Tuesday, May 28, 2019

First openly gay Orthodox rabbi ordained in Jerusalem (JTA)

“Here’s the real question. Is our Torah and halachic system so weak and devoid of resources that it cannot be challenged by a new situation?” Citing the verse “The Torah is perfect, restoring the soul,” Landes thundered that “it is a perfect Torah only when and if it restores the soul. That’s what we need to work for.”

Read about the ordination of Rabbi Daniel Atwood here.

Many thanks to Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Founder and President of Uri L'Tzedek, for posting this link on Facebook.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019
For a nuanced interpretation of halachah regarding human diversity of various kinds, I'm referring you to this class on Uniformity and Diversity by Hadar's Rabbi Ethan Tucker.
"We will consider how the sources we learn might also enable us to engage modern ideas about sexuality through a more productive lens."

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Torah can restore the soul and still institutions can validly say that they're not going to ordain people who are publicly stating that they are not following halacha in one aspect. If a rabbinic student publicly announced they wouldn't follow taharat ha'mishpacha or kashrut, it wouldn't be any different. YCT was put in an awkward situation when he came out and said "but I'll keep halacha". I'm not saying they handled this well, but I don't think they had any choice. Getting publicly engaged is saying "sure, I knew I said I would keep halacha, but I guess I won't be."

They should have clarified with him that "keeping halacha" meant staying celibate. And if he wouldn't commit to that, they should have said at the outset that he could study but they wouldn't ordain him.

The Orthodox community should be welcoming, or at a minimum empathetic, to LGBT+ people, but someone who is publicly violating halacha can't be given smikcha.

Wed May 29, 07:27:00 AM 2019  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

It's much easier to put a link in a post than to put one in a comment, and I do have to get to work eventually (even though I'm now a part-timer), so let me respond by recommending that you listen to Rabbi Tucker's class on Uniformity and Diversity, to which I just linked in this post.

I assume that your logic is what motivated YCT to deny Rabbi Atwood ordination--it appears likely that his public announcement of his engagement to a man was deemed to be too blatant a challenge to halachah to ignore. You will, no doubt, disagree with my opinion, but I think it's high time for halachah to acknowledge that requiring *anyone*--and that includes heterosexual singles--to remain celibate for life is just plain cruel. The Torah tells us that God Godself said, "lo tov heyot ha-adam l'vado, it is not good for the human to be alone." (Genesis/B'reshit 2:18)"

Wed May 29, 11:13:00 AM 2019  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not halacha. "A man shall not lie with a man as he does with a woman" in Vayikra is.

And I don't think YCT is necessarily saying that they won't be empathetic or welcoming to gays, they just can't ordain them. I think where they messed up was in not making that clear to him at the get go. They need to think about halacha and institutional values, not merely one person.

And, to be honest, individual smikha from someone nobody has heard of is meaningless. It has no effect on society. I feel bad for the guy, but he should have taken time to think after he came out. This is at least in part a mess of his own making.

Wed Jun 05, 07:44:00 AM 2019  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"And I don't think YCT is necessarily saying that they won't be empathetic or welcoming to gays, they just can't ordain them."

YCT is a rabbinical school. What's the point in admitting gays if they don't intend to ordain them?

"I feel bad for the guy, but he should have taken time to think after he came out. This is at least in part a mess of his own making."

One could make a case that he might have been wiser to wait to get engaged until after he'd received s'mikhah. But then we're back to square one: The fundamental question is, "Are gays allowed to have full lives or aren't they?" YCT's answer--and yours--is "No, they must remain celibate for life." I refer you again to Rabbi Tucker's class--surely, there must be a better way.

Fri Jun 07, 10:56:00 AM 2019  

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