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Orthodox Gays struggling to establish community in Israel

The biggest challenge in my mind to the Frum Gay community which is just in its beginnings is trying to introduce itself into mainstream orthodoxy, this is toughest because you can never hope or imagine to change the halacha, because unlike many halachic rulings derived from the Torah by rabbis, gay sex is written blatantly in the Torah and has no need or even possibility for reinterpretation. It’s sad but true, you cannot redefine the halacha against having sex with another man, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, that doesn’t mean that we as frum Jews cannot open our homes, our shuls and our hearts to people who have been born with something that defines their lives as Jews and as people.

I thought about this as I listened to one of the speakers at the Mission Minyan this past shabbos, he was one of the founders of an orthodox pride minyan (couldn’t find a website) in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I wondered as I am sure many others had wondered, how someone could continue to be frum and want to remain apart of a community that hated them with such a passion because they were open violators of a biblical transgression and because it was deemed sick, deviant and disgusting by most within orthodoxy? It seemed that one had to be on a pretty high madriega to want to remain a Torah Jew when the Torah demanded that they be killed. It is an odd conundrum and something which I myself can only understand to a point.

There are many folks who openly violate the Torah yet remain as frum Jews, they fully believe in the divinity of the Torah and understand that they are not perfect yet strive to be so, but if the violation is the very essence of who you are, that is a whole new ballgame. It is also a sin that is between man and man, and man and God (that’s a lot of and’s)

Frum, Gay and Israeli was the title of the speech and I was had found out about it from Jens List, the local Bay Area source for Jewish events, apartment listings and other randomness like tweeting for your mishpacha. Someone agreed to host me with the stipulation that I come on time to shul, I agreed although coming on time to shabbos shachris is not forte.

The speakers were from Havruta and Bat Kol (I interviewed an orthodox lesbian from Bat Kol) two Israeli organizations dedicated to helping religious gays and lesbians deal with the obvious and not so obvious issues that confront them when coming out of the closet, staying in or debating on what to do about thei life altering event.

I think one of the best points that they tried to say over and over was that you can be frum and gay. They weren’t going into details about hilchos-gay sex; they were saying that if you are gay, there is no need to throw your entire religious identity away. I say this all the time and unfortunately, many kids go off the derech because a lot of orthodoxy is this all or nothing kind of religion.

I spoke to a right wing modern orthodox Rabbi recently about his thoughts on accepting gays at his shul, he said that they are treated as anyone else, but calling them up to the torah or serving the non-mevushal wine makes things complicated, but the same goes for people are openly breaking shabbos, it’s the same level really. Of course, if someone is gay but not in a relationship we can give them the benefit of the doubt that are not sexually active. It’s complex, but just the mere fact that someone who is on the right of modern orthodox is willing to accept these people into his shul, is groundbreaking. Proclamations and just opening up dialogue is pretty cool, the fact that there are frum blogs that show their support is a big deal as well.

I think one of the biggest issues with pride minyan is the fact that it’s not really orthodox, regardless of the fact they call it so. When confronted with the issues of people who don’t identify with either sex or are transgender, they decided to have a mixed section in back of the bimah with men and women separated in the front, there are halachic discussions in the gemara about transgender and androgynous folks – but having a mixed section goes against mainstream orthodoxy. Someone asked the lady who was there if she uses her parents names (many religious LGBT folks are disowned by their parents) when being called up to the Torah, I was praying that her response would be that, they are an orthodox shul and women aren’t called to the torah, but this wasn’t the case and she responded that when she was called to the torah she did use her parents name, but this took some time.

One of the conflicts within the gay orthodox community is whether or not to try and make inroads to orthodoxy or have their own community, they have decided to do both – good move. If you have a gay orthodox community you will never be mainstream and only curious weird frum folks like myself or fringe orthodox folks will show up, you need to show your faces at regular communities and teach regular people. It seems that the only orthodox Jews that many left wing streams of Judaism like are the one’s hated by orthodox Jews themselves, like orthodox LGBT community members.

I hope that the frum gay community can actually have a shul that is really frum, mainstream frum, not left wing fringe frum. In a similar vein to the way that left wing orthodoxy shot itself in the foot by featuring Sara Hurwitz as the first orthodox Rabbi yet showing blatantly that she wasn’t fully covering her hair by mainstream orthodox halachic standards – they screwed their movement forever. I think that order to gain ground within orthodoxy; you have to show that you are in fact orthodox. If I come to shul and women are getting aliyot and there’s a mixed seating section, my mind automatically says that this is not orthodox, I’m cool with it, but for LGBT to make any inroads to the orthodox community it cannot veer from the orthodox course.

I was also a little put off by the mention of an eventual seeking to redefine halacha, this is the perfect way to justify the orthodox hatred of the gay community. If you wish to redefine halacha you will never be accepted, if you acknowledge that you understand the breach of halacha, but are trying to maintain Torah m’Sinai this is of utmost importance and there is no agenda other than to be able to be proud of your identity and the ability to walk the streets without getting fruit or insults thrown at you.

