LGBTQIA+ is not our cause célèbre

Published date17 November 2021
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
Only a week ago, two "Conservative lesbian rabbis tied the knot," celebrating the first-ever such desecration in their contra-Torah movement that now is no different from "Reform Judaism." This week, "Open Orthodoxy" proudly announced it was adding to its seminary's Board of Directors a therapist who is quite focused on his Gay identity. In Israel a colleague whom I knew once to be an Orthodox rabbi when he practiced in Southern California thirty years ago, stepped beyond everything that normative mainstream Orthodoxy holds dear when he ordained a fellow whose homosexuality-centric public writings, focus, and public behavior even transcended what the "Open Orthodox" ordaining body could bear.

Contemporary sensitivities are such that the LGBTQIA+ subject barely can be discussed safely in the secular world from a Torah hashkafah (perspective). Ironically, I probably have pastorally counseled and stood by more LGBTQ men and women than have 99% of my colleagues in the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), where I served six years on its Executive Committee and continue to be active Most of those whom I have counseled have been non-Jews who have approached me in venues varying from law school where I teach to actual law-firm practice where law associates have approached me confidentially.

Because most non-Jews, at least in Southern California, are not acquainted with the nuances of Orthodox Judaism, just as the typical Orthodox Jew does not know a Presbyterian from a Methodist to a Lutheran — and certainly not a Missouri Synod Lutheran from a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran — and because people like me do not discuss or reveal our religious views at secular work because of cancel culture (and also because of simple propriety and rudmentary common sense) — many in pain just naturally assume that a rabbi would be more sympathetic than a regular law professor or big-firm litigation associate. They are correct. Then word of mouth spreads from those whom I helpfully have counseled, giving rise to more individuals privately seeking my guidance and caring.

Let us assume (a datum I do not accept) that five percent of the general population are homosexual. That still would mean that fewer than that would come Orthodoxy's way. Of 100 homosexuals, more of those supposed five will be inclined to steer clear of Orthodox clergy and congregations, no matter what. It kind-of is obvious: the lifestyle, the perceptions. So, if the starting point is that five out of every 100 begin at that place, we Orthodox do not get approached by anywhere near five out of every 100 — unless we happen to be the outlier marketing to that population. Few, if any of us, are.

I think of "percentages," and I ask my rabbinic colleagues and normative mainstream Orthodox laity to think about the other issues that come our way and need our help...

I think of "percentages," and I ask my rabbinic colleagues and normative mainstream Orthodox laity to think about the other issues that come our way and need our help:

. . . What percent of people do we encounter in our lives who are religious teens within our rubric who, all data show as do empirical results in America, will become non-observant in the United States in a few years after the American secular colleges have finished with them? . . .

. . . And what percent are "Modern Orthodox" adults who do not regularly daven or wear tzitzit, do not regularly learn more Torah, who tell dirty jokes, watch dirty TV and movies, have nothing of substance to discuss so fall back on loshon horo, and create a home where their children are destined to end up in the line above? . . .

. . . And what percent of people do we encounter who are Torah-observant women (long-term singles...

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