12/10/06

Gay Decision Not "Tragic" or "Sad"

The Orthodox press mongers have spoken. They have within one day made their decisions. "To be sure, the decision is tragic and telling," says Avi Shafran, the Agudah press secretary.

The RCA issued their own press release.

Response to Rabbinical Assembly's Decisions Regarding Ordination of Gays and Lesbians, and "Commitment Ceremonies"

Dec 7, 2006 -- The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) has, with great sadness, taken note of this week's decision of the Rabbinical Assembly to allow for the ordination of gays and lesbians, as well as permission to officiate at so-called same-sex "commitment ceremonies."

This decision represents yet another significant step in the further estrangement of the Conservative movement from Jewish law (halachah) and tradition. Homosexual behavior is a clear and unambiguous biblical prohibition.
First on the facts. The RCA has the responsibility to correctly represent what the Torah says. The Torah indeed prohibits homosexual sexual relations. It does not prohibit "homosexual behavior." It kinda reminds me of Eve extending "don't eat from the tree" to "don't touch the tree."

So the RCA is wrong. We deserve a more accurate and nuanced leadership who do not jump into every fray with shoot from the hip press releases.

For those of you who have not been following Jewish history, the Conservative movement is not a fundamentalist Halachic movement. To say that it is and then to condemn them for not being that - that is insulting rhetoric.

Conservative theology is substantial and merits respect. What they have done for Judaism over several generations is in all respects commendable. The tone and content of most fundamentalist Orthodox attacks on the Conservative movement is offensive and needs to be condemned by civilized Orthodox Jews.

The intent of the Conservative movement is to keep pace with our social reality while maintaining a serious commitment to Judaism and to welcome all Jews.

Any attempt to characterize this decision of the Conservative movement as "Tragic" or "Sad" is wrong and must be rejected.

2 comments:

Bryce said...

Tzvee,

You wrote that the RCA was wrong, but if you had pointed out that four members of the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards resigned following the vote, then you would've had to blast some Conservative rabbis. Heaven forbid.

Further: You wrote: "Any attempt to characterize this decision of the Conservative movement as ... "Sad" is wrong and must be rejected." Reading the RCA announcement carefully, I noticed that they they didn't say the Rabbinical Assembly's decision was sad, but rather, that the RCA has "taken note" with sadness the decision. Slightly different nuance from what you report.

Also: You wrote: "It kinda reminds me of Eve extending "don't eat from the tree" to "don't touch the tree."
If you read about a Orthodox group criticizing a Jewish restaurant because they served milk and meat together, would you argue back and say that the Torah only says you can't cook a kid in its mother's milk?


One further point: You wrote: " the Conservative movement is not a fundamentalist Halachic movement. To say that it is and then to condemn them for not being that - that is insulting rhetoric." You don't like insults?
The Conservative movement -- at least that part that claims it IS following halacha -- would take great offense at your charge they're not a halachic movement.

Tzvee said...

not wanting to split hairs here my points are that CJ is not halakhic in the same way that AI is -- you can use the term halakhic in different ways as these two very different movements do use it. and yes to be saddened is not the same as to say it is sad -- but it also is not so different.