100 Orthodox Rabbis Issue Same Sex Marriage Declaration

December 5, 2011 9:25 am 48 comments

Protest against a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. Photo: Fibbonaci blue.

In response to a recent “Orthodox” same-sex marriage ceremony conducted in Washington, D.C. by Rabbi Steve Greenberg, – who is openly gay, and married Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan at the 6th & I Synagogue in Washington in November – over 100 Orthodox Rabbis – among them some of the most prominent rabbinic figures in the Orthodox Jewish world, including Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Hershel Reichman of Yeshiva University and Rabbi Elie Abadie of the Safra Synagogue  – issued a statement declaring that, “By definition, a union that is not sanctioned by Torah law is not an Orthodox wedding, and by definition a person who conducts such a ceremony is not an Orthodox rabbi.” They also dispelled any doubt over possible flexibility on the matter in the future, writing, “We strongly object to this desecration of Torah values and to the subsequent misleading reportage…the public should not be misled into thinking that Orthodox Jewish values on this issue can change, are changing, or might someday change…any claims to the contrary are inaccurate and false.” (For the full statement and list of signatures see below)

Many Orthodox congregations have homosexuals as members, and generally speaking, they are accepted without reservations. One Orthodox rabbi – who did not wish to be named – who has homosexual and trans-gender members in his congregation told the Algemeiner: “There is no such thing as a Jew who does not have spiritual struggles and challenges. We accept Jews who do not fully observe the Sabbath and do not keep kosher, and we accept those who struggle with sexual issues. However, just as we cannot accept someone who promotes desecration of the Sabbath and abandoning the laws of kashrut (kosher), or actively advocates adultery, we cannot accept someone who actively and publicly, promotes the practice of homosexuality.”

Although the 100+ rabbis take a firm stand against same-gender marriage, they are also sympathetic to to those of alternate sexual orientation, describing them as “challenged” they add, “We as rabbis, lovingly play a crucial role in helping Jews who may be facing great personal challenges to feel comfortable and welcome in our communities…some individuals experience deep inner conflict as they seek a holy path to serve God…we devote our lives towards helping all those in our broader community achieve their loftiest spiritual potential, while fully upholding the timeless values expressed in our Holy Torah.”

The full statement and list of signatures:

Orthodox Rabbis Stand On Principle

Recently, an American Jewish clergyman officiated at a matrimonial ceremony that is incorrectly being reported by some in the media as “the first time that an ordained Orthodox Rabbi has officiated at a same-sex marriage in the United States.”

We, as rabbis from a broad spectrum of the Orthodox community around the world, wish to correct the false impression that an Orthodox-approved same-gender wedding took place. By definition, a union that is not sanctioned by Torah law is not an Orthodox wedding, and by definition a person who conducts such a ceremony is not an Orthodox rabbi.

Jewish tradition unequivocally teaches that marriage can only exist as a union between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of a homosexual relationship. It is a distortion of Torah to confound that sacred principle. We strongly object to this desecration of Torah values and to the subsequent misleading reportage.

We appreciate the sensitive nature of intimacy. We, as rabbis, lovingly play a crucial role in helping Jews who may be facing great personal challenges to feel comfortable and welcome in our communities. Rabbis are always available to discuss congregants’ personal issues, including intimacy. We understand from our experiences in offering pastoral care that some individuals experience deep inner conflict as they seek a holy path to serve G-d and to fulfill their spiritual needs. As rabbis, we devote our lives towards helping all those in our broader community achieve their loftiest spiritual potential, while fully upholding the timeless values expressed in our Holy Torah.

The public should not be misled into thinking that Orthodox Jewish views on this issue can change, are changing, or might someday change. The Rabbinical Council of America recently declared that “the Torah, which forbids homosexual activity, sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony.” This is the only statement on this matter that can reflect Orthodox Judaism. Any claims or statements to the contrary are inaccurate and false.

