The Orthodox view explained | AJN

24 Feb 2012
The Australian Jewish News Sydney edition

The Orthodox view explained

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick believes there is no place for homophobia in authentic Judaism.

THERE is no doubt that the Torah forbids male homosexual acts. The prohibition exists whether or not homosexuality is considered by society normal or abnormal, or whether or not scientifically it is considered a matter of genetic predisposition or a learned behaviour. The Torah, in its divine wisdom, forbids such behaviour regardless of the answer to the above questions, and while it may even be that a person has no choice as to their sexual orientation, they always have a choice whether or not to engage in a prohibited act.

Indeed, one of the most difficult challenges facing the rabbinate is how to authentically convey that message while retaining the dignity of the individual and without harming their self-esteem. Indeed the challenge is greatest for the individual himself, who may have a homosexual orientation but wishes to be observant of, if not all the commandments, as many as he is able – and at the very least accepted by his fellow Jew. We must never underestimate the enormity of that challenge.

Whether or not an individual is able to deal with that challenge, they must always be made to feel welcome and they must never be made to feel that they lose their Jewish identity or ability to worship as a Jew. There is no place for “homophobia” in authentic Judaism; there is no place for being judgmental. Indeed every command of the Torah must be observed, but that includes the command that we love as ourselves, even one who transgresses. There is “no one righteous on Earth, that does only good and never sins”.

However, the prohibition remains. Therefore, no Jew believing in Torah or the seven Noahide laws for all mankind (loosely termed the JudaeoChristian ethic) can be asked to accept a program that “celebrates” homosexuality. While bullying in any form is abhorrent, including the bullying of someone because of their sexual orientation, the solution is not to “celebrate” an orientation that is against Torah teaching. In the absurd, would one expect of an Orthodox school, where perhaps someone was being bullied for not observing the laws of kashrut, to combat that bullying by “celebrating” the eating of non-kosher food? Indeed, to take such an approach would imply that if a particular behaviour could not be “celebrated” or if it was legitimately inappropriate, bullying of a person

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  1. Copied below is my unedited original email to Aleph. I was then informed by Aleph that there is a comment box. I wish to make it clear that I am not here to engage in a pro/anti stance but am simply focused on clarifying the “Noahide” comment and that the Noahide movement is purely Jewish and not Judeo-Christian. As a segue, I provided updated information that rabbis have publically available books or resources written since 2012 on fair (eg non abusive) treatment of gays.

    Original email here:

    Dear Aleph,

    I know this is an old article but there is a statement in it which is factually untrue and may act as a deterrent.

    Noahide laws and the Noahide movement is not a Judeo-Christian movement. It is purely Jewish. Noahides have been documented to have been presented and co-existing with B’nai Israel for over circa 2,000 years. More recent examples of Noahides include Isaac Newton and Jon Voight. There was an attempt to revive the Noahide movement by a yid but WWI WWII broke out. The Lubavitcher Rebbe in the 1990’s revived the Noahide movement.

    There are xtians who leave the xurch and become Noahides.

    However, this does not mean that the Noahide movement is a Judeo-Christian movement. Noahides do not worship idols. Like Jews, they reject idol worship and reject intermediaries for G-d and reject the holy trinity of the xtian faith. This is part of the 7 Noahide laws.

    Would you please amend the article otherwise the error in the article may act as a deterrent.

    You would be pleased to see that England’s Chief Rabbi Mirvas and other orthodox rabbis around the globe have subsequent to 2012 written books and issued statements to treat the gay community ethically and fairly.

    It already appears that Jewish gays are treated with fairness by some in the community.

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