Sunday, January 29, 2012

"I Never Thought 'Baseless Hatred' was Inherent" by Rich Dweck

          I am in a Rabbinic Thought class. It is about Judaism in a historical context of how, why and where Rabbinic Judaism started.

          Something we learned last week was very troubling. I know that the Jews were involved in many wars through the ages, but never knew that Jews killed Jews because they had different views on Judaism. I know that I should have known this and was probably taught this as a child. Maybe I was just to naive to think that the Jews would never resort to killing one another, no matter what! This was around 135BCE. Some Jews wanted some of what Greek life had to offer and others were opposed to any assimilation of any kind. (cont. below)

Lady Gaga - #HairMusicVideo - It Gets Better

Wowie! It is worth watching!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community"

Chaim has a lot of courage to write this. For many readers, they might think that this is something that should not be spoken about at all. I am sure this article will save lives. I really wonder how people think they have the right to judge others. I am very confident in knowing that being gay was and is in God's plan. God is much smarter than most think. Before I came out, I went through a lot of what Chaim went through. No one should ever have to endure the pain and suffering that many of us go through. I think God has a much grander plan than what most think. If one looks at the text, they can derive many different explanations. It is quite easy to say that someone who is in fact innately homosexual is what the torah is talking about. What if it is talking about people that are not homosexual, but engage in homosexual acts? Homosexuality was looked at as an act for a very long time. Today it is not looked at as that, rather it is looked at as an alternate lifestyle that some have due to their sexuality.
          For anyone to say that the Jewish Press did not do the right thing by publishing this, does not understand Judaism. Judaism is not a religion of silence, although it might appear so based on many communities within. Part of what makes God great is that he created diversity. He did not create robots, not did he create all white males, same noses, bodies and so on. His greatness is that he did not go that route. I do not think that God loves any of his children less or more. Maybe I have a more global view, but the narrow minded "right wing" Jews are what is destroying Judaism. Just take a look at what is happening in Israel. We have "right wing" Jews calling women "WHORES", telling women to sit in the back of the bus like the blacks had to years ago. We have "right wing" Jews that will not allow a modestly dressed woman to accept an award. I just wonder, what do these people think God wants from them. Do they really think God wants them embarrassing someone? When did it become ok to think learning torah all day makes one better than another. This world needs our help. The insulated ghettos that many orthodox live in is nice, but it heeds  what "Ben Adam Le'chavero", "Tikkun Olam", "Pekuach Nefesh" are. Can one live in those communities and do these things? Yes, but that seems to be seldom cases. Some reach out to the world and some stay in a building for their entire life.
             I just cannot get over how people think that they are better than others. It is sad! If we did have a silent vote on this issue, we would have at least 70% that would have no issue and want to be supportive of others. The problem is the 30% or less make the loudest noise! It's time for the Orthodox world to start talking about the issues that are banging down their doors!

Rich Dweck

Minn. School Board Likely to OK New Sexual Orientation Policy

Tribute to Karen Carpenter: "We've Only Just Begun"

Tennessee Lawmaker: Gays Not "Mentally Healthy Adult Human Beings"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hacking away at Arab and Israeli stereotypes

Hacking away at Arab and Israeli stereotypes

Cyber-attacks on Israel shock those who see Arabs as backward – but on both sides such stereotyping is being challenged...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Please watch: Abraham Joshua Heschel Profile (PBS, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly)

Faith Community Rallies to Support Homeless Youth, Fights Governor's Budget Proposal

It's nice to finally see religions stepping up for Social Justice!

Amsterdam chief rabbi suspended for gay stance

Rabbi temporarily removed for signing document saying homosexuality can be "healed”; Orthodox say gays "welcome" in community.

A Place for Gays in Orthodoxy 'Commitment Ceremony' Offers Welcome to Same-Sex Couples: by Rabbi Steve Greenberg

The Jewish Forward- 1/11/12: Not a month goes by without a young person just out of the closet — or sometimes that person’s shocked parents — contacting me in search of Orthodox leaders to respond credibly to their questions. It was this reality that was on my mind as I confronted the backlash to a same-sex commitment ceremony I performed last November. 

In response, 100 rabbis signed a statement censuring me. While these rabbis may prefer to foist this challenge upon me, the truth is that, as rabbis, we are all responsible for the conflict between present halachic norms and the real lives of people. We are all responsible for the gay and lesbian kids who are growing up in Orthodox communities and want a future. And I am not the only Orthodox rabbi who believes so.

Three years ago I interviewed 20 Orthodox rabbis on their pastoral experiences with gay people and their families. Those interviews were taped and transcribed, and many of them are incredibly moving. I wish I could share these and other conversations I have had over the years with Orthodox rabbis whose honesty and decency, whose humility in the face of a difficult question, are not widely known. But the interviews are secret because I promised not to share them. I can quote a few rabbis whose views were written or spoken publicly — though I am still reluctant to use their names.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Inspiration: Student Denied Study Abroad, Decides to Shoot Documentary

This is a class project on a student with cerebral palsy who decided to shoot a documentary about handicap accessibility in Europe when he was denied the chance to study abroad.

Interfaith- Group Pic

"God Hates Jews", "God Hates Fags" We Stand United- WESTBORO BAPTIST Church

“To affirm our common values, regardless of WBC’s presence.

800 and 1,000 members of the Stanford community attended Friday's counter-protest, organized by Hillel and the Jewish Student Association. Five Westboro members, not pictured, were present.

Hillel and the Jewish Student Association began planning their counter-event soon after learning, via Westboro’s Web site, that the group planned to picket outside Hillel.