SIGNED:

Rabbi Elie Abadie – New York, NY
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Eitan Allen – Fairfield, CT
Rabbi Sol Appleman – Woodsburgh, NY
Rabbi Moshe Averick – Chicago, IL
Rabbi Ian Bailey – Silver Spring, MD
Rabbi Yisroel Bendelstein – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Etan Berman – New York, NY
Rabbi Azriel Blumberg – Brighton, MA
Rabbi Heshy Blumstein – Hewlett, NY
Rabbi Avram Bogopulsky – San Diego, CA
Rabbi Kenneth Brodkin – Portland, OR
Rabbi Zev Cinamon – West Hempstead, NY
Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen – West Palm Beach, FL
Rabbi Judah Z. Cohen – Hewlett, NY
Rabbi Yitzchok Cohen, New York, NY
Rabbi Mordechai Cohen – Milwaukee, WI
Rabbi Yosef Cohen – West Hartford, CT
Rabbi Nissim Davidi – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz – Valley Village, CA
Rabbi Ari Enkin – Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein – Cherry Hill, NJ
Rabbi Aaron Feigenbaum – Memphis, TN
Rabbi Dovid Feinberg – Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman – Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi Ilan Feldman – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Eliyahu Ferrell – Passaic, NJ
Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Shmuel Fink – Lawrence, NY
Rabbi Dov Fischer – Orange County, CA
Rabbi Arie Folger – Munich, Germany
Rabbi Barry Freundel – Washington, DC
Rabbi Zvi Friedlander – New York, NY
Rabbi Cary Friedman – Passaic, NJ
Rabbi Zev Friedman – Lawrence, NY
Rabbi Mallen Galinsky – Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi Benjamin Geiger – Forest Hills, NY
Rabbi Avraham Ginzburg – Forest Hills, NY
Rabbi Saul Gold – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Jay H. Goldberg – Far Rockaway, NY
Rabbi Chaim Goldberger – Minneapolis, MN
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer – New York, NY
Rabbi Shlomo Grafstein – New York, NY
Rabbi Alan Greenspan – Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi Yonah Gross – Wynnewood, PA
Rabbi Yosef Grossman – Monsey, NY
Rabbi Ben Hecht – Toronto, Canada
Rabbi Ari Jacobson – Monsey, NY
Rabbi Ari Kahn – Givat Ze’ev, Israel
Rabbi Howard Katzenstein – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Joseph Kolakowski – Richmond, VA
Rabbi Ira Kronenberg – Passaic, NJ
Rabbi Pinchas L. Landis – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Eliezer Langer – Austin, TX
Rabbi Levi Langer – Pittsburgh, PA
Rabbi Avi Lebowitz – Palo Alto, CA
Rabbi Yonah Levant – Queens, NY
Rabbi Menachem Levine – San Jose, CA
Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz – Chicago, IL
Rabbi Yaakov Luban – Highland Park, NJ
Rabbi Avraham Maimon – Sunnyvale, CA
Rabbi Reuven Mann – Phoenix, AZ
Rabbi Harry Maryles – Chicago, IL
Rabbi Baruch Pesach Mendelson – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Jacob B. Mendelson – Bridgeport, CT
Rabbi Yossi Mendelson – Queens, NY
Rabbi Lester Miller – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Yerachmiel Morrison – Lakewood, NJ
Rabbi Jonathan Muskat – Oceanside, NY
Rabbi Yehuda L. Oppenheimer – Forest Hills, NY
Rabbi Gavriel Price – Passaic, NJ
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Aharon Rakeffet – Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi Michael Rapps – Far Rockaway, NY
Rabbi Hershel Reichman – New York, NY
Rabbi Rachmiel Rothberger – New York, NY
Rabbi Gidon Rothstein – Riverdale, NY
Rabbi Lawrence Rothwachs – Teaneck, N
Rabbi Yackov Saacks – Dix Hills, NY
Rabbi Nosson Sachs – Pittsburgh, PA
Rabbi Nachum Sauer – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Hershel Schachter – New York, NY
Rabbi Moshe Schapiro – Bergenfield, NJ
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld – Queens, NY
Rabbi Zev Schostak – Queens, NY
Rabbi Tsvi G. Schur – Baltimore, MD
Rabbi David Shabtai – New York, NY
Rabbi Dov Shapiro – Spring Valley, NY
Rabbi Jay C. Shoulson – Long Island City, NY
Rabbi Zecharia Sionit – Dallas, TX
Rabbi Ze’ev Smason – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Aryeh Sokoloff – Queens, NY
Rabbi Aryeh Spero – Great Neck, NY
Rabbi Reuven Spolter -Yad Binyamin, Israel
Rabbi Leonard Steinberg – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Gil Student – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Michael Taubes – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Moses David Tendler – Monsey, NY
Rabbi Benzion Twerski – Milwaukee, WI
Rabbi Michel Twerski – Milwaukee, WI
Rabbi Avrohom Union – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Noach Vogel – San Jose, CA
Rabbi Gedalia Walls – Potomac, MD
Rabbi Yaakov Wasser – East Brunswick, NJ
Rabbi Philip Weinberger – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Matan Wexler – New York, NY
Rabbi Ari Zahtz – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Asher Zeilingold – St. Paul, MN
Rabbi Aharon Ziegler – Jerusalem, Israel

48 Comments

  • My comment was deleted before it could appear. A sign?

