Why Can’t You Be Gay and an Orthodox Jew?

This is an important question being asked by a growing number of people who can’t read and have to take off their shoes to count to twelve.

What’s the contradiction between being a Homosexual and an Orthodox Jew? As an idol worshiping adulterer, I don’t know the answer.

The problem is that we have two definitions of “Orthodox Jew”.

1) Orth-od-ox J-ew (Person who is non-judgmental and does many Mitzvos (kind deeds for others))

2. Orthodox Jew (Person who follows Torah)

“Of course, I am fully aware of the biblical injunction against homosexuality, and as a Torah-believing Jew, I accept that injunction as Jewish law. But why is this mitzvah different from all other mitzvot?” asks some columnist at the Times of Israel.

Duh, it’s not.

Of course I’m fully aware that there’s a biblical injunction against breaking the Shabbat but why can’t I drive to Shul each night and still be an Orthodox Jew?

If you have two identities. One is being an adulterer or idol worshiper or homosexual and the other is an Orthodox Jew, the two identities are not compatible. You have to choose one or the other. And if you talk about being a homosexual Orthodox Jew, then you have already made your choice. You are not an Orthodox Jew.

If violating the Torah is a more vital part of your identity than keeping the Torah, then you are not a Torah-believing Jew. We all make mistakes. I once cursed my parents while bowing down to Baal and then had sex with a donkey. It happens to everyone. But there’s a big difference between falling down on the job and defining an identity that says, “BREAKING SHABBAT IS PART OF WHO I AM. I WAS BORN THIS WAY. NOW TELL ME WHY YOU BIGOTS WON’T ACCEPT ME AS AN ORTHODOX JEW”

Doing something wrong does not take you off the list. Insisting that you are genetically bound to have sex with donkeys while bowing to Baal and that this is now your identity… and that we have to accept that is a load of donkey dung.

You can be an Orthodox Jew. You can be a bad Orthodox Jew. But not a Baal Worshiping/Donkey Humping/Orthodox Jew. Once you try and claim this identity, you are stating that you will not change and you want to create a modified religion and a modified Torah where donkey humping is cool.

They already have one of those. It’s called Reform Fracking Judaism. Once you go Reform, you never have to worry whether your donkey humping identity in any way interferes with your religion. There’s no polar yes/no black/white good/bad stuff there. So long as you don’t vote Republican, you’re in.

You can be an Orthodox Jew who is tempted to have sex with men, donkeys or the Amish. But you can’t be an Orthodox Jew who says, “I MUST HAVE SEX WITH MALE AMISH DONKEYS SO ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM”. An identity is not a mistake. It’s not a temptation. It’s who you are.

When someone says, “I am gay” and “I am an Orthodox Jew” those two identities nullify each other. You can be an Orthodox Jew who is tempted to have gay sex. You cannot be an Orthodox Jew who turns a violation of the Torah into a statement of identity.

But the Torah also prescribes death for some 25 other transgressions, including — to name but a few — cursing one’s parents (Exodus 21:17), ignoring the Torah-based rulings of a judge or court (Leviticus 17:12), and violating the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14, among other places). Yet, we don’t ostracize people who curse their parents or were held in contempt of even a Jewish court.

Oh but we would.

If someone cursed their parents all the time. If they turned cursing their parents into their identity. If they called themselves a “Motherfrakking Jew” and held “Motherfrakking Pride Parades” and wrote articles and made documentaries complaining that Orthodox Jews refuse to accept and tolerate Motherfrakking Jews… they would be gay.

In Israel, it is common to see people attend an Orthodox synagogue on Shabbat morning, and then spend the afternoon at a football game or the beach. That they do not observe Shabbat in an Orthodox manner does not keep them from receiving honors such as being called to recite the blessings on the Torah.

Yes and that’s a problem. It opens the door to crap like this. Then when the guy who just stabbed his parents 12 times after having sex with a donkey and worshiping Baal rides into an Orthodox synagogue on a donkey with a bloody knife in one hand and a Baal idol in the other… and is turned away by the judgmental Jews… the synagogue is vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy.

But should an openly gay couple enter and attempt to join the services, I shudder to think of the communal response.

Same response as a guy walking in with a football game blasting on a portable television.

There’s no hypocrisy here. Homosexuality as an identity is incompatible with Orthodoxy in the same way that you cannot walk into a synagogue and sit there with the game blaring so loudly that the Chazzan can hear it.

it is time for more of us in the Orthodox world to accept gay Jews as we do others who, like us, do not — and cannot — keep all of the mitzvot.

