his bullies and whoever still wants to be a bully simply shows one thing: they are cowards!

    If you posted a hateful message in your comment, here is some good news: You’re the reason Chaim Levin has written this article, not vice versa.

    Get over your bullying sickness and start doing a “Mi SheBerach for yourself”

    Chaim, you’re wonderful person!!!!

  117. JB says:

    You are so brave to have written this. I hope this opens the eyes of those who are too sheltered and blinded by a false understanding of reality. You are a hero and will probably save the lives of many others in your shoes. May gd bless you today and always.

  118. Sabina F says:

    Kol Hakvod Bella to you and Chaim! I stand with you in support of your son, as I too am a mother of a gay son. I am very proud of my son and proud of his insistence on being accepted as part of the Jewish Community. And I am grateful to Chaim (and the Jewish Press) for sharing his story as it will give strength to other young orthodox Jews who may think they are alone.

  119. Gella says:

    I understand what you’re saying Jeff. However, I think that you are working with some false premises. Being rejected by a large number of, or even most of, a heterogenous population like “Orthodoxy” or “The Orthodox world” does not mean living in isolation. It does not mean that there is no support, no friendship, no accepting community *within* the community, drawn from different corners.

    Identifying as “Orthodox” also does not always hold, as a prerequisite, the belief that homosexuality is wrong, nor a perfect practice of halacha… as though there were such a thing. Jeff, I am not Orthodox myself, never have been, and have no intention of being so, but my experience of the Orthodox world has shown me just how widely varied its “membership” is in belief and practice. Your view of Orthodoxy is not completely unfounded, but I do think that it is unnecessarily and unfairly narrow.

  120. Gella says:

    *blink* I wish I could believe that this was a joke. :(

  121. RGreen says:

    Whenever an article on this subject apprears in an Orthodox publication, the VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH should state that acts of homosexuality are STRICTLY FORBIDEN by Jewish Law.

    Only in that context should this subject be discussed.

    It is a shame that only a watered down disclaimer was briefly alluded to half-way through the article.

    Be that as it may, with or without that disclaimer, it was a mistake for the Jewish Press to publish this article.

  122. Yossi says:

    Should we also write a disclaimer on every Agunah story, how adultery is against the Torah…silly…I think everyone here knows that there is an issur against certain Homosexual behaviors. This is obvious and is actually repeated and agreed to by the author.
    It seems that you are more interested in re-stating the obvious than actually opening your mind up to something more challenging: the Treatment of Gay kids in the Orthodox community.
    When the Frum community, allows, endorses, and fosters bullying, harmful psuedo-therapies, and hateful speech against our own sons and daughters simply because they happen to be oriented differently…IT IS WE WHO NEED TO DO THE TESHUVSA…not the gays.
    Maybe this article will help us truly be erase sinas chinam and finally be Zoche to Moshiach.

  123. RGreen says:

    Homosexuality is call an “abomination” by the Torah.

    My understanding of the word “abomination” is that this is something that is so gross and disgusting that it should make your skin crawl.

    This is the outlook with which we should approach this issue.

    If someone commits an act of homosexuality, they have committed a terrible sin.

    If you do not believe that, you should not be posting on an Orthodox Jewish website even if you use Hebrew words like “Mashiach” and “sinas chinam”.

    Only after we have approched the issue from this outlook, can we discuss how to properly counsel kids who think they are gay.

    We should counsel them by telling them that an act of homosexualty is a horrible sin, but that they have free choice and they can decide not to commit these acts even though they may have strong desires to commit these acts.

    If they overcome their desires to commit sin, they are good people.

    In the mean time, dont make an isse of it with the other kids in your class. You dont need to stick it anyone’s face. A lot of kids have issues that they need to deal with privatly and this is one of them

  124. Lisa says:

    With all due respect, RGreen, what’s your basis for that understanding of the word תועבה, which you translate as “abomination”?

    In Nedarim 51a, it says תועבה – תועה אתה בה. Meaning that the word means something through which one can go astray. Perhaps the English word abomination has the visceral connotation you assign to it, but happily, we rely on our Sages, and not on King James.

    That said, you are aware that the Torah calls other things תועבה as well, right? Unjust weights and measures, for one. Spreading harmful speech, for another. Ironic, yes?

    Aside from all of this, we still have the fact that “I am gay” does not mean “I do assur things.” It doesn’t.

    Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said, “One should not say, ‘I don’t want to eat pork; I don’t want to wear shaatnez; I don’t want to sleep with my neighbor’s wife.’ Rather, one should say ‘I do want, but what can I do? My Father in heaven has forbidden it.”

    Neither the Torah nor the Sages attach blame to the way we feel. Nor to expressing the way that we feel. I can understand the criticisms leveled against the general (secular/gentile) gay community. There’s a degree of licensciousness in that community, generally speaking, that makes me very uncomfortable, and I’m sure it does the same for any frum Jew. But we aren’t talking about them. We’re talking about Torah Jews. Jews who are committed to Torah and mitzvot. And who were created by their Creator in such a way that the bonds you feel towards members of the opposite sex, we feel towards members of the same sex. Do we allow those feelings to drag us into transgressions? Not by design, certainly. Do some people fall short now and then? Sure. Everyone does. If you deny that you do, you can’t expect us to take you seriously. But our commitment is to Torat Hashem. Calling us תועבה for merely *being* gay is wrong. Upping that to “abomination”, with the connotation of “gross and disgusting” crosses the line into ona’at devarim, rechilut, and motzi shem ra.

  125. sf says:

    Well said, these words could not be anymore true.

  126. RGreen says:

    As long as we agree that sex between two men is very very assur we can hammer out the details.

    The point that sex between two men is considered among the most horrible crimes in Judaism seems to be getting lost as a result of all of this discussion (and the article itself)

    When I gave my definion of “to’ay’vah”, I was working with “pshat” (the simple meaning).
    The Talmud in Nedarim is working with “drash” (a deeper meaning)
    The two meanings are not mutually exclusive.

    According to the Artscroll translation “to’ay’vah” means abomination (i do not know or care what King James has to say about this). IE something so disgusting that it should make your reel in disgust.

    It appreared from you post that you are not familiar with the difference between “pshat” and “drash”. If you would like me to explain it to you please let me know.

  127. Lisa says:

    RGreen, I do *not* agree that sex between men is “very, very assur”. The “very, very” part is entirely your personal opinion.

    Nor is it considered “among the most horrible crimes in Judaism”. I’m not even sure what you mean by “crime”. We *do* distinguish between violations of the Torah that are between us and God or between us and other people. We *do* distinguish between chukim and mishpatim and eidot. Ordinarily, “crime” is used for violations of mishpatim between us and other people. Mishkav zachor doesn’t appear to fall into that category.

    But even granting the term “crime” (just for the sake of argument), your hyperbole about it being one of the most horrible ones just makes you sound like a friend of Fred Phelps (the charming fellow who pickets funerals with signs saying “God Hates Fags” and “God Hates Jews”).

    What’s your source for the pshat of toeiva being what you say it is? And please don’t take this the wrong way, but if you’re paskening based on an Artscroll translation instead of learning the actual material in the original, it’s hard to take you seriously.

    Give me a source in Chazal to support your misreading of toeiva. Give me a source in Chazal to support “among the most horrible crimes in Judaism”. Give me a source in Chazal to support “something so disgusting that it should make your [sic] reel in disgust.” Gemara, Rishonim, anything. Otherwise it’s just you being hysterical.

  128. Mark Roth says:

    Lisa, I appreciate your compassion and your wanting to be “Dan Licaf zechoos” but i have to slightly disagree with some of what you wrote. No matter how you translate the word toevah, the fact remains that according to the Torah sex between two men is categorically and totally forbidden, period. There is a machlokes Amongst the rishonim as to whether sex means only anal penetration or any contact between men. As I recall the rambam holds any sexualncontact whatsoever to be an issue d’oreisa for which one is liable to death. However The majority view of
    most podium today that I’m aware of say that one would be liable to death only for anal intercourse. But even if that is so, the fact remains that ANY sexual contact between men is still forbidden, no exceptions.

    Believe me, I struggle with this evey day. It’s a struggle but I have never given Jo and I will never give up! With the help of God I have so far resisted the temptation for anal intercourse with another male and I am actually proud of myself that inhale been able to resist that urge.

    The problem I have with some gay Jews is that they have given up the struggle and they try to convince others to give up too. They have become brainwashed by their yetzer hora and it clouds their thinking and they buy into the liberal gay propaganda that “God made me this way” etc. So they teach others that it’s notreally a sin. Or that if it is a sin its not really a serious sin and to not worry about it. They have given up and it makes me mad that they are trying to convince others to give up to. What is a Jew? A Jew never gives up! never! never! NEVER! I will NEVER give upnmy dream of a wife and a family and beautiful children of my own and living a life of holiness.

  129. Lisa says:

    I hear what you’re saying, Mark, and I’m definitely not a posek (poseket, I guess), but it’s equally true that lighting a fire on Shabbat is “categorically and totally forbidden, period”, right? And yet, there are cases in which it’s not. In which we permit the impermissible in order to prevent something worse. I have heard of rabbanim who have told gay men in certain cases that they can engage in those other behaviors if doing so will assuage their desire for mishkav zachor, which is yehareg v’al yaaseh. It’s a dynamic that exists in other areas of halakha as well.

  130. yael dvorah says:

    you mentioned additional aveiras, such as adultery, and then you went on to focus on the painful treatment of gay youth who had the courage to ‘come out’ in the orthodox community …

    i can assure you that adulterers, particularly women, who it is written about in our holy Torah as committing a similar sin as homosexual men, and deserving of the same punishment ….. are also treated with the utmost disrespect and disgrace … many leave the orthodox Jewish community completely when it is discovered what they did … why don’t they create articles such as this to complain about their painful treatment from the orthodox community …. with a like minded audience applauding every aspect of their ‘coming out’? …

    thankfully, orthodox women who commit adultery still have a healthy sense of shame …

  131. yael dvorah says:

    To Mark …. G-d bless you with tremendous success and the fulfillment of all your dreams …

    i also wanted to mention that if we simplify all of our urges, sexual and otherwise, to an ‘its the way G-d made me’ excuse … can you imagine how many millions, possibly billions, of people would never work on themselves to improve or become anything that they are not?

    we are instructed to follow the Torah and lose the sins of our parents … we are even instructed to lose our own sins and do ‘teshuva’ … which includes sexual cleanliness according to halacha …(http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/Ezekiel18.html )… there are many things that are considered, according to halacha, sexually impure …

    it is said that G-d does not give us anything we can’t do … including the mitzvot … resigning ourselves to our own urges is not the Jewish way … otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten the Torah … almost all our holy mitzvot is against human nature in one way or another … the entire Torah teaches us to quell our own interests in favor of the mitzvot … the proof of this is in the laws of taharas hamishpacha … how many people, worldwide, would instinctively choose to wait two weeks for (heterosexual) marital relations? … or the laws of kashrut, including toiveling dishes before use? most of these things are completely out of the human realm … or shabbos … which is completely out of the question if you ask the ordinary person in their quest for parnassa … our holy mitzvot are supposed to subdue our urges … that the reason we were given the Torah in the first place ….

  132. OnTheTopic says:

    Lisa,

    I would just like to make you aware of something that isn’t necessarily gay/straight
    related, but rather in regards to boy/girl.

    Girls are usually more protective of their bodies, and in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, are usually less motivated sexually (in the beginning) than their boyfriends. In general, girls minds are decently civil and clean, and remain somewhat unperverted.