  • These remarks are typically evasive and based on ignorance. There are some leaps of logic. They project an assumption that Torah prevents a union of two men, and it does no such thing. Tradition does, teachings by medieval rabbis do, but they were ignorant, as we have come to reach a new, enlightened understanding of sexual orientation, which necessarily sheds new light on Torah. The loophole is that they admit their need to help all seek the highest possible spiritual level, the block is if they assume what that is or try to control access to it. In fact, they are admitting that they are obligated to assist gay and lesbian Jews in receiving full acceptance and understanding in their rabbinic role. Orthodoxy has to change of course, even the Talmud allows change within it. Elimination of change is a distortion of reality and Torah, far more than a stale and inflexible view. They speak out of fear and a sense of empowerment. Well, they have no power over me, nor over Torah. They cannot block the Light.

  • Rabbinical councils have a right to issuing statements in relation to religious same-sex marriage. The problem is when they start issuing statements in relation to civil marriage. Rachel Sacks-Davis, in Galus Australis, has written a very good piece on this subject

    http://galusaustralis.com/2011/12/5447/orthodox-rabbis-confuse-themselves-with-evangelical-christians/

  • And once again the theists fade away when their insanity is challenged with reality, reason and logic.

    You hate gays as you hate anything that you don’t understand, you use your religion as a mask to hide your loathing under the grotesque pretense that you and your god’s spite is somehow compassion.

    It must drive you mad(er) that society continues to drift away from the hate, open gays all over TV, movies, politics and the military.

    While equality is of course the main thing your impotent teeth grinding on the matter is a delightful bonus.

    • Same-gender marriage is an oxymoron by any standard. This has nothing to do with hate – it has to do with the birds and the bees and how babies are made. A quick purview of the Bible yields a clear understanding of the Torah’s viewpoint of same-gender unions. “Therefore, a man shall abandon his father and mother and cling to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 3:24) This has been the definition of marriage since time immemorial, and that this standard even requires a defense is a sad statement as to how low our society has sunk in this matter. The so-called “same-gender marriage” redefines and denigrates the holiest of societal institutions to meet the bias and proclivity of an aberrant minority.

      • >Same-gender marriage is an oxymoron by any standard.

        No, marriage is a contract between two people, their gender is immaterial.

        >This has nothing to do with hate

        Yeah, that’s why your god wants them dead and calls them an “abomination” because it’s all about love!

        >it has to do with the birds and the bees and how babies are made.

        Oh, I see, so then couples who don’t / can’t won’t have children aren’t married?

        > A quick purview of the Bible yields a clear understanding of the Torah’s viewpoint of same-gender unions.

        Another slower look at the Bible yields an even clearer understanding that it’s a bunch of Bronze Age nonsense created by ignorant savages and thus its value for modern law (beyond the very obvious and simple) is limited.

        And since you are such a Bible believe than I assume you want all gays dead as per your god’s command? Or are you one of those pick’n'choose theists that makes it so easy to be an atheist?

        • If marriage is a contract between 2 people, does that mean siblings can marry? How about a parent and child?

    • Homosexuals hate God.

      • Sorry, Tony. You’re wrong. I’m a homosexual, and I love G-d. You may be a homosexual who hates G-d, but you’re definitely in the minority.

    • I respectfully submit that you are an idiot! The religion dictates certain principles and those that profess to adhere to that religion, state its views and values and live by it.
      If a Christian professes not to believe in Jesus, he has every right to do so, but is not a Christian, by definition of the word Christian.

  • My question would be why would two heterosexual men or two heretosexual women have a need for marriage? aWhat are all the interpretations of marriage? I s there a s u c h a thing as nine people being married?

    sex and food are intersticed with emotion; what was the condition before hashem set down the hoar frost? Many were complaining of the dearth of such food items they had been used to eating; and, what were the conditions which they were used to while eating those items. This is linkage to the sorting of the hoar frost; many individuals will gratify themselves with children underage; if a person cannot conquer the enemy within how can the peace occur without.