I did enjoy the speech, although they were preaching to the choir, for me it’s good to see that by writing about the orthodox gay community I’m not just pushing people’s buttons, I’m trying to show my support as a frum Jew for my fellow Jews who are struggling more than I can ever hope to – I thought finding a shidduch was hard enough until I met folks who lost their friends, their family, their children – all because they wanted to be honest – it seems that honesty is good until you happen to be gay. Orthodox LGBT people can use all of our support and I am proud to show my support, while still maintaining that halachically it’s a very hard issue to combat – but the least we could do – is stop calling being such babies about it and thinking “ew it’s disgusting” therefore it’s wrong. Maybe we should try and understand the issues a bit more so we can help show our support, we don’t have to redefine halacha to help fellow Jews in need of help and support.

I see chabad welcoming Jews who are openly violating shabbos by coming to their homes via car and these people may always openly violate shabbos, but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying to make them into better or more fulfilled Jews. I even met a guy this shabbos who was gay and despite being gay, became frum anyway, because he loves the orthodox lifestyle believes in the divinity of it, etc…no idea how he felt around parshas kedoshim time, but I cannot relate, I can only be envious of his strength and emunah.

LGBT Kiruv: I should have slipped this in earlier, but the folks from the pride minyan mentioned that they have an almost kiruv like effect on secular Israelis who had never been to shul ot talked to religious people before, Israeli society is very religiously separate and seculars and orthodox do not get along much. They said that people came to Yom Kippur for the first time in their lives and felt welcome.

{ 62 comments… add one }
  • thegoodspy November 7, 2010, 5:21 PM
  • whoa5771 November 7, 2010, 5:55 PM

    HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A PERSON’S ESSENCE, IT IS LIKE A REALLY SPUNKY OUTFIT, THAT CAN BE CHANGED, HOW A PERSON FEELS IS LIKE A GARMENT, IT IS NOT THEM…THIS IS WHY KIRUV FOR GAYS HAS FAILED, THEY ADRESS THE ISSUE AS IT WAS JUST OF DEISRE, LIKE TRYING TO GET A PERSON WHO LIKE KETHCUP TO LIKE MUSTARD…ETC, THEY HAVENT ADDRESSED THE ISSUE OF IDENTITY

    • Heshy Fried November 7, 2010, 5:59 PM

      dude take off the cap locks

      • S. Tefilinov November 7, 2010, 8:08 PM

        Capital letters kill an argument’s credibility.

      • Meir November 8, 2010, 1:10 PM

        You must have missed the signs at the “Rally to Restore Sanity” which proclaimed the importance of ALL CAPS.

        Though my favorite sign there was without a doubt: “Jews control the synagogues’

    • Tomas Anderson November 7, 2010, 6:26 PM

      um, no it’s not. Can you change your sexual preference? I don’t think so

    • A. Nuran November 10, 2010, 8:35 PM

      It can’t be changed. The most you can do is turn an unhappy gay person into an unhappy closeted gay person.

  • Tomas Anderson November 7, 2010, 6:11 PM

    A mechitza? For Gays and Lesbians? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? I mean, you want to separate the people who are attracted to each other not put them together

  • moshe November 7, 2010, 6:41 PM

    this is stupid. you cant be gay and orthodox. period. the same way u cant be orthodox and mechalel shabbos, or orthodox and eat treif. its just not working. if u go against the Torah ur not frum. thats it. sorry… well not really cuz im right ;P

    • Anonymous November 7, 2010, 7:54 PM

      There’s a difference between someone being attracted to someone of the same gender and someone acting upon that attraction. Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they can’t be frum. A gay man can marry a lesbian woman and they can still be completely shomer mitzvot.

      • moshe November 8, 2010, 5:59 PM

        if a gay man marries a lesbian woman that makes them straight, no?

    • disagree November 7, 2010, 10:09 PM

      There is a crucial difference between being mechalel shabbat and eating trief and homosexuality. You are right that it is a prohibition in the Torah, however, unlike shabbat and kashrut, homosexuality goes to the core of human emotions. There are many issues in halacha that emotions into account and there is no doubt in my mind that the issue is as simple as you portray it. Homosexuality is not a choice, it cannot be changed. There is no such thing as sexual re-oriontation or ‘kiruv for gays’ (see comment above). Since homosexuality is not a choice, simply being homosexual does make you not frum, there are other factors at play. Ultimately, man will face God, I am appaled that you are willing nto disassociate homosexuals from orthodox Judaism, it is not your perogative to judge one’s emotional stability. Finally, do not negate the passuk in sefer berashit, “it is not good for man to be alone,” companionship, whether male or female is important. Secondly, arrogance detracts from your argument, “…well not really cuz im right.” It’s not an attractive trait.

      • moshe November 8, 2010, 3:22 AM

        and using pesukim to back up apikorsos isnt attractive either haha. saying that the Torah allows men to be with men doesnt make sense since its in the passuk completely explicitly. and using the core emotions w/e doesnt impress me. maybe i have taivahs for a woman other than my wife? i have a right to go over an issur deoraisa because my emotional core feels i should commit adultrey??? of course not. ur argument makes no sense from a halachic perspective. u cant change ur taivahs for other women u just deal with it and stay loyal to ur wife. a gay who wants to follow the Torah should stay loyal to Hashem and control his taivahs.

