Changing The Discussion About Gay Rights In The Orthodox Jewish Community

It was the summer of 2008 in Chicago. The month before I went to yeshiva for the first time. I was excited. My friends and I had talked about doing this for a while now.

We were going to the gay pride parade.  I remember how happy I was when we went, how happy I was to finally go to one of these. Over half of my friends in college were gay or bisexual, and I wondered why I had never been to one before.

We spent the whole day there, taking in the sights, enjoying the happiness and feeling of freedom.

I don’t know exactly what I was thinking that day, but I do know that I never expected to change how I felt about gays or gay rights. Sure, I was going to yeshiva, but I didn’t even believe that the Torah came from G-d. I liked the spirituality.

Anyway, this was who I was. And nothing would change that, no matter what happened in Israel.

But then it did.

I don’t really know how it happened, or when it happened. There was never a conscious decision. It was something I struggled with for a while, then tried not to think about because it upset me. And then one day, I woke up, and I realized I looked at the world differently.

This became starkly apparent to me a few days ago. I had asked Chaim Levin, a gay Jew who had grown up Chabad and is now an activist for gay rights, to write about his experiences in a guest post for Pop Chassid. We had connected because I had written a piece called “Calling All Creators” that I had read at an open mic I organized in Crown Heights. There’s a line in the piece about a gay person needing someone to connect with, someone to support him. Chaim was inspired by the line and had reached out to me after the open mic.

So I asked him to write a piece. I wanted it to be non-political, to connect with the audience on a level that was beyond beliefs and creeds. I just wanted him to be human.

A week or two later, he submitted a piece called “Out In Lubavitch”. It was one of the most beautiful, most powerful pieces of writing I had read in a while. I cried when I read it. I immediately agreed to publish it.

But as the piece absorbed into me, and I meditated on it more and more, something in my gut told me I couldn’t publish it, no matter how human it was, no matter how real and powerful.

And it had nothing to do with the piece, I realized. It had to do with Chaim’s beliefs.

I realized that I simply didn’t agree with all of them. I don’t believe a gay Jew should date or marry another man, whether they break halacha or not. I don’t believe in other things he stands for as well.  And still others (e.g. whether being gay is changeable or not) I don’t know what I believe.

Turning down that piece was the hardest decision I’ve ever made for Pop Chassid. I wanted so badly to publish it, so badly to change the discourse over gay rights within the orthodox community.

But I knew that if I published the piece, just by having it on Pop Chassid, it would implicitly affirm that I held beliefs that I no longer had. I couldn’t do it.

Chaim was understandably upset, and felt that I was taking the easy way out. I don’t blame him.

But the truth is, I chose not to publish it not despite my convictions but because of them. I realized the only way I could stand up for my beliefs about gays is to write about it myself.

The problem, I realized, is that this discussion has gotten so discombobulated, so confused, so inside-out, that people simply aren’t listening to each other anymore. There are people on both sides of the fence that want something, that need something, but there is something holding them back from connecting.

I sincerely believe that the vast majority of orthodox Jews are like me. They want to embrace gay Jews on one hand, but also disagree fundamentally with many of the positions of their activists on the other.

The problem is that we’ve, as a community, created a false polarity. People on both ends of the discourse believe that to support gays means to support gay marriage, to believe that gays can’t change their fundamental nature.

I disagree. I think that the orthodox Jewish world is full of people with a lot of love, with a lot of care, for the gay community, but that nonetheless don’t believe in gay marriage. They’re not the type of people that would necessarily vote against it, or go out and protest against it. But they don’t believe in it.

What I believe is happening is that these voices are getting drowned out because they don’t fit into either camp neatly. They’re not protesters. But they also aren’t seen as sympathetic or caring for the gay community. And so they’re stuck in the middle, and no matter which stand they make, they will be accused of being apologists, or brain washed, or stupid, or violating their Jewish beliefs.

And so the camps divide more. And the discourse gets uglier. And some of the people in the middle choose to join one camp or the other, simply because they end up believing those are the only two options.

This discourse, this disagreement, in the end, is unfortunate. Is a waste.

Because there are gay Jews out there that are living in fear. Who can’t come out or discuss the issues they face for fear of being ostracized, being “reprogrammed” against their will, of being bullied, persecuted, attacked. Many attempt suicide. Some succeed.

This can’t go on. This needs to stop.

But the only way it will truly stop, will truly reach a point of peace, is when both sides simply accept that they believe differently. That they have certain things they may never agree on. And then to go from there into the deeper discussion: their connection.

At the end of the day, every orthodox Jew is required to love his fellow Jew baselessly, with absolutely no reservations. He needs to let go of his disagreements, of his arguments, and to accept every Jew as one. And not only that, but to work to prevent the bullying, attacks, and other things that would cause a Jew to feel ostracized.

No matter what, the orthodox community needs to get over its uncomfortablity, its disagreements, and to realize that people’s lives are more important than being quiet about the estrangement many gay Jews face. That ignoring an issue is not the solution to it. Because Jews are suffering. In pain. Some are dying.

I sincerely believe, as well, that the people on the “left”, may want gay marriage to be legal, may want every orthodox Jew to believe that being gay is unchangable. But I think gay Jews want and need something else much more: to simply feel accepted. To not feel judged. For others to not assume that just because they are out that they are breaking halacha. To be given simple, complete, love from their families, and from their Jewish family.

It’s time the spears are put down. It’s time the arguments are put aside until the right moment. Because the arguments can’t be had if there isn’t first a mutual respect and love.

  • Rebecca Klempner

    You captured my feelings on the issue exactly. I think that Torah Jewry needs to focus on loving people who adopt such a lifestyle because they are Jews and we are required to love them even if we disagree with them (and most people are very lovable if you look for things to love). However, Jews who publicly “out” themselves need to understand that we won’t agree with any assertion that their behavior is consistent with halacha–and that it’s okay to not agree. I have friends who keep Shabbos, but maybe not all the way; or they’re women who wear skirts, but only most of the time–and it’s my job to embrace them, too, even if we don’t agree. I think it’s crazy that people treat this specific issue differently.

    • Thanks so much for this. Agreed.

      • Jeff Friedman

        Please read “God vs. Gay” to learn that homosexuality is not prohibited by halacha. You are accepting opinions, not fact.

  • Wow. That was intense. I think I need to let my thoughts skin in before I say anything else.

  • Of course we should not hate a sinner, but Torah is Torah. period.

    • Last time I checked, there’s more than one halacha in the Torah.

      • Jeff Friedman

        Please read “God vs. Gay” to learn more new ideas about homosexuality and halacha.

  • So nice, you cried bla bla.. but the torah demands you silence this impudent sinner!

    • Levi: This blog doesn’t have a completely open commenting policy. If you continue to troll here, you’ll be blocked.

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  • Mushky M.

    I think Chaim’s piece that I have read was non political. He wrote a piece from the heart that I felt carried little judgment. I was raised in Chabad. My father is a Shalich and my parents have 11 children. Next time before you ask someone to write a piece for you please think long and hard about whether you have a problem with their beliefs. There was nothing wrong with the article. You said so yourself to quote “And it had nothing to do with the piece, I realized. It had to do with Chaim’s beliefs.” Now that you have asked him to write the article and he spent time and energy doing just that I think what would be right would be to publish it with a note that you don’t hold the same opinions on gay rights as he does. Thank you.

