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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘gay’

Pride. Jewish and Gay

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

 {Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through}

Pride is a bit of a confusing word. It has different meanings and is understood and used by people in peculiar ways.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary, defines “pride” as: 1) “inordinate self-esteem : conceit” or maybe something more modest like 2) “a reasonable or justifiable self-respect” or yet a more refined 3) “delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship.”

Consider these definitions in reviewing pride of being Jewish and/or gay.

Pride in Judaism

Judaism frowns upon pride when it means conceit or arrogance.

The greatest prophet in Judaism was Moses, who was described as humble in the bible: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3).  It is a trait that rabbis preach for Jews to emulate to this day.

Humility is the opposite of pride. The rabbis take issue with pride that is associated with conceit and arrogance. However, they have no issues with pride that relates to reasonable self-respect or elation. Leaders in the Jewish community can often be found discussing their appreciation for the value system embedded in Judaism. It is not meant as boastful, as much as a sense of deep admiration.

Pride in the Gay Community

The gay community has used the word pride in its own way. The gay pride parades that happen in cities around the world are not meant as a show of conceit. They are expressions of a community that was shunned for years, that is now declaring publicly that they have no shame in their actions and will no longer hide. It is not an arrogance, but a public affirmation of themselves.

Israelis and American Jews have their own approaches to pride as it relates to being Jewish and/or gay.

Israeli Pride – Being Jewish; Being Gay

Israelis have not been shy about their accomplishments. They are boastful of their “Start-up Nation” that is a technological marvel, that turned a desert into a flowering democracy. One blogger actually listed 66 different companies which made her “proud to be an Israeli.” Is this conceit? Is it a justifiable self-respect? An elation arising from various acts? Probably all of the above.

The Jews in Israel also reflect on their being Jewish. In a March 2016 Pew Research poll, 93% of Israeli Jews said they were proud to be Jewish. The majority of Jews also stated that their being Jewish was a matter of ancestry- something in which they had no control. That implies that the majority of Israeli Jews – regardless of the level of religious observance – felt pride in something in which they had no active involvement.

Israelis also displayed support of gay pride, one of the only countries in the entire MENA (Middle East and North Africa) that holds a gay pride parade. (In contrast, it is a capital offense to commit a homosexual act in many countries in MENA, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.).  Beyond annual parades, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was “proud” to welcome the first openly-gay Likud Member of Knesset.

The parade in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem was attended by thousands in July 2016. The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat saidI hope, with all my heart, that we come together, on this day, against every manifestation of incitement, hatred, and violence, and that we unite around the right of every individual and community to exercise their freedom of expression, regardless of gender, race, or religion.”  This was not arrogance. It was affirmation.

US Pride – Being Gay; Being Jewish

Democratic leaders have for years championed the rights of the LGBT community. The cause of same-sex marriage was almost exclusively fought by left-wing activists and politicians for decades. When the courts ruled on the legality of same-sex marriages, Democratic President Barack Obama, and many Jewish Democrats celebrated.

The Jewish Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders claims to have always been a proud supporter of gay rights, even going back to the 1970s.

The head of the Democratic party, Deborah Wasserman Schultz (who is Jewish), also celebrated same-sex becoming recognized in Florida with a statementToday, we proudly turn the page on marriage discrimination and look toward a future that is more loving and closer to our ideals as a state.”

Are these Jewish Democratic leaders also proud about their own Judaism? Not so much.

In January 2016, Bernie Sanders effectively punted on his religion. Consider this exchange on the Jimmy Kimmel show:

“You say you’re culturally Jewish, you don’t feel religious,” Kimmel told Sanders. “Do you believe in God, and do you think that’s important to the people of the United States?”

Sanders didn’t skip a beat. In fact, he didn’t even let Kimmel finish the question before jumping in.

“Well, you know, I am who I am,” he replied. “And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that, as human beings, we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people,” he continued, as the crowd applauded and cheered so loudly he had to pause. 

“And you know, this is not Judaism. This is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.”

Members of the DNC knew that Sanders dodged the question, and in their effort to discredit him and boost Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, they used his lack of positive Jewish affirmation against him.

In July 2016, several emails from the DNC came to the public light.  The DNC commented that Sanders seemed to skirt around his being Jewish and that he only associated with being Jewish as it related to the Holocaust.  Here is an exchange on that point:

One email from DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall read: “It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

Marshall added in a later email: “It’s these Jesus thing.”