        • Heshy Fried November 8, 2010, 3:54 AM

          That’s very easy for someone to say, but if you were told that the greatest thing in the world “the love of another person” was assur to you, it probably wouldn’t be so easy, this is not just about about tayva, this is about life. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t personally know anyone who’s been there – but being born gay is not something you can just control.

          • rj November 8, 2010, 5:44 PM

            Heshy,
            There are many ways to love another person be it male or female and they don’t have to involve illicit relations. I’m not sure what facts you base the statement ‘being born gay’. People are born with taivah’s of all sorts as that is part of the human condition and it is our job to overcome them. If you believe in the G-d of the Torah than why in the world would he put someone in the world who has no bechirah regarding giluy araios? Think about it.

          • moshe November 8, 2010, 5:54 PM

            its like this hesh: i like girls. does that mean i should be unhappy my whole life beacuase i cant have every girl i see? and does my unhappiness make it ok to do whatever i want regardless of Torah? if i am actually frum the answer would be no. im just being honest

            • DannyBoy November 8, 2010, 6:23 PM

              You hit the nail on the head moshe. You should not be unhappy your whole because at some point you can be with A girl and ostensibly live happily ever after. Gay men do not even have the option of being with one person they love. That prospect actually can and often does lead to unhappiness.

  • AnonymousUser November 7, 2010, 7:08 PM

    If that is the case, why does the general Jewish community consider to be orthodox those who blatantly practice hatred and discrimination. Think of the Israeli Yeshivas who discriminate against Sephardim, those in Israeli Chareidi neighborhoods who throw stones at “outsiders,” and the many power-hungry Rabbanim and “community leaders” who are engaged in all manner of corruption and mistreatment of others.

    Whereas the Torah mentions the sin of homosexuality a mere handful of times, it constantly reiterates the importance of tolerance and the evils of hatred. Whereas homosexuality is largely a product of genetics, the atrocities committed by many “frum” individuals have no excuse.

    If you really want to be Orthodox, you’ve got to learn not to “pick and choose.” Get off your high horse and open up a Chumash for a change. If you were to classify people as Orthodox based on their adherence to the Torah, you’d sooner have a gay man as a Rabbi than any of the backward, hatemongering lot that currently occupy esteemed positions in Shuls and Yeshivas. If you wish to continue with your intolerable diatribe, I cannot stop you, but please leave words like “frum” and “Orthodox” for those who still adhere to the Jewish faith.

    • Heshy Fried November 8, 2010, 3:56 AM

      Because the Torah is full of places where it;s a in fact a mitzvah to be hateful and discriminatory, like against idol worshippers, open sinners, goyim, amalek and dozens of other places.

      Also sexual greivences are one of those things shoved under the table, I almost think that frummies feel it;s better to be a pedophile than be gay, because at least the pedophiles are married and frum.

  • hebrewgirl November 7, 2010, 7:29 PM

    The strength, dignity and emunah of the guest speakers at Mission Minyan was inspiring; they deserve the respect and support of every Jewish person.

  • sd23 November 7, 2010, 7:59 PM

    I think that this is a wonderful article. just because some one does’nt follow one Mitzvah and he strives to follow the rest of the mitzvahs , does not make him less of a Jew. and in Ethics of our Fathers it says that we will not know which Mitzvah was the most important one until the day we die. And G-d Definatley does not like people who are cruel to people who need the most support . Orthodox Jews and other Jews as well should not push away people who are coming out of the closet but show them love. they are people. they are jews, nothing less .

    • Yoreh K'chetz (aka Phil) November 7, 2010, 9:53 PM

      Sd3,

      Actually, their are some commandments that define who is considered a religious Jew. For example, if someone keeps every mitvah but openly violates Shabbat, he isn’t considered as being observant.

      These groups will never open a truly frum shul. Can you picture a bunch of shtreimel wearing – vatikin davening gays that spend their entire days shteiging away? Probably not. Can you picture any frum Jew having an openly gay person write their tefillin, or a frum community using an openly gay shochet? Probably not.
      Would they be right in shunning / barring gays from these professions? 100%. Any Jew calling themselves frum that claims otherwise is either not frum or full of sh*t.

      One who is “openly” gay is very different from one that is in the closet. One that “comes out” is openly declaring that he has a chronic tendency to transgress a major sin, and has not only given up trying to fight the urge, but he is now “proud” of his situation. He has placed societies sick values over the Torah in a major aspect of his life, so, in my opinion, he can’t consider himself “frum” no matter if he keeps all other mitzvos, as long as he is openly gay and proud.

      And though I already know I’m going to get labelled as a bigot for my views, so be it. At least I have the balls to speak up for what true and right.