    • You’re absolutely right that it was a mistake. And you’re absolutely right that his piece wasn’t (completely) political. But, in my opinion at least, the mistake was in the asking in the first place.

      I thought for a while about doing what you said, and in the end chose not to. I still hold by that decision.

      • Mushky M.

        That is disappointing as now you have clearly stated you opinion on the matter it can’t hurt to publish the other side. There should be a way that you can make this up to Chaim, whether by paying him for the article or perhaps something else that he might suggest. Embarrassing another Jew is as bad Avodah Zara.

        • I’m sorry if you feel I embarrassed him. Maybe you should allow him to speak for himself before assuming that that’s what happened, or that he doesn’t feel compensated.

          I shared his piece on this post itself and also plan to share it on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

          • Mushky M.

            All I am doing is what any friend will do. I am queer to. I have mostly broken all ties with my community because of the treatment i have received. I hope one day this will change and people will really follow the verse “veahavta laraiach camocha.”

          • Amen. So sad and sorry to hear that. I’m glad you at least reached out on this blog, though.

          • AZOY770

            waaaait…a chabad girl that’s also queer? where do i meet more people like you??

          • Mushky M.

            You can find me on Facebook lol Chaya Milchtein. There are lots of us we all just don’t know about each other.

          • Mushky M.

            You can find me on Facebook lol Chaya Milchtein. There are lots of us we all just don’t know about each other.

  • AllanL6

    For some, perhaps it is about marriage. I suspect for most gays, it’s about civil rights. Rights to not be kicked out of a job because you’re gay. Rights to attend your significant other’s hospital room as family. And I would hope that you could publish a guest editorial on your blog without thinking that you completely agree with its beliefs — especially if you would add a disclaimer before it. Still this is your blog and what you decide goes. I appreciate your point of view.

  • Jayson

    I believe you lump activists, “the left” and all gays into a one-dimensional category which is over-generalizing who we are and what we are living for. On one hand you ask for compassion of the gay Jew, and on the other your mind conflicts with your head when it comes to this issue. Which is what I think the struggle of many gay o-Jews feel. You continuously say its time “to put the spear down” and talk much of the “camps divide” — but you intimately cause that divide yourself in the words you mention above. You seem to want to go from “discussion” to “connection”, but then silence Chaim’s words – which doesnt sound like connecting to me. You strike me as someone who is quite conflicted on this topic, and I recognize that, as I believe many, many of us – those who are gay and from ortho-backgrounds have been too. The only difference is, is that we have to live it and you only to need blog about it.

    • Actually, to put it bluntly, the difference is that I DON’T need to blog about it. The whole point of this blog post is to raise awareness about this subject and to cause a discussion to take place. But it didn’t need to happen, and I think that’s one point many people are missing about this piece. There seems to be an assumption that I was called on high to write about the subject of gay rights, when in fact I had every reason not to.

      As I’ve mentioned in other places, it’s simply untrue to say that I silenced Chaim, when I easily could have never written about this in the first place. I could have rejected the piece, ignored it, and moved on. But I chose not to, and not only that, chose to highlight my own screw up and even link to the post in question because I believe that this discussion is important.

      It matters to me that this talked about, it matters to me that this is discussed, it matters to me that we create the connection you’ve discussed. But it also matters to me HOW it’s done. In fact, that was the entire point of this piece. That it’s HOW we talk about it that matters most.

  • Because there are gay Jews out there that are living in fear. Who
    can’t come out or discuss the issues they face for fear of being
    ostracized, being “reprogrammed” against their will, of being bullied,
    persecuted, attacked. Many attempt suicide. Some succeed.
    ================
    This is the narrative from liberals. It shows only one restricted part of reality. Every harm, every type of violence that homosexuals and bisexuals do are censored by this narrative. I don’t know of studies in particular about Jews with a homosexual problem, but if you look at studies for people with a homosexual problem in general, you will find that there are millions of homosexuals and bisexuals who are perpetrating intimate violence and sexual harassment and unwanted advances towards homosexuals and heterosexuals. People who normalize homosexuality are virulent against anyone who does not. They persecute social conservatives from their jobs, from academia, usually by a vicious smearing process. Men who have sex with men lead the spread of syphilis and HIV by large margins. They cause billions of dollars of health care costs with their criminal spread of diseases. They want absolute impunity. And most of the time, they get it. Then you also have sexual exploitation and abuse of minors, pornography, prostitution, promiscuity, adultery – involving again, millions of homosexuals and bisexuals.
    I would think there are many more victims of homosexual abuse that commit suicide than there are of homosexuals who feel ostracized.
    You are right that people do believe very differently. There is your “poor little victim” narrative, that mostly never addresses these problems and more. I think different people are pushing for all kinds of ways to normalize homosexuality mostly so that they never have to deal with how perverted and harmful sexuality is in our world. People do not want to face problems, and they also do not want to take responsibility for their psycho-sexual dysfunctions. Therefore, nothing gets resolved, everything gets “normalized.”

    • Tasz Hulsen

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion but yours is, in a word, wrong.
      1) Sexual violence/unwanted advances
      What a ridiculous statement. Yes there are gay sex criminals. However there are also heterosexual sex criminals. If some homosexual sex crime is committed on heterosexuals and this is somehow worse than when it is committed on homosexuals, let us point out that some heterosexual sex crime is, too, committed on homosexuals. Plus, in addition to ‘regular’ sex crime, there are such phenomena as ‘corrective rape’ – rape, usually done to lesbians, to ‘make them straight.’ ‘Unwanted advances’ are hardly something that only, or mainly, or even noticeably, gay people do.
      2) MSMs spread HIV and syphilis
      In the western world, gays constitute an above-average – considerably above average- percentage of sufferers and passers-on of HIV, but then so do blacks, and you’re not criticizing their participation in the public sphere. 73% of all HIV sufferers live in Africa, where the disease is mainly spread by heterosexual males. But the majority of AIDS cases, even in the west, cannot be traced back to gay men. In Europe, 40% of sufferers contracted HIV from sharing intravenous drugs, for example.
      2a) Health care costs arising from said AIDS
      Considering you used the currency term ‘dollars’ I think you’ll find they pay those health care costs. Here in the UK where our AIDS problem is admittedly extremely minor, AIDS does not constitute a tax on our shared system, whereas smoking costs us upwards of £9 billion a year ($15 billion USD).
      3) They want ‘absolute impunity’
      Well I don’t know what you even mean here.
      4) Sexual exploitation and abuse of minors
      Mainly a heterosexual mainstay. Here in the UK we’re up in arms at the discovery of tens of child exploitation rings and many newfound celebrity paedophiles. Not one was gay. But of course there are some gay paedophiles.
      5) Pornography
      You have me here. All porn is gay. That’s why straight teenagers don’t watch porn because, as we say, ‘it’s for faggots. Why can’t there be any hot women in it, then I might watch it!’
      6) Prostitution
      All prostitutes are gay, too.
      7) Promiscuity
      I’ve never seen a promiscuous straight person. That’s how my buddies and I go queer-hunting. We look for the skimpily dressed ones.
      8) Adultery
      Now this is just confusing. If they’re not allowed to get married, how can they be adulterous? Of course, if they WERE allowed to get married, all adulterous people would be gay, AND it would be an excellent reason to impose legal restrictions on their entire community.
      9) Victims of homosexual abuse commit suicide more often than homosexuals
      Why don’t you put that statistic back in your arse where it came from.

