Monday, July 26, 2010

Statement of Principles: Gay Jews in the Orthodox World

A statement was released last week – on a weird, anonymous blog, not under the auspices of any official organization – which covers many points applicable to gay Jews living in the frum world.  The statement is here, and they’re looking for frum rabbis or mental health professionals to vet the thing and add their names to the list of signatories.

On some fronts, it’s helpful; in other ways, it may be seen as simply frustrating or a reiteration of stuff people already knew, in the same way the Vatican keeps coming out and forbidden birth control.  I’m sure there are many folks who are dying to hear something new from the frum establishment.

There are 12 points, but for me, these are the main ones.

  1. Be nice.  Treat everybody in a friendly, dignified way.  Actually, you could distill the whole thing down to this one principle, except we’re Jews, and we love specifics.
  2. It’s not our place to ask what goes on in the privacy of anyone’s bedroom.
  3. Theories of the origin of homosexuality are not really relevant to halacha.  Sad, maybe.  Frustrating, maybe.  But true.
  4. Regardless of the origin, attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation can be dangerous.
  5. There are gay people & their kids among us – be nice (see #1) and understand that living a frum life places them at risk.  Sad, frustrating, true.
  6. Gay marriage can’t happen halachically.  But you knew it would say that, right?

Here’s my favourite line:  “All Jews are challenged to fulfill mitzvot to the best of their ability, and the attitude of “all or nothing” was not the traditional approach adopted by the majority of halakhic thinkers and poskim throughout the ages.”

Here’s another link to the document.  I admire its honesty and forthright approach.

What part of this document speaks to you?

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