    Enter boys (men)…

    A boy sees a pretty girl, and subliminally turned on in some sense (not physically).
    When a boy is with someone he is attracted to that he cannot have (be with sexually), his mind is pretty much focused solely on having sexual relations with the other person. (you may have a hundred people comment that this is untrue, but it is.)

    There are plenty of counter proofs people can bring to show that there are times that
    men are able to control themselves, but I’ll win the argument by saying this:

    Imagine a man is married to the woman he loves and is attracted to. He sleeps in the same bed as her, eats with her etc. Now we tell him, you can never have sexual relations with her, or anybody else including masturbation, for the rest of your life.
    Do you think that if he would continue the life style he has and still never succumb to his hormones?

    (I don’t mean this in a mean way, but if you’ve never been with a man, you might not understand!)

    So here we have this man who can no longer ‘live’ with his wife. He has to try his hardest to control himself. He may be able to control himself for a little, as his wife, being a woman, may have an easier time controlling herself.

    Now, put this man, and swap his wife in the story, for his gay lover… Between the two of them, it would not be possible long-term for them to control themselves.
    (This is under the assumption that they are not masturbating to relieve the pressure)

    In closing, I’m merely just trying to inform you that there is a BIG difference in
    the hormones and control levels of a Man than in a Woman.

  133. jeffeyges says:

    “it is said that G-d does not give us anything we can’t do…”

    It must be true, because I can’t read this narrishkeit any longer, and God has provided me with a solution – I can unsubscribe!

  134. RGreen says:

    My point is that this discussion must start with the understanding that it is assur for two men to engage in homosexual acts.

    It appears from many of the comments on this article that people are trying to find creative ways to say that its ok. Usually by picking on small irrelevent points like (as just one example) the use of “very very”

    Lisa, this is a yes/no question. Very simple:

    Do you believe it is assure for two men to engage in homosexual acts?

    This is a simple straight forward question. Just answer it.

  135. RGreen says:

    Sara, if you are not afraid, why dont you use your last name too?
    Lol

  136. Lisa Liel says:

    Why don’t you use your first name?

  137. yael dvorah says:

    just to add … the men who commit adultery with married women are also committing a grave sin punishable (in halacha) with death … these also do not brag or write articles attempting to gain approval and recognition … with a like minded audience applauding their ‘coming out’ as an adulterer …

    they also gave into their urges … but they don’t flaunt it … these, like women who commit adultery, also have a healthy sense of shame …

    makes one wonder why those who give into their ‘gay’ urges are so arrogant and shameless … and so desperate for acceptance …

    will acceptance remove the guilt and shame of giving into the urges of same-sex attraction? would it remove the guilt and shame of giving into the urges of having relations with a married woman? since both these sexual issues are similar in halacha … why are we even considering acceptance in orthodoxy …. for some things, acceptance isn’t even on the menu ….

  138. Batya says:

    Mr. Dweck, I resent you painting me as a “hater.” If you read what I wrote, I didn’t say anything about my feelings for gay Jews whether they act on it or not. I offered an observation. It is a mitzvah to love all Jews, a mitzvah I take as seriously as the other “biggies” like Shabbos, kashrus, family purity, tzedakah, prayer, etc. Instead, I ask that we “show lovingkindness to all Jews.” I struggle daily with my own challenges: emotionally, physically, spiritually. I recognize that you have been hurt, but please don’t paint me with the broad “hater” brush.

  139. Batya says:

    “When did an aveira become a lifestyle?” – Exactly! My argument is tandem to yours: we are not compelled to act on our desires which are aveiras according to Torah. We all have urges, society always does different than the Torah prescribes, each of us is given intellect and free will. We Jews should not be cruel and dismissive in the “just say no” way of dealing with the gay Jew’s feelings and needs. We all struggle. I don’t have that particular challenge, but Hashem has given me other tests. Maybe what I struggle with is easy for you, Mr. Dweck, but it is painful, stressful, and challenging for me. However, I can’t say in my case I willfully do something that I know is against Torah just because it is difficult, or I have a need, or I can’t change. That is not what Hashem gave me my difficulties for. Likewise, I don’t categorize anyone who disagrees with the way I handle my struggles as a “hater.” It’s a continuum. I’m not out to discard Torah for my inability to live perfectly to its specifications, however. It is a learning process, the proverbial “iron in the fire” becomes strengthened by its exposure to the intense heat.

  140. Batya says:

    “The REAL GOAL of people like Chaim and his friends is for the Orthodox Jewish world, and indeed the entire world to fully accept and embrace homosexuality as a lifestyle fully equal to hetherosexuality. [sic]”

    I didn’t get that at all from Chaim’s article. Yes, there are people who do as you said, but let’s be fair to Chaim and only judge what he wrote.

  141. Mushkie says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the freedome of speech and press, but I also think that as a Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Press should have NOT printed this article. I grew up in a world where until I was 17 did not know was gay was, and I think that I grew up just perfectly. I really don’t want my children growing up in a world, where such a topic now is considered acceptable tabletalk. It is clearly stated in the Toarh that the issues of gays are in fact real, and I’m not denaying it, but it also says how very worng it is. I feel that the Jewish Press should not have printed such a story, and if Chaim wants to live that lifestyle, let him, but he doesn’t have to rub it in our faces. I am highly considering canlceing my subscription to the Jewish Press, and this is not a threat, I just want to put it out there that the Jewish Press no longer is considered “Kosher Reading” for my home.

  142. yael dvorah says:

    what is interesting is that you folks know so much halacha with regards to the aveiras committed against you as Jews … as in ‘love your fellow Jew’ … which is understandable …

    but what you overlook entirely is that we are talking about what is considered ‘sexual perversions’ in halacha … and being gay is not the only one …

    what if there were an entire movement to recognize mother/son relationships … or father/daughter … or even (if you want to stay within the gay thing) father/son or mother/daughter sexual relationships … how far does this freedom from sexual restraints go?

    would you feel love towards fellow Jews, or even fellow americans, who promote those type of relationships? do mother/son sexual relationships sit well with you? can you love these people and show them tolerance and respect?

    it is not you or gays as people that the true halachic Jewish community has issues with … it is your sexual behavior … as I would assume that any normal person would have issues with the sexual behavior of sons who were sexually active with their mothers or fathers ….

    should there be no sexual conditions on anyone? how far would you like to take this? or are you planning to include homosexuality as the only proper sexual orientation outside of straight? if that’s the case, you can easily argue that people who engage in mother/son attraction and father/daughter attraction are straight ….

    in other words … by shelving true halachic rules for sex ….. how low can we go?

  143. Yossi says:

    Incest, Pedophilia, Rape and Adultery are all bad analogies because they are Bein Adam Le-chaveyro issurim. In their essence they hurt people and take away a sense of safety in the home. There can never be any social tolerance of those who threaten others, because that is Achzariut (cruelty disguised as kindness).

    What 2 consensual people of the same gender who seek companionship is most similar to are loving couples that struggle with Taharat Hamishpacha issues.

    Even though there may not be a local mikveh in their town, it is not the job of the whole congregation to make this couple feel terrible about themselves or each other. Certainly, it is not the job of the Orthodox community to lash out against gay people either.

    Furthermore, even if we were to use the Adultery analogy, the kind of adultery it would be analagous to would be to a woman who may be Hallachically an agunah (who’s husband is missing) whom under Jewish law is forbidden to ever be married or be intimate with another man again…even if she is young and childless.

    I ask you, if you happen to know an Agunah who you know is dying for companionship, who tells you that she wishes that hallacha was different, and who wont stay quiet about it…would you call her “low” and a “sexual perversion”?…or would you show compassion…even though she openly longs for behaviors that may be problematic.

    Show the same kind of compassion and respect to your gay community members in the frum world…Dont change or reinvent any hallacha…just be consistent and kind.

    We don’t ask young Jewish couples if they go to the mikveh or not, and we dont accuse Agunot who wish to again be intimate of being “perverse”.
    So please, use the same sensitivity to gay people. They deserve it, we all do.

  144. Rich Dweck says:

    Please stop making this about what is prohibited and what is not. If you feel it important to have people say before this topic that it is not prohibited for men to have sex with men, then maybe you need to think deeper. I really wonder what your issue is here. You obviously have no idea what it is like going through this. Aside from that, what are your motives here? Are you looking to just slam others, because you want to justify being more pious. Maybe you should focus on your own observance and leave others alone. It floors my mind to think that people are this ignorant about how to deal with others. As I have said in my past writings, this is God’s world and not yours. God is big enough to deal with all his children on his own. I would just warn you that words can kill. Do not take that lightly. Hatred kills people everyday! Read my article on baseless hatred on my blog. Maybe, you will learn about why the temple was destroyed. It wasn’t because a man loved another man. It was because of “Sinat Chinam”(Baseless Hatred).

    Rich Dweck
    http://richdweck.blogspot.com/

  145. Rich Dweck says:

    Kosher Reading? Really?? Shielding your children will not make them straight or gay. You might have a gay son or daughter. Have you tried to understand the plight of gay Jews? By shielding your children and you staying ignorant to these issues, you are setting yourself up for a disaster. Every parent should be learning how to love and accept their children no matter what. They should be educated on the issues enough to be able to talk about it and help educate their children. I promise you, when this is in your home and your child commits suicide because of your ignorance you will think very differently. I urge you to watch this clip that might open your eyes. It is from “Prayers for Bobby”. Trust me I am one of those children that could have done just that. Please watch the video. It is a couple of minutes and could save your child’s life and prevent you from their blood on your hands. I am not trying to tell you that you are a bad person. I am trying to share my experience and hurt I have seen!
    http://richdweck.blogspot.com/2012/01/prayers-for-bobby-trailer.html

  146. Anonymous says:

    You know what Chazal call you? A murderer. Get down off your high horse.

  147. Anonymous says:

    Do they not teach Shmiras Haloshon/Chofetz Chaim in Crown Heights? I’m sure Chaim’s mother is thrilled that her name is out there now too.

    And there were lots of people who, upon first immigrating to America 100 years ago, worked on Shabbos but probably still considered themselves frum. They were shomer mitzvos in every other respect, they raised frum children and grandchildren, they just weren’t perfect. (My grandfather was one such person – when he stopped working on Shabbos, he was still considered sufficiently frum by the city’s Rabbinate that he worked for them as a mashgiach.)

    I got news for you, you’re not perfect either. And you add nothing to the discussion by blabbing about Chaim’s life outside the article. Shall we start digging through your garbage?