      My uncle, who unlike me lives in New York City, is an orthodox Jew, and is gay, is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met, yet he lives a life alone, depressed, because he fears, probably rightly, ostracisation from the community. I bet you would have protested that the slaves enjoyed their lodgings, and would be a burden on society if released. If you think I’m being unrealistic on that front, such an argument was made – successfully – to Parliament in 1803, four years before the slave trade was eventually banned in 1807.

    • Tasz Hulsen

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion but yours is, in a word, wrong.
      1) Sexual violence/unwanted advances
      What a ridiculous statement. Yes there are gay sex criminals. However there are also heterosexual sex criminals. If some homosexual sex crime is committed on heterosexuals and this is somehow worse than when it is committed on homosexuals, let us point out that some heterosexual sex crime is, too, committed on homosexuals. Plus, in addition to ‘regular’ sex crime, there are such phenomena as ‘corrective rape’ – rape, usually done to lesbians, to ‘make them straight.’ ‘Unwanted advances’ are hardly something that only, or mainly, or even noticeably, gay people do.
      2) MSMs spread HIV and syphilis
      In the western world, gays constitute an above-average – considerably above average- percentage of sufferers and passers-on of HIV, but then so do blacks, and you’re not criticizing their participation in the public sphere. 73% of all HIV sufferers live in Africa, where the disease is mainly spread by heterosexual males. But the majority of AIDS cases, even in the west, cannot be traced back to gay men. In Europe, 40% of sufferers contracted HIV from sharing intravenous drugs, for example.
      2a) Health care costs arising from said AIDS
      Considering you used the currency term ‘dollars’ I think you’ll find they pay those health care costs. Here in the UK where our AIDS problem is admittedly extremely minor, AIDS does not constitute a tax on our shared system, whereas smoking costs us upwards of £9 billion a year ($15 billion USD).
      3) They want ‘absolute impunity’
      Well I don’t know what you even mean here.
      4) Sexual exploitation and abuse of minors
      Mainly a heterosexual mainstay. Here in the UK we’re up in arms at the discovery of tens of child exploitation rings and many newfound celebrity paedophiles. Not one was gay. But of course there are some gay paedophiles.
      5) Pornography
      You have me here. All porn is gay. That’s why straight teenagers don’t watch porn because, as we say, ‘it’s for faggots. Why can’t there be any hot women in it, then I might watch it!’
      6) Prostitution
      All prostitutes are gay, too.
      7) Promiscuity
      I’ve never seen a promiscuous straight person. That’s how my buddies and I go queer-hunting. We look for the skimpily dressed ones.
      8) Adultery
      Now this is just confusing. If they’re not allowed to get married, how can they be adulterous? Of course, if they WERE allowed to get married, all adulterous people would be gay, AND it would be an excellent reason to impose legal restrictions on their entire community.
      9) Victims of homosexual abuse commit suicide more often than homosexuals
      Why don’t you put that statistic back in your behind from where it came..

      My uncle, who unlike me lives in New York City, is an orthodox Jew, and is gay, is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met, yet he lives a life alone, depressed, because he fears, probably rightly, ostracisation from the community. I bet you would have protested that the slaves enjoyed their lodgings, and would be a burden on society if released. If you think I’m being unrealistic on that front, such an argument was made – successfully – to Parliament in 1803, four years before the slave trade was eventually banned in 1807.

      • Everyone is entitled to their opinion but yours is, in a word, wrong.
        1) Sexual violence/unwanted advances
        What
        a ridiculous statement. Yes there are gay sex criminals. However there
        are also heterosexual sex criminals. If some homosexual sex crime is
        committed on heterosexuals and this is somehow worse than when it is
        committed on homosexuals, let us point out that some heterosexual sex
        crime is, too, committed on homosexuals. Plus, in addition to ‘regular’
        sex crime, there are such phenomena as ‘corrective rape’ – rape, usually
        done to lesbians, to ‘make them straight.’ ‘Unwanted advances’ are
        hardly something that only, or mainly, or even noticeably, gay people
        do.

        ==================

        Addressing the issue of sexual violence and harassing behavior is not ridiculous at all! What a horrible attitude you display. Calling violence ridiculous is exactly what irresponsible, harmful people do. Keeping silent about all the harm and violence that homosexuals and bisexuals do in the world is highly destructive. And yet this is exactly what the narrative in the OP’s post did.

        “If some homosexual sex crime is committed on heterosexuals and this is somehow worse than when it is committed on homosexuals, let us point out that some heterosexual sex crime is, too, committed on homosexuals.”

        The only person saying one type of sexual assault is worse than another is you. Let us point your a red herring. Let us also point out once again, that in the “poor little homosexual victim” narrative, none of these types of violence are ever addressed. Most perpetrators of sexual assault get impunity, they are not charged, and they never go to jail.

        • Tasz Hulsen

          Oh look, you’re not even paying attention to what I say. I don’t call for not addressing the issue of sexual violence – I merely point out that it’s not something the gay community is particularly noted for. It’s like you making some comment about gay people recruiting child soldiers in Uganda, my saying, ‘well they don’t really do that, do they?’ and you saying, ‘oh my god, you heartless person.’ You’re just putting words in my essay. I suppose some people do keep silent about homosexual abuse, just as some people keep silent about heterosexual abuse. This is not a reason to distrust a community at a whole. Get it?
          ‘Let us point your red herring’ is not a sentence. A red herring is a clue that doesn’t actually lead to the bottom of a mystery. Your sentence doesn’t make grammatical sense either so in general I don’t know what you mean here.
          I agree. Most perpetrators of sexual assault sadly get away with it. This is a discussion about gay rights though. We can have a discussion about sexual assault if you like but I can’t imagine anyone would take a different side to ‘it’s awful and something ought to be done.’

      • Tasz wrote: 2) MSMs spread HIV and syphilis
        In the western world, gays constitute an above-average – considerably above average- percentage of sufferers and passers-on of HIV, but then so do blacks, and you’re not criticizing their participation in the public sphere. 73% of all HIV sufferers live in Africa, where the disease is mainly spread by
        heterosexual males. But the majority of AIDS cases, even in the west,
        cannot be traced back to gay men. In Europe, 40% of sufferers contracted
        HIV from sharing intravenous drugs, for example.

        ==========================

        This OP (original post) was not stating that blacks are “poor little victims only” who never do any kind of harm in the world – like it did in reference to homosexuals and bisexuals.

        The OP was about homosexual Jews, in fact – not heterosexuals as a group, not heterosexual Jews, not the entire population of Jews or of the world. And it wasn’t discussing STDs for the entire population either. There is no reason for me to talk about blacks or any other group. The topic here is what kind of harm that homosexuals and bisexuals do in the world that the narrative of the OP insists to lie about, to deny, to trivialize, and to dismiss.

