BY STUART WINER April 11, 2016, 1:05 pm
Dozens of Israeli Orthodox rabbis have signed a religious edict urging religious communities to accept gay members without prejudice and ruling that homosexuals can fulfill the same community duties as their heterosexual peers.
The Beit Hillel organization, a Modern Orthodox rabbinic group comprising 200 men and women that promotes inclusiveness in Orthodox Judaism, published the letter on Sunday night during a seminar in Ra’anana.
In the document the rabbis stressed that there is no reason in halacha — the Jewish code of regulations for daily life — to exclude homosexuals.“Even though the forbidden relations cannot be permitted, there’s room to be lenient in the approach to social inclusion and to accept them into the community,” the letter said, where they can “serve as prayer leaders in the synagogue and carry out all public functions.”
“The matter of single sex [relationships] has resulted in confusion among many members of our community,” began the letter, which declared that its aim was to “dispel doubts” and lay down “an integrated path between religious law and loving-kindness and peace.”
During the six months it took to compose the edict, the authors were in consultation with representatives of the gay community.