Yeshiva University released an official statement on LGBTQ inclusivity last week, which was emailed by Vice Provost of Student Affairs Dr. Chaim Nissel to undergraduate students, and part of the new policy is the banning of a YU LGBTQ club, The Commentator reported last Thursday (YU Announces New LGBTQ Inclusivity Policies, Denies LGBTQ Club Formation).
The Orthodox-Jewish university says it will update its “diversity, inclusion and sensitivity training” to focus on “diverse student groups, including sexual orientation and gender identity.” As part of the training, YU will develop training for administrators, faculty, staff and students.
The YU Counseling Center will hire a clinician with “specific LGBTQ+ experience,” and there will be a “warm line” next semester for YU students to discuss or report “non-inclusive” harassment or bullying.
Nothing was said regarding inclusive harassment or bullying.
“We are the bearers of a 3000 year old Torah tradition,” YU President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman said in the email. “Our LGBTQ+ students are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, family and friends. At the heart of our Jewish values is love – love for God and love for each of His children.”
The email then explained that, while the Torah is “accepting each individual with love and affirming its timeless prescriptions,” there won’t be permission given to the requested LGBTQ club because such a club “under the auspices of YU will cloud [the Torah’s] nuanced message.”
It should be noted, for the record, that while the Torah prohibits homosexual relations between males on penalty of death, both the notions of loving and embracing members of the homosexual community as well as said members establishing a meeting place were not codified either way by Jewish tradition, never mind by halacha.
YU Pride Alliance Vice President Chana Weiss said that “While the YU Pride Alliance is pleased to see the committee release a statement addressing matters present in our mission statement, albeit nearly a year after the committee was formed, we remain disappointed that YU continues to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Back in September 2019, more than 100 LGBTQ YU students, alumni and friends marched for LGBTQ equality outside the YU Washington Heights campus. The march began at Bennett Park and continued to the 185th St. Pedestrian Plaza on YU’s Wilf Campus, where the marchers gathered to chant and sing outside YU’s Mendel Gottesman Library. Following the event, the marchers had a kosher pizza lunch (with alternative choices for the lactose-intolerant).
It remains to be seen whether YU will manage to escape state and federal rebuke for banning the LGBTQ club with the force of all the loving and acceptance being poured on the heads of its gay students.