This is the one we’re waiting for. “Cannot”.

Why “Cannot” they? Because they were made different. Children of a gay god. And if we accept this identity, we have to modify our religion or believe that G-d made people who are programmed to sin and have no choice about it.

Speaking as someone who was genetically programmed to intermarry, eat bacon and worship Baal, I sympathize. I really do. So shut the hell up and stop writing these piteous articles telling us that it’s wrong not to accept homosexuality or that the basic incompatibility between Orthodox Judaism and Homosexuality is a myth.

It’s not a myth unless you think Torah is a myth. We all make mistakes, but we don’t turn a mistake into our identity. When you do that, what you are really saying is that it’s not a mistake at all… and maybe Torah is the mistake.

Frum and Frei

Ex-frum bloggers often seem to divide the world into “The Frum World”, a narrow and narrowminded tribal mini-world, and the GREAT BIG WORLD OUT THERE WHERE YOU CAN DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. Why stay frum when you can this, and this and that too!

But of course the frum world is really a lot like the rest of the world, which isn’t one big magical realm full of possibilities with no more rules of expectations, but a collection of subcultures and mini-tribes, each with its own set of rules and expectations. Humans are naturally tribal. We clump, we build treehouses and then we post rules on the treehouse, elect a treehouse committee and say who is and isn’t allowed in our treehouse. Unless you’re going to be a hermit, there’s no opting out, without also opting in. Leaving one tribe and its rulers, means joining another and following its rules.

Every single social subgroup has its own power structure and social rules which you’re expected to obey. It has standards of dress and beliefs that you can and can’t have. With some social subgroups, particularly the ones ex-frum people love, those can be subtle, which just means you can’t buy a sefer to tell you how to fit in. Not having official rules, but ones you have to pick up from the cooler people, is of course what makes those subgroups “cool”.

No matter how open or loose or free you think a subgroup is, all of them have their taboos. Try being a right wing bohemian artist, wearing clothes at a nudist colony or suggesting that religion might not be all bad at phyrangula. Each tribe has things they’ll toss you out on your ass for. Thou Shalt Nots. And of course the key Thou Shalt Not in every subgroup is Thou Shalt Not Challenge the Men in Charge or the Queen Bees, and Thou Shalt Not Change the Way We Do Things. Sound familiar?

Respect for the people on top and the local minchag is built into every single group. It’s one of those things that make humans what they are. Being non-conformist just means finding a new more creative standard to conform to. “You should think for yourselves.” “Yes, we should think for ourselves!”

Take the ex-frum girl blogger who has happily left Frumstania behind. She no longer spends lots of money shopping for Kosher food and checking Hasgachas. Now she spends lots of money shopping at Whole Foods and checking for Fair Trade Hasgachas. She no longer dresses to meet a standard in some sefer and the social expectations of those in her high school. She dresses to meet a standard in a whole bunch of magazines and the social expectations of the people in her office. She doesn’t have to worry about supporting a husband who learns in Kollel. Instead she gets to support her boyfriend who’s a struggling artist.

Welcome to your old life, with a cooler label on it. Sure you can be more things, so long as you’re willing to give other things up. There’s no free lunch and no open book. The world can seem like a big place, but it quickly breaks down into smaller social groups that still require conformity as the price of membership. Yes you can be an artist, a ballerina or a crazy homeless person, if you’re willing to learn and abide by the social survival skills of your new tribe. If you can’t, then you’re off the derech or a problem person who has no future “with us”.

Dissatisfied people see those expectations as the bars on a cage. Adjusted people don’t see them at all and wonder what all the fuss is about. But there’s no yellow brick road away from social expectations, conformity and seemingly arbitrary rules. There’s no opting out of one system, without opting into another. There’s no frum and frei. Only different flavors of frum.

Brenda Hogg and Hassidic Handshaking

For anyone who has been following the story of Brenda Hogg, the deputy mayor of Richmond Hill, who attended a ceremony with some Chabad Rabbis who refused to shake her hand and then promptly denounced them. The National Post has been weighing in with regular tirades by Barbara Kay about it.

Now I’m not going to defend the merits of not shaking hands with the opposite sex. I think it’s stupid myself but Chassidim don’t and they do care about that sort of thing. So what? Sow buttons. Forget the multiculturalism boogeyman, in even the most single race single religion society, you’re going to regularly encounter people with their own wacky peculiriaties. It’s just part of life and if you’re going to be Deputy Mayor, a position that doesn’t call for a whole lot except doing stuff the Mayor doesn’t want to do, you had better get used to it.

