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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘homosexual’

DC Conservative Rabbi Comes Out To Congregation After Yom Kippur

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Republished from JewishBusinessNews.com

“The Monday after Yom Kippur the Rabbi Came Out.”

Now, wouldn’t that be a thriller you would pick up at Amazon?

On the Monday after Yom Kippur, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, senior rabbi at the Washington, D.C. Adas Israel Conservative synagogue, announced that he is gay.

In a letter sent to congregants, Steinlauf wrote:

Dear Friends,

I am writing to share with you that after twenty years of marriage, my wife Batya and I have decided to divorce. We have arrived at this heartbreaking decision because I have come to understand that I am gay. These are great upheavals in my personal life, as in Batya’s and that of our children. But it is plain to all of us that because of my position as Rabbi of Adas Israel, this private matter may also have a public aspect. We recognize that you may well need a period of reflection to absorb this sudden news. I am most grateful for the support Adas’ lay leaders and clergy have provided my family and me in the short time since I brought this matter to their attention. That support makes it possible for us to prepare for this new chapter in our lives, and for me in my ongoing service as Rabbi of Adas Israel Congregation.

While I struggled in my childhood and adolescence with a difference I recognized in myself, that feeling of difference did not then define my identity, much less the spouse I would seek. I sought to marry a woman because of a belief that this was the right thing for me. This conviction was reinforced by having grown up in a different era, when the attitudes and counsel of adult professionals and peers encouraged me to deny this uncertain aspect of myself. I met and fell in love with Batya, a wonderful woman who loved and accepted me exactly as I am. Together, we have shared a love so deep and real, and together we have built a loving home with our children–founded principally on the values and joys of Jewish life and tradition. But my inner struggle never did go away. Indeed, Batya herself has supported me through this very personal inner struggle that she knew to be the source of great pain and confusion in my life over decades.

A text I’ve sat with for years is from the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 72b) and states, “Rabbah said, any scholar whose inside does not match his outside is no scholar. Abaye, and some say Ravah bar Ulah, said [one whose inside does not match his outside] is called an abomination.” Ultimately, the dissonance between my inside and my outside became undeniable, then unwise, and finally intolerable. With much pain and tears, together with my beloved wife, I have come to understand that I could walk my path with the greatest strength, with the greatest peace in my heart, with the greatest healing and wholeness, when I finally acknowledged that I am a gay man. Sadly, for us this means that Batya and I can no longer remain married, despite our fidelity throughout our marriage and our abiding friendship and love. As our divorce is not born of rancor, we pray that together with our children we will remain bound by a brit mishpachah, a covenant of family.

Arnie Podgorsky, the congregation’s president, attached a letter of support to Rabbi Gil Steinlauf’s announcement:

Together with the other officers of Adas Israel, I stand with Rabbi Steinlauf. Our synagogue is strong, large, and inclusive–a big tent with room and respect for all. Rabbi Steinlauf, along with the rest of the clergy, will continue to advance new paths to Torah, making Judaism and its tools for a beautiful life more accessible for more Jews. We will continue our diverse approaches to worship, from the traditional to the innovative. At the same time, we understand that Rabbi Steinlauf will be undergoing a challenging personal transition in the coming months, and we extend to him patience and a generous spirit.

Steinlauf has been the senior rabbi at Adas Israel since 2008, and before that he was the rabbi at Temple Israel in Ridgewood, N.J., and Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Princeton, and studied at Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. He received his ordination in 1998 at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Adas Israel’s celebrated members include journalists Jeffrey Goldberg and Franklin Foer.

On Monday, Goldberg noted on The Atlantic website:

Rabbi Steinlauf fell into an odd liminal moment in history. If he were a 25-year-old rabbi, there would be no drama here, no nothing, in fact, because he would simply be a rabbi who happens to be gay. The Conservative movement of Judaism has changed over the past decade or two in unimaginable ways. I have trouble picturing a synagogue that wouldn’t hire a gay rabbi. On the other hand, if he were 60 years old now, with the same identity, he most likely would have been able to glide toward retirement, his secret intact.

Goldberg quoted Foer’s note on the coming out, that “Rabbi Steinlauf has just discovered the most dramatic possible way to break the Yom Kippur fast.”

