Sunday, June 30, 2013

From 1989: "Here" Comes The Groom, A (Conservative) Case For Gay Marriage" - The New Republic

by Andrew Sullivan | August 28, 1989
Last month in New York, a court ruled that a gay lover had the right to stay in his deceased partner’s rent-control apartment because the lover qualified as a member of the deceased’s family. The ruling deftly annoyed almost everybody. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Orthodox, Married — and For Gay Marriage" by Simi Lichtman

6/26/13, The Jewish Daily Forward- As an Orthodox Jew, the first time I ever seriously questioned the validity and applicability of the Torah — indeed, perhaps the only time — was when I thought deeply about the issue of homosexuality.

I believe that the Bible comes from God, and I believe in the commandments within. However, I also believe that homosexuality is not a choice, not a lifestyle, but simply a natural way of loving for many people. Gay men and women deserve the same happiness and love as heterosexuals.

So how do I integrate my two beliefs? The question haunts me, and so far in my life I have not come upon a satisfactory answer. Instead, I choose to employ heavy cognitive dissonance and believe in both, separately. I feel for my Orthodox gay friends who continue to strive to live an Orthodox life, because they are the ones who must live with this huge tension, every day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

" For LGBT Orthodox Jews, Growth of Social Media Creates a Safe Space Online" by Michael Orbach

(Andrea Tsurumi)

6/26/13 Tablet Magazine- Growing up in an ultra-Orthodox family in Brooklyn in the 1970s, Moshe struggled with his homosexuality. “I went to yeshiva and there were no gay characters on television,” said Moshe, who asked that we not use his real name. 
There was no discussion of gay issues at the yeshiva, either, he remembers: Everyone was implicitly taught that the only way to channel their sexuality was to get married—to women, of course. At 22, Moshe did just that, hoping he could “marry the gay away.” “We dated for 12 days,” he recalled. That was in 1994, before the popular advent of the Internet. At the time, Moshe didn’t realize there were other Orthodox men grappling with their sexuality, too.
The online universe changed all that. A few years ago, he began reading blogs about other Orthodox gay men who were coming out. While he was still unable to confront his sexuality publicly, he felt he needed to connect with other people in similar situations—something the Internet allowed him to do without “going public.” “I was able to see people expressing themselves—Orthodox friends of mine expressing themselves with their homosexuality, and I wanted that,” he told me. “I needed that.”
His therapist at the time, a prominent rabbi in Moshe’s community, suggested he start his own blog to discuss his homosexuality anonymously. In June 2011, as a married father of four, he did. “I am a frum, gay & married male who feels compelled to share,” he wrote in his first blog entry. “I could be a mispallel in your shul listening to the Rov talk about the perverts and mishkav zochornicks [homosexuals] supporting gay marriage. … I reiterate, I am lonely and in pain. … I am convinced there are other people like me out there. I want them to know that they are not alone. I want to have the opportunity to hear from them and share my experience with them.”
Moshe wasn’t the only one. Since the Internet boom and the more recent growing popularity of social media—from blogs to Facebook groups, dating sites to Twitter feeds, as well as official organizational websites—there has been a veritable explosion of sites and support groups for LGBT Orthodox Jews, a population that until now, hid in the shadows. The Internet has created a safe space for a population caught between the demands of faith and the demands of self—a population that didn’t have a safe space before.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Movie: PBS- "Stonewall Uprising"- The Major Turning Point in the Modern Gay Civil Rights Movement (1969)

Watch Stonewall Uprising on PBS. See more from American Experience.

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Saving LGBT souls: A Jewish imperative" by Rabbi Elianna Yolkut

My opinion: It's so important to educate the overall population of how family, community and religion affects an LGBT young adult. It is great for us to know, but unfortunately LGBT persons do not usually reproduce LGBT kids, which makes LGBT children very unique. They do not grow up in the social structure that support them.LGBT children are usually the surprises and parents lack the skills to be able to deal with the unique issues facing these children and themselves. by Rich Dweck 
June 9th, 2013, Haaretz- News that Israel Police arrested suspects in the 2009 Bar Noar youth club attack left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. While the announcement of arrests was welcome, it got me searching for statistics on the upward battles of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in their homes, schools and communities.
According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN):
• LGBT youth are twice as likely to be bullied, assaulted or experience situations where they are in physical danger than their straight peers;
• 84% of LGBT students report experiencing verbal harrassment at school because of their gender identity or sexual orientation;
• 25% of LGBT students have been physically hurt by another student because of their sexual orientation;
• LGBT people account for 30% of all suicides;
• 26% of all LGBT youth feel forced leave home because of conflicts with their families over their sexual orientation or gender identity;
• 25-40% of all homeless youth are LGBT; and
• Roughly 30% of all LGBT youth suffer violence at the hand of a family member.

