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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘gay’

State Senator Storobin on Gay Marriage and Simcha Felder as an Opponent

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

In the first of a series of Jewish Press Forum videos, the newspaper recently sat down with Republican State Senator David Storobin in its Brooklyn offices. In the interview, conducted by Jewish Press editorial staffer Eli Chomsky, Storobin spoke about overturning gay marriage, the “Christine Quinn agenda,” and why it might be more difficult to face the little-known Abraham Tischler, 20, than the establishment candidate Simcha Felder (Democratic Party opponents) in this November’s general election for a seat in the State Senate’s new “Super Jewish” district. The interview and video have been picked up by several websites, including City & State and New York Observer’s Politicker blog.

Before jumping into politics, Storobin spoke about several issues that are pressing to many in New York City’s Jewish community. Although courts in New York have ruled that banning gay marriage would be unconstitutional, Storobin expressed confidence that overturning the bill in the state legislature is possible. “Almost every idea, when first presented, is thrown out and seen as impossible,” he said, “including my own candidacy.”

Gay marriage began as civil unions, then became marriage, and now it is being taught to schoolchildren, he said, and he believes it is time to take a stand. “Even if the only thing that we do is stop it at gay marriage, that already is a significant achievement.”

Asked by Chomsky about school vouchers, the state senator responded that he is very hopeful about implementing the school voucher program in New York, and that he wants to be in line with the needs of the people of his district. He said that 70-80 percent of liberals who vote Democrat support school vouchers. “Most politicians are trying to suppress this issue because it would force them to decide whether they stand with their labor union or with their voters.”

Storobin said that he chose to run for the State Senate instead of the Assembly because in the latter, he would be in the minority. “In the Senate it pays to be a Republican and my district leans more towards the Republican Party,” he said, based on the number of votes garnered by GOP presidential nominee John McCain, who won a little over 60 percent of the district in 2008. And, as Storobin pointed out, in the race for New York governor in November 2010, Carl Paladino – whose campaign featured his heavy opposition to gay marriage – lost Brooklyn by a 6-1 margin to Andrew Cuomo, but won handily in the 48th Assembly district, which includes most of Boro Park.

According to Storobin, his opponent in March’s State Senate special election, Councilman Lew Fidler, is a liberal Democrat who supports President Obama and “the Christine Quinn agenda.” Storobin noted that Felder also supports both. “People tend to assume that all frum Jews are conservative,” remarked Storobin, as if political views were all based on religious standing, “but that is not the case.” Through his past voting record, Felder has clearly demonsrated that he is no conservative, Storobin added.

Storobin said that he believes Felder is “too out of touch with the needs of the people in his district….Do the people of this district want to support Democrats so that Nancy Pelosi can become speaker? And are they going to support Barack Obama?” Storobin mentioned that Felder brought New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to a Bais Yaakov girls school and pointed to her as a role model for the students. “I bet none of the parents would agree with him,” Storobin said. “Christine Quinn’s lifestyle is not what they would choose for their girls.”

Many believe that as an Orthodox Jew, Felder may presume that he has the Orthodox vote wrapped up. But Democrat David Weprin’s loss last fall against Bob Turner for an open New York congressional seat may be instructive, political observers warn. Many Orthodox voters turned away from the Orthodox Weprin due to his strong support of gay marriage.

As to whom he’d rather square off against in November, Felder or Tischler, Storobin said, “Tischler has more conservative values, so he might be more difficult to fight with on ideological issues. I don’t disagree with Tischler nearly as much as I disagree with Simcha Felder.”

Yafit Fishbach

Jews Clash in Queer Toronto Over Inclusion of BDS Group in Parade

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

A Jewish gay and lesbian group has submitted a request to the Pride Toronto arbitration panel, asking the gay pride parade organizers to ban anti-Israel group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the festival, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

Jewish homosexual group Kulanu Toronto filed a complaint on Friday against QuAIA’s participation in the July 1 parade, stating that “QuAIA’s “behavior and rhetoric are hurtful to Jewish parade participants and to supporters of Israel”.  According to Kulanu, QuAIA’s comparison of Israel to apartheid South Africa is offensive and untrue.  In an e-mail to the Star, Kulanu executive director Justine Apple accused QuAIA of “hijacking the parade with their anti-Israel propaganda,” and alienating the people of Toronto with their “hateful, hostile messaging”.

Queers Against Israel Apartheid

Queers Against Israel Apartheid

The Star reported that the dispute resolution committee will review the complaint, but may not be able to render a decision in time for the event.