      • AnonymousUser November 7, 2010, 10:56 PM

        If that is the case, why does the general Jewish community consider to be orthodox those who blatantly practice hatred and discrimination. Think of the Israeli Yeshivas who discriminate against Sephardim, those in Israeli Chareidi neighborhoods who throw stones at “outsiders,” and the many power-hungry Rabbanim and “community leaders” who are engaged in all manner of corruption and mistreatment of others.

        Whereas the Torah mentions the sin of homosexuality a mere handful of times, it constantly reiterates the importance of tolerance and the evils of hatred. Whereas homosexuality is largely a product of genetics, the atrocities committed by many “frum” individuals have no excuse.

        If you really want to be Orthodox, you’ve got to learn not to “pick and choose.” Get off your high horse and open up a Chumash for a change. If you were to classify people as Orthodox based on their adherence to the Torah, you’d sooner have a gay man as a Rabbi than any of the backward, hatemongering lot that currently occupy esteemed positions in Shuls and Yeshivas. If you wish to continue with your intolerable diatribe, I cannot stop you, but please leave words like “frum” and “Orthodox” for those who still adhere to the Jewish faith .

        • Phil November 8, 2010, 9:20 AM

          Anon,

          Based on the way you lump the Yeshivas, Charedi, and Rabbinic leaders all into one category of corrupt hatemongers, you shouldn’t be the one talking about opening a sefer. You obviously have no problem judging them (not lkaf zechut).

          There is a major difference between one that is openly proud of his sinful lifestyle and one that is ashamed and remorseful, especially when the proud sinner tries to form a shul for like minded sinners. It is a shameful atrocity to besmirch a shul, which is supposed to be a place of holiness, by turning it into a social club for people that openly and proudly profess their perversion.

          What would you say to a bestiality minyan? What about a synagogue for those that like to do their granny’s from behind?

          As for corrupt rabbis, I don’t know one that will openly be proud of his corruption, much less try to open a shul for proud corrupt rabbis.

          A rabbi, shochet or sofer guilty of Arayot would be kicked out of any REAL frum community, especially if they were a proud repeat offender.

          • Meir November 8, 2010, 5:39 PM

            Is there a d’oraita prohibition against that? It’s not listed in Vayikra 18 (either half of it)

            “What about a synagogue for those that like to do their granny’s from behind?”

            • Yoreh K'chetz (aka Phil) November 8, 2010, 7:17 PM

              Meir,

              Grannies are considered a subcategory of mothers, they also include great grand mothers, great great grand mothers, etc. See Rambam hilchot issurei biyah.
              Shelo kedarka is considered the same as standard for most issurei biya as well.

      • yaakov (cole) schuster January 20, 2011, 10:51 PM

        very insightful for a guy whose nickname roughly translates to “money shot” (u didnt think we’d get the reference..did u) glad i got that out of the way… i agree with the points you raised phil. in fact, R. Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of my own alma mater wrote a lengthy piece on approaching homosexuality in his latest books. (forgot the title..sorry)

  • Rivka November 7, 2010, 8:31 PM

    This is one of your better blog entries. No satire included from what I could see, but I thought it was well written and not just provocative for argument’s sake.

    • Heshy Fried November 8, 2010, 2:29 AM

      Only the part about my faulty gadar – which I intend to practice every chance I get.

  • SJ November 7, 2010, 9:42 PM

    The problem from a religious standpoint with being gay and religious is that the Torah’s directive of be fruitful and multiply does not seem to give an exception for homosexuality.

    • moshe November 8, 2010, 3:25 AM

      no the problem is that it says in the Torah explicitly that man cant have sex with another man

  • LostinNY November 8, 2010, 12:21 AM

    “Israeli society is very religiously separate and seculars and orthodox do not get along much. ”

    That’s so not true!

    You don’t live here. You couldn’t know what it’s like to work alongside secular Jews, to serve in the IDF alongside secular Jews, to attend their less then traditional weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Brit Milahs, and to pray alongside secular Jews on the rare occasion that they feel the need to attend services.

    You need to stop assuming that your opinions are fact and that you have any clue about Israeli society!

    • Heshy Fried November 8, 2010, 2:31 AM

      You just said it, my opinions are not fact, I am just telling over what I heard from these speakers, but during the months I spent living in Israel I met a heck of a lot of secular Israelis who would had never been to Jerusalem and no intention of ever going – I was heavily involved in the skater/biker community over in Tel Aviv/Haifa and Jerusalem and all were shocked when I said I was religious.

  • Michael November 8, 2010, 1:34 AM

    Great post,

    I understand _WHY_ gay frum Jews want to set up their own shul, because of the Homophobia in many Orthodox circles, however I’m not sure that it’s the best approach for them to take.

    It should be possible to be an active part of an Orthodox community without being 100% Shomer Mitzvot. I know many people who are active in Orthodox shuls, even shul presidents, yet they don’t observe Shabbat, or Kashrut, or maybe they do but mix-swim and mix-dance, or maybe their wives aren’t careful with taharat Mishpacha (or maybe….).

    I have no problem with that, and I think that it is important that we try to build communities that welcome everyone no matter what their level of observance.

    The problem is that if you set up an Orthodox shul that defines itself as a shul for people who don’t eat kosher, or for people who love wearing Shatnez, there is a problem with the shul.