        ( I should also note that you divided people into two DISTINCT categories: blacks and people with a homosexual problem. 🙂 that’s just a tad wrong )

        “But the majority of AIDS cases, even in the west, cannot be traced back to gay men.”

        First, there is a difference between HIV and AIDS.

        The overwhelming majority of homosexuals/bisexuals who got AIDS, syphilis and gonorhea in the last 20 years is fully responsible for it. It’s because they deliberately engaged in unsafe sex, they transmitted STDs to others, they cost taxpayers millions in needless treatments, etc. because they follow a noxious normalize homosexual agenda. They deserve to be held accountable for their destructive behavior every step of the way.

        Homosexual and bisexual men continue to be the leaders in infesting society with STDs in number far beyond heterosexuals. Obviously this disease-spreading behavior is fueled by views that normalize and encourage homosexuality as legitimate. The rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women. The rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71
        times that of women.

        “Monthly HIV treatment regimens range from $2,000 to $5,000 — much of it for drugs. With the life expectancy for HIV patients increasing, the lifetime cost of treatment in today’s terms is estimated at more than half-million dollars.” NPR

        Think about this for a minute. A homosexual who spreads HIV to 5 other men will cause an estimated 2 to 3 million dollars of health care costs to society.

        There is no punishment for this.

        If he spreads HIV to 10 other men, it means 5 million dollars, plus his personal contribution to fueling an epidemic. One individual forcing the state to pay a bill of 5 million dollars, all because he feels entitled to be as perverted as he wishes regarding his sexuality and never be accountable for
        the harm and the damage that he causes in society. If you take 100 homosexuals doing this, the total damage in health care costs amounts to half a billion dollars.

        Who has decided that this little group of homosexuals are entitled to causing half a billion dollars of damage to society? People who say homosexuals are born that way and that they are not responsible for resolving their homosexuality problem.

        I think this really shows how askew the mentality about sexuality (and homosexuality) is in society today. There is a dominant view that sexuality pursuits must have priority over everything else, that dysfunctional sexualities like homosexuality are normal, and that there can be no accountability for harmful actions regarding hook-up culture/promiscuity/homosexuality.

        In 2009, there were about 30,000 new HIV infections among homosexual and bisexual men, that is, 15 billion dollars of projected cost resulting from this year alone.

        • Tasz Hulsen

          First, even though it’s controversial, I sort of agree that people who get HIV from consensual sex or drug sharing are pretty much to blame for it.
          Second, HIV and AIDS are linked, you know that right? There is no difference between the ‘types of HIV’ that people get – as you are trying to imply, from male-male sex or something else, unless you happen to get some type of HIV 2 which is extremely unlikely unless you live in West Africa. Even if you do get HIV 2 there is no real difference in terms of what you will experience, you can spend anything from a few months to a decade and a half (without drugs) before you develop AIDS and typically die within half a year. It’s all the same, whether you use drugs or gay sex. Why wouldn’t ut be – it’s the same disease. If I got syphilis from being raped by some guy it would give me the same symptoms as if I got it from some junkie’s needle.
          Let us assume that for some reason these drugs are free even though no other medicine in the country is – like I say, although, yes, gays get AIDS and HIV more than others, as they are still a minority the majority of the cases still include straight people and therefore most of that 15 billion will still be going to straight people. Is that alright with you, now that you know the money is going to sexual ‘normals?’

          • Tasz wrote: Second, HIV and AIDS are linked, you know that right?

            ================

            Apparently you don’t know that these are two very different things. The number of HIV cases and of AIDS cases are very different. When I commented on HIV, you replied by talking about AIDS. HIV is not the same as AIDS.

            =================

            Tasz wrote: “There is no difference between the ‘types of HIV’ that people get – as you are trying to imply,”

            I did not make any reference to any different strain of HIV. Apparently you can’t understand what I write.

          • Tasz Hulsen

            They are two very closely related things and only an idiot would deny that. AIDs is simply full-blown HIV. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and it leads to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and the wikipedia page on AIDS is in fact just the wikipedia page on HIV/AIDS as they are basically the same thing, two stages of the same disease. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aids
            educate yourself ^

          • “like I say, although, yes, gays get AIDS and HIV more than others, ”

            The only way they “get it more” is because they transmit it much more. They infest society with HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea. It’s deliberate transmission.

            “therefore most of that 15 billion will still be going to straight people.”

            No, it wouldn’t. This is the projected cost for only the bisexual and homosexual male population.

            =============

            There was a recent case which clearly shows what hypocrites people who normalize homosexuality are. A hospital worker (Kristen D. Parker) used contaminated needles, infecting others with hepatitis (a deadly disease). To make matters more complicated, she is a drug addict. Now, she has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. 30 years! Now, if a garbage of a homosexual infects many other men with a deadly disease (HIV-AIDS), what happens? He’s called a “poor little victim,” a “nice little gay” – who cannot be held accountable for anything and cannot be and sent to prison for doing exactly the same thing – infecting people with a deadly disease. That is one hypocritical, corrupt society. And who does it favor and privilege? People doing harm in sexual ways – which is what people who normalize homosexuality do.

            Moreover, we see this woman’s face and name published in the papers as the criminal that she is. She will spend a lot of time in prison. But, for example, if she had been a man with a homosexuality problem who had committed the very same crime – infected others with a deadly disease- the system would have kept his name secret, it would not be published anywhere, there would be a complete cover-up, and there would be an “extortion” from the state for huge sums of money with total impunity for treatment. There would be a cover-up of the crime and of the criminal – guaranteeing absolute impunity.

            That’s the ugliness of “gay rights” – a corrupt movement to normalize dysfunctional and harmful human beings, who have profound problems with sexuality.

          • Tasz Hulsen

            Actually, in Australia, for example, a man who infected 3 people by having sex with them was recently arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, despite his objection that ‘there is no link between HIV and AIDs.’ The difference is gay people don’t, as a rule, deliberately infect people with AIDs. This guy did so he got arrested.

      • 4) Sexual exploitation and abuse of minors

        “Mainly a heterosexual mainstay.”

        ===================

        Just another wrong claim of yours. You have no idea who abuses or exploits minors. There are plenty of victims of homosexual abuse and exploitation. In fact, serious studies confirm that people with a homosexual problem exploit and abuse just as frequently as heterosexuals.

        What is important to highlight, however, is that your discourse attempts to trivialize and dismiss every single case of same-sex abuse by claiming they are not the majority. What a horrible goal. You want to promote ignorance of the cases, and to guarantee impunity for the perpetrators.

        “Here in the UK we’re up in arms at the discovery of tens of child exploitation rings and many newfound celebrity paedophiles. Not one was gay. But of course there are some gay paedophiles.”

        More of your lies and denials. A simple search on the Internet will show plenty of data and cases in the UK involving homosexual abuse.