Tibbi Singer

Torah Values vs. “LGBT” Agenda

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I recently became aware that Rabbi Yosie Levine of the Jewish Center will be addressing a so-called “LGBT” group for Jewish youth. He will deliver a pre-Yom Kippur shiur. I’m sure Rabbi Levine means well but I want to share my story and maybe he will think twice about associating with this group (I am deliberately not mentioning the name of the group because I don’t wish to give them any publicity).

About a year or so ago, your paper published a letter from a young man who is struggling with homosexual desires. Ever since that time, I have felt compelled to write. I too am gay. But I have a different outlook than Chaim Levin. It seems like Chaim has given up. Unlike him I have not given up. I will never give up. I want to have a wife and children in the natural way. I believe that is Hashem’s plan. And no matter what the gay liberals tell me, they won’t change my mind. I think Chaim Levin is a good person and that he means well in what he wrote. I don’t mean to judge him. I just feel that he has been led astray. Similarly, I think Rabbi Levine means well but he might not be fully aware of what this group does.

This Jewish group for homosexual young people is supposedly orthodox—and I emphasize supposedly. It wouldn’t be fair to paint everyone with a broad brush but the fact is some of the members of that group are more interested in being gay than being Jewish. For some of them, their real agenda is to undermine the Torah’s view of homosexuality. They don’t just want to be accepted as Jews struggling with the tayvah of same-sex attraction. They want to be fully embraced when they act upon their desires and publicly lead that lifestyle—a lifestyle that blatantly contradicts the Torah. They want to destroy JONAH (a Jewish organization that tries to help those struggling with homosexual desires). They want gay marriage to be legalized in every state and they want gay couples raising kids. They march, with kipa and tzitzis, in the “gay pride” parade. This is a parade with the most vulgar, lewd, and disgusting displays you can possibly imagine going on and they create a chillul Hashem every year. I wish I had more of a support group among people that are struggling, but the truth is, these people do NOT represent me. Most of them have given up the struggle and have given into their desires. With G-d’s help, I have not given up and I hope that I never will.

This group, and the liberals in general, tell me to just “accept myself” and that this is “who I am.” But that’s just it! I’ve already accepted myself. I know I am more attracted to men than to women but I also know that is not the way G-d wants me to live my life. Even putting religion aside, I know it is not the way I want to live my life. I want a wife and children—and G-d willing someday grandchildren! And so instead of giving up and giving in to my desires I continue to fight and struggle every single day. No, it’s not easy. Sometimes my temptations have gotten the better of me, but then I remember that no matter how many times I may fall, a Jew never gives up! I remember the words of Rebbe Nachman who reminds us to “Never give up!”

I will admit that sometimes I get tired of this struggle. It’s not easy. I sometimes feel like I have no place to turn. I wish these “open-minded” liberal Jews were really as accepting and tolerant as they pretend to be. The truth is they are only tolerant if you go along with their “LGBT” agenda but if not they will attack you. Sometimes I feel like I’m alone in this struggle and sometimes I feel like I have nowhere to turn. But then I remember that I do have a place to turn: I turn to the One above and know that He will guide me and help me if I just put my trust in Him. So that is my message for other young guys ( and girls) who are struggling. Never give up! Never! G-d loves you very, very much. More than you can imagine. And no matter what you decide to do He will still love you anyway, no matter what. But He has given us free will. We can use that to follow Him or to follow after our “heart and our eyes which lead us astray. “ I have chosen to try my best to follow His will. I may succeed or I may fail but after 120 and least I will be able to say, “I tried!”

Disclosure: The author has requested that his article be published anonymously. The author is not associated with the JONAH organization mentioned in the article.

Anonymous

Putin Ally Accused Of Pushing Jews-Killed-Jesus Theme

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

A St. Petersburg city councilman from Russia’s ruling party made statements suggesting that Jews killed Jesus.

Vitaly Milonov made the statements last month during a meeting of the St. Petersburg City Council, where he serves as a lawmaker for President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, the svodka.net news website reported this week.

“They vilify any saint, it is in their tradition of 2,000 years, beginning with the appeals to crucify the Savior, ending with accusations of anti-Semitism against St. John of Kronstadt,” Milonov said during a March 19 speech before the city’s legislative council, according to the report.