South Africa: Gay imam spreads message of empowerment when it comes to homosexuality and Islam

My Opinion: It's great to see an imam coming out, well at least even discussing the issue. I have no problem with people that disagree, my major issue I have with many in religious world is the failure to speak about the issue. Ignoring the issue doesn't help anyone. Dialogue is important at whatever level. One can disagree and respect the other, but silence is deadly. by Rich Dweck 
June 19th, 2013 by Scott Roberts of A gay Muslim cleric in South Africa, one of the few openly gay imams in the world, says it’s important to be open about your sexuality in order to have an “authentic” life.
Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Cape Town, Muhsin Hendricksi said he’d rather die as an “authentic person” than remain hidden in the closet.
Mr Hendricksi, a father of three who was previously married to a woman, has spent years helping gay Muslims reconcile Islam with their sexuality through The Inner Circle, an organisation he founded in 2004.
When asked about Islam’s view of homosexuality, Mr Hendricksi said: “The Koran only speaks about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Koran doesn’t use the word homosexuality. It’s only a term that was coined in the 18th century, and the Koran was a 7th century book. The story has been interpreted for years to refer to the atrocities of Sodom and Gomorrah as homosexuality so what I do is I unpack it.

Video: "Families are Forever" Film Documents Mormon Family's Journey to Accept Gay Son- by director Vivian Kleiman

This will resonate, no matter what religion you a part of.. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Video: "'Daily Show' Gays Beat Up 'Straights'? Addresses Evangelical's Oppression Claim"- Huff Post

Meredith Bennett-smith June 18th, 2013- In her latest segment for "The Daily Show," comedian Samantha Bee openly mocks an evangelical's claim that Christians are "bullied" by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

BREAKING NEWS: Exodus International to Shut Down! Exodus is one of the Ex-gay Therapy organizations.

Thirty-seven-year-old ministry for those with same-sex attraction marks its last national conference 
Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. 
The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.
“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus.                              
The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing( to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.
“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.” 

"I Am Sorry" by Alan Chambers of Exodus International (Ex-gay Therapy Organization)

June 18th, 2013
Three years ago, Leslie and I began a very public conversation with Our America’s Lisa Ling, from the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) regarding some of our deeply held beliefs about Christianity and the LGBT community.  
Today, we have decided to carry this public conversation even further. While this conversation has and may well continue to be met with many different responses from supporters and critics, it is our desire to keep having these honest discussions in the hopes of arriving to a place of peace. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Video: Dan Savage "Coming Out To Your Parents" 5/28/13

Video: "Dan Savage On Ending 'Ex-Gay' Camps" - 6/13/13

"Gay Atheists: Facing Religious Hostility, LGBT Americans Abandon Faith: Pew Study"

By  | June 18 2013 1:19 PM- International Business Times

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Video: Sephardic Jew- "Isaac Namdar, MD - A Community at the Crossroads of Religion and Homosexuality"


Dr. Isaac Namdar was born in the Middle East and immigrated with his family to the United States at the age of 16. He pursued higher education and became a successful Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon, with multiple accomplishments and publications in his field.

Although Dr. Namdar and his husband have been active in gay rights issues for a long time, Dr. Namdar got a renewed mission to educate others about marriage equality after he was outed to his ancestral community and subsequently excommunicated from his synagogue.

Dr. Namdar is currently on a national book tour and hopes to bridge the big division between religion and homosexuality. He has also participated in national teleconferencing events and has served as role models and coach for others in religious communities struggling with their sexuality.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Israel Police: Hired killer opened fire at Tel Aviv gay youth center after target didn't show" - Haaretz

A memorial ceremony for the victims
of Bar Noar shooting, September 2012.
Photo by Daniel Bar-On
6/7/13 Although most details of the investigation into the deadly 2009 shooting spree at a Tel Aviv gay youth center are still under a gag order, it can be reported that the two people killed, Liz Trubeshi, 16, and youth counselor Nir Katz, 27 did not know the murderer, and died simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is believed that the man who pulled the trigger was a hired gun who, when he did not find his target at the Bar Noar youth club, opened fire indiscriminately, killing Trubeshi and Katz and injuring dozens of others.

