A friend recently sent me links to a newspaper article and a blog post about the need for greater acceptance and welcoming to homosexual Orthodox Jews within the Modern Orthodox community.
Rabbi Hyim Shafner wrote on Morethodoxy about the distinction between halachot that are moral, and halachot that are simply rules. We generally would not consider someone who doesn’t keep Kosher a bad person – they are simply a sinful person.
We need not worry that welcoming homosexual Jews into our community means we have no moral compass and tomorrow we will welcome adults who commit sexual acts with children (which is not actually one of the sexual sins in the torah) or brothers and sisters who want to marry.
An article published in the YU Commentator anonymously made three specific and reasonable requests from the Yeshiva University community:
- For the Rabbis to “recognize our existence, and to take a proactive role in organizing open discussion of the issue of homosexuality.”
- Break the taboo of homosexuality by cultivating an “atmosphere of acceptance and open discussion.”
- To form a Gay-Straight Alliance on campus to promote an environment that will be comfortable and accepting of gay students.
It’s been too long that homosexuality remains a taboo only within the Orthodox community. We need to stop denying the reality of a significant minority of our community, and strive to be accepting and open to these Jews.
The gay Jew is not living an immoral life. We as a community need to openly discuss how to find an understanding of the Torah’s attitude on homosexual intercourse, but the welcoming of openly gay individuals should not be delayed until that is achieved.
We need to make our synagogues and schools safe places for gay Jews to associate themselves, and exercise the beautiful values of community, unity and togetherness that we have otherwise valued so greatly.
Read Rabbi Shafner’s article here: Is the Torah Moral?
Read the Commentator article here: The Gay Question