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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Torah, Judaism and Homosexuality. Let the Truth be known.

Today I wrote a review on a book, Judaism and homosexuality: an authentic orthodox approach. My review, which I had thought quite a lot about before posting ( I have thought about this matter for the last 48+ years of my life) was accepted on Amazon.com. However, Amazon. uk rejected it and then wrote that I would never again be allowed to review this title.

What i am writing here is the tip of the iceberg for me. It comes from the heart. It is the result of 68 years of living as a gay, Jewish man who loves G-d and loves life. Though I have been the recipient of so much hostility from other Jews for whom I am, I have never lost my faith in G-d, who created me as I am, in His ( Her - She has no gender - more on that in future posts) image nor in the goodness of humanity. After all is said and done, I still believe that people are inherently good. As a physician I daily work to let my patients know that I love them and that I will do all in my power to help them.

Here is my review:

It is hard to know where to even begin such a review.

I am a physician and yeshiva graduate. I continue to learn Torah daily. I am also in a committed gay relationship with another man that began in 1985. I founded the third gay and lesbian synagogue in the US in 1976 in Chicago after the local shuls refused to allow people like me to even davven with them if we were open about who we were. At the time every single synagogue in Chicago refused to even allow us to rent space to pray. Finally, we ended up having to pray in a non-Jewish setting. When as an intern in South Bend, IN. I walked into the only orthodox shul to pray the rabbi told me that he was so happy to have a yeshiva grad there, not to mention a doctor. Then he asked me if I were married. I told him the truth. He then told me to leave and never return.

The author of this study is a sincere and literate man. He seems to truly care about the welfare of gay people but he also appears to me to be in major denial when it comes to us and our world.

It is only within the last 100 years that homosexuals have reached out to ally themselves with others like them in order to improve our lot in life. We are different and G-d created us as we are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with us per se as some might want to believe. The Torah does not condemn people for who they are. Rather it tells us that G-d wants a relationship with us, an intimate one, that brings out the best in us. And since He created us in His Image, there is nothing at all wrong with us including our same-sex attraction.

Our attractions are totally normal. In fact, if we, as homosexuals were attracted to the opposite sex then we would be abnormal for the way He created us. I know that many find this hard to related to but it is nonetheless so. Until heterosexuals realize this, they are really missing the point here.

The rabbis who are cited so well in this work never had any understanding of gays and lesbians as people. We were and in the mind of this author are solely defined by what we do in bed.  Would heterosexuals like to be so defined in so narrow a way? I think not. Why not realize that in this way we are no different.

The verses in Genesis where the idea of sodomy or anal intercourse is first found and  upon which much of this book revolves need to be reexamined closely. We are shown angels in the guise of men who are offered shelter. A crowd of men demands to have sex with them. Lot offers his daughters which they refuse. They want to rape the men.  The  crowd is not made up of same-sex attracted men; they are all straight men who want to rape other men. What is so hard to understand here? We are not dealing with gay men. And yet the rabbis,  later on in Leviticus where men laying with men in the manner of women is prohibited, in their ignorance, assume that this must refer only to gay men since they allow it for heterosexuals.

Lesbians are nowhere mentioned in Torah. Yet the author draws the erroneous conclusion that the Torah also prohibits sex between them. In addition, he believes that sex between same sex couples of any kind is prohibited. The same rabbis who denounce men for having anal intercourse with other men in a consensual relationship, permit it for heterosexuals. Thus, they tip their hand to let us know that procreation is not an issue here.

All of this is not only faulty reasoning but downright ignorant.

The Torah not only does not condemn gay men and lesbians, since it was never referring to them in the first place in Genesis ( it was referring to same sex rape), but doesn't condemn people for who they are per se.

The author tries to represent himself as reasonable and fair minded. He is neither in his conclusions which only serve to support the continuing hate and denigration of people like me in the orthodox community.

Long before Torah was given at Sinai Hashem created gay men and lesbians. We are a fact of life which no rabbinical decrees can eliminate. Homosexual sex and love/ attraction is found in every single species in the animal kingdom. We are a fact of life.

People, do not be sheep. Educate yourselves about the world. About life. Read, study the Torah. Know that it is Truth,  but that many of those ignorant people who claim to let us know what it says are themselves unbearably ignorant. In their arrogance, they assume that they understand things which they have never studied and inquired into.

Would you want to base your life on such faulty and obviously ignorant advice?

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