Steve Greenberg headshot

Steve Greenberg: How Orthodox Jews Changed Their Minds On Gay Rights

Same-sex rights proponents suffered an unusual loss this week when a federal judge in Louisiana upheld the state's ban on gay marriage, bucking a domino-like chain of favorable rulings on the issue. Overall, 21 states have toppled bans since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013--a trend that reflects a remarkable shift in pubic opinion. In general, Jews have been at the forefront of this shift: More than 80 percent of Jewish Americans now support gay marriage, according to a recent survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. But while Jewish Reform circles have long supported gay rights, the same is far from true in the Orthodox world. In the past three decades, the dominant Orthodox understanding of homosexuality has undergone a dramatic shift of its own: from rebellion against God, to mental illness, to...

Continue reading

Panel Discussion on Gay Rights and Religious Freedom

Gay Rights and Religious Freedom Take the Stage

0 0 1 72 416 Moment Magazine 3 1 487 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Photo credit: Maria Bryk Should a rabbi be forced to give marriage counseling to a same-sex couple? Should a landlord who lives in the building be able to turn away an unmarried couple who wants to rent? Should a doctor be allowed to withhold reproductive services if doing so conflicts with his or her beliefs? On the other hand, should a same-sex couple be able to adopt from a Catholic-affiliated non-profit? Should a lesbian couple be able to walk along a public pier as part of their commitment ceremony? How comparable is today's struggle for same-sex rights to the history of civil rights and race in America? These were some of the questions addressed by a symposium exploring the realms of gay rights and religious freedom—and whether any overlap...

Continue reading

Jewish Senators Oppose "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

By Steven Philp Despite significant party shifts within the United States legislature, repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy may be addressed by the Senate as soon as mid-December. In a press conference held on Thursday, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) explained that repeal of the policy – included in the National Defense Authorization Act – is no longer contingent on gathering enough votes, but in finding time for full and open debate. According to The Advocate, Sen. Lieberman told reporters, “I am confident that we have more than 60 votes prepared to take up the defense authorization with the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ if only there will be a guarantee of a fair and open amendment process, in other words, whether we’ll take enough time to do it.” He was joined by...

Continue reading

A Gleeful Take on Religion

By Lisa Krysiak This week’s episode of Glee was in stark contrast from last week’s hilariously over-the-top ode to Britney Spears. It delved into the difficult topic of religion, exploring three different categories of religious belief through its characters. The first category, exemplified by Kurt and Sue, is people who reject religion based on their dissatisfaction with an imperfect world.  When Kurt’s father has a heart attack, his Glee club mates offer to pray for him, but Kurt resents God for the difficulties he faces for being gay.  He denounces religion and asserts that he doesn’t believe in God, “when he makes me gay, and then has his followers going around telling me it's something that I chose. As if someone would choose to be mocked every single day of their life."  He rejects their offers of...

Continue reading

They’re Here, They’re Queer….We’re still getting used to it.

By Niv Elis Dismayed.  Disappointed.  Disgusted. These are the adjectives commenters posted in response to a statement by The Jewish Standard, a New Jersey weekly, declaring that it will no longer publish marriage announcements for gay couples.  The decision came in the wake of the first gay engagement to grace the paper's lifestyle pages, honoring Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen. Following its publication, reports the Standard: A group of rabbis has reached out to us and conveyed the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community to this issue. Our subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused. The accompanying decision to stop running gay wedding announcements aroused a massive influx of criticism, pressuring the editorial...

Continue reading