    100 Orthodox Rabbis Issue Same Sex Marriage Declaration

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/

    (the validation between ra and tov is a mess.)
    http://www.simpletoremember.com/media/a/attack-on-talmud/

    http://www.ispringassociates.com/downloads/state_ofgb_report_2011.pdf
    (telecommuting hotspots)

    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2011/11/have-89-brooklyn-haredim-been-arrest-for-child-sex-abuse-since-2009-678.html

    http://video.filestube.com/watch,cf6f5bcefcb3caa003e9/VilaWeb-Interview-with-the-journalist-Naomi-Klein.html

  • Very interesting article. I applaud Rabbi Greenberg for doing what is right. The 100 rabbis who disagree with him have every right to do so, but they do not have the right to remove his ordination as they imply in their letter. Judaism is not unchanging or monolithic as evidenced in the debates in the Talmud. I have a much longer statement which can be found at http://pedanticpoliticalponderings.blogspot.com/2011/12/repudiation-100-orthodox-rabbis-against.html

    • re “but they do not have the right to remove his ordination as they imply in their letter” – No ordination was removed, neither explicitly nor implied. The article reads “By definition, a union that is not sanctioned by Torah law is not an Orthodox wedding, and by definition a person who conducts such a ceremony is not an Orthodox rabbi.” He cannot claim to be an “Orthodox rabbi” while he is clearly ignoring and even corrupting the Torah law. It’s really quite simple.

      • “He cannot claim to be an “Orthodox rabbi” while he is clearly ignoring and even corrupting the Torah law. It’s really quite simple.”

        1. Rabbi Greenberg is an Orthodox rabbi. You may not like it, but your displeasure with him does not change that fact.

        2. He did not ignore the laws of the Torah. Rabbi Greenberg interpreted the laws differently than you do. The Talmud is filled with arguments about how to interpret the laws. The basis of Rabbi Greenberg’s interpretation can be found in his book, Wrestling with God & Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition.

        3. The question of corrupting the laws of the Torah is interesting. When the automobile was introduced there was a huge debate as to whether one could drive on the Sabbath. Many decided that the tiny spark inside the internal combustion engine was evidence of work and that driving was prohibited. Others, mostly who we now call Reform and Conservative as well as some Orthodox, reached a different conclusion which was considered by the first group to be corrupting the laws of the Torah.

        I believe in the living interpretation of the Torah that can be seen in the Talmud and in modern debates among our people. I support Rabbi Greenberg’s interpretation and you have every right to disagree.

    • They have every right to remove his ordination. By creating a chillul Hashem, by doing something in public, totally against Jewish law, he set himself outside the realm of Jewish law. That is his right, but he must pay the piper.

  • monika andersson

    Who cares about religion anyway. They are all so socially backward that they ard about to become irrelevant to modern people.

  • It is horrifying to realize, within living memory of the Holocaust, that any Jew would condemn another human being who does not share their beliefs. Have they no shame?

  • Phil Landsberg

    Publicizing this list does nothing but open up every name on this list to danger from those who disagree and are angry enough to do something about it, ridicule from those who would heckle them in Shul and other events/functions, and affect how their communities see them, in one way or another.

    So:

    Besides the potential for pikuach nefesh, as we are also taught that embarrassing someone is akin to killing them, why are you enabling the potential situations for someone to sin and embarrass, or doing so yourself?

    • If these rabbis did not want their names publicly associated with this declaration they should not have affixed their names to this public declaration.

  • I couldn’t help but notice no women rabbis signed on to this document. Oh wait: these guys don’t recognize women as competent to be rabbis. This is the TALIRABBINATE.

    • it isn’t about woman not being competent. Just according to tradition woman don’t have the demand to practice such studies of being a rabbi or scholar because traditionally woman had a different role in the household and while men were studying or in shul praying. Woman ran the household and in some cases even supported the family

      Not saying anything other than what just evolved over the course of time. Doesn’t mean it can’t change I guess, but it’s certainly not because woman are incompetent.

    • Well of course, women are filthy creatures, real Rabbis won’t even shake hands with them much less let them speak on behalf of their god. Remeber it’s all Eve’s fault we’re in this mess and she was a woman so by logical extent ion all women are tainted.