  148. yael dvorah says:

    i don’t think sensitivity is the issue … i am sorry that i am not appearing as sensitive as you need …. but i feel this issue has nothing to do with feelings … it has to do with behaviors … and sexual behaviors at that …

    we are talking about Jews giving into various forms of sexual urges … in this case, sexual urges towards the same sex … but undoubtedly there are sexual urges that involve other types of relationships, including incest … and if the good people on this panel can rationalize the benefit and need for submitting to their urges involving same-sex attraction, surely people here can understand and defend those same needs for people who are overwhelmed by sexual urges involving their close adult relatives …

    if you or others are bringing into the equation a relationship that is hurtful or not consensual … upwards of 30% of same sex couples who are consensual adults are involved in some sort of domestic violence (http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/gay.shtml ) …. on the other hand, familial sexual relationships between consenting adults clearly have the potential to be not only consensual but very compatible …(Cleopatra, for example, was married to her brother).

    if we are talking about giving into sexual urges, than it is not the person, but the sexual behavior that needs to be addressed. People who give into consensual homosexual or incestuous urges (it is obvious that pedophilia can never be consensual) can be good people, even good Jews.

    why stop at homosexuality as a sexual behavior on the fringe, needing to be incorporated into the greater Jewish community? with the gay rights movement at the helm, people who practice or have uncontrollable incestuous urges can easily follow your example to seek acceptance and approval from the Jewish community …. according to this panel, giving into our various sexual urges is paramount and should not interfere with our membership in the Jewish community … and with the benefit of secular laws in the U.S. and throughout the world, and also in Israel, there is apparently no need for Jews to limit themselves to what used to be a sexual norm (not to mention an halachic requirement) between consenting adults.

    i’m waiting for the time in the near future when incest will be on the books for legalization. there are numerous groups and reportedly millions of people throughout the world who are waiting for this to happen .. including untold numbers of good and respectable Jews (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/switzerland-considers-legalizing-consensual-incest-columbia-professor-accused/story?id=12395499#.TymCwMia4ps …. and http://debatewise.org/debates/215-adult-incest-should-be-legalised ….

    i am sure when these good and highly respectable incestuously involved Jewish folks run the same sort of forum here you people will applaud and cheer them on … all in the name of loving those fellow Jews who needed to give into their overwhelmingly uncontrollable sexual urges … among consenting adults, of course …

  149. yael dvorah says:

    what you folks need most is a heavy dose of therapy … its a known fact that suicide involves a multitude of causes …

    to think that acceptance by the Jewish community is the cure for Jews who practice same-sex sexual behaviors is outrageous …

    that idea, in itself, will cost lives: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-causes.html

    get help, and get real … people who love themselves, love life, and can deal effectively with life’s issues don’t commit suicide …

    why are you promoting such a self-destructive self-loathing lifestyle? if homosexuality was such a respectable life choice, why so much self-hatred and an inability to cope?

    not a good example of a happy life …

  150. david sciascia says:

    For those who say being gay is a choice, they should consider how they would feel if they were forced to change their natural sexual urges and turn away from the opposite sex and towards having sex with someone of the same sex. They can’t even imagine such a thing, but they can imagine how impossible making that choice would be. I’ve known I was attracted to boys since the age of 9. I tried fervently to change my desires, even to the point of getting married at 21 and fathering 2 sons. But I could never change. I hurt my wife and those around me deeply by living this deception. Fortunately about 25 years ago I decided I couldn’t go on living this lie and came out. It was difficult for my 9 and 11-yr old sons for a brief period, but not because I was gay—but because I’d lied. Lies cause the most harm especially to children. Now we’re as close as any father could wish for. And BTW they are 100% heterosexual. I honor Chaim Levin’s honesty in going public with his story. Stay strong, Chaim, the truth will always prevail.

  151. Lisa Liel says:

    “undoubtedly there are sexual urges that involve other types of relationships, including incest … and if the good people on this panel can rationalize the benefit and need for submitting to their urges involving same-sex attraction, surely people here can understand and defend those same needs for people who are overwhelmed by sexual urges involving their close adult relatives”

    That’s a rather silly argument. Male and female are types of people. Relatives are types of relationship. There’s no comparison. If I’m attracted to women, it doesn’t mean I’m attracted to this woman or that woman. It means that women, as a class of human, are whom I’m attracted to. There’s nothing comparable in the world. Your neighbor’s wife? That’s a type of relationship as well, and it means an attraction to a specific person; not a class of person.

    I’m beginning to think that you aren’t interested in the real world, and are merely throwing out the same old false analogies that everyone from Fred Phelps to Yehuda Levin likes to trot out.

  152. JoJo says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am a bisexual girl who lives in a very religious community, but am proud of who I am in all ways. For a long time, I didn’t wear my pride bracelet (a rainbow) around Jews, because I was afraid of them judging me harshly. Now I wear it whenever I feel like, and am not ashamed when someone asks me about it. Your story gives me even more courage, because I am sure there are plenty of people hiding who they are just to fit in to expectations.
    Hatzlacha on the rest of your journey!

  153. I have read all of the many comments, and I have come to the same conclusion, that I reached when I have observed this same conversation in the Christian and Muslim blogs.

    Your main problem is that you say, God says it has a problem with gay people.

    #1. In all these religions, you are basing this on words, though up by man, changed by man, written by man and told to you by those very same men that it was inspired by god. (You can fool all the people some of the time.)
    # 2. if your books are true and there is a god, How many gay people does this god have to make for you people to realize that they are supposed to be here, have always been here and will always be here.
    #3. This god of yours, what ever name you may call it, if it is true that it created the entire multiverse, then rest assured if it did not want to have gay people in it, we would not be here. that is unless you believe that gays have a power to create them selves in defiance and above the ability of god to to not have us be.

    Lastly, your religion like so many religions, are the greatest scams ever pulled on the human race. You blame gods and devils for the good or the bad that you do. One day humanity will gain the self awareness that will allow us to grow in to a mature respected species. Until then we will continue to be a child race, waring over ideas that are not worth the blood, death and destruction we have so willing partaken in, all in the name of a religion.
    If by chance I am wrong (merely for the sake of argument), and this god (s) that humanity has fought over for thousands of years, are watching what we have done in their respective names, then I would say to these things, Curse you for what you have done. May the very existence you have created crush you to the dust of ages. Now some of you might think I just challenged every god ever conceived by humanity. You would be correct. Now just what do you think will happen…

    Well I kept this for several days now, waiting for this god you speak of get off its behind and do something… oh I see a flaming bush… not wait its just a commercial on TV.

  154. Sarah says:

    I REALLY hope that R doesn’t stand for Rabbi, because that would be a disgrace.

  155. Sarah says:

    who gave you the right to define what “we” represent? Let me know when God decides to step down and give you his thrown.
    What the Jewish people should represent is unity, love, and acceptance for all of our brothers and sister. Ultimately we need to understand it is not our place to judge others, it is in the hands of God and I’m 100% sure God doesn’t need you’re help doing his job. It says God loves all of his creations, gay or straight God loves everyone and if you want to live in the image of God you might want to get on bored with this before you’re life is replayed before you in heaven and God asks you why you did not love you’re fellow Jew.

  156. Sarah says:

    I’m sorry the close minded education you received as a child didn’t teach you proper grammar. Then again judging by the immaturity of you’re comment you probably are a child, if not physically then mentally no doubt.

  157. Sarah says:

    Wow. The immaturity in you’re message pains me. If you’re not mature enough to be on the internet please do the rest of us a favor and stay off of it.
    When did spreading bad things about a person become any less of a sin than engaging in homosexual behavior or breaking shabbat?
    Who are you to be telling such intimate details of chaim’s life to everyone on the internet?
    You sound like a stalker, what do you wait outside on shabbas waiting to see him drive off so you can report it to the town gossipers?
    You can never understand another person’s struggles and you will NEVER have the right to judge them just so you can make snide comments and gossip with you’re equally close minded pears. How can you look at yourself in the mirror if you derive such pleasure from someone else’s pain?! Lashon Hara and sinat chinam are sins, don’t be confused because you were raised with hypocritical idealism.
    save the prayers for yourself, you will be needing them.

  158. Mark says:

    Sorry but I can’t except your post and am sorry that you had to try and take a stand on some one who is talking about same sex attractions (SSA)
    I am a religious Jew and can except to males having a sexual relationship which may or may not include sex, but I can not except a brother and sister or any other incestuous relationship, this is totaly different and makes me want to throw up.

  159. A says:

    That’s quite a moving story, Chaim. A brief summary, if I may: you had unwanted same-sex attractions, did your darnest to overcome them through JONAH-suggested therapy, the therapy didn’t work, you had an unpleasant experience with a therapist, notified JONAH’s leadership, they didn’t fire the therapist as per your demand, and so here you are: out and proud, trying to undermine JONAH by any means necessary. You left out a few pieces, such as yourself being abused as a child (could this have *something* to do with your SSA, depression, suicide attempt?) and your taking your story to Wayne Bessen, a notorious sleezeball gay activist.

    So here is a question for you, Chaim: can you honestly say that JONAH has not helped a single man overcome SSA and go on to live a normal, happy heterosexual life? You were with JONAH for some two years. In the course of that time, did you not see dozens of men make progress?

    For whatever reasons, you did not succeed. Nobody blamed or rejected you for it. You are not the only man who didn’t heal from SSA, and nowhere does JONAH claim a 100% success rate. The men who don’t succeed, even when they go on to live homosexual lives, are typically grateful to JONAH for the healing and the insight (some such men have come out publicly). JONAH never shuns or rejects these men. All decent people are always welcome, regardless of their orientation or success in the struggle.

    In your crusade to take down JONAH, have you once stopped to think of all the benefit it did bring to the lives of so many? You had a bad experience, you spoke out. The therapist who reportedly acted inappropriately with you had helped hundreds of men. The techniques are unorthodox are supposed to push you out of your comfort zone by design (and by the way, you are committed in writing to keep those techniques confidential — so by going public you are violating a contract you signed).

    You are acting in a self-indulgent, narcissist fashion so typical of gay men. JONAH didn’t meet your demand to fire the therapist, so you’re going to try your best to ruin JONAH — without any regard to the immeasurable benefit it brought to dozens of men before your very eyes! There is still time for Teshuva, Chaim. Your own personal choices are between you and G-d. But the damage you are causing to JONAH translates to harm caused to other men, and that’s a whole other category of aveira.

  160. B. Woonteiler says:

    Chaim, you’re invited to my family for Shabbos any time! I salute both the content and tone of your op-ed — well said!

  161. Rich Dweck says:

    “NO ONE HAS A MONOPOLY ON GOD!!”

    Mr. A or Mrs. A,

    You do not reveal who you are Mr. A or Mrs.A, but have the AUDACITY to bring up someone’s personal issues is DISGUSTING! Chaim at least came forward to speak as a real human being. He is not hiding behind the sea of hatred that you are. I don’t know who you are or what happened to you in your life that you are so angry and evil. You are just another example of someone who loses what the Torah and God is all about.
    As an FYI, I did not go to Jonah, but went to a frum therapist that promised he could make me straight. I initiated this and interviewed different therapists until one promised that it would happen. After seeing him for 2 years and paying $200 a week for multiple sessions, I became severely depressed because all this hope and faith went out the window.
    We all have our own issues, but this does not mean you have a right to exploit someone’s issues. This should be a SAFE place to converse and share opinions. I am appalled at someone saying that it is because Chaim was abused or because he didn’t get along with a therapist. I got along great with mine and it didn’t work. He never made me strip, but he raped my mind. He had great intentions, but acted very unethically. No I did not have any healing from that experience. Someone wanting and thinking about killing themselves post “X-gay Therapy” is not one that experienced this lovely healing you speak of. My story became a lot darker until I dealt with my issues with God. We are all born in the image of God! NO ONE HAS A MONOPOLY ON GOD!!
    I am not sure that you have done research into Jonah and “reparative therapy”. It is proven to do more harm than good. If it worked, you would not see so many Homosexuals around. I have met people that went to “Exodus”, the Christian version of “Jonah” and many find what went on with them at “Exodus” to be abuse.
    Lastly, where is your “sechel”? Did your parents not teach you how to speak to someone? You find it OK to exploit someone’s life because you don’t agree with what they wrote??? I am sure you can find many articles that say people can change. My advice to you is, go read them and stay away from people you do not agree with. You obviously do not know how to communicate with the outside world. Manners my friend!!
    Finally, you and I are not perfect. Chaim is not running for President of the United States. He is simply sharing his story. This is not Newt and Romney trying to destroy each others lives on the public stage. You must have a past of some sort that you hide, but you are a coward for not stating who you are. No one has the right to try and embarrass another!

    http://richdweck.blogspot.com/

  162. Ari Gold says:

    Yasher Coach to Chaim Levin for having the bravery to speak about his experience and thank you to the Jewish Press for realizing how important his point of view is in making for a more tolerant frum community.

