Saturday, April 28, 2012

Study suggests-"Homophobic? Maybe You’re Gay"

Homophobic? Maybe You’re Gay
WHY are political and religious figures who campaign against gay rights so often implicated in sexual encounters with same-sex partners?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jewish Responsum:"Homosexuality, Human Dignity and Halakhah a combined responsum for the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards"

A Extremely Detailed Analysis of Biblical, Talmudic and Modern and Medieval Rabbinic Texts

Some of the Rabbis mentioned or quoted within: Rabbi Moses Isserles, Rav Kook, Rav Aaron Lichtinstien, Rabbi Waldenberg, Rabbi Joel Roth, Rabbi Louis Ginzberg, Rabbi Joseph Prouser, Rabbi Eliezer Berkowitz, Rabbi Akivah, Rabbi Steven Greenberg, Rabbi Isaac De'leon, Rabbi Ettlinger, Maimonides and more 
I. Introduction
  • The Infamous Rabbinic Vote
  • She'elot (Questions)
  • Teshuvah (Answer) 
  • Dorff, Nevins, and Reisner responsum
  • CJLS
II. Contemporary Theories of Sexual Orientation

III. Halachic Sources Regarding Homosexual Intimacy
  • The Biblical Interpretation
  • Rabbinic Prohibitions on Homosexual "Approach" 
  • Lesbian Intimacy 
  • Ervah and S'ayag: Distinguishing the Biblical and Rabbinic Prohibitions
IV. Dignity, Disgrace and De'rabbanan
  • Realm of Feasibility 
  • Realm of Humiliation 
  • Human Dignity in the Talmud
  • Human Dignity in Medieval and Modern Halachic Sources
  • The Human Dignity of Homosexuals
  • Gay and Lesbian Relationships
  • Regarding Halachic Interpretation, Legislation and the Consequences
V. Conclusions
  • Piskei Din : Legal Findings
  • Afterwards
  • Appendix: Summary of Research on Select Issues in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Psychology by Judith Glassgold, Psy. D
  • Sources
  • Israeli Supreme Court Case 
  • Many More

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hamsa: Being Gay and Jewish - News - Mitzpeh

Hamsa: Being Gay and Jewish - News - Mitzpeh
 Event I attended at UMD: On March 2, Lesléa Newman, author of more than 60 books, spoke to an audience of more than 30 at the Hillel about what it means to share Jewish and gay identities.

The presentation, titled “How Can You Be a Lesbian? You’re Jewish,” was part of the two-day Hamsa Shabbat, described by Hamsa outreach chair Bruria Hammer-Bleich as “Hamsa’s biggest event of the semester.”

"Obama includes gays in Holocaust speech"

"Obama includes gays in Holocaust speech"

"California Bill Would Protect Patients From Harmful Ex-Gay Therapy"

California Bill Would Protect Patients From Harmful Ex-Gay Therapy: pA California Senate committee today advanced SB 1172, a bill that would help protect citizens from harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy. The law does not outright ban all ex-gay therapy, but it does prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts. It also requires that any prospective patient sign an informed [...]/p

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Sarah Silverman Wants Marriage Equality And a Big Apology"

Sarah Silverman Wants Marriage Equality And a Big Apology

Comic-actress Sarah Silverman says gay marriage should be legalized "with a big fucking apology for the past few years,"

Comic-actress Sarah Silverman says gay marriage should be legalized "with a big fucking apology for the past few years," during an interview withThe Hollywood Reporter.

While discussing her latest film Take This Waltz at New York's Tribeca Film Festival, Silverman, a longtime LGBT equality advocate, took a moment to address same-sex marriage.

"Gay marriage is something that Newark Mayor Cory Booker said it best: Some things are not meant to be a vote. Some things are a right. And if things like that were left for a vote, he said, I wouldn't be where I am today — meaning anything that is civil rights," Silverman tells THR. "Because people don't always know what's best. Their fears keep them from being open and being fair. And so that would just be not up for a vote. Gay marriage, legal, with a big fucking apology for the past few years."