Last week, the Toronto city council voted to condemn the use of the phrase “Israel apartheid,” but also granted $124,000 in funding to the pride parade regardless of QuAIA’s ability to participate.  In 2010, a decision to ban QuAIA from the annual parade was overturned due to pressure from Canadian homosexuals.  In 2011, the city of Toronto threatened to cut funding to the parade if QuAIA was allowed to participate.  In response, QuAIA pulled out of the event, holding an event in favor of BDS (boycotting, divestment, and sanctions) instead.

In January, Tel Aviv was named the Best Gay City of 2011 in an international American Airlines competition choosing the most popular destinations among LGTB tourists.

Malkah Fleisher

Y-Love – Jewish, Orthodox, Black… and Gay

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

New York rapper Yitz “Y-Love” Jordan, famed black convert to Orthodox Judaism and celebrated artist, has announced that he is homosexual in an interview with Out magazine.

Jordan told the magazine he hopes his announcement will not cause him to be alienated by his community, but that he no longer cares very much about what people think.  He said he will continue to infuse his music with Jewish values, with Hebrew, and will aim to bolster LGBT hip-hop fans.

Jordan is of Puerto Rican and Ethiopian descent, and completed an Orthodox conversion in 2000, going on to study at Jerusalem’s Ohr Somayach yeshiva.

“I’m ready to find a husband,” Jordan told Out. “My number one priority is to get back into dating.”

According to the interview, Y-Love tried therapy aimed at attracting him to a heterosexual lifestyle, but was not changed by it.  He was married to a Jewish woman for a short time, but the relationship ended in divorce.

Out says Jordan now calls himself “ex-Hassidic,” and no longer lives in Flatbush.  He continues to celebrate Jewish holidays.

Malkah Fleisher

He’s Black, He’s Jewish, He’s Gay, Get Used to It, and It, and It

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

“Most people have probably never heard of Y-Love,” writes Jerry Portwood in Out Magazine this week, explaining that “for a dedicated fan base, however, Y-Love, aka Yitz Jordan, is a popular Hassidic hip-hop artist who raps in a mix of English, Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin. That’s right: Jordan is an African-American rapping Jew. And now he wants the world to know he’s gay.”

From the story, titled “Y-Love is Ready for Love,” it appears that Jordan was born to a Puerto Rican mother and an Ethiopian father in East Baltimore, and was attracted to Judaism since he was a child, After seeing a commercial when he was 7 years old that said “Happy Passover from Channel Two.”

That’s when he told his mom: “I want to be Jewish.”

Talk about the media influencing everything.

According to Out Magazine, Jordan converted to “Hasidic Judaism” (no Misnagdish Judaism for him!) in 2000 and studied at Jerusalem’s Ohr Somayach yeshiva.  It was there that he started freestyling to aid in the learning of complicated texts. While studying the holy gemorah, he also developed his hip-hop skills.

Just like the Ba’al Shem Tov.

Yori Yanover

Being Gay and Orthodox Gets Really Complicated

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Our recent discussions in the Jewish media of gay marriages and the conflict between being a faithful Jew and being gay reminded me of a really old joke.

A matchmaker comes up to a yeshiva guy, takes him aside and says, “Have I got a shidduch for you!”

“Who?”

“Princes Margaret.”

“What?”

Trust me, she’s just right for you. She’s educated, good looking, smart, good family, money. She’s perfect for you.”

“She’s not Jewish!”

“Nu, nu, so she’s not Jewish. Trust me, for the right man, she’ll convert.”

“This is crazy?”

“Crazy? Did you or did I put together 400 couples, thank God, and not one divorce among them – you tell me it’s crazy? I tell you can’t afford to lose this opportunity!”

And so, for the longest time the yeshiva boy puts up a resistance and the shadchan pushes him back, until, finally, the yeshiva boy gives up and says, “Fine, if Princess Margaret wants to marry me, I’ll marry her.”

And the shadchan sighs deeply, wipes the sweat off his forehead and says, “Now comes the hard part.”

THE NEIGHBOR LOVING THING

Judy Resnick writes in “Hannah Has Two Mommies,” on Beyond Teshuva, a blog “focused on providing ideas, connection and support for Baalei Teshuva in their continuing quest of learning, growing, and giving,” that for years, the Jewish world had its own Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

“Two older men, or two older women, living together for many years: well, that could simply be a financial arrangement. No one asked; no one told. It was no one’s business.”