"Gay Jews: Hatred Is Not Halacha" by Jonathan Branfman

6/1/13 Jewish Press- As Jews, we often stand angry and bewildered in the face of antisemitic lies, asking, “How can anyone possibly believe that about us?!” Today’s article by Alan Friedlander (Orthodox Jews Should Not March alongside the LGBT Sunday) leaves me with precisely such disbelief and sadness. 

NYC Modern Orthodox Ramaz Yeshiva High School Openly Gay Student Amram Altzman- Makes the Jewish Week's 36 Under 36 for Social Justice

6/4/13 by Helen Chernikoff- First, Amram Altzman, 17, realized he was gay. His parents and three younger brothers “accepted and embraced” him, but he couldn’t really be his whole self at the prestigious Modern Orthodox Ramaz School, because almost none of his peers even knew what it meant to be gay.
“Nobody knew anybody who was out of the closet,” he said. “It was only after I came out of the closet that the silence really hit me.”Then, while attending a summer arts program at Brandeis University between his sophomore and junior years with other young, LGBT Jews, he understood he could merge these two identities. When he returned to school, he decided with a friend to ask the administration for permission to create a discussion group. 

"As a Muslim, I struggle with the idea of homosexuality – but I oppose homophobia" by Mehdi Hasan

5/20/13 ’Tis the season of apologies – specifically, grovelling apologies by some of our finest academic brains for homophobic remarks they’ve made in public. 
The Cambridge University theologian Dr Tim Winter, one of the UK’s leading Islamic scholars, apologised on 2 May after footage emerged showing him calling homosexuality the “ultimate inversion” and an “inexplicable aberration”. “The YouTube clip is at least 15 years old, and does not in any way represent my present views . . . we all have our youthful enthusiasms, and we all move on.”

Speaks on Gay Marriage: "Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks talks to David Frost in leaving tribute"

5/23/13 JewishChronicle- When veteran broadcaster Sir David Frost uttered his trademark introduction, “Hello, good evening and welcome”, shortly after a set of Hebrew songs by the Shabbaton Choir, the auditorium erupted in applause. Facing the interviewer of prime ministers and presidents this time was a different kind of leader, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks.

"Taking Off My Tefillin" by Ari Margolies

8/30/12 Tablet Magazine- When I was 8 years old, I went with my father to a crafts fair at a local synagogue in Dallas. 
(Collage Tablet Magazine;
original images Pixar and Shutterstock)
Uninterested in purchasing Hebrew Monopoly or any of the Jewish star-emblazoned necklaces, earrings, bracelets, baseball hats, and underwear the fair had to offer, we found the exit earlier than anticipated. But on our way out, as fate would have it, something caught my dad’s bargain-hunting eye: a booth selling tefillin.

" Israel Rabbi Speaks Out On Being Gay And Orthodox" - Rabbi Ron Yosef

ETANYA, Israel, May 17, 2013 (AFP) -In openly displaying his homosexuality while serving as an Orthodox rabbi, Ron Yosef has broken a major taboo in the closed religious world that he inhabits.

Although May 17 is to be marked International Day Against Homophobia, the biblical stance on homosexuality remains clearly laid out in Leviticus, one of the five books of the Torah, which says that the sexual act between two men is an "abomination."

But 38-year-old Yosef, who holds an Orthodox rabbinical diploma, believes it is possible to be "both gay and observant."

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"The Boy in the Orthodox Bubble" - Tablet Magazine

5/29/13 by Ari Margolies- Growing up religious, I missed out on a lot that other kids enjoyed. But looking back, I wouldn’t change it. 
My bar mitzvah sucked. I’m 19, and I still haven’t quite gotten over it.
A standard Orthodox affair, it ran about three hours and was attended by a multitude of suited adults whom I had never really met. I got up on a pew in front of a few hundred people and drably finished a mesechta of Gemara, which was followed by a few speeches by rabbis talking about what a tzadik I was. I refused to don a black hat, unlike many of my friends, and abstained from participating in the dancing until I was overpowered and dragged into the hora by a several overeager rabbis. No girls, no games, no fun.
So, when I was recently invited to my friend’s brother’s Conservative bar mitzvah, I eagerly accepted. I had never been to one, and I wanted to see how the other side celebrated. 