In 2010 Silverman spoke toThe Advocate about the issue and her decision to not marry until all Americans can legally wed. "Not only that, but lately I’ve been really annoyed by any liberal person getting married who says they stand for gay rights," Silverman said. "How can anyone in good conscience get married right now? How is that different than joining a country club that doesn’t allow Jews or blacks?" 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Jewish Group Presses Obama on Executive Order"

"Jewish Group Presses Obama on Executive Order"

Group urging President Obama to sign an executive order that bans the federal government from contracting with corporations that discriminate against LGBT people.

" The Case Against Pinkwashing, Or Why I’m Gay For Israel" By Jayson Littman

OPINION: The Case Against Pinkwashing, Or Why I’m Gay For Israel


An influential US rabbi ‘comes out’ as an LGBT ally by Edmund Broch April 21, 2012 "An influential US rabbi ‘comes out’ as an LGBT ally"  by  - 21 April 2012, 1:48pm

Rabbi Shmuli Yanklowitz, who was chosen by Newsweek as one of the most influential rabbis in the United States, has declared that he is “coming out of the closet,” not as a gay man, but as a “proud ally with those of LGBT orientation.”
Writing for the Jewish Journal under the name ‘Social Justice Rav,’ he said that his decision arose out of an inter-faith leader panel on the subject of LGBT and religion at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). He was the only heterosexual panellist, and was asked: “When did you come out of the closet or when did you come out as an ally?” To which, he responded: “I’m coming out right now!” — in his words “as an Orthodox rabbi who is a proud ally” of gay and trans people.

Can you date people of the same gender and still not be out to yourself?

Can you date people of the same gender and still not be out to yourself?

"Gay and Lesbian Rabbis in Israel", Schechter Rabbinical Seminary decides to admit gay and lesbian students

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"Confessions Of A Gay Zionist" by Jayson Littman

Jayson Littman
Jayson LittmaTuesday, April 17, 2012 by Jayson Littman - Special To The Jewish Week                                                                                      
Many times people ask, “Do you think it’s nature or nurture?” I always respond by telling them that my love for Israel is most likely a combination of both. 
Raised Orthodox in the Washington Heights section of New York, I can’t say that I grew up with a strong Zionistic passion. I attended Breuer’s Yeshiva, a mainly black-hat German-Jewish “yekkish” yeshiva that taught us more about the importance of being on time than the goings-on of Israel. We never participated in the Israel Day Parade as it was co-ed, and while I received many certificates of trees and Israel Bonds for my bar mitzvah, I didn’t really have a close connection to Israel until I studied in a post-high school yeshiva in Neve Yaakov, in northeastern Jerusalem. 
Living in Israel for two years was the first time I was away from home. Being 18, it was also the time in my life when I was figuring out who I was as a person. While I was studying in yeshiva, I was also starting to identify my gay feelings. I recall a time when I phoned a rabbi in Israel and told him of my feelings of confusion about my sexual identity. The rabbi asked how old I was and when I told him, his response was, “Oh, you’re just young and confused. It’s probably just a phase. Focus on yeshiva, your connection to Hashem and your learning; you’ll be just fine.”