        “A paedophile ring has been smashed after eight men were found guilty
        of a horrifying catalogue of more than 50 child pornography and abuse
        charges. Among the crimes was a shocking sexual attack carried
        out on a three-month-old baby boy by an executive adviser on child sex
        issues. James Rennie, chief executive of a publicly-funded gay
        rights group, was one of the men exposed yesterday as members of
        Scotland’s biggest paedophile ring. … A ring of eight paedophiles, including a former welfare campaigner for
        young gay men, were today convicted of child abuse and producing
        indecent images of children. The men, from across central Scotland,
        were found guilty by a jury in Edinburgh of more than 50 charges,
        ranging from abusing infants from three months old to conspiracy and
        holding more than 125,000 images of child pornography. … Milligan had 78,000 images in his possession. He was allowed to listen
        on the telephone to Rennie abusing the toddler, and had discussed
        getting access to the boy. ”

        And let us look at what people who normalize homosexuality are doing with the sentences of these abusive monsters – reducing them to ridiculous jail terms:

        http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/mums-fury-as-paedophile-gang-monster-1087292

        A good example of how monstrous people who defend “gay rights” are. Another good example is Frank Lombard. Purposefully adopted two black boys in order to rape them every night. Until he was caught, people like you were claiming he was just another “nice little homosexual who did nothing wrong.”

        You perfectly represent that mentality of people who normalize homosexuality – every type of sexual violence perpetrated by homosexuals and bisexuals is trivialized by people like you, when not completely lied about.

        Tasz wrote: “But of course there are some gay paedophiles.”

        You would never know it by the narrative of people who normalize homosexuality, as it is plain to see in the OP. Not a single mention of abuse or exploitation.

        • Tasz Hulsen

          “In fact, serious studies confirm that people with a homosexual problem exploit and abuse just as frequently as heterosexuals.”

          Yes. Here we go. This is what I’m saying. We can ignore the rest of your post because it’s long and just mentions cases where there have been gay paedophiles, which I managed in one sentence (‘of course, there are gay paedophiles’). My point is this: as you said, gay people are no more likely to abuse children then regular people. So we don’t have to vilify them (as a community, obviously we should, and do, vilify the individuals concerned) over it. And ergo your point about ‘your narrative is bad because you’re not pointing out that gays are bad’ is just horrendous because Jews, too, commit sexual crimes but you wouldn’t comment on an article saying, ‘sure, Jews are people too, I guess, but let’s not forget about all those children ‘they’ raped.’

          • Society certainly does not hold accountable the individuals who abuse or harass, or they would all be in jail. Furthermore, most of them wouldn’t be able to abuse if society was serious about prevention and accountability. But it isn’t. The majority of abusers and harassers are never formally accused, they are never prosecuted, and they never serve prison time. This is a society that normalizes homosexuality.

            What you have done in your posts is just trivialize and lie about the harassment and the abuse homosexuals and bisexuals perpetrate. And that is horrendous. You have no idea who is abusing whom and you insist again and again that “heterosexuals commit more violence than homosexuals.” No, they don’t. There are millions and millions of violent, grotesque, perverse homosexuals and bisexuals in society. In fact, some studies show that heterosexuals perpetrate less of certain types of violence than homosexuals and bisexuals. This is not vilifying, this is facing reality – homosexuals are not a “little victim” group. It is a group that includes millions of people with criminal attitudes and behaviors.

            If you read the OP, there is no mention of any type of violence perpetrated by homosexuals or bisexuals – there is only one type of stereotype – “poor little victims” who do no violence or harm.

            “And ergo your point about ‘your narrative is bad because you’re not
            pointing out that gays are bad’ is just horrendous because Jews, too,
            commit sexual crimes but you wouldn’t comment on an article saying,
            ‘sure, Jews are people too, I guess, but let’s not forget about all
            those children ‘they’ raped.'”

            I suggest you keep your loony thoughts about what I would write to yourself. If you wrote an article saying that Jews never perpetrated any violence anywhere, including to children, women, or other people, and that they were only “little victims” of society, I would certainly point out the distortions and the ugliness of your analogous narrative – which would only serve to empower perpetrators and guarantee impunity to Jews who have actually raped children with impunity.

            Furthermore, being Jewish does not equate to having deformed psychologies about sexuality, like homosexuals do. A better analogy is writing an article that says that S&M people, who take pleasure in torturing others, are little victims of ostracism in society. They believe they are good people, and anyone who questions their deformed minds are bad. There’s your narrative.

          • Tasz Hulsen

            You really don’t understand any of these groups, probably because you lead a very closeted existence. Sadomasochism as a sexual fetish is practised between consenting adults. You can buy equipment for said in mainstream shops and people won’t bat an eyelid because they know this. Yes, the rest of us might think it’s weird but if they enjoy being whipped or paddled or whatever, then they are allowed to do so.

            LGBT people (I’m done typing out ‘homosexual and bisexual people’ because it makes me feel as old as you probably are. Were you around to vote for Strom Thurmond?) do not commit more OR less crime than straight people, and THAT is what I am saying. Furthermore the OP did not need to point out ‘well some of them are paedophiles’ because it is irrelevant. It could equally be said of any community. For example, someone considering marrying out or not would not have to write an article with the qualifier ‘and, of course, some Irish Catholics are paedophiles so what happens if my betrothed turns out to touch little children?’ because even though some Irish Catholics are paedophiles, it is not really relevant.

      • Tasz wrote: 5) Pornography
        You have me here. All porn is gay. That’s why straight
        teenagers don’t watch porn because, as we say, ‘it’s for faggots. Why
        can’t there be any hot women in it, then I might watch it!’
        6) Prostitution
        All prostitutes are gay, too.
        7) Promiscuity
        I’ve
        never seen a promiscuous straight person. That’s how my buddies and I
        go queer-hunting. We look for the skimpily dressed ones.
        =============
        Why are you claiming that “I have you here” and that “all porn is gay”?

        Oh, it’s your strawman! You like to pretend I said things I didn’t say so that you actually have a stupid claim to tear down. How clever.

        It’s plain to see that I didn’t say that all porn was homosexual. I said that among the many harmful and destructive behaviors by homosexuals and bisexuals – the group this OP addresses – there was porn. These are the people who are pretending to be little victims of society. I should also add that most people who normalize homosexuality, also normalize porn, adultery, and promiscuity, when not prostitution as well.

        People who talk about “gay rights” are not defending a better society. They want a society where just about every type of harmful sexuality attitude and behavior is normalized and where there is no accountability.

        People like Tasz like to argue that because many heterosexuals sexually abuse and exploit and harass others, and think about sexuality in ways that demean people and pervert sexuality, homosexuals are equally right to do so. That is what “gay rights” is really all about.

        • Tasz Hulsen

          I’m sorry, how old are you? Yes, porn is probably damaging to many of the people involved in actually making it, although my sources tell me the porn shot in the States and the West is safe and well-paid, so I suppose it’s not all bad. But you seem to be saying that -shock- gay people are ‘pretending to be victims’ but have the NERVE to make porn? Now, you can’t force people to conform to your moral sensibilities, but even if you could, here’s why you shouldn’t (in the case of homosexuality): they don’t have a choice and it’s damaging to them not to be able to freely consort with those with whom they wish to consort.
          Gay rights is, contrary to your damaged and pitifully abrasive manner of thinking, not about ‘homosexuals being allowed to abuse people’ or ‘normalising adultery:’ rather, there is no hidden meaning, and it is simply about gay rights.

