Monday, March 06, 2006

We've got letters

Richard at Proceed at Your Own Risk has an interesting write up about “the second largest branch of American Judaism, the Conservative Movement, will vote this week to embrace same sex marriage and the ordination of openly gay clergy.” The Reform Movement has supported same sex marriage for years. E and I are Reform Jews and were married in the synagogue last June. Unfortunately, Orthodox Jews can be just as bigoted and small minded as the fundamentalist Christians. The local Jewish newspaper printed a gay bashing letter by an Orthodox Jew last month. This week the paper printed my response. In a separate email exchange, the editor stated that the paper would no longer “run any letters to the editor that disparage your community.” I have heard that before.
Below is the original letter followed by my response.

Thursday February 16, 2006‘An abomination’
Contrary to Bob N’s recent letter, homosexuality is not an issue to accept in Judaism as OK.

Whether it’s PC or not, homosexuality is wrong, and an abomination. It’s not acceptable in any form in Judaism as an alternative Jewish lifestyle.

We all have instinctual desires (some more than others), as do animals, except God gave people the ability to control them.

Jewish obligations include to keep kosher, observe Shabbat, learn Torah, pray daily, give charity, not steal (even a penny), be kind to animals, don’t intermarry, don’t murder, don’t mix wool with linen, no adultery or bestiality, no homosexuality, etc. That’s God’s design in Creation.

“Loving a fellow Jew as yourself” is also a mitzvah, regardless of their level of religiousness or practice. Nevertheless, we can never justify, accept, promote, encourage, or apologize (as does j. and the misguided Reform and Conservative movements) for the behavior of a fellow Jew when he or she goes against God, as if it were OK.

This includes homosexuality and intermarriage as well. But in no way should it or does it stop us from loving or accepting a fellow Jew, especially since none of us are 100 percent righteous.

A---- S---, San Francisco
Friday March 3, 2006No bashing, please
I am appalled and disappointed to see that j. still feels that it is important to print letters that bash other Jews (“An abomination,” Feb. 17 letters).

Last August, my husband and I were attacked in j.’s letters section for announcing our same-sex Jewish wedding at Congregation Beth Am. Over the next several weeks, a number of friends and strangers came to our defense and finally in an editor’s note (Sept. 23, 2005) j. apologetically claimed “to be very supportive of the LGBT community.”

Yet six months later j. prints another bigoted, homophobic, reactionary letter that calls gays an abomination and questions their Jewish faith. I don’t understand why j. believes that giving a forum to gay-bashers is a benefit to the community. Would you print similar letters that attacked and questioned the spiritual legitimacy of African American Jews or Asian American Jews or even Jewish women based on racist xenophobia or misogynistic interpretation of the Torah?

I expect a higher standard of j. than pandering to controversy for controversy’s sake.

Ed J----, Palo Alto

Another one of my long time favorite bloggers, The Tinman, had his response printed to a gay bashing letter in his college alumni newsletter.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Ugh. That first letter is the abomination.

You guys, and all of us, are beautiful.

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