In response, CEO Amy Dacey said: “Amen.”

The head of the Democratic National Committee, a Jew, decided to trash another Jewish leader, over the extent of his affirmation and pride in being a Jew. On the national stage.  With the US presidency on the line.

Democratic leaders trip over themselves to show their affinity to the LGBT community that they aren’t even part of.  Yet they distance themselves from the very community to which they were born.

The New Liberal Definition of a Jew

The Pew Research showed an interesting divide between Israeli Jews and American Jews.  In particular, it found that 57% of American Jews found “working for justice and equality” as an essential part of being Jewish, while only 27% of Israeli Jews thought that it was “essential.”

That is why Bernie Sanders can talk about Pope Francis when asked about his own religion.  Sanders doesn’t feel pride in his ancestry or religion; he feels pride in fighting for social justice and equality.  He may have been born a Jew, but his religion is liberalism.

That is the mantra of the leading Jews in the Democratic party.  Their non-Jewish colleagues can only learn about Judaism from them.  Judaism is not so actually a religion with 613 commandments; it’s essence is social justice.  It is not a religion of 14 million members; it is a global mission in which everyone is part.  It is not tribal nor particular; it is open and universal.

That is absurd.

No liberal would say that there is no such thing as an LGBT community.  Then why do they feel no compunction at dismissing a religion as simply a set of liberal values.  Is that the only part of Judaism that makes them proud to be a Jew?  Or are they not proud of Judaism at all?

Perhaps the leading Jewish members of the Democratic party can seek some guidance from Lord Jonathan Sachs of Great Britain.  He made an easy to watch video available for all to see that doesn’t need to be hacked to unveil the truth. “Why I am Proud to be a Jew.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

The Color Coded Lexicon of Israel’s Bigotry: It’s not Just PinkWashing

Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children

Wearing Our Beliefs

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

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Paul Gherkin

New Ruling Requires Both Mothers Listed on Birth Certificate

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Israel’s Family Court has ordered the Interior Ministry to list both mothers on the birth certificates of children of gay couples.

The ruling, to cover both the biological and adoptive mothers, came after a petition to the court by attorney Daniela Yaakovi, representing three couples of two “mothers.”

Each case was won by Yaakovi, who said Sunday, “These are precedent-setting rulings, in practice an expression of the existing situation and the parental connection that is established from the moment of birth.

“They will end the discriminatory practice of the Interior Ministry which refuses to issue birth certificates with the names of two parents of the same sex.”

The ruling did not address cases where the couples involved two men.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Religious Zionist Rabbi Offers Homosexuals Alternative Approaches

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – While controversy has been brewing over several prominent rabbis’ comments on homosexuality and the Jerusalem gay pride parade, a well known religious-Zionist rabbi has been quietly setting up Orthodox gay men with lesbian women to be married, an idea that is considered revolutionary in the religious-Zionist world.

The Anachnu (“we” in Hebrew) organization is an NGO founded in 2011 by Rabbi Areleh Harel and is associated with Kamoha, a support organization for religious homosexuals who wish to have a conventional marriage.

As a resident of Shiloh and a teacher at the Elon Moreh Yeshiva, which is commonly associated with the ultra-Orthodox stream of religious-Zionism, Rabbi Harel does not seem a likely candidate to run a matchmaking service for homosexuals yet he began taking interest in the matter 12 years ago.

“Women were coming to me and telling me that after 10 or 15 years of marriage, they realized that their husband was gay and was seeing other men,” he said. “I understood the tremendous pain felt by many religious homosexuals and I felt that I had to do something.”

“A religious homosexual is stuck,” he continued. “I don’t have any way to solve this problem. Perhaps one tried to change and failed, but the question is what do we do now? If a gay man and a lesbian woman can marry each other without expecting love and sexuality, they can still build a traditional family.”

After six years of independently setting up religious gays and lesbians, Rabbi Harel was approached by Kamoha with an offer to formally expand his activities.

“Our NGO received many requests from gay men asking to be set up with lesbian women,” said Amit, the spokesman for Kamoha, who preferred not to disclose his full name. “Since so many people have turned to us, we decided to set up an initiative to match gays with lesbians. All of the rabbis we spoke to sent us to Rabbi Harel who had already been doing it privately and we decided to turn it into something official as part of our NGO, which became Anachnu.”