"Being Gay and Frum"- taken from "Frum Gay Jew" blog

4/26/10- The following is a press release about a Shabbaton that I attended this weekend entitled "Being Frum and Gay" April 24th and 25th, 2010, Philadelphia, PA.

This weekend, the Orthodox Community at Penn (OCP) and JQYouth (JQY), a group that provides support to LGBT Orthodox Jews ( collaborated to develop a shabbaton aimed at addressing issues that gay and lesbian Jews face within the Orthodox community. The shabbaton built upon the format and ideas originally presented at the “Being Gay in the Orthodox World” panel that was held at Yeshiva University this December.

On Friday night, the invited speakers from JQYouth shared their stories in a general panel session. The evening began with a brief statement by Emily Belfer, one of the organizers from the OCP, and a message from Rabbi Mordy Friedman, the Orthodox Rabbi at Penn, framing the shabbaton as a weekend intended to raise awareness of issues that already exist within the Orthodox community, and that it is not intended as a forum to discuss halacha (Jewish law).

 The panelists then each discussed topics ranging from their experiences coming out to family members and rabbis, to issues faced by Orthodox Jewish lesbians, forming communities for LGBT Orthodox Jews, and forming more inclusive Orthodox communities.

There were over 150 people in attendance, and the audience was generally supportive of the speakers, applauding after each panelist spoke. The panelists were then asked questions from the audience ranging from whether they envisioned themselves forming families, whether being gay and Orthodox creates a crisis of faith, and whether there are generational or communal differences in terms of levels of tolerance that the panelists have experienced. The session only came to an end after the Hillel building needed to close for the night.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

"A Suggestion for Orthodox Jewish Political Activists Regarding Same Sex Marriage" by Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

6/7/12- The OU, RCA, and Agudath Israel of America have recently issued public statements expressing their dismay as the movement to grant same sex couples marriage rights gains momentum. Similarly, the OU and Agudath Israel of America issued a statement expressing their displeasure with the now famous contraceptive mandate in Obamacare.
While the two statements are similar, they are also very different. The Torah prohibits a specific kind of male on male lovemaking. The Torah does not recognize, or even provide a mechanism for two men or two women to wed in a religious ceremony. Legalizing same sex marriage is seen as an affront to these values. However, the Torah does not prohibit contraception. Yet, the orthodox Jewish organizations rallied together to support the Catholic Church which does prohibit contraceptive use for its membership.

"What to Do When Your Child Says: 'I'm Gay!'"-

4/18/11 by Michael C. LaSala, Ph.D.- You have just learned that your child is gay, lesbian, or transgendered. 
You're experiencing:
  • Self-blame ("Did I do something wrong?")
  • Grief ("The child I thought I knew and loved no longer exists!")
  • Worry ("Will my child be beaten? Discriminated against? Get AIDS?") 
  • Religious confusion ("Is my child damned to spend eternity in hell?"
  • Stigma ("What will people think of my child? Of me?")

Conversely, you might also be experiencing relief ("Now I know what's been bothering my child for all these months/years!")

Movie Trailer: "When a Child Comes Out, Lead with Love" -

*The Movie is FREE to watch online*

Benjamin Cohen: "Comment: Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks can vote for me to have the freedom to marry the man I love"

5/29/13-PinkNews founder Benjamin Cohen has written a column for the Jewish News newspaper to urge the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks to carefully consider the upcoming House of Lords vote on same-sex marriage.
Benjamin Cohen of
            Last week, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, told the broadcaster Sir David Frost he “will not allow intolerance” of lesbian or gay people in synagogue. He described a meeting he held twenty years ago with gay Jews as “one of the most moving” experiences that he had ever had and he claimed that Orthodox Judaism does not seek to impose its views on homosexuality on society, but the United Synagogue (the largest synagogue movement in the UK) “don’t do” same-sex marriages. 

Video: Oprah Winfrey- Harvard Commencement Speech 2013

Video: Kerry Washington- George Washington University Commencement Speech 2013

Video: Dali Lama- Tulane University Commencement Speech 2013

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