First, an apology. To the good men and women of the LGBT community at Sinai Temple and everywhere else in the world, on the subject of said temple’s recent announcement that it would henceforth perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, in reference to the mindless, intolerant and hurtful remarks of a few individuals as expressed in letters and e-mails and (it must have been a slow news day at The New York Times) the national press, about the issues of homosexuality, gay marriage and the proper role of rabbis in helping their congregation maintain the standards of decency to which we should all aspire: I’m sorry.
On Rosh Hashanah in 1992, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis stood before his Conservative congregation at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino and declared that despite the words of Leviticus, homosexuality is not an abomination. He argued that the same understanding and compassion Jews afford all human beings should be extended to those attracted to others of their own sex, and he told his congregation:
Leaders of the area’s Jewish LGBT community rejoiced today after the Supreme Court ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples, was unconstitutional. The court also paved the way for a return of same-sex marriage to California in a separate case by dismissing an appeal to Proposition 8 that banned such marriages.
The Supreme Court upheld the federal rights of same sex couples in states that allow same sex marriages.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a central portion of a federal law that restricted the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples in a major victory for the gay rights movement.
Nearly 300 young Iranian Jews packed UCLA’s Fowler Museum auditorium on March 7 for a discussion featuring five prominent young Iranian-Jewish professionals openly discussing topics considered to be taboo within their community. The gathering was historic not only because young Iranian-Jews do not typically discuss their problems regarding career choices and personal relationships in a public forum — but also because this event marked the first time an openly gay member of the community has discussed issues of homosexuality facing Iranian-Jews in Los Angeles.
JONAH, a Jewish center in New Jersey that offers therapy to reverse homosexuality, is being sued for allegedly making fraudulent claims.
The chief rabbi of Amsterdam, who was suspended for signing a statement on "curing" homosexuality, reportedly has been reinstated and said he was wrong to sign the document using his chief rabbi title.
Israel's Knesset passed a civil union bill, although it is expected to help only a small percentage of Israelis who do not want a religious wedding.
The bill introduced by the Yisrael Beiteinu party passed its second and third readings during a midnight vote Monday. The lawmakers' vote was 56-4; lawmakers from the religious Shas and United Torah Judaism parties opposed the bill and did not attend the vote.
[UPDATE] The newsletter sent out last month by Temple Israel of New Rochelle contained the usual sort of announcements, including a reminder about the synagogue’s upcoming Purim carnival, mazal tovs and condolences, and information about a social event at a local steakhouse.
When Lee Larsen and Bob Clarke met in the 1970s at the 8709 Bathhouse -- one of Los Angeles' best known gay social spots of the time -- they never imagined that they would one day share a very different kind of aquatic experience.
In a sign of continuing friction among Conservative Jews over the issue of homosexuality, a ceremony in Jerusalem to mark the first anniversary of the decision to admit gays to the Jewish Theological Seminary was held away from the campus of the movement's main educational institution there.
The Book of Proverbs instructs us: "Do not forsake your friend." Craig has been forsaken by his own party, but as Craig has shown concern for the fate of the Jews, we should likewise show concern for him.
Despite the popular view of what we were arguing about, I believe that the subject of gays was not what we were really divided over. It happened to be the specific subject that revealed the real fault lines in the committee, and in the Conservative movement in general.
Honestly, I'm glad that the recent vote of the Conservative movement has opened the door a bit toward acceptance of gay and lesbian Jews. Now that this teshuvah, or legal interpretation, was one of two that received a majority vote, I know that this helps some of my gay "friends and family" squeeze sideways through the now partially open door. I nevertheless remain sad and disappointed that the door has only opened a little, and the idea that it is a qualified acceptance is troubling to me.
Last week, the Conservative movement paved the way for ordination of gay rabbis and the performance of commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples. But the decisions that came out of the two-day meeting of the Rabbinical Assembly's Law Committee -- the advisory body for the movement -- were much more nuanced than headlines suggested.
Of the three major monotheistic traditions, Judaism has arguably done the most admirable job of micromanaging our lust.That's why Judaism has been more agile than other religions at handling modernity's revolution in sexual mores.
With the endorsement Wednesday of three conflicting teshuvot, or halachic responsa, by the movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards -- two upholding the longstanding ban on homosexuality and one permitting ordination of gay rabbis and commitment ceremonies -- it's likely that other rabbis will now begin performing such ceremonies, comfortable in the knowledge that they enjoy halachic sanction from the movement's highest legal body.
Gay issues have never been at the forefront of Israeli domestic politics -- unlike in the United States -- but some wonder if that will change after ultra-Orthodox protesters used violence to prevent a gay pride parade.
The resignation of a longtime leader of one of the largest Reform congregations in Ukraine has thrown the spotlight on a bitter controversy over homosexuality within the post-Soviet Reform movement.
Gays weren't even on the radar in Ilene Chaiken's Jewish community in Philadelphia back in the 1960s.
When Boris Eifman's ballet, "Tchaikovsky: The Mystery of Life and Death," premiered in Moscow in 1993, angry picketers surrounded the concert hall.
This week's Torah portion includes the verse: "Do not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).
Many audiences and reviewers have found "Trembling Before G-d's" portrayal of the anguish faced by Jews who want to remain Orthodox but see themselves as homosexual to be compelling.
Heinz Dormer is almost 90 years old, but his faded blue eyes take on a terrified, faraway look as he remembers an awful place called "the singing forest."
She's mean, she's popular. And she's more political than her shocked listeners realize. Pat Buchanan has floated her name for running mate. Gay activists have made her a target in the battle for marriage rights. And Christian lobbyists and proselytizers are carrying her flag high.