Anachnu recommends using their services only after having already seen a therapist and having accepted that a change to one’s sexual orientation would be impossible. “Those suitable for this project are those who are not in the process of trying out a new sexual orientation, but rather for those who have accepted themselves as being gay or lesbian,” states their website.

Amit claims that Anachnu is not being used exclusively by religious Jews. “The majority are religious,” he admits. “However, there have also been traditional people and even secular people who have reached out to us. All of them are closeted.”

Kamoha’s efforts are not without controversy within the religious community. Chavruta is an organization that supports religious homosexuals and is often considered a more liberal alternative to Kamoha. Daniel Jonas, a Chavruta spokesperson, offered lukewarm praise for the initiative. “We think that everyone has a right to choose their own path,” he said. “It makes no difference whether that means to live in the closet while married to a woman and pretending everything is normal or to live as you are.”

He warned against using groups like Anachnu to further hurt the LGBT community. “We reject any initiative that tells us ‘this is how you need to be’. If a person chooses to marry a woman and build a house with her, that is fine and there is a place for them. However, we in no way, shape, or form accept someone saying that this is the only solution and that this is what everyone needs to do.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Life + 31 Years to Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Murderer

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced Yishai Schlissel, who murdered teenage girl Shira Banki and attempted to murder others at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade last August, to life in prison with an additional 31 years. The court also fined Schlissel about $530,000 as reparations to the Banki family and to the rest of Schlissel’s victims.

Judges Nava Ben-Or, Arnon Darel and Rafi Yaakovi wrote in their sentence: “We are dealing with a man who does not recognize a human before him, a cruel, dangerous and heartless man. A man for whom the Judaism of darchey noam-pleasant paths and roads of peace, which teaches that man—every man—is beloved because he was created in the Image [of God], is foreign.” Instead, the judges wrote, the defendant views himself as “He who kills and gives life, in the name of principles he appointed himself to enforce.” The judges ruled that “this dangerous man may no longer roam the streets of Jerusalem or anywhere else.”

The judges also wrote that “in his few days of freedom between arrests, the defendant extinguished the life of a young woman who was so life loving, Shira Banki z”l who was about 16 when she dies… He did not see her as a human being at all, he did not care a hoot whose body would absorb his knife.”

Schlissel’s sentence is comprised of a life sentence for the premeditated murder, 30 year for his six convictions of attempted murder counts and inflicting injury under aggravated conditions, and one additional year which is the suspended sentence for his previous sentence.

The judges were severely critical of police for failing to learn the lesson from the 2005 Gay Pride parade in which Schlissel had been arrested for attempted murder. They blamed police for failing to stop him from carrying out the same crime only a month after his release from serving ten years for the attempted murders.

The judges also criticized the legislator for failing to provide police with the legal authority to follow and supervise dangerous criminals who have served out their sentence.

JNi.Media

Meet the Activist Rabbi and his Gay Bodyguard: the Knesset’s Most Incredible Allies

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Looking at the two newest lawmakers for the Likud party, you would never guess they were close friends: Yehuda Glick is a Brooklyn-born Orthodox rabbi who built his career on pressing for Jewish prayer on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount; Amir Ohana is the first openly gay parliamentarian of the center-right Likud party and founder of its LGBT Caucus.

Yet the two men share an extraordinarily unique bond that began in earnest in 2014 when Glick was gunned down by an Arab would-be assassin, an attack he miraculously survived. After being released from the hospital, the death threats continued pouring in – yet the police declined to provide protection.

That’s when Amir Ohana, a relatively unknown LGBT activist from the southern city of Be’er Sheva and a former agent with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), stepped in: he volunteered to be Glick’s personal bodyguard.

“I’m not a religious person, but I believe in freedom – and it was my honor to defend freedom,” Ohana, 40, explained in a recent interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that took place, together with Glick, 51, in Ohana’s office in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. “I don’t hold religious views but I can respect our legacy and our history as a people. What I want is for everyone to be free to pray wherever they want, and the Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews.”

The Temple Mount, however, also houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock complex – the third holiest site in Islam. The shrine has been a frequent flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and tensions surrounding the site – in particular Palestinian claims that Israelis, including Glick personally, are “invading” and “defiling” the complex by visiting – are widely seen as underlying the most recent wave of terror attacks against Israelis.