This is not a “It’s their culture” PC tirade. It’s their culture is a stupid line but Brenda Hogg wasn’t offended on behalf of women, she was offended on behalf of herself. But so what? Sow buttons. I don’t like shaking hands with anyone myself, men or women. It spreads colds and it’s just disgusting. There are plenty of others who feel the same way, including Donald Trump. There are people who get offended because I won’t shake hands with them. That’s their right, just as it’s my right not to shake hands with them.

What’s my point? My point is that in a free society people are allowed to have their own peculiarities as long as they don’t impose them on others. The moment the Chassidim would have not only refused to shake hands with Brenda Hogg but tried to pass regulations preventing women from shaking hands with men, period, for all Canadians, they would be on the wrong side of the Muslim barrier and then I’d be out there throwing the rocks. But until they do that, they’re just following their own beliefs and in a free society, we all have the right to our own moderate amounts of weirdness.

Creepy Bald Guy From Florida Fulfills Dream of Marrying Chinese Girl

The Jerusalem Post, the idiot’s outlet for news from Israel, brings us this compelling joyful story about a creepy bald guy from Florida with an Asian fetish who got his wish fulfilled.

The article is called “Chinese girl finds love on kibbutz” but it’s more accurate name should be about the creepy bald guy with the asian fetish who married her? Am I being unfair? Nein, because he can’t seem to shut up about how happy he is to marry an Asian chick who’s Rabbinically sanctioned. You get the idea he would have taken any Asian chick. Now I’ve got no idea if she’s on the level or not but sweaty creepy bald guy with asian fetish still creeps me out.

“For me, to have a proper religious Jewish wedding in Israel, it is a dream come true. I am very excited,” Li, 29, said prior to the ceremony.

Emmanuel, 25, said he never believed he’d marry an Asian woman until he met Li at Kibbutz Sde Eliahu’s Hebrew ulpan in May.

“I had heard about the old Jewish community of China and I love Asian women, but I thought it was far-fetched. I also thought that even if I had found a Jewish Chinese woman, the rabbinate would have never approved,” he said.

Okay Ami, you’re really into asian chicks, we get it. Hey maybe your big dream should have been to fall in love with and marry a Jewish girl, whatever country she was from, but now let’s move on.

“I came to Israel because I am a Jew,” she told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday while she was getting ready for the wedding. “I was raised knowing that I am a Jew and I made aliya because of our tradition.”

When I started studying Hebrew at the ulpan I saw Shoshana and I thought to myself that it was nice that Chinese people come to study the language. I didn’t even think that she was a Jew,” Emmanuel said. “After a while I asked her if she would like to spend some more time together and she said that we could try.”

“No one in the world is as happy as I am. I thought it was impossible to marry a Jewish woman from China. However, it seems miracles do happen, and this is the biggest miracle of my life,” the groom said.

Yeah, what a miracle. It’s right up there with the red sea. I mean creepy bald guy with asian fetish got to marry an asian girl. Let me pause to throw up now.

Meanwhile take a look at the difference between her worldview and his. She’s enthusiastic about becoming Jewish. He’s enthusiastic he got to marry an Asian girl. Now maybe there’s a lot more to this story and the reporter just picked out the quotes that make him look creepy. I mean if I was a reporter, that’s what I would do. But maybe he just is creepy and the reporter should have tried to conceal that creepiness a bit by asking him about things that don’t involve his obsession with asian women.

More than 150 friends and relatives, including some from the Kaifeng Jewish community, attended the wedding, which was organized by Michael Freund, the chairman and the founder of Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based organization that helps “lost Jews” return to the Jewish people.

“This wedding symbolizes the beginning of the return of the remnants of the Jewish community of Kaifeng to the Jewish people and to the State of Israel,” Freund said. “I cannot think of a more poignant example of kibbutz galuyot – the ingathering of the exiles.”

Uh Mike, let me think of one. How about the return of Jews to Israel, something that’s happening all the time. I’m sure Li is a very nice person but she has as much Jewish ancestry as half of Europe and America does by now. If we brought everyone to Israel who had a Jewish ancestor a few generations ago, we would run out of room real fast.

Unlike the Ethiopian aliyah being campaigned for or a lot of the Russian Aliyah, Li seems sincere, which is good.

First Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Ben Zion Uziel on Women’s Rights

It is instructive reading this not only to take notice of the clear common sense that radiations from Rav Benzion Uziel’s words as for the grace and dignity and learning with which his ideas are expressed, a grace and dignity all too often shabbily absent in today’s tawdry proceedings where shrill voices dominate and hateful language is the order of the day from all sides. The words of Rav Ben Zion Uziel are a cool tonic in an overheated room and it is noteworthy that the ideas they express have long ago become all but barred from public discourse in the Haredi world as something foreign and alien.

