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.

Thank Jesus, I’m a Jew for Christmas

Tis’ the Season. Yes the season in which sacks of fecal matter with Jewish last names who identify as conservatives write about how much they love the holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

It’s amazing to me that a few hundred years ago, Jews would stand in line facing Cossack soldiers or Spanish troops, and die along with their children rather than convert to the Faith of Christ. Jews let themselves be burned at the stake, broken on the wheel and tortured to death in gruesome ways. Some as late as the 18th century like Joseph Oppenheimer who was tortured into confessing to the most ridiculous charges, but still refused to convert to Christianity even when confronted with death.

And today all it takes is a shot at being popular with Conservative Christians to make their descendants jump up like yapping little dogs and proclaim how much they love (Christ) Christmas. “Did I do good master? Was I a good little Jewish lapdog? Can I have a treat now?

Oh no wait, but don’t you see Christmas is under attack? That’s right the holiday celebrated by most Americans. Hell the holiday even celebrated in Communist Russia is in danger! Evil liberals (Satan) have convinced people to say Happy Holidays, which kicks Christmas in the balls. Because how will people know it’s Christmas, unless everyone repeats MERRY CHRISTMAS 666 times a day? How???

Sure there are Christmas carols playing and Christmas trees everywhere. Also Christmas is a legal holiday and you can’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing about Christmas. BUT HOW WILL PEOPLE KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE OF A HOLIDAY THAT AMERICA DIDN’T CELEBRATE UNTIL THE LATE 19TH CENTURY IS BEING DESTROYED!!!

Well it’s not my cultural heritage. More to the point it’s not my damned religion. My ancestors spent thousands of years running from people who wanted them to bow to &*(*@#$# trees, statues, idols and kings. They said no, and I say no. I wear a visible Yarmulke on my head. Anyone who wishes me Merry Christmas is either

A.) blind
B.) a moron
C.) pushing Christmas on me

and my response is to ignore it. Because I’m a Jew. Not a Jew for Jesus. Not a Jew for Christmas. Not a Jew for Buddha, Allah or Obama. Just a Jew. And if you don’t like it, here’s two thirds of a Bronx cheer for you.

And if we get right down to it, Christmas is not the cultural heritage of the Puritans or America’s Founding Fathers. It’s not the cultural heritage of tens of millions of other Americans today, some Jewish, some from Christian denominations, some *gasp* Buddhist and some who just don’t give a damn.

The War on Christmas crap is the product of a bunch of Evangelical Christian pressure groups who want to feed their followers’ paranoia and shove their vision of America down everyone’s throat. But you know what, America means nothing if it doesn’t mean the freedom to believe what you choose.

I am an American and a Jew. I believe in God and He was not born on Christmas and his name was not Christ. Therefore I do not celebrate it. My great-grandfather Avraham was tossed into a furnace for refusing to bow to statues. My grandfather Daniel was tossed into a furnace for refusing to worship an idol. I can’t claim to be making that kind of sacrifice by not verbally celebrating the birth of the Christian Savior… but on the other hand what is one to make of the Jews who fail even such a simple test of faith?

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.

A Guide for Interfaith Families Celebrating the Holidays

It’s that time of year again. Holiday Season. What holiday? Don’t ask too many questions. The devil is in the details, also on parts of Fifth Avenue and hanging around loitering suspiciously in the Wall Street area.

It’s that special Holiday time when families composed of a mommy and daddy who believe in different Gods (or more likely don’t believe in one at all) have to decide how many holidays they’re celebrating, in what order and why the Jews nailed Santa to a giant Menorah.

Sure they could have thought of this before they got married, but they were convinced it was going to be one of those simple little problems that could be solved with an affordable book from the STUPID LIFE DECISIONS section of the bookstore. And while there are no shortage of books, DVD’s and VCR instruction manuals on the subject… none of them get around the basic problem. Not even INTERMARRIAGE FOR DUMMIES or WORSHIPING DIFFERENT GODS TOGETHER FOR IDIOTS.

But we’re Americans. We want things solved quickly and we want them solved now. Like Iraq, or oil prices or TV dinners.

With that in mind, let’s harness the problem solving energy of an Iraqi TV dinner made out of Crude Oil with an IED stuck in the center… and solve this whole damn interfaith couple holiday celebration problem.