Because of that tension, for the last several months all members of the Israeli parliament – Jewish and Arab alike – have been banned from visiting the holy site by order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party. And in keeping with the “status quo” on the site: Jews may visit sections of the compound in small groups, and only during designated hours, but are evicted if they attempt to pray.

Both Glick and Ohana strongly protest this policy. Glick has been perhaps the most visible advocate of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and, with his striking red beard, has become something of an infamous figure in the Arabic-language media and social networking platforms, where he has been caricaturized as a serpentine villain.

Glick as snake

The hatred directed at Glick eventually led to his near-assassination and, later on, brought him together with Ohana – who is now, as chance would have it, his colleague in the Knesset.

The ‘Enemy of Al-Aqsa’

On the night of October 29, 2014, Glick was leaving an event at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. At 10:04 p.m. Mutaz Hijazi, a Palestinian from eastern Jerusalem, showed up on a motorbike.

“This guy stops right next to me on his motorcycle, wearing a white helmet and all black,” Glick recalled to TPS. “He says to me, in Hebrew, ‘I’m very sorry.’ I said, ‘What are you sorry about?’ I get close to him and he says to me, ‘You are an enemy of Al-Aqsa’ and he takes out a pistol and shoots four bullets into the center of my body.”

As Hijazi sped off, Glick staggered along with four bullets in his torso.

“My wife hid under the steering wheel. I saw that I was bleeding and – I have no explanation for this – I had no pain. I managed to walk maybe twenty yards, then I collapsed,” Glick said. “I heard Shai [Malka] say, ‘We just witnessed murder.’ He rips off my shirt and yells to me, ‘[Rabbi] Yehuda, don’t go! We need you!’ That was the last sentence I remember.”

Within a few hours, Israeli security agents – “Amir’s friends” in the Shin Bet, Glick says – discovered footage of Hijazi on the security camera from St. Andrew’s Scottish Church adjacent to the scene of the shooting. By 4 a.m. Israeli forces had tracked Hijazi to his family’s home in the Abu Tor neighborhood and, following a shootout on the roof, killed him.

Hijazi was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, but a local official of the mainstream Fatah party also claimed responsibility for the “heroic act.”

“I knew there were threats, but I didn’t really believe that it could happen,” Glick said of his attitude before the shooting. “I also believed we have a democratic country and people don’t kill people because they have different views.”

“Now he’s dead and I’m alive,” Glick summed up.

‘A Zealot for Human Rights’

For all the fury he attracts from extremists in the Arab world, as well as from his left wing colleagues (one of whom boycotted his swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset), Glick also faces a backlash from rightist Israelis who recoil from some of his more liberal ideas – including his acceptance of non-Orthodox Jews, his criticism of an Israeli soldier who shot an already-wounded Palestinian terrorist, and his extensive interfaith work (which, according to Glick, was sparked by hours spent in his Bedouin .

Ohana, too, finds himself in the odd position of fending off attacks from opposing sides of the aisle. As he attended the Tel Aviv Pride Parade nearly two weeks ago, despite remarks from some of his right-wing political allies who have crudely likened the to parade to a celebration of bestiality, Ohana also received threats from some in the largely liberal gay community who despise his nationalist politics – so much so that the police, in a twist of fate, decided to provide Ohana with a personal bodyguard for the march. (The interview with Glick and Ohana took place before massacre at the gay bar in Orlando this past weekend and before the terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market last week, at which Ohana happened to be present.)

“In Israel it’s quite unique. When you talk about right and left, unlike everywhere else in the world, you primarily talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Ohana explains. “So there is no reason why a person can’t be right wing – and even, as I’m sometimes called, a hawkish right winger – and yet support LGBT rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech, everything that is considered liberal. We are a liberal national party.”

Remarkably, despite all their drastically different backgrounds and religious beliefs, Glick and Ohana seem to share this view. Both men seem determined to fight for issues beyond their own sectarian interests – whether it’s Ohana, the LGBT activist, protecting Glick’s struggle for the Temple Mount, or Glick, the Orthodox rabbi, irritating his base by supporting non-Orthodox women’s prayer groups at the Western Wall, for example, and even gay rights.

“I’m a zealot when it comes to human rights and respecting every single human being,” Glick boasts. “I think that every single person deserves rights. I mean it’s obvious, you know, we’re living in a democratic country.”

Does he, then, support gay marriage, an impossibility under the current Israeli arrangement in which marriage is governed by the Orthodox rabbinate?