This is an except of Rabbi Ben Zion Uziel’s complete letter which can be found here

“WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND IN INSTITUTIONS OF PUBLIC AND YISHUV LEADERSHIP” Rabbi Ben Zion Uziel, 1920

A. Women’s Right to Vote
This issue became a central controversy in Erets Yisrael,
and the whole Land of Israel rocked with the debate.
Posters and warnings, pamphlets and newspaper articles
appeared anew every morning, absolutely prohibiting
women’s participation in the elections. Some based their
argument on “Torah Law,” some on the need to preserve
the boundaries of modesty and morals, and others on the
wish to ensure the peace of the family home. All leaned
upon the saying “The new is prohibited by Torah (hadash
asur min ha-torah).”

Regarding the first [heading], we find no clear ground to
prohibit this, and it is inconceivable that women should
be denied this personal right. For in these elections we
elevate leaders upon us and empower our representatives
to speak in our name, to organize the matters of our
yishuv, and to levy taxes on our property. The women,
whether directly or indirectly, accept the authority of
these representatives and obey their public and national
directives and laws. How then can one simultaneously
“pull the rope from both ends”: lay upon them the duty
to obey those elected by the people, yet deny them the
right to vote in the elections?
If anyone should tell us that women should be excluded
from the voting public because “their minds are flighty
(da`atan qalot)” (Shabbat 33b and Qiddushin 80b) and
they know not how to choose who is worthy of leading
the people, we reply: Well, then, let us exclude from the
electorate also those men who are “of flighty minds” (and
such are never lacking). However, reality confronts us
clearly with the fact that, both in the past and in our
times, women are equal to men in knowledge and wisdom,
dealing in commerce and trade and conducting all
personal matters in the best possible way. Has it ever been
known that a guardian is appointed to conduct the affairs
of an adult woman, against her will?
The meaning of our Rabbis’ statement, “da`atan qalot,” is
entirely different. Also, the statement “women have no
wisdom except with regard to the spindle” (Yoma 66b), is
only flowery wording intended to circumvent a question
posed by a woman.

But perhaps this should be prohibited because of licentiousness?
But what licentiousness can there be in this,
that each person goes to the poll and enters his voting
slip? If we start considering such activities as licentious,
no creature would be able to survive! Women and men
would be prohibited from walking in the street, or from
entering a shop together; it would be forbidden to negotiate
in commerce with a woman, lest this encourage
closeness and lead to licentiousness. Such ideas have never
been suggested by anyone.

(Editor’s Note: Today they are commonly suggested)

A great innovation was advanced by Rabbi Dr. Ritter2,
who advocates denying suffrage to women because they
are not qahal or edah, and were not counted in the census
of the people of Israel nor subsumed into the genealogical
account of the families of Israel. (His article is not before
me, and I rely on the report by Rabbi Hirschensohn.)
Well, let us assume that they are neither qahal nor edah,
and were counted neither in census nor as “family” or
anything. But are they not creatures, created in the Divine
Image and endowed with intelligence? And do they not have concerns that the representative assembly, or the
committee it will choose, will be dealing with? And will
they not be called upon to obey these bodies regarding
their property as well as the education of their sons and
daughters?
In conclusion: having found not the slightest grounds for
this prohibition, I find that no one has the slightest right
to oppose or to deny the wishes of part of the public on
this matter. Regarding a similar situation, it has been said:
“Even if ninety-nine request imposed distribution, and
only one demands outright competition, that one should
be followed, for his demand is legally right”(Mishnah
Pe’ah 4:1). Over and above this, it has been stated:
“Women were allowed to lay hands [on their sacrifice] for
the sake of giving them a feeling of gratification”
(Hagigah 16b), even though such an act appeared to the
public as prohibited; how much more so in our case,
where there is no aspect of prohibition at all, and where
preventing their participation will be for them insulting
and deceitful. Most certainly, in this case we should grant
them their right.

Logic dictates that in no serious assembly or worthy discus-
sion is there licentiousness. Daily, men meet and
negotiate with women in commercial transactions, and yet all is peace and quiet. Even those inclined to sexual
licentiousness will not contemplate the forbidden while
seriously transacting business. Our rabbis did not say “Do
not engage in much conversation with a woman” (Avot
1:5) except as regards idle, needless chatter; for that sort
of conversation leads to sin, but not so debate over important,
communal issues. Meeting in the same enclosed area
for the sake of public service—which is tantamount to
service of the Divine—does not habituate people to sin
or cause levity; for all Jews, men and women alike, are
holy, and not suspected of violating conventions of modesty
or morality.