1. The Chanukah Bush

You’ve probably heard of the Chanukah Bush already. No it’s not what happens when George W. Bush lights a Menorah. It’s an attempt to combine an Ashera tree with a ceremony celebrating how the Jews drove the Greek Pagans out of the Temple. That’s right up there with trying to make a Black KKK. Sure you could do it, but it really misses the point.

But if you’re determined to degrade two sets of religious traditions in order to maintain the fiction that this whole mess is workable, here’s an easy guide to making your own Chanukah Bush.

First buy a Christmas Tree. Put lots of ornaments on it. Add a bunch of Menorah candles. Light them. Wait for the tree to begin burning. Try to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. Stay close to the floor while crawling out of the nearest exit. Call the Fire Department. Collect your insurance money. Try to think of the experience as a metaphor for your marriage.


2. Talking to the Children

Sure you could go the circuitous route, but let’s cut to the chase. The best way to tell the children the truth is to be honest. Or we can just get it straight from the mouth of babes.

“Mommy and Daddy decided they loved each other more than God or their heritage, and so they got married. Except now Mommy calls Daddy a Kike, and Daddy calls Mommy a Shiksa, so that didn’t work out so well. Now at the end of every year we get a big batch of burned cookies shaped like Dreidels and Christmas Wreaths.”


3. Buy a Book

Everyone knows self-help books can surmount any problems. The Samurai Mohel recommends, Padre Rabbi Flannery O’Goldstein’s MOMMY IS A SHIKSA AND DADDY IS A KIKE. There are pop up pictures too, and an attached miniature fire extinguisher.

It doesn’t really matter because at 16 your kids will either become Zen Buddhists, Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews or Serial Killers. Or a few of those things at the same time. Don’t bother trying to fight it. It’s inevitable.


4. What the Hell Do We Do Now?

One of you could convert and repress your rage, while the other feels uncomfortable and begins to resent you right back. Or you could finally get that divorce you’ve been talking about. Or you could celebrate Festivus. Of course Festivus originated when a Seinfeld writer’s crazy father made them sit in the dark and traumatized them for hours, and like all childhood traumas eventually made for great comedy. You can also move to Easter Island, where every day is WORSHIP THE GIANT HEAD DAY.


5. I Don’t Have to Listen to This!

You’re right, you don’t. Close the page. It’s not that hard.


6. Judaism and Christianity are compatible.

Sure they are, just ask Rabbi Cardinal Shmuel Capistranno


7. I Wanted Useful Tips for an Interfaith Holiday

There is no such thing as an Interfaith Holiday. That’s an idea invented by marketing executives, just like using Holiday, instead of specifying which one you’re talking about.

Try telling someone you were born on a Holiday. Then when they keep asking you what Holiday, you keep repeating, HOLIDAY, WHAT ARE YOU DEAF?

There is no Chrismukkah or compatibility between Chanukah and Christmas except at the shopping mall where all holidays get rendered down into credit card debt and long lines. Chanukah and Christmas are not just traditions, they’re expressions of belief in two radically different visions and versions of history.

Christmas celebrates the birth of a deity the Jews supposedly killed, before the religion he spawned spread across the Greek and Roman world. Chanukah celebrates the Jews kicking the Greeks out of their country for trying to make them worship gods who were born, died and needed loincloths to cover up their embarrassing parts. Do you see the connection?

Chanukah and Christmas hate each other’s guts. If they were members of the same family, they would be in therapy. If you try to make your family celebrate both at the same time, you will be in therapy. Celebrating both at the same time is like trying to vote Democratic and Republican in one election. No matter how you try to make it work, eventually there will be a recount and your vote will only count once, if it’s even counted at all.

It’s possible to have an Atheist or Agnostic or Satanist family, but not an Interfaith family. If no single belief wins out, then what’s left is a big blank space.


20. What’s the Point of All This?

Suppose I have a Lexus and a Cadillac and I decide that they’re both such great cars that I want to drive them both at the same time. Now I’m obviously some kind of crazy rich Hillbilly, but that’s not the point. People try and tell me that I’m wrong, but I’m too drunk on moonshine to listen.

So I stick one foot in one car and one foot in the other. One hand in one car and one hand in the other. After a lot of acrobatics, I still can’t get either car started. Finally I decide that the only way to make my fantasy of a LexusCaddy come true, is by crashing one car into the other.

That’s exactly what I do. Two cars smash into each other in a crumpled mess of steel and leaking gasoline. Now I have an interfaith car.

Any questions? Direct them to Monsignor Rabbi Pierre Cohen at the Abbey of Our Lady of Perpetual Slivovitz. I’m done for for the evening.