    I would love Orthodox communities to be more welcoming of the gay community, and treat everyone as equal. Just like we don’t check whether someone’s wife goes to the Mikva every month, we should not check whether a member of the congregation is sharing his bedroom (or bed) with a male friend of his – it is none of our business.

  • Catholic Mom November 8, 2010, 9:15 AM

    A lot of good points made on both sides here. Of course, in traditional Christian theology (as well as Jewish) we are all sinners. None of us have achieved perfection therefore none of us can stand in judgement of others. If we said “no one can come to our church (or our shul) until they have achieved X level of holiness” the place would be empty. Jesus said “the well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick.” In other words — it’s the sinners who need to be showing up — the holy people can stay at home!

    That said, there is a huge problem when people assert:

    1. Being gay is who I am
    2. I can’t possibly deny any element of my “identity”
    3. Therefore everybody has to agree that homosexual activity is holy and blessed and good.

    First of all, we all have tendencies that may or may not be inborn or at least firmly fixed at a very early age which are clearly destructive and bad. Pedophilia is certainly one example, but another, as someone mentioned, is the fact that monogamy is biologically alien to most human males. A more biologically normal orientation for most men is to pair with more than one female and to drop females as they become old or lose their interest. And, in fact, many societies have had that model — e.g., China before the revolution. But western society condems this both on a religious and a sociological basis as being oppressive to women and destructive for children.

    The truth is — it’s not just “monogamous heterosexual” vs “gay” as the two possible sexual orientations. There are a huge range of sexual options that go beyond monogamous heterosexuality — that’s why they refer to “LGBT” but you could add a lot of more letters and various combinations of letters. Eventually you either say “certain types of sexual behavior are socially and psychologically healthy, good for individuals and for society, and others aren’t” (that is, you are willing to define which behaviors are good and which are bad) or you just give up and say “OK, whatever you choose to do sexually is good and holy as long as it represents your true identity.” The problem is that the LGBT movement is already firmly in the latter camp. As such, it is never going to be compatible with religious movements which exist precisely to distinguish between what is good and what is not.

  • Nachum November 8, 2010, 9:59 AM

    “should have slipped this in earlier” in the final paragraph. Good one!

  • Avrumy November 8, 2010, 11:05 AM

    And the filter has caught my response. Again!!!

  • Avrumy November 8, 2010, 11:20 AM

    WOW.
    G-d bless you Heshy. I am so proud of you for speaking up again for the orthodox LGBT community.
    Those Israeli orthog*y leaders are on a US tour, starting in California and ending in NYC. I hope to hear them this week. Reading the comments that have been posted so far, it is clear that there is still a lot of closed-mindedness in the frum community. There is no sin in enjoying musicals, dressing nicely and keeping a clean apartment. ? Please do not assume that all frum g*y men are in violation of the specific Torah admonition.
    Heshy, did you read the “Statement of Principles” regarding homo$exuals in the orthodox community, signed by hundreds of orthodox rabbis and educators? (If you mentioned it, I missed it.) Change is on the horizon regarding our place in the community. No one Orthodox is advocating halachic change. The Word is clear. It is the “g’derot” that the rabbis have instituted over the centuries that we find unfair, wrong, hurtful and terribly misinformed. We are willing to admit we are in violation of rabbinic code. So are most Jews – they just don’t admit it. But we are not willing to leave the community because we make (some of) the rest of you uncomfortable.

    • Halo November 14, 2010, 9:34 AM

      Avrumy,
      I would love to go hear these speakers as well. Have I missed their NY speaking engagement? Where can I find out information about their tour?
      Thanks!

      • Avrumy November 15, 2010, 1:25 PM

        Sorry, they spoke Tuesday and Thursday in NY. The tour is over.
        Check out glydsa.org for information on things like this.

  • Eric November 8, 2010, 11:46 AM

    Thank you for your support, it takes a lot to go on a limb and say that you support the LGBT community, a sad statment all to it’s self. While I am not LGBT, I have many friends who are and they are shuned by the community and this makes me sick. The core essence of we are all made in g-ds image and are love thy brother are violated by “g-d fearing people” we all stood at Mt Sinai togther, some in the mens section, some in the womens section, some in between but we are all jews

  • FrumGer November 8, 2010, 1:37 PM

    There is a big difference in being a member of an Orthodox Shul (meaning you pay dues) and being An Orthodox Jew.
    a man drives to to an orthodox shul on shabbos and says he is orthodox just because of the shul he goes too is not orthodox. he is less “orthodox” than the strictly observant person going to a conservative shul. now I support gay rights, but an openly proud gay person should not say they are orthodox.

    some say Judaism is not an “all or nothing” religion. I agree. but not in all cases. There are Halachos which are so binding that you are to die if you violate them. I ask what is more “or nothing” than death? It is “all or nothing” in some instances. Torah says if you do these certain things, it is better you be dead. When your dead you cannot perform mitzvos. the ultimate OTD. because there is no more derech. the derech is over. that is what the Torah says about this avera.