She continues: “Nowadays, things are different. Men and women declare openly that they are gay Jews, lesbian Jews. What’s more, they want to be recognized by our mosdos, our shuls and our yeshivos and our communities, as openly gay and lesbian Jews. They want also to be Orthodox Jews, seeing no conflict between the gay lifestyle and the Orthodox Jewish lifestyle.”

Concluding with more questions, she writes: “Is Orthodox Judaism a big tent, big enough to include gay and lesbian Jews? Or must we exclude all those individuals who unapologetically and willfully violate an explicit prohibition of the Torah? What about celibate homosexuals and lesbians, those who consider themselves to be gay but do not engage in acts of intimacy? If a known pork eater is not at this moment eating pig meat, is he or she still a sinner?”

Her post is followed by more than 100 comments, from what I’ve seen, mostly the intelligent kind. I recommend a visit, while we here continue to ponder those same qaestions and maybe even offer something of an answer, who knows.

Naaah…

MAKE FUN OF THE FEIGELE

Thank you, Frum Satire’s Heshy Fried, for introducing an intriguing angle on the entire issue of being gay and staying inside the Orthodox fold (or is it under the Orthodox umbrella? Depends on the weather, I guess).

Heshy presents an ostensibly real email from a gay frum man who asks which is better, to date other gay non-Jews or Jews. “On the one hand I have much more in common with other frum guys, on the other hand, I feel bad causing other Jewish guys to sin with me.”

Fabulous question, right?

Now, I’m not sure if Heshy’s entire entry is a routine (some composed with the aid of consciousness expanding substances), or if the question is real and only the stuff that follows is the routine. Regardless, the question still begs an answer.

I remember, years ago, a frum gay friend of ours was in a relationship with another frum guy, an Upper West Sider. We loved having them over, especially since our friend’s friend was so helpful around the kitchen and the dining room table on Shabbat. Man, was he neat. Which is why I was so sad when they broke up and our side of the couple started dating an Asian fellow, who was very nice, but too shy to be of any use with the dishes.

The problem is that the discussion between gay men and the rest of society is almost exclusively about acceptance. This is, in my opinion, why, once gays have come out of the closet, they can’t shut up about how much they deserve to be viewed like everyone else. I understand it. Life as a perpetual outsider even in one’s own family is soul murder. But as a result, the discussion between gay frum Jews and the halachic authorities they approach is the proverbial dialogue between deaf people.

One side just wants to be loved and accepted by their family; the other side fears the sanctioning of a life style which is inherently against the law of our Torah.

Tibbi Singer

Tibbi’s Roundup: If You Knew What’s Going On in my Head You’d Blush

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Not related to the image above which is just my treat to you, the same-sex story reminds me of the joke about a guy sitting in the park, starting a light chat with a young woman. After a while, the conversation kind of dies down and the two drift into silence.

So the young woman says to the young man, What are you thinking about?

So he answers, Probably the same thing you’re thinking about…

So she gets up, says, Never seen such a rude person in my life, and walks away in a huff.

You know what I’m talking about!

GOOD NEWS FIRST

Thank you, Aussie Dave, for this lovely copy and paste, part of which I shall now copy and paste.

First, AD brings a You Tube clip, which is a Boycott Israel package, with the accompanying text: “SodaStream promotes itself as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to buying soda. But SodaStream is produced in an illegal settlement on stolen Palestinian land with exploited Palestinian labor. Moreover, Israeli settlement industries regularly dump toxic waste into the land and water of nearby villages.”

Now, enjoy this. If you like, go to Dave’s blog for the BDS clip. It’s fun, I promise.

BDS Fail Of The Day SodaStream International Ltd. surged the most on record in New York after the Israeli maker of soda machines said it will roll out its products at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the U.S. by the end of May.

SodaStream’s first-quarter profit rose to 55 cents per share in the first quarter from 35 cents a year ago, beating the 44-cent median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Aussie Dave, Israellycool

LET’S ROUND UP THE GAY MARRIAGE THING, BECAUSE IT’S THERE

For openers, the Jewish Dems were ecstatic:

Jewish Dems Laud Obama’s Support for Marriage Equality “On behalf of NJDC’s board, staff, and membership, I am pleased that the President has made a decisive statement in support of marriage equality,” said NJDC Chair Marc R. Stanley. “From working to end the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy to ending the Federal Government’s defense of the unjust Defense of Marriage Act, this President has demonstrated an unmatched record of progress in favor of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. President Obama has admirably continued to demonstrate the values of tikkun olam in his work to make America a better place for all Americans. I am truly proud of President Obama and know that so many others in the Jewish community share my feelings.” NJDC Blog

Agudath Israel not so much:

Agudath Israel Statement on Same-Sex Marriage A political group is entitled to its opinion, no less than a president is to his. But to imply that a religious value like “tikkun olam” – and by association, Judaism – is somehow implicated in a position like the one the president articulated, is outrageous, offensive and wrong.