And so I listened. I spent the next two years immersing myself in Torah studies and really strengthening my relationship with Hashem and Eretz Yisrael. I toured the holiest parts of Israel with my yeshiva and recall praying at the graves of many of our ancestors, always asking God for guidance. I found solace and hope in following some of the kabbalistic intensities of Israel. I knew dunking in the Arizal mikveh in Safed would offer me the opportunity to repent before leaving this world, and praying at Amuka would find me a wife within a year.
“What do you expect from me?” I found myself asking over and over as I read a chapter of Tehillim [Psalms].  As my colored shirts turned to white and my khaki pants turned to wool, I would spend much time at the Western Wall, and during my walks through Jerusalem, I would think about my Jewish identity and connect to Hashem in ways I never did back home in the States. With my tzitzis dangling from my pants, I would hover near the Kotel, at times feeling I wasn’t holy enough to touch or kiss the Wall, but connect to Hashem and the Jewish people around me who were also feeling the holiness of the Presence.
Fast forward 10 years: I am now an out gay man. Many times people ask me, “Do you think it’s nature or nurture?” I always respond by telling them it really doesn’t matter, because either Hashem “natured” me to be gay or put me in the environment that nurtured me to be gay. 
I decide to return to Israel, and as soon as I board that El Al plane, I already have a feeling of hope and a closer connection to God. I imagine Israel in 1948 and think about how it is a country built on hope that still offers hope to many Jewish people around the world. I’m not exactly sure what Zionism means today, but when I’m in Israel, I feel the unconditional love of a God to His Jewish people, and my connection to that people.
I explore Tel Aviv, a city I never visited before. While I had shed my Orthodox identity, and the clothing that went along with it, my heart begins to beat fast as I recall the connection to Israel that strongly solidified so many years before. On a walk along the Tel Aviv boardwalk on the way to the gay beach, a Chabad emissary asks if I had put tefillin on that day. As he binds my arm with leather straps, I connect with Hashem in that ever-close way I can only do in Israel. 
Having reconciled my faith and sexuality, I find myself surprised at my ability to actually touch the Kotel and pray to Hashem in a much deeper and personal way. I find myself taking in the energy around me from Jews from all walks of faith, and feel connected to a people who, no matter where they are on the spectrum of Jewish identity, still feel at home at this very special place. 

I know at that time that no matter if I identified as Orthodox, Conservative or Reform, the Kotel will always be home to me, and that God will listen to my thoughts and prayers. After ridding my heart of turmoil, self-hate and questioning, I am now able to stand in front of this wall with an open heart. Still, as I look around me at others praying in this special place, I find myself asking Hashem the very same question I asked years before, “What do you expect of me?”
Jayson Littman is the founder of He’bro, which produces and promotes events for gay secular and cultural Jews in New York.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

“I realized he was what I wanted", “He’s the one. We’d work it out.”

Mr. Marc Kushner (Modern Orthodox Jew) and Mr. Chris Barley (Mennonite)
NYTIMES:Published: April 13, 2012 By ANNA JANE GROSSMAN 
DURING a summer internship in 2007, Chris Barley thought that he had found a mentor in the architect Marc Kushner. Both were 6-foot-4, dapperly handsome and from religious families. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

BIG News: How to Ex an "Ex-Gay" Study! Dr. Robert Spitzer study renounced

Not one mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals has found any evidence to support so-called “ex-gay” therapy; in fact, the evidence they have found suggests that it can actually be harmful to patients.

How to Ex an "Ex-Gay" Study 

Psychology Today: Here to Help
Published on April 11, 2012 by Alice Dreger, Ph.D. in Fetishes I Don't Get

Why a Haggadah? Seinfeld Judaism...

The integration of Jews and Jewish themes into our pop culture is so prevalent that we have become intoxicated by the ersatz images of ourselves. I, too, love “Seinfeld,” but is there not a problem when the show is cited as a referent for one’s Jewish identity? For many of us, being Jewish has become, above all things, funny. All that’s left in the void of fluency and profundity is laughter. 

"Jewish peoplehood comes first" Op-ed: Pesach a reminder that Judaism should unite us, not be a wall that divides us,7340,L-4214040,00.html

Pesach is the Independence Day of the Jewish people. It is when God’s promise to Abraham to turn his descendants into a great nation comes to fruition. Two central ideas characterize or have come to characterize this day, ideas which have and must continue to define the essence of our national identity.

"Torah isn't everything" Op-ed: Boasting kippah, beard does not make one religious if he spits at girls, humiliates soldiers",7340,L-4214958,00.html
For many years, Israeli society dealt with the question of "who is a Jew." Religious and coalition crises revolved around that question, which touched the raw nerve of Jewish identity – after all, who has the right to determine who is a Jew? Who has a monopoly on Judaism?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Passover! "Barbra Streisand Sings Hatikvah and Talks to Golda Meir"

To All,

Let us take strength from the Hatikvah (Israeli National Anthem). "Our hope is not yet lost"

Happy Passover to all! May this year be a year of liberation and freedom for all people and in all places. May our leaders fight for equality and stand up for truth!