    I feel for the struggling jew. He hates the sitra achra, and is continually trying to rise above, even if unsuccessfully. This is a different situation than a group proudly naming anorganization based on a shonda. Is there an organization called the Bacon Double Cheeseburger Eating Minyan? I dont pretend that a gay Jews life is easy. I can empathizes with them personally. I have no issue with a jew struggling with something, but when they get together, don rainbows and flags and show pride about this terrible oppression in their life, that is when Its a Chillul HaShem.

    I am not proud of my tayvos and I certainly dont try to justify them or embrace them. Its all an illusion. a lie. a sham. these groups that try to support them are destroying them. Like breaking a fighting mans hands. And I despise that.

    • Jakes November 8, 2010, 3:03 PM

      FrumGer, while you claim to “feel for the struggling jew”, your bacon cheeseburger comment seems to indicate otherwise. What a moronic thing to say.

  • Elchanan November 8, 2010, 3:54 PM

    If I’ve learned is that there is always somebody who is more frum than you and will say, not that you are less frum, but that you simply are not frum. Some will go so far as to say if you’re less frum than them, you’re not even a religious Jew.

    There is one judge. One standard. Hashem is that judge and that standard. Yes, so maybe this goes against traditional Jewish thought, but I say embrace your fellow Jew, lead by example, and in the end it is Hashem who decides if he was “Jewish enough”

    • Elchanan November 8, 2010, 3:57 PM

      *If I’ve learned anything

      my stupid computer likes to randomly highlight while I’m typing or it moves the cursor to some random location. It’s such a pain.

  • FrumGer November 9, 2010, 11:28 AM

    I dont see what the bacon cheese burger comment was negative. calling yourself the the pride minyan, the word pride being very indicative of gay pride. gay pride if you are a Torah Jew is a huge conundrum. its the same as mehal shabbos pride lashon hora pride or trefah food pride… an averia in your life is not something to be proud of. period. look I watched trembling before G-d, and I felt for several people on that doc. I truelly did. but the ones that were embracing the sitra achra and trying to justify it or whatever, i felt anger towards. its a tough situation to be sure. but i feel just as strongly about people making justifications on driving on shabbos. there all excuses to not deal with the obvious. the obvious being that their life choices no matter how much they justify it, are contrary to the one thing that define a orthodox jew. Publicly fallowing the rules, esp the big ones. this includes eating kosher observing shabbos, & following the sexual rules.

    I am not thinking I am more frum or less frum. I am saying an open proud gay frum jew is an oxymoron.

    I grew up goy. I still love the taste of many treifah things.
    but when I made a decision to keep the Torah I gave those things up. As most men, i have a strong desire to have multiple sexual partners. its so natural. we human are not naturally monogamous. I love women shiksa jewish whatever, I love women… always have. But when I got married, I made a ketsubah to put down my strong desires and urges for one women.

    this next bit is a little blunt so if you would be offended dont read…

    many men in prison turn gay because of lack of options and they make the best of it, many from what I understand even start to like it. many shepherds have been far in the back country and done things to sheep. these things are not natural if given options. I am sure many of these men would much rather have a beautiful woman’s body to obtain pleasure from then sheep or other men.

    Why cant these Gay Jews that desire to please HaShem, and do His mitzvos put a wall up and get it through there head that there is a lack of options for them and make the best of it? as if they were in prison. Make the best with what you got. every man in the world that is married makes the best with what he has because given the freedom he would have every women that is appealing to him. its the emes.

    Also just as i eat veggie burgers with cheese, I make due inside the rules. If you like a strong body muscle type get a manly woman.Some women look like and act so much like a man that they almost are minus the shmeckle. also lot of gay men look like women or femine so if you get a manly women its almost the same. not exactly but good enough if you desire to please G-d. not to be blunt but if straight men can have an erection with a sheep in the woods, then I am sure a gay man can have an erection with at least manly woman.

    You due with what you can, you follow the rules, you dont compromise or justify. You just do it. Torah is not easy for anyone, but its not as hard for some. I dont pretend to know the depths of homosexuality. All I can do is put it in other terms. I know its hard, but there are things that are hard in my life too. there are hard things in everyones life. you fight them thats it thats all. you fight the yetzer hora. always. you never embrace it. ever. and you dont name a minyan after it.

    • Avrumy November 9, 2010, 4:33 PM

      FrumGer says “I dont pretend to know the depths of homosexuality.”
      That’s obvious.
      On one hand I can appreciate what you are trying to say. You seem sincere. But, and it’s a BIG but, you really don’t have a clue about what you are talking about. Manly women? $ex with sheep? Spare me.
      Yes, life can be hard. But if you are g*y and orthodox you do your best to avoid mishkav zachar. That is ALL that Hashem put in his holy book. If some frumg*ys want to be totally celibate, go for it. But it is not a fair demand. And not what Hashem asked of us. He did not ask for a life of solitude, misery and self-hatred. He just said don’t do men in the a$$.
      Sorry about the asterisks etc, but the filter always blocks me when I write full words like an adult. Must be homophobic. :-p

    • DannyBoy November 9, 2010, 6:27 PM

      Frumger, think about what you just wrote. ” as if they were in prison” I can not imagine that you would say such a thing flippantly, but I wonder if you fully comprehend the ramifications of such a statement. To say that someone should live their life like they were locked up is callous if not downright cruel.