  163. A says:

    Rich Dweck,

    I am only “hiding” behind a pseudonym to protect my family from vicious attacks by gay activists (trust me, I speak from experience). Oh, so my bringing up Chaim’s issues is off-limits but his revealing confidential processes that he promised in writing to keep confidential is just dandy in your book?

    Chaim is a deeply wounded and disturbed individual, and he was certainly this way before he came to JONAH. I am sorry if this is harsh and painful, but omitting the context of his childhood abuse is simply dishonest. His story makes it sound like he was “just fine” before coming to JONAH and JONAH is somehow responsible for his issues. It is my duty to set the record straight on that one.

    I don’t need to do any “research” into reparative therapy. During my involvement with JONAH, I saw some men (such as myself) go on to get married, have children, and lead happy lives (in a former life, I used to compulsively act out with strangers). I saw other men give up on the struggle and go on to lead gay lives(perfectly their right to do so — and they continue to get love and support from the rest of us). I never saw anyone hurt, damaged, or abused by JONAH.

    Chaim knows this. Anyone who’s been with JONAH long enough knows this. Chaim personally knows people who were strugglers along-side him and are now happily married and sober. You, Rick Dweck, are simply an ignorant and arrogant person, but your intentions might be good. Chaim has no such excuse.

  164. Rich Dweck says:

    Mr. A

    Mr. A: I am only “hiding” behind a pseudonym to protect my family from vicious attacks by gay activists (trust me, I speak from experience). ”

    Rich- Really people beat up straight people now??

    Mr. A- “Oh, so my bringing up Chaim’s issues is off-limits but his revealing confidential processes that he promised in writing to keep confidential is just dandy in your book?”

    Rich: I have a book??? lol

    Mr. A- “Chaim is a deeply wounded and disturbed individual, and he was certainly this way before he came to JONAH.”

    Rich: This would seem to me that you are part of Jonah??

    Mr. A- “It is my duty to set the record straight on that one”

    Rich: Really? Did someone appoint you?

    Mr. A: ” I never saw anyone hurt, damaged, or abused by JONAH.”

    Rich: Wow! You really need to do your research on how it has affected many.

    Mr. A: .” You, Rick Dweck, are simply an ignorant and arrogant person, but your intentions might be good. Chaim has no such excuse.”

    Rich: Why am I different than Chaim in this way? Also, I am ignorant?? Maybe you should get to know me..

    http://richdweck.blogspot.com

  165. A says:

    >> Rich- Really people beat up straight people now??

    Are you suggesting in all seriousness that no heterosexual man is ever a victim of violence? Perhaps you meant to say something else, so let me pre-empt that by saying that no, I am not afraid of physical violence from the gay activists. However, dirty tricks such as contacting my family, releasing my address/phone number or contacting my place of work are certainly par for the course for the gay activists. I’ve seen this in action, and have nearly fell prey to it myself.

    >> Mr. A- “Chaim is a deeply wounded and disturbed individual, and he was certainly >> this way before he came to JONAH.”
    >>
    >> Rich: This would seem to me that you are part of Jonah??

    I have been active in JONAH for some years, yes.

    >> Mr. A- “It is my duty to set the record straight on that one”
    >>
    >> Rich: Really? Did someone appoint you?

    More silliness. Did someone appoint Chaim? You?

    >> Mr. A: ” I never saw anyone hurt, damaged, or abused by JONAH.”
    >>
    >> Rich: Wow! You really need to do your research on how it has affected many.

    I am only aware of two men, Chaim Levin and Benji Unger, who simultaneously (oddly enough) made the choice to contact well-known smarmy gay activist Wayne Bessen and make those infamous videos denouncing JONAH. I am not aware of any other man claiming to be harmed by JONAH. If you know of others, please do let me know (so I can do my “research” and all) by all means.

    >> Mr. A: .” You, Rick Dweck, are simply an ignorant and arrogant person, but your >> intentions might be good. Chaim has no such excuse.”
    >>
    >> Rich: Why am I different than Chaim in this way? Also, I am ignorant?? Maybe you >> should get to know me..

    You are ignorant because you make confident statements about JONAH that are factually wrong. So you are either deliberately lying or are misinformed. I’m giving you the benefit of doubt.

  166. chava kahan says:

    chaim, chaim, chaim. i love you soooo much!!! im sooooo proud of you for writing this. you have come soooo far from that boy that i got to know a while back. when you were scared to come out of the closet. when you were scared to be you. you have grown into this amazing person who is standing up and saying the things people like me wish i had the guts to say out loud and not just among my peers. i too grew up in crown hieghts. im an out lesbian. my family chooses to not talk about it. my mother has asked me not to discuss it in public. i am sick of hiding. i love women and im not shy or scared to admit it. its such a sore topic in my community and you have to be careful who you say what to. its not okay that some people have to hide who we are because some rabbis are uncomfortable with gay people. in my opinion people who bully gay people are uncomfortable with their own sexuality. i dont tell you how to live and who to love, please stop telling me. i had a religious therapist. when i told her i liked girls she told me that if i didnt touch girls i would be ok. that started 8 years of not touching girls. i was scared if i touched a girl i would have feelings that i shouldnt. it escalated into not touching anyone. do you know what that does to a person? not able to have physical contact with someone? i could barely shake a persons hand without freaking out. i tried to be straight. i thought maybe my parents would be proud of me if i was straight. in order to ever be with a man i had to be drunk or high. i was drunk and high all the time. when i finally started getting my life together i called some of my friends and came out of the closet. none of them were surprised. they told me when i was drunk i always flirted with girls. i had no recollection of that. now a bunch of years later, im proud to be myself. im comfortable in my own body and not ashamed to walk down the block holding my girlfriends hand (not in the community i grew up in) .i wish i had the courage to be as open as some people but there still is a little bit of underlying fear. one day i will get there. i cant wait for that day. this could be my new begining… thank you chaim for this.

  167. Eli says:

    Chaim,
    Good job on writing this article to speak out for all those who can’t speak out for them selves.

    It’s no ones business to decide which of the torahs prohibitions they should bully people over and which they should let people get away with. This antagonism is clearly an act of individuals who thrive on putting others down emotionally and physically.

  168. Susan says:

    If JONAH has nothing to be ashamed of, it also should have no reason to silence its critics or to hide behind anonymity. Perhaps A cannot be open about his identity, but you should have public spokespeople who can and will be. Operating a reparative therapy practice in secret only opens the doors to accusations and possible negligent behavior or abuse by your practitioners.

    It is very hard for me to imagine how asking a frum man who is struggling with homosexual feelings to strip naked in front of another man can be part of therapy. If you want this kind of therapy to be accepted, you should be open about what you are doing and why you are doing it. There is no need for codes of silence when you have nothing to be ashamed of.

    II personally think that reparative therapy is harmful to most people, but I also support any person’s right to try to change their sexuality if they wish to do so. There is no one way that anyone is either gay or heterosexual.

    What I can say is that the fact that it works for some men — in general, a small minority of men — does not mean that it will work for most men and certainly not for all men. I don’t think the Orthodox community should pin its hopes on this kind of cure. Rather, they should deal with the gay people who live among them.

    If Orthodoxy really is the only “true” Judaism, then you should not need to send your children away into other Jewish communities in order to save their lives. If something that you are doing in the frum community is making your children suicidal, you have a problem and you should deal with it.

  169. I af Carlstèn says:

    HHhmmm…. after been living in Jerusalem for a while and been with and witnessed how these radical, racist orthodox Jews behaving so I’m not surpised at all. After having seen how these hairy men and its women behaving is nothing more than a disgrace and inhumane. American taxpayers pay with their tax-dollar’s these orthodox Jews house, food and their livelihoods in the State of Israel and in Appendix contributes to their religious training courses in cheder and yeshivot.

  170. John Yohalem says:

    Excellent and painful article. Reminded me of my growing up, though my family was not religious and the only one who bullied and persecuted me was me. Still: I thought I would be “cast off” by my family and friends for being gay. I wasn’t. But I think I understand the anguish of those who have gone through this sort of thing. I’m delighted The Jewish Press has made this article widely available; I hope it will have an effect on parents of gay children.

  171. 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.

  172. A says:

    > If JONAH has nothing to be ashamed of, it also should have no reason to silence its critics or to hide behind anonymity. Perhaps A cannot be open about his identity, but you should have public spokespeople who can and will be. Operating a reparative therapy practice in secret only opens the doors to accusations and possible negligent behavior or abuse by your practitioners.

    JONAH indeed has nothing to be ashamed of, and its two co-directors, Arthur Goldberg and Elaine Silodor Berk will be happy to respond to your queries. All of this information is publicly available at the JONAH website:
    http://www.jonahweb.org/sections.php?secId=2

    The only thing that’s “secret” (“confidential” would be a more appropriate term) is some of the therapeutic processes employed. This is mainly done because as I said above, bringing a man out of his comfort zone is a major component, and this is more difficult to accomplish if he knows ahead of time what awaits him.

    How has JONAH ever attempted to “silence” any critic? My response to Chaim is (1) a private individual’s response — certainly not on JONAH’s behalf (2) not an attempt to silence him in any way.

    > It is very hard for me to imagine how asking a frum man who is struggling with homosexual feelings to strip naked in front of another man can be part of therapy. If you want this kind of therapy to be accepted, you should be open about what you are doing and why you are doing it. There is no need for codes of silence when you have nothing to be ashamed of.

    It may be very hard for you to imagine a lot of things, Susan. Hey, keep an open mind, right? I can’t speak for JONAH and what “it wants”, but are you so completely oblivious to the hypocrisy in your statement? What if a heterosexual man said to the gay community, “if you want your relationships to be accepted, you must be open about what you do consensually behind closed doors”? So if two men engage consensually in whatever sexual scenarios they desire (presumably involving plenty of nudity), that has your unconditional acceptance. But if two men consensually engage in nudity in a therapeutic context, they must jump through some loophole to gain your approval? Do you hear yourself? Is this really what you are saying?

    >What I can say is that the fact that it works for some men — in general, a small minority of men — does not mean that it will work for most men and certainly not for all men. I don’t think the Orthodox community should pin its hopes on this kind of cure. Rather, they should deal with the gay people who live among them.

    The orthodox community is currently grappling with the issue of Jews unable to overcome their SSA attractions. Here is a start: http://www.torahdec.org/Default.aspx
    compassionate, halachic, humble, informed.

