Fifteen years ago, Stephen Sass and his husband, Steven Hochstadt, consecrated their commitment to each other during a religious marriage ceremony that took place during Chanukah. The timing was intentional.
Just before I sat down to talk about the future of L.A. Jews, I took a quick tour of L.A.’s Jewish past.
When Rabbi Steve Greenberg was a young rabbinical student at an Orthodox Yeshiva near Jerusalem in the mid-1970s, he was attracted to a fellow (male) student. He wanted to talk about his feelings of homosexual desire to a respected old rabbi — but was afraid to. So Greenberg fudged by telling the rabbi he was “attracted to both men and women.” The venerated old rabbi shrugged: “So you have twice the power of love. Use it carefully.”
A religious outreach official for a campaign seeking marriage equality for gays in Minnesota apologized for likening opponents' tactics to those of the Nazis. “It was a terrible mistake to even mention Nazism in an attempt to illustrate my point, and I fully understand why many found it to be offensive,” the Rev. Brad Brandon said in a statement first published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Oct. 24.
Children being raised in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families are likely to face some pretty awkward questions from their peers: How come you have two mommies? How were you born if you have only dads? Who lights the candles at your house? Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), the world’s oldest LGBT synagogue, says kids might encounter a whole range of attitudes, including jealousy and bullying, which is why her synagogue, along with Congregation Kol Ami and other local Jewish institutions, has initiated Southern California’s first Jewish LGBT Family Shabbaton.
A Seattle commission that represents the gay community canceled a meeting with gay Israeli leaders over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
Noach Dzmura has a master’s degree in Jewish studies, publishes widely on Jewish topics and is the communications director at his synagogue. In 2006, he received an award from the San Francisco Jewish Federation that funded a year’s study in Israel.
During a panel discussion at the National Council of Jewish Women’s (NCJW) Los Angeles office in April, education experts highlighted the pervasiveness of bullying in schools, saying a disproportionate number of gay and lesbian students are victims.