      There is absolutely no comparison between a straight man wanting to sleep with many women and having to settle for just one, and a gay man. It is hard to have a lot of sympathy for you having “put down strong desires and urges” because in the end you still have that one woman. Can you imagine not even having that?! Can you imagine having to LIVE YOUR LIFE AS IF YOU WERE IN PRISON, voluntarily incarcerating yourself every minute of every day. Having to guard even your thoughts from appreciating what you find attractive.

      How satisfied do you think you would be with a very effeminate man? So much like a woman that they are, minus the (I do not know the yiddish word for it). I wonder how long that would work for you. If you could even begin such a relationship.

      I do not claim to have any answers to the big question of judaism and homosexuality. However I must point out that there is nothing in the Torah that says someone can not be gay. It prohibits intercourse between men. God makes people gay, He would not make some one gay and then say it is forbidden. He said intercourse is forbidden. A pride minyan is not celebrating a sin but celebrating self-respect and self-worth. The same way we assume that a straight couple who is dating, is not engaging in forbidden activities; we should assume the same for everyone, even the gays. (I am not positive but I would think sleeping with a niddah might actually be worse than mishcav zachar seeing that it is chayev kareis and all)

      The suicides in the news recently show more than ever that a little empathy can go along way. How many jewish kids are lost forever because of the hateful and obdurate way they hear their teachers, rabbis, parents, roshei yeshiva, counselors etc. talk about gays? The malevolent maligning of gays that these kids are exposed to create such damage to the self-esteem of young kids already struggling with their sexuality, that they quickly begin to see suicide as the only option.

  • FrumGer November 10, 2010, 8:12 AM

    I too dont claim to have the answers, I am also not trying to bash gays or be offesive. the way i look at it an orthodox jew that is gay is in prison.

    They are most likely tortured with guilt, esteem issues, the psychological ramifications are huge. look at these goyim kids that are committing suicide as of late. its terrible. and there not trying to be orthodox jews. how much worse is it for you. I realize that and am trying to find an acceptable way out.

    I realize that what I was saying was obtuse, and out of the box. I also realize that I could never understand how men can be gay. that is hard for me to comprehend and I really dont have the answers. I am merely trying to make a suggestion that a gay man is better to get married and have kids and fight his urges until he dies, with in that he should find a women that most appeals to him. Like if I absolutely had to be gay because G-d said “be gay” i would be with the most feminine type of cross dresser I could find, I figured the converse to be true too.

    as far a mishkav zachar, see i know we have heters for about everythign but this is to me not an excuse. to do all the other stuff.
    1. we are ordered – pru vu
    2. ejaculation outside the female vagina is assur
    3. needless to say masturbation is assur

    I think the prohibition never intended to just mean anal intercourse but chazal has all the bases covered even if it is in a round about way…

    These urges must be strong and its true nothing can compare to them. But if you read in psychology at all pedophiles have the same compulsions toward kids that heterosexuals do towards women and homosexuals do towards men . likewise serial killers experience these same strong compulsions.

    what if you were born a serial killer instead or a pedophile? are you justifying them? what about men that are serial rapists? these people cant help their self either. they have urges just as real. people are born with out the capacity to feel emotion or empathy.

    G-d created us all. Are these people allowed to live their life in “pride” about their deviant behavior because G-d made us this way? are they to support their handicapp or mental issues? these differences form the norm, these deviant lifestyles cause by brain abnormalities, trauma, and genetic implications.

    Now homosexuality is not on the same level as these others, but it is deviant from the normal order of this world, and it is is deviant form the order of the Torah. I am only tying to point out that struggle is a human condition and you follow the rules if you want to be a frum yid.

    • Jakes November 10, 2010, 5:38 PM

      What is wrong you with FrumGer, on this post too you start off talking about how tolerant and understanding you are and then veer off with these terrible comments?

      If you were gay, you would be attracted to men. Not a woman, even if she was really butch.

      Secondly, it is wrong for a gay man to have a sham marriage with a woman he cannot love. Would you want your daughter to marry such a man?

      Re: pride. One could debate the merits of gay pride parades with nude men dancing on floats, but this doesn’t seem to be the issue here. Many frum, gay Jews are trying to make sense of their identities and too often excluded from their communities when they open up about it. So good for them if they band together for support. In my opinion it doesn’t seem too in your face.

  • FrumGer November 15, 2010, 1:05 PM

    no it is not wrong for a gay man to have a derech marriage so long as he is honest with the people involved or at least show his wife due affection. what is wrong is having a union with another man. that is what is wrong judging by that mans own standard- IE the Torah. homosexuality is a flaw, psychological, genetic or other. it is a flaw. much like when a boy is born with down syndrome or autistic. homosexuality is against the natural order, it’s digression. period. I do not judge negatively a gay person no more than i do someone with down syndrome. it not their fault, i dont blame them. its a disorder, caused by trauma sometimes and caused by genetics other times. that sounds harsh but look at this objectively, scientifically.