    • Women are not recognized as men, yes you are right. Women are not men and men not women. For example, a woman cannot get a circumcision and a man cannot get a mitzvah for lighting Shabbat candles. We may not like it, we may hate it and think it’s unfair, but here we are in a world were men and women are not the same; we are equal but not the same.
      if we are to ‘follow’ the ‘rules’ of the torah as it was first given, then we must do that, possibly, with a lack of full understanding, but if we want to change the rules, (to fit our time or to create better rules) well then that’s ok too but we cannot then say that “I or you or anyone can tell others what’s ok or not ok” because that’s our understanding and our understanding can be very confusing and limiting. However, if we are to follow the torah, we must treat all with kindness and sometimes say “I don’t know why but I hope to find out”. Men cannot give birth (not that I know any who want to but it proves we are not the same), men and women have different ways of thinking; when observing the brain patterns one will see this clearly. Men and women have different football and basket-ball teams, if that seems unfair just think what will happen if we put men and women on the same hockey team or men and women in the same locker room. Girls night is not for men, women do not want their husbands chatting and gossiping with them and their friends.
      With all that said, I still do not know why we cannot marry the same sex, but I hope to find out soon, until then I can only try believe I am missing something.

  • As a gay Jew, I respect and appreciate the opinions of Orthodox Rabbis. Their words are not without conviction and compassion. It is true that the Torah says what it says, but these Rabbis make it a point to convey compassion, accepting LGBT members while still maintaining their interpretation of Jewish law.

    I do realize that it may sound pretty on paper, and for GLBT who are openly out and in an Orthodox community it may be very challenging and even damaging. But I am part of a congregation where commitment ceremonies are blessed, and civil marriages will be solemnized for all couples. And I only ask that as I respect the views of the Orthodox rabbis, that they respect the views of my community.

  • Salvage,

    True, the Torah demands death penalty for gays. However, the Torah also demands death penalty for violating the Shabbos as well. But in today’s days we do not have a Central Jewish Court that can institute death penalty. Therefore, we can only encourage those who are sinning to repent.

    • I would like to correct: the Torah does not demand death penalty for gays. The Torah applies the death penalty to someone who willfully engaged in male to male penetration, before witnesses and after being warned. And the judges had the duty to try and find any flaw possible in the witnesses’ account so as not to put to death a human being, even though it would appear quite clear that he had done it. Bottom line: only the act can bring that punishment, not any kind of urge, or feeling, or opinion. Therefore, someone thing of himself as ‘gay’ shouldn’t feel any guilt, for he has not chosen that situation. His duty, however, is to fight and overcome this inclination, just like we all have to fight all our evil inclinations. Even if it means struggling all his life.

      • This is what I truly love about theism; it never agrees with itself! So many contradictions and dichotomies, you’d have thought that MC Escher created it!

        Let’s recap re: Gays’n'gods

        Okay, so it’s not clear whether or not your god wants you to kill the gays, apparently there is a legal arglebargle that makes conviction impossible but we can agree that Fred Phelps has at the very least the right of it; your god hates fags who have gay sex.

        Apparently it makes gay people to challenge them much in the same way a child rips the wings off of a bug to challenge it to fly.

        It takes a bizarre sort of sadist to misshape its victim and then punish it for the sin.

        > But in today’s days we do not have a Central Jewish Court that can institute death penalty.

        Isn’t that a shame? If you did you, why they could kill homosexuals and that would make the world a much better place, right? Oh no, wait, they would only haul the gay guy in, accuse him of being gay and then work hard to ensure it can’t be proven so they don’t have to carry out their god’s command:

        > had the duty to try and find any flaw possible in the witnesses’ account so as not to put to death a human being,

        And this charade makes sense because why? It seems a tad schizoid and pointless to me.

        > , just like we all have to fight all our evil inclinations.

        Ah, so your god makes them gay, (which is evil! Like murder evil? Like killing babies in their cribs evil? Or more like speeding evil?) and then gets angry when they act as your god made them!

        I’m sorry if my reply is full of snark but these things you are saying are so deeply silly I can’t frame it any other way. In short YOU’RE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE. Don’t you give any of this any sort of thought? Don’t these contradictions just scream at how flimsy this god telling people how to have sex or it gets angry business is?

        And once again, why is your god so obsessed with sex? I understand why we humans are but why would a universe creating being care a whit what we do with our junk? If it didn’t want us to bang than it shouldn’t have given us a gong.

        Could it be all this sex business is just human nonsense dressed up as the divine to give it authority and gravitas? I think you’d agree that it’s occurred with other religions and cultures, why not yours?