  173. Arie Mirmanas says:

    Well Chaim, we have at least 3 things in common… The terrible bullying in school, being Jewish and being sucidal and try it at some point;It amazes me how strong and resilient are some of us. I didn’t grew up frum but I became frum and was frum for 15 years, not anymore, is not my thing. I was also ready to do ANYTHING within my power to change, and, I am still ready to. I simply see behaviors in most (not ALL, but MOST) gay men who go totally against my values and what I consider desirable and moral for MY life. From JONAH, the organization you constantly attack over and over and want to wipe out the face of the earth because of an incident you talk over and over which I truly don’t even belief or see it as abusive as you were and adult and JONAH own’t have anyone who’s unprofessional in their offices, well, I have never experienced in about 8-10 years with JONAH any type of unprofessionalism, lying or sexual abuse but all the opposite, great healing, amazing male close healthy relationships and understanding, finally, as myself, never truly felt part of the gay community. For me JONAH is an oasis in the desert. I do question the mainstream theories and beliefs about homosexuality. I also dislike how so many ignorant Orthodox rabbis can be judgmental do,how they lure me into orthodoxy by telling me that if I become frum, study Torah and marry I’ll become straight, which is a total lie… I don’t think that made me happy but well, at this point in time it is none of my problem that as I’m not frum and not planning to be for the time being :). Chaim, as a frum guy, I do commend you to open up and inform the frum community of how a difficult can be to have such a challenge, as it is a huge thing, can bring so much confusion, pain and sorrow. If you’re a frum guy, I’m sure you can understand that some peole can benefit from some therapies while others don’t. I benefited from reparative therapy, and, although I’m not yet all the way out, I am definitely in a much better place, including, full acceptance of mys struggle and attractions, and myself in general and I haven’t been suicidal in 5 years (I used to be all the time for 25 years), reparative therapy helped me stop feeling suicidal and moving on in life, what any other therapy accomplished in 12 years of constant work. For you to have had a bad experience with one coach in JONAH doesn’t make reparative therapy innefective, doesn’t make JONAH bad or evil and doesn’t make homosexuality desirable and good. It saddens me deeply how much more difficult is the life of homosexual men, and how many shorten their lifespan greatly for diverse reasons. It is soooo sad! :”(… I want to see everyone happy, and if you found who you think you are and you found happiness there kol ha-kavod, I wish you the best, what I won’t accept is this bullying towards JONAH as some of us, many of us have found great healing and solace there in a truly crazy world where nonsense is the rule, where, if you don’t do what the majority does you’re an outcast and people want to destroy you. Go have a great life and be happy being a frum gay man, but don’t come and tell some of us to stop doing our healing, there is a market for JONAH, therefore, it won’t cease existing, I will defend that organization even if I ever decide to go back with men as it is a great organization. the constant work of co-directors Arthur and Elaine is beyond belief, how much kindness, help, friendship and honesty I’ve gotten form these 2 friends is unbelievable. I learn something throughout my healing which also including a share of mental health issues related to childhood emotional and sexual abuse: take the best and leave the rest! If a psychotherapy or a therapist weren’t for me I left and tried something new, that’s why, in not 2, but 17 years of constant work I am literally healed from mental disorders that most psychiatrists would consider incurable for life and would load your system on meds; BTW, I am totally unmedicated. Chaim, it is OK if you don’t want it anymore, you won’t be less, or less loved or less of a human being, you are going through your own life and human experience, I believe, let me and others have our own. I want a wife, I want chuppah and I want children in what I consider to be a holy relationship. Good luck in your journey! Arie Mirmanas

  174. Arie Mirmanas says:

    And you know something SF? Wait for you to die and see how much damage can oyu do with your words… Isn’t it a true bad aveirah to trat another Jew and talk to another Jew as you just did? Chaim is certainly not an abomination, Chaim is a man who is working on his beliefs and trying to fight for what he believes he’s right, and although I do not support his views I still commend him for his courage for standing up for what he believes is right…

  175. Arie Mirmanas says:

    M. Berman… Well said! Love it! :)

  176. Arie Mirmanas says:

    Helo Mr. Dwek,

    To compare a lifestyle to Porn is ignorant! – I disagree, I been there, I’ve done that, I was deep in homoland for ages and yes, not all but most gay men have a porno-like lifestyle with lots of sex partners and promiscuity, it is well known by anyone gay or not, you don’t need peer-reviewed studies to know what is a fact. Just look at the gay hooking up websites and at the gay bath houses.. That’s why the gay community has also the highest rate of HIV/AIDS contagion, which makes me deeply sad. Three of my good gay friends are infected and they are all so brilliant kind individuals. :”C

    Today, Homosexuals get married, have children, respectful and are not much different than heterosexuals – this is again, another blatant lie part of the gay agenda… NO! Homosexuals are non-monogamous except about 2% of them, they simply can’t, I tried dating and monogamy with al the psychotherapy in the whole world, it never worked on me, and nor on any of the multiple gay men I know. Also, two ga men cannot reproduce, simple, an ovum and semen produce a baby, semen and feces don’t is simple knowledge. No, gay families and gay relationships won’t ever be the same as straight, although I truly wish they’ll be as in the past I truly wanted to be with a man forever. It is a very difficult position to found yourself n, is a catch-22, totally desire that connection with another male and simply cannot get it, that’s wy the highest rates of suicide (other than for bullying and similar stuff) and mental health issues are the highest among gay people.

    It is not rampant wild homosexuality of rape and pillaging. I wonder what planet you are from… People don’t commit suicide over porn, people don’t establish a mutually loving relationship. – It is well documented porn is totally damaging to the mind and brain.

    You know what, maybe you should go to therapy to become celibate! – I got 4 years of celibacy and was my best healing time ever…

    I hope you never have to deal with an issue such as this. You know if God created btwn 5-10% of his people as homosexual – Mr Dwek, as a researcher in University, I can attest I never found any 5 to 10% gay population, the official non-gay agenda numbers are 2.6 to 4%.

    then you have to think it was on purpose. He wants every person in the world to live up to their potential. He loves everyone and knows how to do his job! Remember, everyone was created in the image of God! May God open your eyes. May god show you his ways. May god have mercy on you! – Well, also on you!

    AMEN! :)

  177. Rich Dweck says:

    Arie,

    You seem like a very angry young man. I understand you have your own demons, but your way of speaking to others is really unattractive.

    Look, no one is perfect and we all have a right to believe what we want. We do not have to agree on every issue, but why be so hostile and downright disgusting in your argument. I know you don’t represent all people, but you come from the extreme. All muslims are not terrorists, all gays are not promiscuous or HIV positive ultra orthodox do not spit on little girls and call them whores, all blacks are not in gangs, all hispanic are not mexicans, all mexicans are not part of drug cartels and so and so on.

    The issue is that the extremists in anything and on any issue tend to have the loudest voice. The media sensationalizes as their job. They are going to run way more stories on suicide bombers, black gangs, mexicans killing and in drug cartels. The moderates in most communities do not speak out. It is usually those right wing factions within that spend all of their time trying to show they are right. You may want to reflect on what you wrote and think of how you contributed to “sinat chinam” (baseless hatred). I am surely not perfect, but I try and treat people with respect. We all struggle on how we deal with others, but rationalizing it is not making our world a better place.

    Haven’t you heard that anal sex does allow you to be impregnated? It’s the new thing. Also, sex is only for procreation. Men should only have sexual relations with their wives during the few days they can get pregnant. Men should not have sex with their wives while pregnant. Obviously I am being sarcastic here.
    I think we should be celibate for the rest of our lives, starting now. Also, heterosexuals never cheat. The word heterosexual really means totally pure. j/k
    Not ALL gay men are in bathhouses or anything else. If they were, they would need football fields of bathhouses in every city. I am very glad that you say you USED to be in homoland. I have been there and the funnel cakes and cotton candy were terrible. Now that I am in heteroland, I have had the most amazing funnel cakes at half the price. j/k
    Arie, you do seem to have went through a lot in your life. You seem very damaged and angry. You seem to be struggling with many issues and I wish that was not the case. I do wish for your struggles and burdens to lift from you and allow you to have peace of mind. I cannot judge you right now. I have and never will walk in your shoes. No one can ever know what another is truly going through. This is why we allow people to be human. We all have flaws, we all have struggles, we all are simply human. May you be blessed to treat others as human and to stop beating up on yourself.

  178. Mark Roth says:

    Mr. Dweck,

    Not all Muslims are terrorists but most terrorists are Muslim. It’s a statistical fact that Muslims commit acts of terror in greater numbers than Jews, Catholics, etc. Similarly, not all gay men are promiscuous biput a verynhigh percentage of them are. They flaunt it. They are almost proud of it in a perverse sort of way. I’ve seen the bars and clubs and the disgusting displays at the pride parade. Thankfully, I’ve not gone back.

    I am gay. But I am also stubborn. I stubbornly refuse to give up. I stubbornly refuse to give in to my desires. I may fall at times but I NEVER give up. I will never give up my dream of a wife and family. I will never, ever, give up on the Word of God which is pure and true. I feel bad for Chaim since he has given up. But why do you want people to give up? Why are you pushing the gay agenda? Can you please stop? Not everyone wants your gay agenda with your gay “marriage” and your disgusting spectacles at the pride parade.

    Stop leading people astray! It’s called lifne iver and you and many of the guys in JQY are up to your ears in it.

  179. Arie Mirmanas says:

    Mr. Dwek,

    I am far from angry, I used to be for many years, sure, as many others sexual abuse survivors are. I am happy kind man, but, fair is fair, here we are not to adorn and cheer up, let’s say facts as they are, not try to embellish them. I wrote another piece here which is rightin the end of this thread and well, iyou can have a wider idea. The truth is that I am angry, OK ,but not int the sense you are thinking; I am angry because all these lies gay people are perpetuating are truly damaging and killing countless human beings. I do agree do that it is commendable that Judaism and more precisely, Orthodoxy, opens up for dialogue and not suppress and repress what is there, take away the shame and respect and love every yid as a yid regardless of the lifestyle they choose. there’s no hated in my words, jsut facts and it seems every time people who are in other side of this issue (the ex-gay view) are called homophobic, haters, and all that… I love and respect my gay friends, one of my best friends is even a transsexual woman who became a man, he doesn’t get me and I doesn’t get him but we love and respect each other as human beings because of our intrinsic values and essence. Chaim and his gang of Jewish inmates can certainly choose whatever lifestyle they want and they are totally in their right, and the only thing I’ll feel for them is sadness and compassion but, on the other side, they do not just want to be accepted, and stop the bullying, and take off their shame and feel human begins and real yids, they are trying to legitimize a totally sad and devastating lifestyle and not just that, they are delving even deeper by accusing and trying to destroy an organization as JONAH who saved my life and countless others. If Chaim life was saved by coming out and live as gay, kol ha-kavod, I’m truly thrilled for him as Judaism wants people alive more than anything. I choose life despite all my pain and truly difficult multiple years in psychotherapy, I stick to it and I’m so glad as the pain has left me. I went back to the posting to see if I ever generalized that AL gay men are such and such as you seemed to be pretty upset about it, giving all the Hispanic and black and all these examples… And well, I never generalized, Isaid it a couple of times MOST not ALL gay men are such and such… I am always careful as I do have personal gay friends who never even have sex. And yes, gay en mostly indeed need sme celibacy period to start feeling a bit, not ALL but MOST! :)

  180. Rich Dweckcl says:

    Hey,
    Thanks for your response. I honestly do not want to waste any more energy on here. I will agree to disagree. I believe in a god that loves everyone and that only wants us to be happy. I wish you the best! May you be blessed!

    Richdweck@blogspot.com

  181. Arie Mirmanas says:

    Absolutely Mr. Dweck, God loves us all equally and suffer when we take the wrong choices. Homosexuality is one of the biggest opportunities for a man to become whole and stronger and grow spiritually by overcoming it. It is very interesting, Mr.Dweck, how my messages were all along misunderstood and interpreted wrongly by you despite being written in perfectly correct English. I also think exchanging words with people who completely misunderstand me over and over is a total waste of time, indeed :) And well I don’t need your false blessings, I am already blessed by having this insane resiliency, keep your blessings for yourself you need them more. cheers! Arie

  182. Mark says:

    Are you sure that Chaim has given up, what is giving up.
    Are you sure he goes to the gay clubs and the pride marches.
    Are you sure he is sexualy involed publicly.
    Are you even sure he is sexualy involved with another man.
    Is Chaim asking people to give up or is he just giving them a life line for support, if they have lost there way, and saying its okay if you have these feeling your not on your own.
    Infortunatly there are many who give up and end up taking their life as they feel there is no one out there to help.
    I think is great that we have groups like JONAH that are there ready to help those who wish to give up or help deal with there SSA but for those who can’t continue is it not better that someone like Chaim is there to help.
    I to am not giving up, each day is a struggle, but I respect people like Chaim who did try.