Milonov was advocating a bill that proposes to declare June 14 a municipal holiday in honor of John of Kronstadt, a 19th century leader of the Orthodox Russian Church. His legacy remains controversial because of his membership in the Black Hundred, an ultranationalist and declaredly anti-Semitic movement that supported pogroms against Jews.

But Milonov said such criticism was based on “complete lies, a modern neo-liberal fable with a sulfuric, deep history of Satanism.”

The Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia and the Russian Jewish Congress condemned Milonov’s remarks.

“In his words, the Russian Jewish community sees a common set of anti-Semitic stereotypes, starting with the traditional accusations of the crucifixion of Christ and ending with a veiled reference to modern Russian Jewry as ‘neo-liberal’ politicians,” the federation wrote in a statement published on its website.

Occurring on the heels of an anti-Semitic remark made on Russian state television, in which a television anchorwoman asserted that the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves, the affair comes at a sensitive time for Putin’s administration, which has cited perceived anti-Semitism among Ukrainian revolutionaries as a justification for Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula last month.

Ukraine saw a spate of anti-Semitic attacks since the eruption of revolution in November against the government of former president Vicktor Yanukovych over his perceived pro-Russian policies. He was ousted from power in February by a provisional government ahead of an election slated for May.

Milonov is the same politician who has proposed that Russia outlaw the “promotion” of homosexuality, grant full citizenship to embryos and forcing women who have not given birth by the age of 23 to join the army.

He argues, “I don’t want children to get the wrong idea that traditional and non-traditional forms of partnerships are equal – they are not equal…. But a video clip by say, Madonna, in which she is kissing another woman that can be seen by children is gay propaganda. Children like to copy their role models.”

Below Milonov proves he is jerk in an interview with  Stephen Fry, a British comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and a homosexual.

(JTA contributed to this report.)

JTA

Winnipeg Rabbis Split on Bill Favoring Gay-Straight Clubs

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Two leading Orthodox rabbis in Winnipeg are split over part of a bill, proposed last December, which would require any school that receives provincial funding to allow students to create a gay-straight alliance club.

Fearing that Christian schools will be forced to accept such clubs, many Christian leaders in Manitoba have opposed the bill. But in the case of the province’s Jewish community, the two leading Orthodox rabbis have landed on opposite sides of the debate.

“The Torah rejects homosexuality,” Rabbi Avraham Altein, the longtime head of Chabad Lubavitch in Winnipeg, told the Canadian Jewish News. “Religious schools should not be forced to accept a gay rights group.”

But while Altein has written a letter to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger protesting the bill and taken to the airwaves to make his views heard, Winnipeg’s other prominent Orthodox rabbi has taken a much different approach.

Rabbi Ari Ellis, who leads Winnipeg’s largest Orthodox congregation, told the news agency that he originally planned not to get involved in the debate on the bill until he heard Altein claiming that the bill stood in opposition to Orthodox Judaism.

“As an Orthodox rabbi and a Jewish educator, it is my belief that a gay-straight alliance could be a welcome institution in our schools and communities,” Ellis told the newspaper.

Gray Academy of Jewish Education, the only K-12 Jewish private school in Winnipeg, has had a gay-straight alliance for several years, according to head of school Rory Paul.

JTA

Homosexuality and Going OTD

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/homosexuality-and-going-otd_3460.html

There is yet another article (published in The Times of Israel) that is sympathetic to Orthodox Jews who are homosexual. Asher Zeiger laments the fact that these Jews are so often shunned by the mainstream Orthodox institutions that many of them end up going OTD.

Mr. Zeiger wonders why it is that Orthodox Jews have such a hard time accepting gay Jews into their community while other sinners are easily accepted. Here is how he puts it:

Yes, the Torah forbids homosexuality. But there is far more biblical text devoted to Sabbath observance, business dealings, unleavened bread on Passover, and a litany of sexual improprieties, than the couple of verses that discuss homosexuality. Nobody’s relationship with God should be defined by the mitzvot that they do not keep.

Those who do not keep many other mitzvot are (hopefully) accepted as equal members of the Jewish community — with a handful of exceptions made for those whose violations have seriously harmed other people. So why can we not see and accept homosexuals in the same way that we see and accept Jews who do not observe the Shabbat and festivals, or do not eat strictly kosher food?