        • David Begin

          salvage,
          Your analogy:
          “It takes a bizarre sort of sadist to misshape its victim and then punish it for the sin.”
          -begs the question of one who was challenged with sexual desires like that of incest, necrophilia, child related films or any other Paraphilia’s, has G-D not challenged them as well, did G-D not misshape them as well? yet I doubt that you’d view the above mentioned examples simular to that of the ‘gay’. The Zoophilist will say “what type of G-D would misshape its victim and then punish it for the sin”, yet the Torah forbids it as well. Who decides what is moral and what is not, what good is and what bad is.. Torah is our Moral basis. The Torah does not speak hate of those that break it’s moral code. G-D did indeed make a strange world with many absurd things, our challenge as human beings would be to find the ‘spark of G-D’ in it all and bring purpose to those challenges that each and every one of us come with.
          – Peace and Love

      • Emmanuel you really believe people should struggle their whole lives-how stupid is that??!!

        • “Don’t you give any of this any sort of thought? Don’t these contradictions just scream at how flimsy this god telling people how to have sex or it gets angry business is?”

          Uhm no, they clearly don’t give it any thought. They just accept whatever they’ve been told as settled doctrine. Then, what makes Orthodox Jews unique is that they’ll apply the very skills that would undermine the whole thing in disputing fine minute points that aren’t settled if they only applied them to the premises.

  • I’m confused, you say that same sex couples can’t get married because the Torah says so and that cannot be argued with but the Torah also says that gays must be put to death so why aren’t these Rabies demanding the death penalty for gays?

    Is this like a compromise? You won’t kill gays as your god commands but rather just disenfranchise them society? Or maybe you want gays to feel so excluded that they’ll take their own lives? That has been show to work on the younger ones.

    Oh and why does your god make gays? It’s weird that it hates people it makes.

    • Explanation to salvage

      Salvage, there is much you do not understand. The Torah, as understood by Orthodox Judaism, does not permit the death penalty without several components, of which none are currently in existence (a Sanhedrin, rabbinical courts, sovereignty in Israel, 2 eye witnesses of the act itself, warning, the person committing the act having explicit knowledge of the law and the consequences etc.). In addition, the Torah does not say that being gay is wrong, it says that having homosexual sex is wrong. God made gay people just as he made all other people with struggles in life. Heterosexual men are not allowed to have sex until marriage and once married, are only allowed to have sex with their wives — and if they commit adultery, it is ALSO punishable by death (given the aforementioned criteria) even though it is completely normal and God-programmed for these men to want to have sex with just about any woman, not just their wives. Please do not over-simplify the issue just because you are ignorant of Orthodox Judaism.

      • >The Torah, as understood by Orthodox Judaism, does not permit the death penalty without

        Settler rabbis call for death penalty and bombing towns in war on terror

        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/settler-rabbis-call-for-death-penalty-and-bombing-towns-in-war-on-terror-1.39220

        I guess that Rabbi is as confused about the Torah as I am.

        But what about gays and the death penalty? Well there is this:

        Violence erupts at Gay Pride Parade

        Religious youngster stabs three Jerusalem parade participants; Magen David Adom says marchers sustain light, medium injuries

        http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3106491,00.html

        What do you think drove them to such violence? Is it possible they were taught that gays should be killed?

        You talk about interpretations, is there a chance that your interpretation is the wrong one?

        >In addition, the Torah does not say that being gay is wrong, it says that having homosexual sex is wrong.

        So your god fills random men and women with “unnatural” urges that they must fight against until they’re dead, never knowing sexual satisfaction and the joy that comes with being intimate with a kindred spirit?

        So how exactly should someone who is gay expect to have any sort of a happy life? Should they ignore what they want and marry into the opposite sex and live essentially a lie?

        Why would your god be so cruel?

        > Heterosexual men are not allowed to have sex until marriage and once married, are only allowed to have sex with their wives —

        Why? What is this obsession with controlling the sex lives of people? If a couple has sex before some sort of ritual that evokes a god what harm is done?

        >Please do not over-simplify the issue just because you are ignorant of Orthodox Judaism.

        That’s funny considering theism is an endless fount of oversimplification (see the 14.5 billion year old universe being created in six days for an example) so I’m thinking I could say the same to you.

        And child, please, Orthodox Judaism is no more complex than any other flavor of Judaism or other religion.