          • I suggest you keep any personal attacks out of the discussion.

            “Now, you can’t force people to conform to your moral sensibilities, but
            even if you could, here’s why you shouldn’t (in the case of
            homosexuality): they don’t have a choice and it’s damaging to them not
            to be able to freely consort with those with whom they wish to consort.”

            You are completely wrong. Everyone is born heterosexual. People are not born homosexual, pedophiles, or sexual sadists, for example. People who have dysfunctional and disoriented sexual psychologies are responsible for investigating why they have developed profound problems in sexuality and relationships, and they are responsible for resolving their problems.

            What is damaging to society is to endorse a lie that psycho-sexual problems can’t be resolved and that individuals are not accountable for all the perverted, perverse, and dysfunctional attitudes, concepts, ideologies, and behaviors they engage in regarding sexuality.

          • Tasz Hulsen

            What a lovely suggestion. You should follow it more.

            Everyone is not born heterosexual and there is plenty of evidence to support this. I would say everyone is born without a sexuality, wouldn’t you? Regardless, being gay is not a choice that people make, just as you did not choose to be straight. The only person who thinks the existence of openly gay people is damaging is you.

      • 9) Victims of homosexual abuse commit suicide more often than homosexuals
        Why don’t you put that statistic back in your behind from where it came..

        ========================

        Oh, you have an anal obsession. It’s also clear your parents were a failure in giving you manners or ethics. So typical with people who normalize homosexuality.

        Let’s talk about how much suffering kids and adults who are abused by homosexuals and bisexuals go through. It can certainly lead them to commit suicide, or to get addicted to drugs, or to engage in self-destructive behaviors. That’s how horrible the consequences of sexual abuse are – and you just sit there ridiculing it and minimizing it.

        Another topic is how much harm homosexuals and bisexuals do as parents. Have you noticed that some homosexual men will use a woman to “incubate” (surrogate) a baby and deprive that child of its mother all through the life of the child? But what do these homosexuals care about the rights of others? Of children? With their deformed psychologies, instead of wanting a child to have a mother, they want to deprive a child of one. Instead of taking responsibility for their dysfunctional sexuality, they lie to themselves that they are not accountable for resolving their homosexuality problem.

        ============

        Tasz wrote: “My uncle, who unlike me lives in New York City, is an orthodox Jew,
        and is gay, is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met, yet he lives a life
        alone, depressed, because he fears, probably rightly, ostracisation from
        the community. ”

        He should find a good therapist who would work with him to investigate why he developed a homosexuality problem, and why he is incapable of establishing wholesome and healthy intimate relationships with women, a therapist who may be able to help him resolve his homosexuality problem.

        Your uncle is responsible for resolving any psychological, social, cultural problem he has regarding sexuality and relationships. Just like anyone else.

        And besides, everyone thought James Rennie and Frank Lombard were the nicest little gays until they discovered they were sadistically abusing baby boys and toddlers. People who normalize homosexuality are not interested in anything but their false, distorted, homosexual victimhood narratives. Your objective is to be ignorant about the psychological, social, and cultural factors that lead someone to develop a homosexual problem. That is irresponsible and harmful.

        • Tasz Hulsen

          How can you insult my parents, one of whom has set up two orthodox Jewish school here in the UK, without knowing them, and then criticize me for lack of manners? As to the rest of your ‘points,’ you’re absolutely correct, I love the idea of sexual abuse and am keen to trivialise it. But you know, the world will keep on turning regardless of your opinions. 9 US states now have gay marriage and the UK will have it by 2015. It would seem that everyone is ignoring you except our friends the Islamic fundamentalists. Maybe you two ought to form a club as you have a lot in common.

    • ‘Unwanted advances’ are hardly something that only, or mainly, or even noticeably, gay people do.

      ==============
      You certainly don’t know who is doing unwanted advances, or sexual harassment, or who the victims are. You don’t know what proportion of homosexuals and bisexuals engage in unwanted and harassing behaviors. It is frequent, especially in environments where homosexuality has been normalized. The fact is that a large number of such actions are carried out when there are no witnesses present, like child abuse. How much child abuse do you go around noticing every day? It doesn’t mean it’s not happening because you yourself don’t see it every five minutes. It is hidden.

      Moreover, no one ever said that people with a homosexual problem are the only ones to engage in such harmful behavior. The point, however, is that the “poor little homosexual victim narrative” of the OP refuses to address any and all kinds of harmful attitudes and behaviors that people with a homosexual problem have and do, including any and all types of unwanted advances.

      Homosexuals and bisexuals engaging in unwanted and harassing behavior is just one of the many problems that such people cause in society.

      • Tasz Hulsen

        I think it’s rather flattering when someone asks you out, regardless of their gender or sexual affiliation. Aside from that my point is that everybody does it, straight people more than gays.

        • You can think sexual harassment is flattering, you can think pornography is good, you can think sexual abuse of minors is normal. But it just shows how warped your mind is. Depending on the context, asking someone out is a form of sexual harassment. People also have a right to be free from demeaning, perverse, or perverted unwanted sexual advances. If you have a perverse mind, any perverted proposition regarding sexuality will seem good to you. What someone with a perverse mind thinks, however, is irrelevant – and certainly not the standard that we want to defend a society with respect and wholesome behaviors about sexuality. There are plenty of circumstances where merely asking someone out shows lack of ethics and respect. There’s nothing flattering about being surrounded by garbage of homosexuals and bisexuals who ask others for sex as a form of harassment.

          Lastly, you certainly have no idea who is doing what to whom. One thing is sure: Straight people do not engage in more unwanted sexual behavior than homosexuals and bisexuals. Liberals like to minimize and lie about every type of harm that homosexuals do in society.

          • Tasz Hulsen

            It is true, I am a huge fan of all those things.

            Here is my point though: it is not something that LGBT people do to the exclusion of straight people. Everyone, in equal quantities, does it. Yes, sometime it is irritating and clearly you are not the type of person with whom to attempt humour but please accept that, and trust me on this, straight people love propositioning people just as much as gay people do.

    • Nauseous

      I am nauseous right now. Your disgusting, bigoted morals do not even merit an intellectual debate as Tasz Hulsen has so eloquently endeavored and I refuse to begin one with you. That being said (that which you will undoubtedly consider to be a cop out), I felt strongly enough that I had to share my complete shock upon reading your repulsively, inconsiderately offensive points of view in this forum. I truly pray that you never come in contact with anyone in the LGBT community as well as anybody who wishes simply to be happy. I am ashamed to be living in a world where people possess your mindset and where that mindset is able to be shared in public without being chastised by the majority as unspeakable and downright wrong. How dare you. To all those LGBT who read this, please do not lose hope.

      • You’re right about this, of course. Removed the comments.

  • cononsense

    Not to pick up the spear again… but why does your opinion deserve to be printed, while his does not? I applaud your conciliatory tone but find it somewhat disingenuous when you are explicitly censoring the other point of view. Like, “can’t we all get along, (on my terms)?”

    • Let’s be clear. I didn’t censor Chaim’s piece. I didn’t actively try to stop it from being published. I simply chose to not have it published on my blog. In fact, I offered to help him find another outlet to have it published, which he chose not to take me up on.