(Editor’s note: such an approach would certainly stem the mad tide of paranoia when it comes to constantly suspecting women of immodesty)

Finally, I have seen a newly contrived basis for not giving
women the right to participate in elections (even to
vote)—namely, out of consideration for the prohibition
of flattery, lest a woman insincerely cast her vote for the
individual or party that her husband favors. Sefer Malki Ba-Qodesh wrote correctly that such is not flattery but the
upright nurturing of love. To which I would add: Would
that this would be the case, that every woman would
esteem her husband to the extent of suppressing her will
on account of his. One might even voice this reason in
favor of giving [women] the right to vote, so that a wife
might thereby show love and esteem to her husband, and
peace thereby abound in the house of Israel.

E. Conclusions:
1) A woman has an absolute right of participation in elections
so that she be bound by the collective obligation
to obey the elected officials who govern the nation.
2) A woman may also be elected to public office by the
consent and ordinance of the community.

Intermarriage is Against the Torah. Any Questions?

“Neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For he will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and He will destroy thee quickly.” Devarim 7:3

Oh yeah. Newsflash. It’s wrong. Why? Because intermarriage wipes out the Jewish people. Because it dilutes Judaism. And because G-d said so.We don’t need any more reason than the last one.
I am sick and tired of the rush to apologize to Noah Feldman (who was proved to be a liar) for all his suffering at the hands of evil Orthodox Jews who *gasp* didn’t publish his career accomplishments in their bulletin. I’m not even dedicating this to Noah Feldman who’s a sick and poisonous human being who dedicated an incredible amount of energy to making sure that en Eruv didn’t go up purely out of spite for other Jews.

I’m dedicating this to the Rabbis who should know better. I’m dedicating this to guys like Rabbi Shmuel Boteach and now Rabbi Levi Brackman who rush out and tell us how wrong we are as a community not to be more welcoming to Jews who intermarried? Anyone remember when this was the kind of rhetoric Reform Rabbis not Orthodox Rabbis traded in. I do.

Now we get crap like this published everywhere. I know one woman who is no longer converting because of the crap she was put through for years. But if she had married a Jewish guy first, she would have gotten an express train conversion. Remember when it used to be Reform Jews who acted like that? Now we act like that.

Can all the articles on how we need to welcome intermarried couples. I expect stupidity like that from ordinary people. I don’t expect it from Rabbis. I expect better than a “Come one, come all, so what if she’s not Jewish. We can just dunk her in a mikvah and she will be” routine. That’s not how it works.

Conversion isn’t some express train to making people Jewish. It’s a sincere dedication to serving G-d. While we’re making life hell for genuine converts, we’re making it easy for “nice Jewish boys” who hooked up with an asian chick in college and it makes me sick.

No Rabbi Brackman, we should not be “making life easier for intermarrieds.” Why not? Because the Torah says so. Any more questions? If you can’t back what the Torah says maybe you shouldn’t be an Orthodox Rabbi.

For they have taken of their daughters for themselves and for their sons; so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the peoples of the lands; yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been first in this faithlessness.

And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down appalled. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of them of the captivity; and I sat appalled until the evening offering.

And at the evening offering I arose up from my fasting, even with my garment and my mantle rent; and I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God; and I said: ‘O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our guiltiness is grown up unto the heavens.

Now while Ezra prayed, and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there was gathered together unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children; for the people wept very sore.

And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra: ‘We have broken faith with our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel concerning this thing.

Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of the LORD, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.

And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them: ‘Ye have broken faith, and have married foreign women, to increase the guilt of Israel. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do His pleasure; and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the foreign women.’

Ezra 9-10

Bye bye charlie. No invitations to the local synagogue for tea and crackers and Hebrew lessons. No “let’s invite the women over and teach them about Jewish heritage.” None of that. They simply go.

But that’s not all. They were shocked. They were sickened. They were ashamed by what they did. Not only is Noah Feldman not ashamed but the people replying to him in supposed defense of Judaism are the ones ashamed. Ashamed to be defending something their modern culture has trouble with. And the ones on the attack like Shmuley Boteach and Rabbi Brackman are unashamed to be sanitizing intermarriage and doing an Xtian style “Hate the sin, love the sinner” number.

That is how low we’ve fallen.