  183. Joe says:

    A major issue has been overlooked in all these millions of comments: Together with the empathy we should have for anyone who is grappling with difficult issues, what about the very proactive movement that attempts to tell pre-teens and early teens that any slight attraction they might feel at any given moment for a same-sex member is perfectly OK, that G-d created them that way, that there are groups out there to support and encourage them – when in reality they are not gay at all!!

    In the rush to show understanding for those who have tried everything and now pronounce themselves officially “gay,” what about those who have tried nothing yet – yet are told by all these great “understanders” that they are fine, “Come join us, we will love you, etc. blah blah” – and have thus now just been pronounced “gay” for the rest of their lives?

    Yes, I am oversimplifying and generalizing – but the point I am raising is genuine. In our rush to prevent thoughts of suicide, we are causing many people to consider themselves gay – no great picnic no matter how many support groups they have!

    Even the famous gay orthodox rabbi who was the first to “come out” – wrote that as a teenager he felt a “tingling” when showering with or near his friends. I’m sure he didn’t think then that he was gay, but later, he wrote that this was the first sign. BUT THIS tells all boys who have or ever had such a “tingling” – who make up a great percentage, if not ALL, of heterosexual men – that in actuality, they are gay!

    So I’m here to say straight out: Not every tingling, or sexual arousal around boys, means you are gay! We all undergo trillions of sensations and feelings in our lives, and not all of them are “us”! No matter what, homosexual feelings are not the norm – so you can generally assume that you are “of the majority.” No need to say, “Hey, I once had a tingling – perhaps I’m gay?…”

  184. Cyndy says:

    “Judaism has always emphasized community over individual spirituality. It’s been said – and, I think, with justification – that it’s impossible to be a Jew in isolation. If one is rejected by the community, it impacts one’s ability to function as a Jew, to fulfill the mitzvot.
    It is true ,than Rejection ‘kasha mimavet’is harder than Death’,& it is another saying’or chebruta or mitutah’or friendship or death’,but i could say for sure that it is still possible to be a jew & to keep mitzvos EVEN while isolated or not welcoming by the Community.Many baal thsuva or Gerim had or have issues regarding as being accepted warmly by the Orthodox Community.(for that matter if you are a little different in terms of Hashkafa etc you are already laveled as outcast’).
    the fact that you have a support of the Community helps a lot but if you are not that lucky,you have still an obligation with Mitzvos & getting close to Hashem.it is always healthy to get along nicely with others,be part of a group etc but if is not possibly the person shouldn’t give up on Hashem’s mercy.
    what i’m trying to say is Gays are not the only group that are not welcome by Orthodox Jews..

  185. Rich Dweck says:

    These comments are painful to read! Enough is enough! The ignorance is beyond rediculous! I guess people come out and are really straight… Really go learn something. I hate to act hateful, but your comments are going to lead to young homosexuals committing Suicide! Stop already, please just do something to keep busy..

    Good luck!
    Yes
    Richdweck.blogspot.com

  186. Joe says:

    How about responding to the points itself?
    Do you or do you not agree that “tingling” does not mean that one is gay? And since you agree that it does not, then how about condemning those who actively attempt to make teenage boys think that their “tinglings” mean that they are gay??

  187. Rich Dweck says:

    Joe,

    With all do respect, you need to get some help and work on your anger. Noone is perfect, but you are very vulgar and disrespectful and I’m calling to end this conversation now. I am not having a debate with you or going to allow you to be responsible for someone to hate themselves, create more homophobia and possibly suicide by words. Trust me, work on some other issues and leave people alone. We all have our relationship with our higher power and is not for someone else to judge. Focus on you and how you can be the best human being you can. Again, I wish you the best, but this convo is over. May God bless you with knowledge and happiness!

    Richdweck.blogspot.com

  188. Joe says:

    OK, I can respect that not everyone wants to grapple with this point.

    Anyone else out there who can help us figure out how we can help and empathize with people like Chaim while not, at the same time, actively encourage others who are actually not in his situation to become like him?

    (I remind you that at a recent gay pride event in Jerusalem, there was active recruitment for the cause amongst teenagers passing by, in the form of printed pamphlets obviously prepared in advance and the like.)

  189. A says:

    You notice how every discussion of frum Jews dealing with SSA always comes down to “bullying”? That’s a clever device, but it’s growing old. Can we all agree, once and for all, that bullying is wrong?

    Now that we’ve roundly condemned every bully out there, how come I don’t see anyone else taking Chaim to task for violating a signed written contract of confidentiality? Does being a homesexual exempt one from legally binding contracts or common decency?

    There are several things in Chaim’s article that are misleading to the point of outright lie. He writes about JONAH (not explicitly by name but it’s obvious) in an article titled “Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community”, thus smearing the organization in an underhanded way. Tell us Chaim — what bullying, tormenting, or silencing did you ever experience at JONAH’s hands?

    Chaim’s failure to mention his childhood abuse is another sin of omission — it makes it sound as though JONAH is responsible for his problems, when in fact he was already a very deeply troubled man when he approached the organization.

    But Chaim’s biggest distortion is his failure to acknowledge the numerous men that he personally knows who benefitted immensely from JONAH. It is mind-boggling to me that a man so outwardly obsessed with truth and compassion can dissemble so brazenly. Chaim personally knows dozens of men whom JONAH helped overcome their SSA and who have gone on to have happy married lives with wives and children. Chaim witnessed their change and healing as it was taking place. Not even a sentence acknowledging that yes, change is real and possible for some? Not even a symbolic gesture of compromise, something like “try it and see if it works for you”?! Shameful, disgraceful, pathetic.

  190. Joe says:

    First of all, it would be helpful if people would write to whom their response is addressed. Too often it says “you are not sensitive” or “i can’t accept your argument” and “you don’t know better than G-d” (that seems to be a favorite of Mr. Dweck, even though we do happen to have G-d’s Torah which tells us much of what He likes and what He doesn’t like…) – but we don’t know who the “you” is.

    Secondly, regarding Yossi’s analogies: ??? I couldn’t find anything in common between couples experiencing problems with taharat hamishpacha and homosexuals, nor between agunot and homosexuals. The couples know that in two weeks their problems will be over, while those who are gay do not. On the other hand, the former do not go around demanding our acceptance in their new classification as “sinners”, while some of the latter do.

    Furthermore:
    Yossi asks: “If you happen to know an Agunah who you know is dying for companionship, who tells you that she wishes that hallacha was different, and who wont stay quiet about it, would you call her low and a sexual perversion?” Of course not! For she is not in violation of any Torah commandments! Whereas a practicing homosexual most definitely is! What kind of comparison is that?!

    In short, once again, the issue is not whether or not we should be nice to people who do not keep all the mitzvot, for whatever reason.
    The issue is whether we should allow this sort of behavior to become institutionalized, officially acceptable, and even encouraged – as I mentioned above – by some of those who practice it. I believe the answer is no.

    Yes to being nice, No to allowing the Biblical commandment against homosexuality to go the way of sacrificial offerings (i.e., irrelevant these days) !

  191. Lisa Liel says:

    Yael Dvora, the issue isn’t “promoting”. I think this is one of the main misunderstandings that’s going on here. Chaim isn’t “promoting” being gay. I mean, a person who is attracted to members of the opposite sex can choose rightly, and limit themselves to one person, who they are married to. So someone saying, “Accept my infidelity or incest” is not only sinning, they’re sinning l’hach’is. But a person attracted to members of the same sex doesn’t that that option. For the heterosexual, all that’s forbidden is individual members of the class of people of the opposite sex. But for gays and lesbians, the problem is the entire class of people.

    Saying, “Don’t treat us like sinners just for *being* gay” is not promoting anything. After all, even if you don’t believe that people are born gay or not, you must realize that we do believe that. So clearly we aren’t going to waste our time trying to “recruit”, or such nonsense, because we don’t believe it’s possible.

    Saying, “I’m gay, but I’m not willing to let that distance me from Hashem and the Torah” is not promoting anything except Torah observance. I don’t think you’re aware of the number of frum kids who have gone off the derekh because contending with the hostility in the frum community is too much for them to handle. When you stand before Hashem at 120, and He asks you, “Why did you drive My children away when they so obviously wanted chizuk to keep My Torah,” what are you going to answer?

    Saying, “Please don’t send me away because of something that I have no more control over than my bloodtype or the color of my eyes” isn’t promoting anything. No one is asking for you to say, “Hey, gay sex is okay.” We really aren’t stupid. We know what’s permitted and what’s forbidden, and we don’t do things that are forbidden. If some people go off the derekh due to the unending pressure and hostility, that’s a tragedy. One which bothers those of us who are both frum and gay even more than it bothers you, I’d wager. But it doesn’t mean that those of us maintaining our frumkeit against all odds are “promoting” anything when we ask you to treat us like you would any other frum Jew.

    We have control over our actions. We have no control over our orientation. Please don’t try and set us up on shidduchim with members of the opposite sex and then accuse of “flaunting our lifestyle” when we politely explain that we aren’t interested because we’re gay.

    Rav Ashi was giving a shiur on those who have no chelek in Olam Haba. One of those he mentioned was King Menashe, who worshipped idols in the Beit HaMikdash. That night, Menashe came to him in a dream and asked him a halakhic question which stumped Rav Ashi. Menashe explained the question, and Rav Ashi was amazed. “With such a mind for Torah, how *could* you? How could you have done the things you did?” Menashe answered, “Ashi, if you’d lived in my generation, you would have lifted up the edges of your cloak and run after me.” See, Rav Ashi was judging Menashe, who did horrendous things, but he didn’t get the yetzer hara that Menashe faced. Menashe failed; imagine the achievement of those who lived in his generation and did *not* fail. Then ask yourself whether, if you were gay, you’d have the strength to remain frum.

  192. TH says:

    Reading this article gave me a lot of insight into a very controversial topic that I have wondered about in the past, but never really investigated.
    Thank you to both Chaim and the Jewish Press.
    I am an Orthodox Jew, and while I am not gay, I have a gay relative who is not Orthodox and tends to flaunt his gayness to the Orthodox in our family. Since what he is doing is actually sinful, it’s always an extremely awkward conversation in our home.
    One thing that I’ve always wondered is why being gay has to define someone.
    Here Chaim talks about how he was bullied and abused for having a different sexual orientation and I don’t understand why.
    If he was raised in a frum home and wants to live a frum lifestyle, which means not giving in to his taiva, why do we define him as gay? Why would we box him in and group him with people like my relative, when he is clearly different?
    We are in galus.
    That’s the only answer – in galus, people are on a lower level, do not have the same clarity as generations past, and make bigger mistakes.
    In a world where we are exposed to “gay pride” all the time, where gay marriage is being instituted state by state, where we are aware that this is the reason Hashem destroyed the world at the time of Noach and we can see that this is happening again, we are so quick to judge.
    And we shouldn’t be.
    Everyone has a yetzer hara for something. Why condemn someone who is being strong and not giving in?
    If he is staying away from his taivas and living as frum a life as the next person, then bullying and hating him is completely sinas chinum.
    And that’s what destroyed the Bais Hamikdash.
    And that’s what’s keeping the BHM”K from being rebuilt in our days.

    Chaim, may Hashem grant you the strength to continue on fighting this battle, and living your life the way HE wants you to, and not how WE want you to.

  193. TH says:

    I’m just wondering why you feel the need to leave a comment that shows you know so much about Chaim’s life, and yet the name you choose to comment with is “A”.

    That’s cyberbullying, which is just another form of bullying.

  194. TH says:

    I don’t know how true that is.