Translation of the Israeli National Anthem: 
As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
An eye still looks toward Zion;
Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Why Are American Jews So Liberal? Passover Seder by Jay Michaelson

Why Are American Jews So Liberal?

Enduring Political Message of the Passover Seder

By Jay Michaelson (Author of God Vs. Gay) Published April 03, 2012, issue of April 06, 2012. The Forward
Strangers in Strange Land: American Jews have long since adapted to life in the U.S. So why do they vote like they are just off the boat?  (click read more to read the entire article)

"Talk Covers Gay Rights,Bible" (Harvard U. Crimson)

“Only six verses out of 31,000 even talk about same-sex intimacy,” said Michaelson. “But even those are obscure and subject to interpretation.
Michaelson is the author of the bestseller “God vs. Gay: The Religious Case for Equality”

Orthodox, Gay and Married Jew: Freedom and the lack thereof...

Orthodox, Gay and Married Jew: Freedom and the lack thereof...: ...And using toothpicks to Clean Your Light Fixtures of Chometz... free·dom      [ free -d uh m ]     Show IPA noun ...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Church Hosts Conference on 'Ex-Gay' Therapy w/podcast..
Pennie and Mark Vatcher"Even though my son right now at this point is not desiring to be anything following the Lord," she says, "I believe seeds are planted today, and I have the faith that it's going to be growing, watering through his life and one day he will accept Christ."

Brett Vatcher, 16"Don't tell my parents but no; I know I'm gay, and like, their stories are really inspiring but I know this is me and I don't really want to change."

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Wearing My Rainbow Yarmulka With Pride" by Chaim Levin

March 30th, 2012 article in the Huffington Post : Wearing My Rainbow Yarmulka With Pride —  Chaim Levin

Wearing a yarmulka had been a great challenge for me, mostly since I stopped identifying as an Orthodox Jew. While living in Crown Heights, I have walked the streets without a yarmulka, which many people saw as the ultimate sign of rebellion from me -- the last straw and lamentable proof that Chaim Levin is not religious anymore. Many people could not understand why I refused to just wear it and show "respect" for the people in Crown Heights. My parents insist that I must wear a yarmulka while at their house, and I am happy to respect their wishes.
Wearing a yarmulka in public, on the other hand, has been something I have wrestled with for some time. I have always wrestled with the wind to keep my yarmulka from flying off. That inconvenience was not the struggle that drove me to stop wearing my yarmulka.
I could not understand why it was so important that I wore this thing to define my status as a Jew and, on the streets of Crown Heights, to be perceived as an respectful Jew. I often felt, if wearing a yarmulka were so important to the Jewish community, my parents and my grandparents who survived the camps and the evil reigns of the likes of Stalin and Lenin, I should wear a yellow star on my arm. While that might have been rebelliously, perhaps angrily bold and even offensive, it would have been something I understood.
The only rationale that I was never able to dismiss was that a yarmulka is a sign of identity; identity was something I was taught to proclaim and be proud of no matter what. Dressed as an Orthodox Jew, I walked around Paris while in yeshiva, despite the many issues I encountered from some anti-Semitic people.