        • Salvage,

          You really are ignorant, if you think Orthodox Judaism is simplified. Given your exhibited level of research I imagine you won’t pick a book up about any religion but if you have any room for self honesty read through “Genesis and The Big Bang” by Dr. Schroder before you claim that 6 days and 15 billion years cannot co-exist.

          It is sad how ignorant and close minded atheist/agnostic extremists can be about the possibility that G-d exists. And how anti-religious the self proclaimed “liberals” can be. I’ve been on both sides of religious vs not… the non religious have much more explaining to do about reality.

          • I don’t need to read “Dianetics” to know its nonsense anymore than I need to read some silly Creationist tract pretending to be science.

            I don’t claim that 6 days and 15 billion years cannot co-exist, that would be some very simple math that makes the claim.

            Yes, yes, your god said 6 days but that could be billions of years to it! Time means nothing to gods! Which is true enough but 6 days does mean something to us and that’s what your god said and we know that’s wrong, no take-backs.

            14.5 billion for the universe, 4.5 billion for the Earth, 3.8 billion for life. Facts! You can’t beat ‘em no matter how much you pray.

            >It is sad how ignorant and close minded atheist/agnostic extremists can be about the possibility that G-d exists.

            Uh huh, let’s try something:

            It is sad how ignorant and close minded atheist/agnostic extremists can be about the possibility that dragons exists.

            It is sad how ignorant and close minded atheist/agnostic extremists can be about the possibility that the Moon is made out of cheese.

            It is sad how ignorant and close minded atheist/agnostic extremists can be about the possibility the Browns will see the SuperBowl this year.

            See, I don’t believe in those things because they’re not very likely to be, in some cases we have proof (been to the Moon, no cheese) some because they’ve never been seen outside of unbelievable stories and we have a pretty good idea where the stories came from (dragons from the ancients finding dinosaur bones and making up stuff about what they could be) and some because well it’s Cleveland, c’mon, there’s just no way.

            Just like there’s no way that there are such things as universe creating gods who make gay people just to be miserable or evil.

      • I would like to know why you misrepresent what “adultery” really means in Judaism. Somehow, you seem to omit the fact that a married man having sex with a non-married woman is not adultery. I wonder why.

        • Really? Now that’s an even cooler loophole than the whole “Put the gay on trial but never find him guilty” one.

          Sexism from a Bronze Age culture! Whodathunk?!?!

      • monika andersson

        Being gay is not forbidden but for a gay person to make love to the person they love is? So gays should spend their entire lives without intimacy? Aint religion grand?

    • Christian fundamentalists translated Leviticus 18 and 20 to add the death penalty for gays, not the Jews. In Jewish liturgy it is just referred to as an abomination. Also, the Hebrew word kadesh is a masculine form of the word for a female prostitute (kedeshah). So the references may be more inclusive of other “abominable” acts than just strictly homosexual behavior. In any case, the references are often interpreted as a warning that certain behaviors by God’s children may lead to what happened in Genesis to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. One more thing, your statement’ “because the Torah says so and that cannot be argued” is outright laughable among observant Jews who spend a lifetime arguing Torah.

      • >what happened in Genesis to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

        Ah yes, strange back then your god blew up whole cities for being naughty , it doesn’t do that anymore, I wonder why?

        Could it be that a city was destroyed in some sort of natural calamity and that a mythology grew around it declaring it to be a god’s doing?

        There are several examples of that sort of thing in other cultures from that time. Pompeii being a later example, the Romans had to assume that it was the action of their gods that levelled the area but then they didn’t know much volcanology so they had to.

        >One more thing, your statement’ “because the Torah says so and that cannot be argued” is outright laughable among observant Jews who spend a lifetime arguing Torah.

        Isn’t it strange? Your god makes this holy book, this instruction manual for life and living, this explanation of how all this came to be and yet no one can quite agree on what it says.

        Is your god a poor communicator or does it just enjoy conflict?

        • “Isn’t it strange?” No, not strange at all. It was meant to be questioned, discussed, debated. God meant Torah to be man’s intellectual and spiritual pursuit in life. “Is your god a poor communicator or does it just enjoy conflict?” Neither, it’s up to each individual to come to his/her own understanding of what the Torah message means. If we all agree completely on it then we just become mindless followers, not independent thinkers, right? Consider that even you, yourself, have done that, although in a very uninformed way. You described it as mythology. Fine, a wealth of human wisdom has been based upon ancient mythology. Greek mythology for instance has been one of the cornerstones in modern western civilization. Even if the Torah is completely allegorical it still has value and can still provide moral guidance.