Blake Parkinson '10 played "Amazing Grace" during Friday morning's demonstration in response to the Westboro protest.. (MASARU OKA\Staff photographer)

“ There was so much energy on campus around this and it seemed better to channel it into something rather than bottle it up,”

“ I love Jews,”, “Gay is OK,”

"A potentially ugly scene into a positive moment","Messages of tolerance — and flair"

“Lift Every Voice.”, “Stanford United.”

“All You Need is Love”, “You gotta love the love,”

United 2 Heal: Moustafa had idea to help change & make the world a better place! ! How can diversity strengthen service?

United 2 Heal is an interfaith humanitarian organization that collects and redistributes surplus medical supplies to hospitals in need around the world. Moustafa is an Interfaith Youth Core Fellows Alliance Alum.

Praying With My Legs (Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Search for a Meaningful Existence)

                He was the key Jewish figure in the American civil rights movement, in the course of which Heschel, the descendent of luminous Eastern European Hasidic rebbes, developed a profound friendship and theological partnership with Martin Luther King. Together they stood in the front line of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march. 
               Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) -- rabbi, scholar, teacher, poet, a devout Jew, a fervent advocate for the oppressed, a champion of interfaith dialogue  --  was one of the great religious voices of conscience in modern times. He was the author of enduring books on spirituality, among them The Sabbath, Man is Not Alone, God in Search of Man, and The Prophets. PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly has named Heschel one of “the 25 most influential religious figures of the 20th Century.”

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Experience: Interfaith Leadership Institute Conference part 1

This weekend I have the opportunity to attend an Interfaith conference that was initiated by President Obama for universities around the country. It is an honor to represent the Jewish population at my school. I never thought I would be chosen for such a task that bares much responsibility. How can I represent the Jewish people in the best possible way that is real for me? Do I make like the Jewish world is perfect? Do I make like the recent events in Israel never happened? Do I talk about how the orthodox Jews continue to ignore issues that are banging down their doors?
The answer will come later.... Stay tuned!
Being at this national universities interfaith conference, I see such amazing things going on. It seems working on interfaith issues somewhat heal by doing service together rather than who is right and who is wrong.
One guy started an org to attain all surplus med supplies from hospitals and Dr. Offices around the country and send it to countries that really need it! Our outdated equipment can be another country's new technology. He started bringing together faith based groups together to take the initiative. Since he started this three years ago, they have sent millions of dollars of medical supplies. It really shows how one person can make a difference and bringing people together that usually wouldn't agree for service.
All religions subscribe to doing service. If only Israelis and Palestinians started with working on these types of initiatives might be the way to a real peace!

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Homosexuality: Nature vs. Nurture"- My story and the video..

      This has a total of 5 shortish paragraphs..    

          According to the video below, each older brother one has increases the chances of being a homosexual( I am the youngest of 4 boys). Also, if one is right handed that increases the odds (I am right handed). Two sets of identical twins are shown in the video. One in each set are homosexual. One loved the color pink, helping in the kitchen, barbies, nail polish and so on. It reminded me of when I was very young, I would go through my mothers make-up and nail polish drawer. Some might say it was just a child's curiosity. Anytime I was caught, I felt very shameful. It is not her fault, but these were just things that were unexpected and threw her off. I also loved Tina Turner and would dance and sing like her for family. Any family or social event, I always hung out with the mothers/ladies. I just felt like they had the most fun! Some parents might think if you take away the barbies, make up, buy only blue, black and white clothes and anything somewhat effeminate, then they will become or stay straight. In fact, this makes it worse. Gender expression is important. If you push your son to play baseball and they would rather go to art class, allow them to be children. After all, I went to art class with Marcy for years.

Nefesh Head Backs Away From ‘Torah Declaration’ On Gays

Nefesh Head Backs Away From ‘Torah Declaration’ On Gays

Monday, January 2, 2012

On the money! "As Britain seeks a new chief rabbi, EXTREMISTS rise"

Jerusalem Post
01/02/2012 23:22

If we Jews are enjoined to emulate our patriarch Jacob who wrestled with an angel, then surely we must also respectfully challenge our spiritual leaders and reclaim our human voice.

Click the read more button

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"That Girl" by Ely Winkler (Gay and Marrying a woman)

I guess I needed a bit of a break. My last post, while definitely not necessarily my most thought out or best choice of words, was important for me to write. So I appreciate all the feedback, even the negative. I wanted to share something that's been on my mind- beingthat girl.

In the past, I've written about different individual's choices to stay in the closet, and my dismay with those who stay in the closet and date women, even though they know that they're gay. It's one thing to hide it as a personal choice, but it's another to bring other people into this decision and struggle. I was talking to a friend who asked me about the orientation a boy she was set up with. I told her I was uncomfortable answering or disclosing any information I may or may not know, and she responded, "Please, Ely, no one wants to be that girl." That's what inspires this post. While many friends have had numerous girls come to them with a situation as this, it's rarely happened to me.

It's always unfortunate when men/women hide who they are from their significant others, but I never thought that once they come out, what their partner's perspective would be. Apparently, no one wants to be that girl. No one wants to fall in love and be told "I love you, but I'll never love you as much as you love me".  I always felt less upset when a homosexual person posed as a heterosexual one, as long as their significant other knew. But now I realize, that even if they know, that doesn't mean it's okay. No one wants to be the person in a relationship who gets the burden of being with a homosexual partner.

A fellow gay blogger came out to his wife recently (read about ithere), and I strongly admire his courage and decision. And I am happy that they are figuring out how to make it work best for both of them. However, I have to feel a certain amount of pain for his wife. No one wants to be that girl.

PS- I apologize for the gender specificity of this post. I obviously realize that no one wants to be that guy either, who has a girlfriend or wife come out to them.
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A gay Orthodox Jew.: That Girl:

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