NY synagogue ordered to stop congratulating gays who marry

NY synagogue ordered to stop congratulating gays who marry December 14, 2017

America’s Orthodox Union has come down hard on New York’s  liberal Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, ordering it to stop using its newsletter to congratulate same-sex couples who marry.
To its shame, the Orthodox Riverdale synagogue in the Bronx agreed to halt the practice due to “a barrage of complaints”.
The Orthodox Union, according to this report, is the largest association of Orthodox synagogues in the US and is opposed marriage equality.
The OU said in a statement:

It is the OU’s unequivocal position that support for, or celebration of, halachically [in accordance with Jewish law] proscribed conduct is fundamentally inappropriate. Accordingly, the institutional endorsement or encouragement of any conduct that is contrary to halacha is activity that no Orthodox synagogue should allow.

Same-sex marriage is prohibited in Orthodox Jewish law. However those of the liberal and reform denominations permit same-sex marriage, taking a more open-minded approach.
The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is well-known for its forward-thinking and liberal approach to the inclusion of women and LGBT Jews into its congregation, and has been described as:

A leader in pushing the bounds of traditional Jewish law.

Last year it hosted a panel named “Building a Jewish Future Outside the Closet”.
Avi Weiss, the founding rabbi of the synagogue, signed a statement of principles by Orthodox leaders in 2010 that stated there was a need:

To treat human beings with same-sex attractions and orientations with dignity and respect.

While the synagogue does not conduct same-sex weddings, it began including “mazel-tov” announcements in its newsletter congratulating gay couple who marry.

Mordechai Levovitz, Executive Director of Jewish Queer Youth, above centre, said:

The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is a wonderful shul and it treats its LGBT people wonderfully. It’s the OU that’s making a big deal out of this. It’s the OU that’s deciding to focus on congratulatory wording and not on children and teens who are physically and mentally at risk.

Jewish Queer Youth is an organisation that seeks to empower and support Orthodox teenagers who often feel alone or isolated, according to their website. Levovitz added that the OU policy will only inflict further damage on this vulnerable group.
In 2015 JQY members successfully sued JONAH (the Orthodox conversion therapy organisation) for consumer fraud and won a landmark court case, potentially making all gay conversion therapy illegal under New Jersey state consumer fraud law.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • AgentCormac

    My, how they religious just love all their endless rules and laws that prescribe every last little detail of your day and night. But especially your night.

  • Broga

    So petty. Lacking in generosity. Encased in their bigotry.

  • L.Long

    Like women who complain about the church treating them badly, or gays being treated bad, QUIT!!!! Fake it until you are independent and tell them all to piss off! but if you are so delusional that you need gawd…do like so many have done – start your own religion. But if you are really really delusional and you need that specific idiot religion, then STFU and follow the rules. You liking or disliking the rules does not matter, they don’t need to change for you! The only thing that makes a religion change is the loss of MONEY! Their real gawd!

  • 1859

    As society evolves and moves on, the religious fundamentalists will become more and more isolated but they will make sure their squeals are heard far and wide. If they fail to evolve with society they will, like any species which cannot change,become extinct. And in their heart of hearts they know this, they know they are losing control over society, over what and how people think and feel. Their game is over, it’s just going to be a long, protracted process.

  • Robster

    Still unable to figure why a same sex attracted person or persons would subscribe to a religion (are there any others?) that really hates you and those similar? Just so silly, like sleeping with the enemy.

  • 1859

    @Robster: I think in this case it’s because the ‘culture’ of being Jewish and the ‘religion’ are so interwoven it is sometimes extremely difficult to separate them. Also there is the terrible problem amongst Jews ( if they openly defy the orthodox rules etc.) of being completely rejected by the entire community with which they may have identified right through their childhood , adolescence and early adulthood. I guess many of these openly gay young men still believe in their god simply because culturally they feel they ‘belong’ to their religion, even though, as you say, it seems wholly irrational to still believe in a religious system that publically denounces who and what you are.