Here is a horrifying story of Orthodox homophobia as told in the New York Jewish Week by the only out of the closet gay Orthodox rabbi, Steven Greenberg:
This past spring, my partner and I moved to Cincinnati. Soon after we arrived, an Orthodox synagogue in town prohibited our attendance. The rabbi of the shul called apologetically to inform us that the ruling had come from a rabbi whose authority exceeded his own. I decided to call this rabbi, who is the head of a prominent yeshiva and a respected halachic authority….
…I shared with him that people who are gay and lesbian who want to remain true to the Torah are in a great deal of pain. Many have just left the community. Some young gay people become so desperate they attempt suicide.
His reply: “Maybe it’s a mitzvah for them to do so.”
I thought I had lost the ability to be shocked by their hatred, but apparently they have not fully explored all the depths of their loathing for gays.
The very next day, a hatred-filled Jonathan Mark published his regular column in the same newspaper:
We know Reform rabbis support gay marriage. And, yes, they support intermarriage, too.
…And we know that Reform clergymen love “dialogue” with any imam or priest, anywhere, any time.
“Dialogue,” by the way, is a fancy Reform rabbi word for what us regular folks call “a conversation,” just like a “collation” after Temple is a fancy Reform rabbi word for what the rest of call a kiddush.
One fancy Reform word that’s used too often, when referring to the Orthodox, is “homophobic.” You almost can’t find an article on Jews and homosexuality in which Reform rabbis (and other liberal Jews) aren’t calling Orthodox rabbis “homophobic.”
…Dear Reform rabbis, you wouldn’t like it if Orthodox Jews started calling Reform rabbis “Torah-phobic,” would you?
By the way, when’s the last time a Reform rabbi dared to call an imam, or the vast Muslim world, “homophobic”?
Now to the point. I would argue that most Reform rabbis are Torah-phobic and rightly so. The Torah promotes racism, misogyny, genocide, rape and homophobia. I’m proudly Torah-phobic (although it’s a silly word that I won’t use). My only complaint to Reform rabbis is that I wish they would admit it instead of pretending that the Torah is a useful source of modern moral authority.
I will also happily call Islam homophobic. The Islamic world is indescribably worse for gays than America. That doesn’t mean we don’t have problems here, too. I will also gladly call the Catholic Church and right-wing evangelical Protestants homophobic.
When Steven Greenberg appealed to the basic humanity of that “prominent” and “respected” Orthodox rabbi, that wise rabbi praised gay teen suicide as a “mitzva.” I would like anyone to explain to me how that is not an expression of hideous, outrageous hatred.
I won’t call every Orthodox rabbi homophobic. The incalculably small percentage of Orthodox leaders who have signed the Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with Homosexual Orientation in Our Community are kind people. I certainly don’t agree with their religious positions, but they are trying to be decent human beings. In order to sign, Orthodox leaders don’t even have to change their position on Jewish law. Their minute number underscores my point.
For the sake of Jonathan Mark and his followers, I’ll try not to describe the rest of them with a “fancy” word like homophobic. Let’s see, what would be a good alternative that he wouldn’t have to look up in the dictionary? Got it! I’ll call them primitive, hateful nincompoops.