    Yes, what’s going on in society is what went on then and Hashem is against it and destroys the civilizations that accepted it, but what they accepted were the illicit ACTIONS. Having feeling for someone of the same gender is one thing, having those feelings and acting on them in an aveira way is another.

    Here Chaim is just explaining that he has those feelings, does NOT act on them, and should not be condemned for trying to live a frum life with this challenge.

    If your response was towards some of the comments, then I would have to agree with you. But if it’s in response to the article, I vehemently disagree.

  195. TH says:

    Well said.

  196. Arie Mirmanas says:

    I would like to hear what Chaim has to say about this new document which challenges his assertions about healing from unwanted SSA.

    Web zine for Response to Levin: An Open Letter To Chaim Levin
    and Other “Gay Orthodox” Advocates

    http://www.torahdec.org/OpenLetter.aspx

  197. A says:

    I did not reveal anything about Chaim that he himself did not state numerous times in a public forum — and unlike him, I never signed a confidentiality agreement. I am still waiting for someone here to say something about how it’s wrong to violate signed contracts between consenting adults — but all I hear is crickets chirping…

    I think I have amply explained in comments above my reasons both for remaining anonymous and for bringing up details from Chaims life. The anonymity is to protect my family from gay activist attacks; I’ve learned from experience that these can be vicious. The details from Chaim’s life are crucial to the story in which distorts facts to smear JONAH.

    Finally, regarding your allegation of cyber-bullying. The purpose of my comments here is not to bully Chaim into silence — quite the opposite! I’d like for him to speak up and respond. In particular — Chaim, if you’re reading: during your time with JONAH did you see anyone benefit from the organization and go on to live a happy heterosexual life?

  198. Yossi says:

    What is so sad about the Torah Dec (JONAH’s) response letter is that it doesnt even deny or mention chaim’s main point…that Chaim was abused at JONAH! I mean, he claims an unlicenced “ex gay” life coach pressured him into undressing and touching himself!!! this is sick, irresponsible and harm. Not only that, but others have come forward with the same experience at JONAH and at reparative therapists. This is the crux of Chaim’s point, and the Torah dec just ignores it. Very Telling.

    It doesnt matter if JONAH helped other people, you can not help one on the backs of hurting another…this is FIRST DO NO HARM. Something JONAH would know if the counselor was a licensed professional.

    Plus the problem with the Torah dec is not that it says some people can change…but erroneously asserts that ALL PEOPLE CAN AND MUST CHANGE (in reparative therapy). This is what is so harmful.

    It is no wonder that so many of the signers of this Dec have now come out publicly against it, and want their name off it. My own rabbi is one of those people, and the Torah Dec people (JONAH) refuses to take any names off. This is the shandah. So instead this Dec is being publicly ridiculed and ignored…what a chillul hashem.

    Thank you Chaim and the Jewish Press for your bravery and standing up for what is so obvioudly real yiddishe values. Truth, Compassion, and menshlichness.

    Shame on JONAH and their silly Torah Dec. The RCA statement and the Statement of Principles are much more logical and helpful.

  199. A says:

    JONAH does not deny that some of the therapeutic processes involve undressing. This is also the case for other programs such as The New Warriors, which are not affiliated with JONAH and not geared specifically towards healing SSA. As for touching himself, I don’t know exactly what transpired and I certainly wouldn’t put it past Chaim to exaggerate or outright lie, given the other liberties he has taken with the truth.

    Calling Chaim’s experience “abuse” is about as accurate as calling an unwanted stare “rape”. As a consenting adult, Chaim entered into a therapeutic process which he terminated unilaterally as soon as it didn’t proceed as he wished. This is abuse?!

    Show me a direct quote from the Torah Declaration that says “ALL PEOPLE CAN AND MUST CHANGE (in reparative therapy)”. We are dealing with a touchy subject where passions burn intensely, so you must be very careful with your claims. Who is your rabbi? Where has he publicly come out against the Torah Declaration?

    As they say, put up (some factual information) or shut up.

  200. Arie Mirmanas says:

    Another ivery important factor that Chaim has also not taken into account is that, usually, to grow and become healthier, we do need to go through “growing pains”, and feel discomfort; Discomfort is not necessarily bad, it can lead to understand and become aware of new things and move on. I feel discomfort when I started going to the chiropractor a few years back when my back pains were excruciating; He showed to me a chart and he warned me I was going to be in more deep pain for the next months but then gradualy things were going to become better; My emotional, spiritual and psychological journey has been similar. I see it so many times, the guy who going into SSA healing (aka. reparative therapy) and instead of keep coming and feel the pain, they freak out and leave, then they go out to the world (such as Chaim) crying they were abused, it didn’t worked and it won’t work for anyone and gay is the only way to live. Well, I see that as totally wrong. I am completely convinced that if Chaim continued his healing he was going to see the light, and maybe it was going to take 3 monre years of constant work, maybe he had to change psychotherapists, maybe he had to go to a New Warriors weekend, maybe he needed a mentor or join a sports team, who knows, there are so many htings to do there… I totally empathize with his bulying pain as my own bullying was soooo terrible, truly painful, but, through reparative therapy I truly start feeling like a real, heterosexually-challenged man, like any other human being with a challenge, not a sad victim, not feminine, not different. My brothers in New Warriors and in JONAH had been of invaluable support for me, and I wouldn’t change their friendship for anything. I repeat myself: definitely, if not because of JONAH and NARTH I would probably have killed myself once and for all years ago. I thank them infinitely, don’t have enough words to d this, because, despite still suffering from some same-sex attraction, it is not even close to where it was, I am alive, I am a happy man and still on my journey, which so many others give up in no time…

  201. yossi says:

    I think this convo finally started to get honest.

    Here we really have one Org: JONAH (Torah Dec) believing in unlicensed ex-gay life coaches pressuring clients to undress and touch their genitalia in locked rooms while the coach looks on. They believe that this is an acceptable way to try to change ones orientation. Some commentators even mitigated this by saying its “necessary discomfort”.

    As an MSW and a father and an Orthodox Jew I am appalled by this practice. It has not place in a professional therapeutic environment. It definitely harms some, and thus goes against the basic tenant of “first do no harm”. It also is the height of irresponsibility, and frankly is just disgusting. The fact that some people can pretend that this is not a big deal, or blame the victims of this terrible process (reported by multiple Jonah survivors) is just reprehensible.

    Even if some say they have been helped by this, the professional approach is not to help some on the backs of hurting others.

    Even more disturbing is the “Torah Dec” saying that the ONLY acceptable approach to homosexuals is change therapy. and on the bottom of every web page of the Torah Doc it says Change is MANDATED by the Torah. This runs directly in the face of science and thousands of experiences who testify that change is not possible for them when it comes to orientation. While it may be an option for some with a more fluid sexuality, saying that there is one approach to everyone is misguided and bad therapy.

    Luckily, many Rabbis and Therapists have publicly said that they do not agree with the whole Torah Doc as written and regret signing it as presented: Rabbi Fuerman, Dr Sorotzkin, Rabbi Fuerst, Rabbi Feiner, Rabbi Twersky and many more.

    What is more encouraging is that dealing with my sons Yeshiva and frum therapist, it was assured to me that this TorahDec is being seen as a cynical political posturing and not something being taken seriously in the Frum world. This can probably explain why it had almost no coverage by mainstream Orthodoxy or it’s press. Unlike the RCA statement on the matter or the Statement of Principles.

    But I am actually not that surprised by the TorahDec, It was spearheaded by the same Rabbi who paskened that Victims of abuse should go to rabbis before the police. This view has been repudiated by mainstream Orthodoxy. The TorahDec thinks along the same lines.

    So far I have not found one of the Signers who say that what happened to Chaim (and Benjy and others) at JONAH is acceptable or should be tolerated. Furthermore, I dont know many people who would want their sister, or daughter to unsuspectingly marry someone struggling with SSA. Though of course there are a few exceptions. We just have to be realistic and honest with our expectations. If my son wanted to become a Pro-Football millionaire…I wouldnt crush his dreams, but I’d have a realistic conversations.

    The Jewish Press is Awesome for allowing this honest discussion on the matter. The more the issue is discussed in the Frum community, the more Orthodox Jews become welcoming and understanding. I am so thrilled that being gay in the Frum community is becoming less a taboo and more understood. It is keeping my family and countless other Frum families together.

    Boruch Hashem, I would have never guessed that this discussion would have been enabled by the Jewish Press 5 years ago. How far we have come!!! Yasher Koach to us.

  202. A says:

    Where has Rabbi Twersky (I presume you mean Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski) publicly come out against the Torah Declaration? Do you have a link or a book/newspaper/recorded speech reference?

    And why do you automatically believe every detail of Chaim’s story? By his own admission, he is disclosing details that he agreed in writing to keep confidential. Doesn’t that taint his trustworthiness just a little bit?

    >>It definitely harms some, and thus goes against the basic tenant of “first do no harm”. It also is the height of irresponsibility, and frankly is just disgusting. The fact that some people can pretend that this is not a big deal, or blame the victims of this terrible process (reported by multiple Jonah survivors) is just reprehensible.

    I disagree vehemently that JONAH has harmed anybody. Take any of these “Jonah survivors” (I am only aware of two who have come out against JONAH publicly — and, oddly enough, simultaneously and via the same video). When a deeply disturbed individual such as Chaim claims to have been harmed by JONAH, how can you tease apart whatever issues he had before coming to JONAH from whatever harm JONAH supposedly caused him? Have you heard of “selection bias”? The more injured a person is to begin with, the harder it will typically be to heal, and therefore his chances of succeeding are smaller. Thus, these “JONAH survivors” as you call them were likely quite a mess to begin with — that’s just basic common sense.

    Notice again the hypocrisy and the double standard in your comment. A man touching himself in front of a life-coach is “disgusting”, while two gay men engaging in mutual masturbation is — what? A holy expression of love?

    Your statement, “Even if some say they have been helped by this, the professional approach is not to help some on the backs of hurting others” is even more curious. If you concede that JONAH has some non-zero success rate, then shouldn’t every man be encouraged to at least try change? …Even at the risk of whatever “harm” that might come about?

    As for “I dont know many people who would want their sister, or daughter to unsuspectingly marry someone struggling with SSA” — JONAH encourages men to discuss their issues with prospective wives. I told my wife about my issues before we got married, as did all the strugglers I personally met.

  203. Yossi says:

    Yes Abraham…ask him yourself, I did, in front of a whole chevrah. In most of my conversations with RAbbis and Therapist who signed this statement, when they heard about the harm that JONAH has caused, and how it will harm more people by having the approach that everyone must change (and that the Torah Mandate’s it), even when so many people can not, have expressed remorse. I encourage you to talk with these rabbis and you will see quite a different approach.

    I am happy that you told your wife about your SSA. This is very important. My nephew was at JONAH a few years ago and did not tell his wife. He subsequently got divorced and soon after committed suicide. I am forever disappointing in myself that I did not speak up and try to help him.

    There is a problem that you can not seem to admit or see the harm that this therapy has caused. Certainly, Chaim speaks about it here, and in further research I have heard personally in front of Rav Bentzion Twerski 5 boys who were pressured to do the same naked touching at JONAH.

    A non-licensed ex gay life coach armed with the pressure of the whole frum community and the false hope of changing ones orientation, has no right to pressure a young man to disrobe and touch himself under the guise of “therapy”. This is the worst kind of manipulation. IT is nothing like anything consensual between 2 adults that may have hallachic problems. It is like comparing “borer” to “gezeyla”. The latter hurts the most vulnerable, and that is why it is disgusting.

