Friday, December 08, 2006

On the CJLS decision

I received an e-mail from a commenter asking me about my opinion regarding the recent CJLS decision to permit Homosexual marriages and Rabbinic Ordination. So I'll try to take a stab at it:

In my opinion the CJLS has reniged on it's charter - that to be the Halachic deciding body of the Conservative Movement - there is absolutely no way (as Joel Roth's tshuva said) to allow this al pi HaHalacha. As a self-described Halachic movement, I fail to see how they could allow this.

I have been told by a Conservative Rabbi (she's the mother of a friend) that this decision - in April she knew it'd pass - had less to do with Halacha than it does with trying to save the population slide within the Movement. While I think that has a lot to do with the decision, it still does not make sense; the long term survival of the movement does not need to permit this.

Two of my former roommates are currently at JTS now. While they disagree to the level that Homosexuals should be active within the Movement, they both agreed that it was absolutely the right thing to do and nearly 90% of the Student population agreed. It bothers me, that the students at JTS believe that driving on Shabbat is assur yet Homosexual marriage and ordination (let alone the Homosexual act) should be permitted by Halacha.

As you may have read, Roth and Rabinowitz - two of the major forces within the CJLS - have both resigned following the decision. I fully support their decision. Elliot Dorff, one of the authors of the decision to allow Homosexual marriage and ordination, said “Celibacy is a cruel option.” If it is cruel we still must be aware that the Torah demands it. We cannot pretend that it does not.

I will take this opportunity to post a quote from an article that I read regarding the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem.
Judaism looks negatively at homosexual activity, but not at the homosexual nature, whether it is genetic or acquired (the Torah does not express any view on the matter), is immaterial. This nature in no way diminishes or affects the Jewishness of a homosexual. He is as beloved in G-d's eyes as any other Jew, and is as responable as any Jew in all the mitzvos. He is obligated to achieve life's goals by directing his life towards spiritual growth, sanctity and perfection of his character - no less than is any other Jew. He will merit the same share in the World to Come which every Jew merits, minimally by being the descendant of Avraham Avinu and maximally by totally devoting his life towards the service of G-d.

Rav Aharon Feldman (quoted by Rabbi Moshe Hauer in "Horror, Sadness, and Concern" in the Baltimore Jewish News 11/24/06)
I think this is the proper response to the issue. This is where the joke Im tirtzu ain zo Halacha - If there's a Rabbinic Will there's a Haalchic way ends. There is no way to change the Torah and two thousand years of Rabbinic legislation.


Anonymous said...

umm have you actually read the nevins/dorff/reisner teshuva?

that one is obviously the more liberal of the two and while I haven't finished reading it, it does not seem to be permitting anal sex, or what you delicately call "the homosexual act"

Natan said...

I have read them all and I did not mean to imply that the Dorff/Reisner for they say "The explicit biblical ban on anal sex between men remains in effect. Gay men are instructed to refrain from anal sex." on Page 19 of their Tshuva.

What I was referring to when I wrote:
It bothers me, that the students at JTS believe that driving on Shabbat is assur yet Homosexual marriage and ordination (let alone the Homosexual act) should be permitted by Halacha.
is that it bothers me that there are JTS students that believe (along with some of the CJLS) that anal sex (or the Homosexual act) should be allowed because of compassion.