          • God meant Torah to be man’s intellectual and spiritual pursuit in life.

            Well now, that just makes it stranger because your god only showed this Torah thing to a tiny sliver of humanity some 6,000 years ago. Why didn’t the natives of Australia, the Americas, the Far East and other peoples get in on it?

            “Is your god a poor communicator or does it just enjoy conflict?” Neither, it’s up to each individual to come to his/her own understanding of what the Torah message means.

            And yet it has, unsurprisingly, lead to more conflict not just among Jews but amongst every culture that has adopted and made it their own, from Christian to Muslim your god’s hippy-dippy plan of letting people come to their own understanding has  resulted in gallons of blood. If your god is all powerful / knowing it would have to have know this would be the effect. Heck, a child in grade 6 could see it coming!

            So I think “neither” is an unworkable answer, either your god messed up or it wanted war both on the local and international level over it’s commands.

            If we all agree completely on it then we just become mindless followers, not independent thinkers, right?

            Uh, no. We agree that one plus one is two yes? We agree that the Earth revolves around the Sun? We “mindlessly” follow the law because we agree that it’s right, right? If you god had left instructions that made sense and were not open to interpretation (this whole gay business being an excellent example) then we would not be mindless followers, we’d be at peace knowing the truth.

            Consider that even you, yourself, have done that, although in a very uninformed way. You described it as mythology. Fine,

            Yeah, not just me, look up the definition of mythology, read the first part of the Torah and try and tell me that one is not the other.

            a wealth of human wisdom has been based upon ancient mythology.

            No, no even close. They’re “just-so” stories dreamed up by primitives to describe, understand and to desperately try and control capricious nature. While there may be wisdom it’s the sort found in Aesop.

            Greek mythology for instance has been one of the cornerstones in modern western civilization.

            Yeah, that’s why we sacrifice our fairest citizens to the Minotaur!

            You are confused; the Greek system of democracy and the Roman system of Republicism is what you’re thinking of. While those cultures tightly bound their politics to their theism that stuff was left out. That’s why we don’t sacrifice a bull before each important vote.

            Even if the Torah is completely allegorical it still has value and can still provide moral guidance.

            Sure, so can Sesame Street, Spiderman and Professional Wrestling doesn’t mean that it’s supernatural.

            And for every nugget of morality you find huge chunks of insanity.

    • I’m no Rabbi but bear with me. G-d creates everyone and everything with a purpose and a reason. In life we’re all faced with challenges, but that doesn’t mean G-d hates us, he wants us to be the best we can be. G-d doesn’t hate gays in fact I would think that they would be more special in His eyes because they have to go through a struggle that no one else can relate to go against their identity, just like a person fighting through cancer (G-d forbid) has challenges to be religious and believe in G-d so to the gays do and when they overcome these challenges that makes them that much greater in the eyes of G-d…..
      again I’m no Rabbi and I can’t speak for G-d; this is just what I believe.

  • Thank you Rabbis! I am a Jew. I deal with homosexual attractions – yet, I do not want to identify as a gay person. It is not what I want for my life.

    I do NOT judge others who choose other paths.

    I am grateful to you all for signing this. Because people like me ALSO deserve support.

    thank you

    • Sam N. If you deal with same-sex attractions, then that is your own business. If you chose to follow a different path in your life, that is your own your own choice. No judgements. And thank you for not judging me. (an openly gay jew)

      And I think that those who are gay, or deal with same-sex attraction and want to keep an Orthodox life are not only deserving of respect because of the obvious complexity of it all, but have something to teach…

    • Stan what about the people who do? In the gay community your whats called “Self Loathing”, and the title does fit you well.

    • Sam,

      Nature made you gay it’s your religion and culture that makes you feel bad about it and that’s the only wrong in the equation.

      Accept who and what you are and you’ll be so much happier.

    • Sam,

      What support is in here? I fail to see what you are finding in this article. Their are so many issues that the orthodox world have not touched or discussed, but if they know no one is going to disagree they spend all their time on it. It is really annoying! Also, they are telling you in this article that you are damaged and not worthy. You have the choice to be miserable and you are welcome to be miserable in their synagogue… How lucky are you ? I mean come on, get a hold of yourself.

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