    As long as JONAH (Torah Dec) promotes this kind of irresponsible unaccountable reprehensible and harmful behavior, it matters little that they help others. I remember Rabbi Kolko in Torah Temimah…he was a Rebbe loved by sooo many. But then 6 boys finally came out and said that he sexually abused them. It doesnt matter that he was a good rebbe to some, if he prayed on the most vulnerable.

    The point is that responsible proven therapy with a licensed mental health professional can be used to explore sexual fluidity, as long as expectations are reasonable and no one is pressured to engage. The Torah Dec an JONAH put parents up against their children, many times forcing kids to engage in these dangerous processes, or risk losing their families or homes. This is the real Toevah.

    The only message to our gay kids is that we love them and we are on their side. We can not judge, and Boruch Hashem there are now so many wonderful Frum Rabbeim who they can go to for divrei chizuk and feeling of belonging. Gay men who marry women who know about them beforehand, should also not receive any prejudice…no one should. This is the Gadlus of Am Yisrael.

  204. A says:

    Every prominent SSA therapist (including Nicolosi) is VERY clear and up-front about one thing: you cannot force or pressure someone into therapy. Interpret that at every possible level, in particular: (1) it is unethical (2) it cannot be effective. Successful healing from SSA requires enormous desire, effort and committment from the struggler. There is simply no chance it will work with a reluctant participant.

    I don’t know a single Rav, or anyone at JONAH, who believes anyone should be forced into therapy. JONAH exists ONLY for men who voluntarily want to change. The organization could not be any more up-front about this.

    Your comparison of JONAH to a Rav who does a lot of chesed but also molests some boys on the side is completely inappropriate. JONAH only works with consenting adults. Anyone who is not happy with the therapeutic processes is free to leave.

    What you say about the 5 boys sounds like unreliable heresay. I only know of two men who complained about JONAH publicly. Look, for better or worse, the “secret” is out: some of the SSA therapy processes involve getting undressed and having one’s envelope pushed in other ways. These processes have been examined by professional, licenced psychiatrists, so they cannot be wholly without merit. And I repeat: if at any point the client believes that the therapist has “gone too far”, he is certainly free to walk out.

    Do you understand that without JONAH I might still be meeting strangers for sex as opposed to raising children with a beautiful loving wife?

  205. Yossi says:

    Im certainly glad that you are not meeting strangers for random encounters. However, I dont think you need a wife for that. There are all to many married frum men who still cheat, with men…Just look on Craigslist. There are many out gay men, who would never engage in promiscuity. In my practice, I have discovered that anonymity usually breeds promiscuity. When you have a face and a name to live up to, you expect more from yourself. It is the dark world of secrets and double lives and shame that breeds casual sexual encounters, not homo or hetero sexuality.

    I’m glad that you do not think anyone should be pressured into reparative therapy! But honestly, do you not think that the Torah Dec pressures people into this therapy? Saying things like “the Torah mandates change” and “the only appropriate response to homosexuals is change therapy”. This is exactly the problem. I agree with Nicolosi, if there was no pressure, and people just wanted to go to their own responsible licenced mental health providers…more power to them. It is the pressure, especially the religious, communal and familial pressure that is hurting our children. It is bullying them into therapies that could harm them!

    Furthermore, there is no research what so ever that specifically validates asking patients to get naked and touch their genitalia. This is snake oil. Furthermore, this kind of behavior practiced by non-licenced much older ex-gay life coaches, who use the pressure to change to encourage young men to get naked and touch themselves in front of them is plain wrong, dangerous, harmful, and indefensible.

    with respect to Rav Bentzion Twerski and the 5 boys who said that this kind of sexual misconduct was pressured upon them at JONAH, I was there. I told him about my nephew who unfortunately took his own life after his trauma at JONAH and his failed marriage.

    I was a frum mental health professional at the Nefesh conference where many rabbis and therapists (including many who signed the Jonah Torahdec) expressed remorse and concert that this torahdec could cause more harm than good. Some of My colleagues contacted Arthur Goldberg (an ex con convicted of Fraud, who is the Director of JONAH, and person behind The Torah Dec -even though never frum), and Arthur refused to take any of the names off…even those who asked to be removed in the Press). This is very disturbing behavior and a big chillul hashem.

    I guess just like any community, there are more rightwing fundamental fringes that we shouldnt judge all of Orthodoxy from. The TorahDec is really very fringe and not mainstream or accepted by the community. It is similar to the Psak by Rav Kaminetzky that abuse victims go to rabbi’s before the police, and similar to some of the crazy anti women behavior we saw in Bet Shemesh. Please do not judge Orthodoxy from these misguided approaches.

    The RCA and the STatement of Principles do a much more respectable job pointing out that there are behaviors that are hallachically problematic, but there is not reason Gay Jews should feel any shame, any less welcome, or any pressure to engage in therapies that they may find harmful. This seems true Daas Torah. I know at Nefesh, most took this approach. I am also working with many Yeshivos who take a similar approach to their gay yeshiva students.

    Chaim’s article, the outpouring of love for him here, and the heroism of the Jewish Press is the greatest sign that it really is getting better for gay people in the Orthodox community. It is the pressure, the bullying, the false hope, the silencing and the shame that is hurting our kids. Unfortunately JONAH and the TorahDec only help to perpetuate that. I vowed after my Nephew took his life to make sure that this vulnerable population know that they have allies in the straight frum world.

    You seem like a nice person A, and I wish you and your wife the best. I hope that you will stay true to her, even late in the marriage when SSA may be more of a struggle. I am glad that responsible licenced therapists are there for you that will help you every step of the way. But it sounds like you agree with me, no one should be pressured to make the choice that you did. No one should be pressured into a therapy that does not work for them, and NO ONE should feel pressured to ever have to strip and touch themselves in front of a nonlicenced life coach so that they can fill the Torahdec irresponsible mandate that everyone must change. This is just evil.

    We must understand that what is right for you, may be harmful for someone else. It is with this approach that I support your decision, but I ask to you support Chaim and the thousands of other Jews who grew up Orthodox that are not able to change. They deserve love, acceptance, respect and welcoming. This is the path to Moshiach.

    Be well,
    Yossi

  206. A says:

    Yossi,

    I am sure you are a good mental health professional. Yet, your suggestion that I “look on Craigslist” is a bit similar to suggesting that a recovering alcoholic go have a look in a bar. An honest slip-up, perhaps — I’ll give you the benefit of doubt.

    If only you’d give the same benefit of doubt to Arthur Goldberg, a holy man who’s saved countless lives. His legal issues are of no relevance to his JONAH work. Why engage in loshen hara and mention his conviction? To undermine his credibility? Yet Chaim Levin continues to enjoy full credibility in your eyes, even though his disclosure of confidential processes is a legally actionable offense.

    We are dwelling on this alleged “getting undressed and touching genitalia” way too much. First, Chaim’s credibility is shaky at best — I would not at all put it past him to embellish, exaggerate, our outright lie. Second, getting naked is a very small part of therapy, and only for certain individuals with certain issues (typically, body-image problems). I myself never went through this process. But I have struggler friends who did. One of them told me how it took several sessions before he was ready to undress. In other words, at first he wasn’t comfortable and the therapist left it at that. All the strugglers I know besides Chaim who went through this process describe it as frightening, unsettling, but ultimately beneficial. I don’t know what your qualifications are, but “no research what so ever” and “snake oil” are pretty strong claims for a soft field like psychology where the established facts are few and constantly changing. I repeat: renowned, licenced (even famous) psychiatrists have vetted these processes. You dismiss them as snake-oil, and then go on to tell me to go surf the men4men section of craigslist. I think I’ll stick with the JONAH-approved professionals, thankyouverymuch.

    I am very sorry about your nephew, may he rest in peace. But how can you in good faith blame JONAH for that? A troubled man takes his life; we should mourn the tragedy rather than conducting a witch-hunt among his previous contacts. Do you know for a fact that it was JONAH that caused him to kill himself and not clinical depression? Childhood abuse? That’s a very irresponsible claim, one that I am surprised to see made by a mental health professional.

    Let’s talk about the bottom line. A young man comes to you and confides that he is struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions. He desperately wants to change, wants a wife and children. What do you advise him? Do you tell him about JONAH? Or do you say, “sorry bud, nothing you can do, you’re stuck with this”?

    My struggler friend called me a couple of days ago to tell me he’s gotten engaged (his fiancee knows about his issues). What excitement, what joy! And how gratifying to hear him thank me for the support I’ve given him through the years. Was I doing him a disservice? Should I have told him to leave this dangerous, unprofessional JONAH organization and tough it out on his own?

  207. Yossi says:

    The fact that Arthur Goldberg (Jonah’s Director) is a convicted felon who plead guilty to Millions of Dollars in Fraud and has a criminal background is very relevant when credibility is concerned. This is public knowledge and public record.

    I only used the craigslist example to exemplify how many married men still cheat with men in secret. Certainly, i do not recommend you go there. The point is that according to these 5 JONAH survivors and as seen on craigslist, JONAH and reparative therapy clients seem to tell their therapists and wives one thing, then in secret go proposition other men. This is very disturbing. Just because Men with SSA are telling us that they have changed, means nothing if they are still using craigslist and the like to act out, many times cheating and putting their wives at risk.

    With respect to Chaim and the other boys, Patients are not under confidentiality to keep the abuse of their counselors a secret. Certainly, if their non licenced JONAH therapist pressured them into getting naked and touching their genitalia while in therapy, they are not required to keep this a secret. How you can want Chaim and the other victims to stay quiet about this is really disturbing and telling.

    The more you mitigate and dismiss other people’s harm and suffering, because something worked for you, you exemplify the height of selfishness. This is very apparent.

    With respect to a young gay man who wanted to work on his sexual fluidity or marry a woman, I would never send him to an ORG like JONAH that engages in such unprofessional and irresponsible behavior. I would refer him to licenced colleagues of mine who can work through talk therapy to explore the patients sexual repertoire and concentrate on how to prioritize commitment over desire. This therapy would be contracted under realistic expectations would be about what works for the specific client. There are more than enough licenced frum therapists around.

    The real issue here, as you have pointed out, is that there should not be a PRESSURE in the frum community for gay people to have to go to these kinds of reparative therapies. They certainly are not right for many people, and can be harmful for some. So this is the real problem with the TorahDec (JONAH), by mandating that “all must change” and “the only approach is change therapy”, it perpetuates a damaging notion that all should be pressured into this kind of therapy. Certainly, as you have repeated from Nicolosi, pressuring people into reparative therapy is not helpful. This pressure can be used to exploit gay people and their parents. In JONAH’s case this pressure is used to exploit Frum families out of thousands of dollars. In some cases this pressure has been used by some “ex gay” JONAH life coaches to pressure young clients into getting naked and fondling their genitalia. I’m glad that finally parents are finding out that this is what is really going on at JONAH.

    Chaim’s story as well as countless others show us that we must develop a way of welcoming and respecting gays in the frum community who reparative therapy is not a helpful option to. Boruch Hashem, I think we are on our way.

  208. me llamo ramon vazquez garcia direccion tampico tam andador peru edif 107 dep no 9 infona arenal tel casa 1165304 mi amigo espero que te encuentres bien de salud en compañia de toda tu familia esto que te boy a decir no es de religion ni de metaficica nosticos ni de ninguna enceñansa de verdad quieres entender porque te comportas asi y cual es la solucion espero tu respuesta amigo yo no te boy hacer que agas algo vergonzoso de lo que te hicieron sino boy ha darte datos como esta hecho tu cuerpo divina mente y como trabaja mente cuerpo y espiritu dentro y fuera de toda la jente hasta luego amigo.

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