He suggests a possible explanation:

Maybe the problem lies in the inability of most heterosexuals to understand homosexuality in the same way that we can relate to the attraction of, say, driving to the beach on Shabbat, or eating whatever and wherever we wish. And don’t get me started on the appeal of just giving in to our basest natural sexual urges.

But we don’t “get” homosexuality in the same way, and all too often, the natural reaction to what people cannot understand is to attack, belittle and invalidate. It is as though by delegitimizing it, people are absolved from having to understand, let alone accept it.

I’m not sure this really explains it. Although there are people who are not repulsed by homosexual behavior there are probably many more people who are. These are not bad people. They just have a natural revulsion to such behavior. No matter how open-minded one is about this subject they just cannot get past it.

Why is this sin different from other sins – including other sins in the Torah labeled a Toevah (abomination)? From the article:

To eat any of the animals, fish and birds listed as unkosher (Deuteronomy 14) is considered a to’eva, as are dishonest business practices (Deuteronomy 25:13-16).

These sins are also called Toevah and yet they do not seem to really repulse most people – even though they probably should.

It is therefore easy to see why there is so much depression among homosexuals. Sometimes even leading to suicide. Despite the current social and political pressure to normalize homosexuality there still seems to be an undercurrent of popular resistance to it. Mr Zeiger observes (correctly in my view) that we still live in “a largely gay-unfriendly world” and that “homosexuality is the target of the kind of hatred and vitriol otherwise reserved for only the sleaziest of pedophiles and the fans of arch-rival sports teams.”

It is no small wonder than why many formerly Orthodox Gay Jews go OTD.

That is indeed sad.

I can’t do anything about innate negative feelings. But I think it behooves those of us who may have them to overcome them and treat fellow human beings who have same sex attractions no less honorably than we do people guilty of other Toevos. As Mr. Zeiger puts it. We all sin. But not all of us sin the same way. By being so repulsed we end up turning these people away leaving them with a feeling of abandonment and being hated by their fellow Jews. Jews who are otherwise decent people.

When decent society rejects you… how are you supposed to feel?!

Shouldn’t we be bringing them close to us instead of pushing them away? Like we would with any Jew? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to observe as many Mitzvos as they can? Of what value is it to turn away from them with the obvious revulsion so often expressed by an anti-gay zealot like this Levin character (pictured above)? What does he accomplish other than causing people to go OTD?

Harry Maryles

Jews, Gays, Rights Activists Protest Ahmadinejad in Rio

Monday, June 18th, 2012

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s welcome on the sunny Ipanema beach in Rio was less than warm from an eclectic group of Jews, human rights activists, and homosexuals, who arrived Sunday to protest the Iranian president’s attendance at a UN summit on sustainable development.

The protest was organized by a group called the Commission Against Religious Intolerance.

“We want the world to know that religious hatred harms the environment and Ahmadinejad represents hatred. Sustainable development encompasses human rights,” Ivanir dos Santos representative of the commission told the AFP.

“Citizens in Rio have good reason to be appalled by this visit.  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad embodies the ideology of intimidation and violence fomented by Iran’s militant Islamic Republic,” Alex Traiman, director of the award-winning documentary exposing the Iranian regime’s radical ideology, Iranium, told the Jewish Press.  “For decades, Iran has expanded its influence in South America, through large oil contracts and joint terror operations.  Iranians carried out mass-scale bombings in Argentina in the 90’s while Hizbullah, an Iranian terror proxy, has cells all over the continent.”

Unlike previous demonstrations organized by the commission, no Muslims took part in Sunday’s rally.

“Muslims do not take part in demonstrations against a fellow Muslim, even if they disagree with him,” commission representative dos Santos told the AFP.

Demonstrators waved placards in support of Iranian nationals, but also carried banners stating “Rio does not welcome Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” and chanted “Ahmadinejad out of Brazil” to the beat of drums.

Michel Gherman, head of the Hillel of Rio, told AFP that Ahmadinejad’s visit “is an opportunity to criticize his hateful speech denying the Holocaust as well as the persecution of homosexuals and Bahais”.

The UN summit will include discussions on eradicating poverty and protecting the environment.

Malkah Fleisher

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jews-clash-in-queer-toronto-over-inclusion-of-bds-group-in-parade/2012/06/13/

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