However, I was kicked out of yeshiva after being identified as gay, and I encountered very many difficulties and alienation within the Orthodox community because of my identity. As a result, I wrestled with my identity as an Orthodox Jew, and eventually stopped wearing my yarmulka. Still, I was constantly reminded of it whenever I would feel the wind on my face and instinctively put my hand to my head in vain to protect a visceral part of me I no longer had.
I later learned, contrary to what I was taught, that wearing a yarmulka is not the exclusive signature of Orthodox Jews. Recently, I had the great honor and pleasure of meeting with someone who pioneered rainbow yarmulkas when we met to discuss my journey into the public eye and giving people hope. I was delighted and humbled when he gave me the yarmulka that he wore at his wedding this past July when he married his partner of five years. I put it on right then and there and felt like I never wanted to take it off ever again.
This rainbow yarmulka palliated the hole in my viscera and resolved some of the conflict I have been wrestling with. I have not wrestled alone. I am proud of the progress that gay people have made. I am proud of the gay Jewish people who have overcome their personal struggles. I am proud of, elated with and grateful for my wonderful parents and others from the Orthodox community I had believed would never accept me. Growing up Orthodox, I was taught identity was something to proclaim and be proud of no matter what. I understand that better now, and I am certainly prouder.
Wearing my yarmulka with pride, I have appeared in public for interviews during the past few months. I was surprised by some very harsh criticism and scrutiny that claimed I was misrepresenting myself as a fully observant Orthodox Jew. What I have realized is that wearing a yarmulka in public is a symbol of pride in my family, my Jewish heritage and the struggles Jewish people have overcome, and I am proud to wear my Jewish identity on my head. Others have suggested that the pride I have wrestled to find is an antagonistic ploy against the Orthodox community, in essence subverting Orthodox custom with the "gay agenda" right on the top of my head. If there were a "gay agenda," I would hope to be asked to participate, but it wouldn't change why I wear my yarmulka. However, there is no "gay agenda" other than in homophobic rhetoric, just as there has never been a "Jewish agenda" or Judenproblem other than in anti-Semitic propaganda. Still, even real agendas have little to do with the inherently personal decision to wear yarmulkas. My own choice to wear a rainbow yarmulka has nothing to do with how others might see it.
I wear my yarmulka because I am proud: I am Jewish and gay. I am equally proud of both identities and would not want see anyone discriminated against because of either. As time goes by, as more awareness grows and Jewish communities and the Orthodox community in particular acknowledges people who are different, people who are gay, people who are victims of abuse or authority -- as light is shed on the precarious realities faced by people within Orthodox communities -- I am more inclined than ever to wear a yarmulka and proclaim my pride as gay Jew. These two identities have been the targets of discrimination and violence for millenia and once seemed incompatible. My identity as a gay Jew grows stronger and prouder with each passing day. While I may not wear it all the time, I will always wear my yarmulka with pride.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A picture with Jay Michaelson, author of God vs. Gay

Picture taken at the 2012 Nehirim Gay Men Retreat in Connecticut March 30th-April 1rst.

Take a look at some of the articles and videos of Jay Michaelson on my blog. He understands and gets it!

Sign up! NEHIRIM EAST LGBT JEWISH Retreat 6/15-6/17

The Nehirim East Spiritual Retreat is Nehirim’s flagship retreat weekend, bringing together over one hundred LGBT Jews from around the country to the beautiful Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Connecticut. This year is our eighth annual retreat, taking place June 15–17, 2012, and is an opportunity to:
EXPLORE your connection to Judaism with spirited Shabbat services, workshops, and community-led programming.
RELAX and enjoy nature and a beautiful 100-acre site in the Berkshires, and
CONNECT with an inclusive and diverse community of LGBT Jews, partners, and allies. We are Orthodox Jews to atheists, students and seniors, men, women, and the rest of us. Whoever you are, there are people like you at Nehirim!

Sign up! Observant Jewish Gay Observant Shabbaton(Cambridge, MA) 4/20-4/22

ShabBoston- Sign up..

The cost of the shabbaton is $79, which includes meals and program.
The shabbaton will include shiurim, zmiros, sessions on relevant to our lives as LGBT  frum (or formerly frum) Jews, wonderful spirited davening, delicious healthy kosher food, and plenty of time scheduled to just hang out, sit by the fireplace on Saturday night, and get to know all the members of this growing community.
The Shabbaton will bring together Orthodox and traditional LGBT Jews of all kinds from the New England area to an event aimed to create a community of support, learning, growth and leadership.

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