      I understand that this decision is confusing for some, but it’s incorrect to call it censorship. Censorship is an active quieting of someone else’s opinion, while my piece is actually an attempt to highlight his opinion in light of my own.

      • Esther Cohen

        Some of the words you have allowed to stand on your blog are inflammatory, offensive, and bigoted, so I beg you to think this through a little further.

  • I have a recurring dream about this subject: I’m at my alma mater, speaking to a World Religions 101 class. I’m speaking about the basic beliefs of Judaism, the beauty of tradition, how rich my life is. And then someone asks me how I feel about gay marriage. No matter how I try to convey my beliefs, the result is either a) making a chillul Hashem or b) being run out of the classroom.

    Why this issue seems so much more complex to me is probably a function of its prominence in general society. As complex as it seems to me, I cannot possibly fathom how much more complex it much be for a gay Jew. I do agree that at the end of the day, v’ahavta l’reyecha kamocha is the thing. According to both Hillel and R’Akiva, it is the seminal mitzvah in the Torah, and applies to everyone. Kol hakavod for addressing this topic.

  • matt

    Hi Elad,

    I read the article in question and I couldn’t find him making any statements of opinion or -for that matter- any “political” comments. He merely described his experiences as an outed gay chassid and expressed gratitude that he still felt accepted by the community despite his being openly gay. From my read, it was a purely *descriptive* article. Nothing about it was *prescriptive*. I went back and reread your own post and couldn’t find any specific explanation of *what* in his article you disagreed with. Could you please elaborate?

    • “But as the piece absorbed into me, and I meditated on it more and more, something in my gut told me I couldn’t publish it, no matter how human it was, no matter how real and powerful.

      And it had nothing to do with the piece, I realized. It had to do with Chaim’s beliefs.”

      • matt

        So, your problem was *not* with beliefs he articulated in the article. Your problem is that you disagreed with outside beliefs of his that were *not* expressed in the article?

        I’m not sure I understand this…Didn’t you know his beliefs *before* you asked him to write the article?

        Is your criteria for guest posters that they must agree with you on everything, even matters outside the scope and content of their post?

  • hawudl

    Dear Elad,

    I almost never comment on blog posts like this. But for some reason I feel drawn to comment here. I’m a gay Jew, formerly frum. I became religious when I was around 14 and left it when I was 23. I am still very much inspired by Torah and Judaism, and I am very happy about the recent developments in the frum community regarding gay people. It is amazing to see how much has changed in the span of only a few years. When I was in yeshiva, no one talked about this issue, and if they did, all they did was to just reinforce the feeling that people like us really shouldn’t exist. I am also happy about the creativity I see displayed in recent years by frum people- it was never this way before; it was always stultified to ‘fit’ with frum norms and thus lost a lot of its value. But the artistic engagement is now is genuine in a way that it wasn’t before. I’ve read some of your other posts on this blog and you seem to be part of the trend I am describing, of people who are willing to engage their true selves. You are clearly a person who engages in a deep way with matters of the spirit and I applaud your willingness to say what you think, because I get the sense it’s for real.
    Precisely because all of this is the case, I find it a bit dismaying to read some of your views here. I should say that I understand completely where you’re coming from. It is undeniably the case that halakha forbids same-sex intercourse. If you are mekabel ol malkhut shamayim you have to accept this fact as part and parcel of the whole system. But, as I think you understand, life is complicated. Sexual orientation is part of who we are, and expecting people to be celibate (which is what I take your statements above to imply, correct me if I’m wrong) is simply not reasonable in the vast majority of cases. You preach acceptance and love. But you say you don’t think men should date or marry each other. I’m single right now and from what you say I don’t think you’d have a problem accepting me, but if and when I find a partner, would you accept me then? Because let me tell you, the frum rhetoric that you sometimes hear about that goes : “it’s OK to have a particular sexual orientation but it’s not OK to act on it” is essentially telling a person that he has to suffer but you’re just going to pat him on the back and be nice to him while he spends his life suffering and forbidden from doing the thing that will actually relieve his suffering.
    Regarding the legal issue of gay marriage, I don’t really care whether you support it or not. But regarding your views on changing our nature, as you put it- I cannot square what you say about this with the way you emphasize in another post that one’s Torah observance cannot be at the expense of one’s mental and emotional well-being. You as a ba’al teshuvah, know this well. Sexual orientation is hard-wired into us and cannot be changed. If the opinions of the vast majority of mental-health professionals do not convince you, the cold, hard real-life experience of the vast majority of gay people should convince you.
    I leave you with what may be the most important insight I have gained in the years since coming out: not everything always has to add up. Not everything always has to make sense. Two things can be true and also be irreconcilable. You who voice your issues with logic in another post should be able to grasp this.
    This was written simply as an outpouring of sentiment from one of the people who are the subject of your post here. I apologize for the length. I did not edit anything; it just flowed out. If there are things which are not entirely clear or explicit I apologize. If there are things which come across as antagonistic or hostile, I also apologize. I recognize that you are ultimately on my side and you are trying to help and to be a force for good, for positive change, you and the increasingly many others like you. May you succeed and may God be with you.

    • Thank you, poster above, for expressing what I was thinking in terms more eloquent than I could ever reach. I find it fascinating that some people imagine they know what others — who are not them, who do not share their experience, who are outsiders to their community, rejected, criticized, and judged — want.

    • Jeff Friedman

      If you care to read “God vs. Gay”, you will learn that halacha does not forbid sexual intercourse between people of the same gender. It is a well-reasoned argument for interpretation of the verses to which you refer. Please read it.

  • Anonymous

    When I saw on facebook what the topic of you blog post was today, I went to immediately read it. The topic is one I consider on a regular basis. Simply put, I would have loved to see Chaim Levin’s piece but I understand why you yourself chose to write. Perhaps as others expressed you might now do so with a statement of your own.

    I think that the focus on ahavas Yisroel is what we’re enjoined to have in all we do, in all our interactions and relations. The reality is not there but each individual is on a continuum as something to strive for more and more. No judgments, merely acceptance. One can pull up online COLive.com or CrownHeights.info and can often see a wealth of judgments and loshon hora as example of what is thought by some in our community.

    We cannot truly know where a person is with Hashem, with Judaism; it is their own journey, with their own challenges. We find mentors, we learn, we find the others we are most comfortable with to make friends and associates. Some of us do mitzvoim and show that a door is always open. Some like to sweep the issues under carpets or aggressively try to eliminate them. Some offer in a more appropriate manner, insight to what is defined and to encourage someone to consider a change.

    Personally, I will not demean gay love for in several instances I have seen that as exactly what it is between two men or two women. One can also include other queer folk and those who are assexual and don’t identify with any definitions. I’m not privy to their bedrooms, nor do I wish to be by any means; it is for Hashem to know what goes on as well as the two involved. That some of these relationships exist 10, 20, or even 30+ years speaks to me of their strength.

    In closing I want to thank you for bringing forth this topic. By the way, I’ve chosen to be anonymous to avoid judgment not only as being frum queer but also as a liberal which receives a lot of flack too. I don’t need negativity.