    • yaakov (cole) schuster January 20, 2011, 11:11 PM

      hxcjhgds

      • yaakov (cole) schuster January 20, 2011, 11:18 PM

        sorry..keyboard went nuts… i agree with the point your making, frum ger, but i wouldnt state it like that. like R. Aharon Feldman said in his latest book…a jewish homosexual (not gay…gay means camp..affeminate…not compatible with the way a torah jew should behave) has two choices: remain celibate and dedicate his life to other loftier things..or try to get married to a woman… a lifetime parter or best friend is that, regardless of the gender… that way, if he ever gets a sexual urge…the point is, its not easy. thats way he concludes by saying that if the homosexual jew complies with this, he has fought his urges way harder than any other jew so as not to transgress an issur..he is considered a kadosh. most tzaddikim never reach that madreiga.

  • yaakov (cole) schuster January 20, 2011, 11:19 PM

    sorry..keyboard went nuts… i agree with the point your making, frum ger, but i wouldnt state it like that. like R. Aharon Feldman said in his latest book…a jewish homosexual (not gay…gay means camp..affeminate…not compatible with the way a torah jew should behave) has two choices: remain celibate and dedicate his life to other loftier things..or try to get married to a woman… a lifetime parter or best friend is that, regardless of the gender… that way, if he ever gets a sexual urge…the point is, its not easy. thats way he concludes by saying that if the homosexual jew complies with this, he has fought his urges way harder than any other jew so as not to transgress an issur..he is considered a kadosh. most tzaddikim never reach that madreiga…

  • Ari Gross October 2, 2014, 8:04 PM

    UM NO. The attraction isn’t there and they aren’t sexually active with each other. By all appearances and going through the motions of that social dynamic, they may be defined as a societally normative straight couple. But if the marriage is between a gay man and a lesbian woman that would not and could not make them straight. Now if they are bisexual and the polar opposite attractions and sexual activity are present, than one could technically label the relationship “straight”.

  • Ari Gross October 2, 2014, 8:27 PM

    Ha yourself! Your lack of intelligence is not attractive either, though he isn’t using any pesukim to back up “APIKORSOS”. His argument makes COMPLETE SENSE especially from halachic perspective. The Torah says to lie with a man like a woman is a sin. But NEVER does it mention that for a man to be in matrimony or any other romantic relationship with another man, is a sin. Sorry, but it isn’t even implicitly stated in the passuk.

    Being homosexual, single or as a couple, doesn’t make you an ACTIVE one. It’s called abstinence. And don’t imply that a man in a gay relationship isn’t loyal to Hashem. As for um core emotions, I’d rather have someone use said emotions correctly to impress me than to attempt and fail with intelligence and rational.

  • Ari Gross October 2, 2014, 8:39 PM

    Who says Heshy way talking about an illicit relation? And as you stated rightly, there are many ways to love another person- regardless of sex. Though speaking of, halachically its not that clear what is considered illicit relations and what aren’t. Some physical acts of love are clearly not an issue halachically (e.g. lacking the spillage of seed or specific penetrative acts, etc). As for not being sure, I’m not sure where you get any facts about being straight (born or otherwise) and its corresponding taivah’s

  • Ari Gross October 2, 2014, 8:52 PM

    Moshe, Moshe… I applaud both your honesty and your frumkeit! But your being a guy who happens to like girls and who maybe is honestly unhappy being with only one girl doesn’t conclude that every straight and gay guy isn’t happily monogamous since he “likes”what he sees of other girls and guys, respectively,

  • Ari Gross October 2, 2014, 9:07 PM

    And you DannyBoy, must have hit your head too hard before hitting upon this nonsensical revelation. I guess Straight men can be excused from sleeping around and be given the benefit of the doubt and so long as its A girl, it’s ok! One can then assume that eventually Moshe or you’ll settle down and be happy cus being with A girl is A guarantee towards eternal happiness.

    So sorry to pull the rose colored wool from your eyes but Gay men have as much of an option of being with ONE person they love, just as even a Straight man has of being unfaithful to the one or many people they don’t. I’m guessing its this prospect that leads you to your sad, untrue and irrational conclusion.

  • Ari Gross October 2, 2014, 9:40 PM

    Unfortunately too much Halacha, not enough Hashkafa. The present day Orthodoxy promotes disrespect and ill manners, with deference paid to the attainment of certain knowledge rather then acts of kindness. At best, there is a misguided good-will built into a base of mal-intent towards those that are different. Referring to what Heshy writes below, ironically pedophiles are considered normal and even better (when married and frum) compared to one who is simply gay.

    Naturally when basic Torah precepts (e.g.such as love thy neighbor as yourself) are ignored, is it a wonder why predators are protected and the innocent are victimized by a “frum” community?!

    It’s like you said about learning to not pick and choose. If their gonna open a holy book they should be holy about it and truly learn the whole thing WITH full application of said learning.

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