“I support that he should have every single right he deserves,” Glick says somewhat evasively, pointing to Ohana, and referring to Ohana’s partner: “I know that he has a wonderful mate.”

Yet when asked why he wouldn’t attend the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, Glick replied: “I don’t see a problem with [going to the parade], but I wouldn’t go because other people might see me as a problem,” adding that he went to visit Shira Banki, a teenage girl stabbed by a Jewish religious extremist at the Jerusalem Pride Parade in 2015, while she was in the hospital. Shortly afterward, Banki died of her wounds.

‘Jerusalem of Peace’

Glick was sworn in to his parliament post in late May, following the resignation of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. As our interview ended, he decided to inaugurate his new office by placing the ritual mezuzah on the doorpost – a small box holding verses of the Torah which is thought to protect one’s home.

Ohana tags along to Glick’s new office, borrowing a kippa from an aide, and the two hang the mezuzah together.

“I protected you once, so I may as well finish the job,” Ohana quips.

Glick then declares that his office has a name.

“This isn’t Yehuda Glick’s office,” he says. “It’s called ‘Jerusalem of Peace.’”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Gay Activists Threaten Gay MK’s Life Ahead of Parade

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

MK Amir Ohana (Likud), the first openly gay rightwing legislator, was assigned a security detail after he had received threats of being attacked during the Tel Aviv Gay Pride parade Friday. Ohana received the information from senior members of the Knesset Guard.

A source in Ohana’s circle told Ynet that just as he has never capitulated to terrorism and threats in the past, he will not cower this time either. The source said: “The knight of the LGBT agenda, who pride themselves on their tolerance, openness and pluralism, should ask themselves how they’ve reached such a situation facing almost the only coalition MK who’s been acting on behalf of the community for so many years, even if he is rightwing.”

Back in February, MK Ohana raised the ire of many in the LGBT community, when he chose to stay out of the Knesset plenum when the coalition voted down pro-gay legislation. The bills that were killed, and that as coalition member Ohana was not permitted to support, included banning the sending of LGBT children to conversion treatment, recognizing single sex families, and same-sex spousal contracts. One Facebook user, Alon-Lee Green, wrote at the time that despite the coalition requirement, MK Ohana should be ashamed of himself for helping to kill a bill he himself had praised. The post received hundreds of shares.

David Israel

Israel Gay Pride Police Arrest Nursery School Teacher to Protect Parade

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

After their abysmal failure to stop ultra-Orthodox murderer Yishai Schlissel, who in 2015 stabbed to death an Israeli teenage girl at the Jerusalem gay pride parade, police have gone several shades of crazy on the eve of the Tel Aviv Friday parade. According to the legal aid society Honenu, police have been raiding the homes of rightwing activists, warning them against attending and protesting the parade.

According to attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, despite the fact that an Israeli court refused to sign restraining orders without the shred of a proof against individuals, police nevertheless showed up in their homes and demanded that they sign an agreement to stay away from the parade.

“The police have forgotten that the right of free speech also includes the right to protest the gay pride parade,” Ben Gvir said, noting that “although the activist who was made to sign had no intention of going there, and certainly had not planned to, the very notion of knocking on people’s doors and asking them to sign such a prohibition is contrary to the laws of the State of Israel.”

At 2 AM Friday, police officers and detectives raided the home of a family in Samaria and detained for interrogation the mother, a nursery school teacher and mother of four. The forces came equipped with a search order signed by Tel Aviv Magistrate Court Judge Shlomit Ben-Itzhak, woke up the family and confiscated the woman’s smartphone and computer. Then they took the woman for an interrogation without any court order, with her husband and baby tagging along.

In her interrogation, the woman shared that she had no idea there was going to be a gay pride parade, and that she has no connection to any related activity.

It is obvious that police are terrified of a repeat of the Jerusalem parade murder, where they allowed near the parade a known violent attacker of gays, who had just been released from a long prison term for attacking marchers in the 2005 Jerusalem gay pride parade. It’s bewildering to think what the police might do in preparation for the Jerusalem gay pride parade in two months. Rightwing activists are encouraged to give interviews and publish blog entries in favor of acceptance, embracing the other, and respecting people’s right to experiment with their sexuality — or face jail.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-gay-pride-police-arrest-nursery-school-teacher-to-protect-pride-parade/2016/06/03/

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