  • shira

    yes, spreading love and acceptance is great. but by denying marriage, you deny equality. especially because living in a heteronormative, marriage-centered society– denying gay people the right to marry (or disagreeing with gay marriage) means implicitly denying equality. and denying equality and rights seems to me in complete opposition with offering baseless love. judaism pushes us to be compassionate. v’ahavta l’reyecha kamocha reminds us of that. it might be hard to do so, but we all have to do the work to really examine if we are showing true compassion.

    beyond that, i’m not sure personal acceptance is enough. is this acceptance even authentic if it does not allow for gay people to act on their gayness without being again isolated? people need to feel safe in their communities. yes, love is key. and this is a process. but i think feeling truly safe and comfortable takes more than that.

  • Pingback: Orthodox Judaism Suffers a (Male) Rape – and a blog owner censors my comments | Censored at First Things – First Thoughts()

  • Elad, I would like to comment on your
    article but prefer to understand more about your viewpoint before responding. I
    apologize if the questions I ask seem basic or obvious to the majority of the
    audience, but as the content of your blog is visible to Jews and non-Jews, I
    believe it is fair that I ask them. To begin with, why do you feel that a man
    should not date or marry another man? I noticed that you did not mention women
    in this statement. Do these views extend to women as well? Is it the act of
    intercourse that you feel is wrong, or having romantic love for someone of the
    same sex that you feel is wrong as well? Additionally, in Judaism, what is the
    meaning of intercourse? Is it viewed to be an expression of love between a man
    or a woman, or is it more viewed as a functional act with the purpose of
    procreation, or both? Finally, do you feel that your views regarding
    homosexuality extend to non-Jews as well? I would very much appreciate it if
    you could explain in more detail the answers to these questions for me.

  • Mikhal-Sarah Gordon

    Like Elad, I have changed my opinion on a number of matters from being very “Left” and liberal to being much more traditional and conservative. This particular issue is not one I have at this point changed my mind on, though I’m not interested in debating it. Suffice it that my views have become more nuanced and complicated, and less black and white.

    However, I understand the position that Elad is in. He is asking for both sides to tolerate the fact that they disagree on some key issues, and to deal with it in as loving a way as possible, but in return he is being verbally abused. Because he cannot find it in himself to return to his previous belief system, he is to be called a bigot and offensive? Because he isn’t willing to post “the other side’s” view, he is accused of censorship? If we took that to it’s logical conclusion, Elad would be forced to print guest posts from New Atheists, Messianic Jews and anti-Semites as well, just to be fair and unbiased. Are gay rights blogs willing to post up Elad’s views on halakhah….other than to tear them apart and make fun of him? I doubt it, nor would I expect them to. Nobody is OBLIGATED to post ANYTHING on their own blog but their own views and what they feel comfortable with.

    Calling people who respectfully disagree bigots, biased, racist etc is a typical bullying position of the Left and its allies. Gays are a minority in our society that deserve the right to be left alone to live life as they wish within reason, however the traditionally religious are also now minorities in our society who deserve that same right to live according to their consciences. There are Conservative congregations that are very traditional in practice that are willing to fully accept GLBT persons and even marry them where it is legal. Why is that not good enough? Why will people not be happy until they can have their way everywhere, even if it destroys another minority community in the process? I don’t always agree with the Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox, but I believe we need them, just as we also need the Reform movement. Bot of them fill necessary functions in the communityh

    I’m a woman who wants to be able to have an aliyah, therefore I go to a traditional–egalitarian Conservative shul. When I visit Orthodox friends and their shul, I respect their choices and the way they do things. If I wanted to belong to their community, I would have to accept their way, whether I like it or not. It’s a package deal, like anything else.. I don’t run about demanding to be allowed an aliyah in every shul in the world, and calling people sexist bigots when they chose to live a different way. I have my freedom to make the life I want, I’m not going to take that freedom away from someone else because I wouldn’t chose the life they have.

    • Jeff Friedman

      How dare you suggest that I “choose” the “life-style” that I live?

      • Kavod And Kaved

        I just read this comment. Where did she suggest you “chose” anything? Her basis for comparison was her gender, something I’m sure she did not chose. That you are making wild inferences suggests you are just looking to pick a fight with anyone sympathetic to Elad’s position.

        • Jeff Friedman

          nice try. read all the way down completely to this posting’s last sentence: and i quote: “I have my freedom to make the life I want, I’m not going to take that freedom away from someone else because I wouldn’t chose the life they have.” what loving and careful discussion you’re having, being so very, very sure of yourselves.

          • Kavod And Kaved

            I read it fine the first time, because I read it without an axe to grind. Reference that back to her comments on aliyot. She has the freedom to chose a traditional service that allows her an aliyah, so she feels no need to try to force the Orthodox to give her one or complain about it, but she chooses not to belong to an Orthodox shul because of their position. You have the same freedom. I have the freedom not to attend any shul at all because I think Judaism has been replaced by Zionism and the Zionists don’t want me in their shuls (A gay Zionist has more places to pray without harassment than I do). The Christian Jews are free to create their own Messianic shuls.

            Modern Orthodoxy may accept LGBT issues in time: they are making strides with women. But they won’t compromise Halakhah for it…not to the extend Conservative has….so it’ll be a while. And, if it does happen, they will split off from the rest of Orthodoxy. I get the feeling though, that you won’t be happy until there are gay and lesbian Lev Tahor members, so that won’t help you.

            Well, it being a free world, you are free to waste your life in a frustrated fight for a universal warm fuzzy acceptance that nobody else in the world gets. And I’m free to ignore you while you do it because “First World Problems”.

          • Jeff Friedman

            you “choose” to ignore the fact that this poster originally said that she would not “choose” to be gay or lesbian.

          • Kavod And Kaved

            Since the whole crux of her argument is about allowing the Orthodox the freedom to choose to live in ways she doesn’t choose to, how would you construe her final sentence to be about choosing not to be gay. That is an inference you choose to make which does not fit the rest of what she has said and makes no sense. She chooses not to be Orthodox, but would not deny them the freedom to live differently and make different choices.

            Honestly, what sort of gay hater would go to a Conservative shul?

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  • Greenbean

    I think what you fail to realize, or perhaps realize but are unwilling to admit, is that what you’re asking for, “agreeing to disagree” is in fact an inherently flawed non-solution. Saying that you disagree with the someone being gay is saying you disagree with them as a person. Saying that you’re unsure whether they may be able to choose or change their sexual orientation is essentially saying that they are willingly going against the religion and sinning, when in fact, this is simply untrue. How can you love and accept someone if you believe that what is an extremely difficult life course is in fact entirely self-inflicted? How can you say you accept someone when you believe something inherent to their fundamental being is wrong? I commend you for trying to make a compromise, for wishing that you could be kind and loving to gays without having to “believe” in what they believe in ( being gay is not a religion, not something you believe in, it IS, as is being 6 feet tall or being right-handed)…. wishing you could go half way, I get it, but it is simply not possible. If you want to do the right thing, to love and accept this giant portion of the human population, I’m sorry, but there are no shortcuts or compromises. Only complete understanding. IT. IS. NOT. A. CHOICE.

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