We hereby state, clearly and without qualification, that the Torah forbids homosexual acts, and sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony. Avi Shafran, Cross-Currents

Who would have thunk, savvy political analysis from a blog named Daas Torah…

Obama’s “Evolving” Gay Marriage Position Officially, Obama’s position on marriage equality is “evolving”–a stock phrase intended to buy time until a hypothetical second term. By backing gay marriage, Obama would risk alienating a range of potential supporters — including older, rural populists and conservative black Christians — as well as motivating Evangelicals who remain unenthusiastic about Mitt Romney. As it stands, Obama has the support of same-sex marriage advocates even as his fuzziness frustrates them. Planting himself in the muddled middle may be an optimal political tactic. Daas Torah

Harmony among the world’s major religions over stopping gay marriages:

Vatican Rep Wants Alliance with Jews, Muslims, to Combat Gay Marriage European Catholic leaders are reaching out to other spiritual leaders, including those of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, to possibly form an alliance against the proliferation of marriage equality.

In an address to U.K. Catholic bishops, Archbishop Antonio Mennini echoed the words of Pope Benedict, urging the church to take a leadership position in fighting against marriage rights for same-sex couples, the Telegraph reports. His address comes shortly after several clerics of multiple faiths have spoken out against U.K. Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who kicked off an investigation on marriage equality. Malkah Fleisher, The Jewish Press

Dov Bear using Mad Men metaphor to describe his feelings about gay marriages:

Tibbi Singer

Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage; Rabbis Debate Homosexuality

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

President Obama on Wednesday went on the record with a statement that he now supports same-sex marriage, a reversal of his longstanding opposition. Obama’s announcement followed months of pressure from his Democratic base, his staff, openly gay and lesbian service members, Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife and two daughters.

In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, which was excerpted on “World News with Diane Sawyer” and will appear on “Good Morning America” Thursday, the president said, “When I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

The president went out of his way to emphasize that this is only his personal position, which he had reached through a process of “evolution,” and that he still believes each state should decide the issue on its own.

He did not say what would be the role of the federal government in cases where one state refused to recognize the same-sex marriage status sanctioned by another.

Instead, the president said he was confident that more Americans would grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president mused. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation, that they believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

The president’s statement followed Vice President Biden’s own endorsement of gay marriage on Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” saying he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriages.

Obama aides say the president and his vice president are in complete agreement on legal rights for gay couples, but the announcement represents a turnabout for the president, who has opposed gay marriage since 1996, when, as a candidate for the Illinois state Senate , he indicated support for gay marriage in a questionnaire, but his aides later denied it was his official position.

In 2004, running for the US Senate, Obama stated: “I’m a Christian. I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

Presidential candidate Obama maintained that position throughout his 2008 campaign, and through his term as president, until Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, and the sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which was intended to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), praised President Obama for his change of mind. Nadler’s statement acknowledged the magnitude of the event:

“For the first time in this nation’s history, a sitting president has shown the courage and leadership to stand up for all American families by pledging to support the fundamental right of every person to marry the person they love, and to have that marriage fully respected.”

Nadler added that “the course toward marriage equality and justice is the correct and inevitable path.”

Despite the firm opposition of the vast majority of Orthodox authorities to gay marriages, there have been cracks in that wall.

Orthodox-ordained Rabbi Steve Greenberg officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony in DC.

Orthodox-ordained Rabbi Steve Greenberg officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony in Washington, DC.

In November, 2011, in Washington DC’s “Historic 6th and I Synagogue,” openly-gay, Orthodox-ordained Rabbi Steve Greenberg officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony.

The radical left-wing website +972 described the event with more than a little poetic flair:

“Greenberg stood under the chupah, a traditional Jewish wedding canopy, as newlyweds Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan tied the knot before some two-hundred guests. Recognizing the unique – and controversial – moment, Greenberg’s voice notably cracked when near the end he stated, ‘By the power invested in me by the District of Columbia, I now pronounce you married.'”

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/president-obama-endorses-same-sex-marriage-orthodox-jewish-debate-still-raging/2012/05/09/

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