When the New Jersey Jewish Standard ran a same-sex wedding announcement, its editors were unprepared for the attack from the right. Once it came, their sense of journalistic integrity led them to publish this:
We set off a firestorm last week by publishing a same-sex couple’s announcement of their intent to marry…. A group of rabbis… within the traditional/Orthodox community… made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused…. We have decided, therefore, since this is such a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future.
Then the rest of the Jewish community, that is to say the saner part of the community, hit back. So they then published this:
We ran the wedding announcement because we felt, as a community newspaper, that it was our job to serve the entire community — something we have been doing for 80 years. We did not expect the heated response we got, and — in truth — we believe now that we may have acted too quickly in issuing the follow-up statement, responding only to one segment of the community…. We urge everyone to take a step back and reflect on what this series of events has taught us about the community we care so much about, and about the steps we must take to move forward together.
I can tell you very easily what can be learned from this series of events. Orthodox Judaism, which views itself as the only legitimate form of Judaism, will not tolerate the suggestion that there are other legitimate ways of being Jewish.
What is it exactly that caused them “pain and consternation?” Was it the mere knowledge that two gay people fell in love and are getting married? Oh boo-hoo. Someone disagrees with them and they’re in pain.
This isn’t about their pain. It’s about power, control and legitimacy. Pain is the result of losing your partner of thirty years and being evicted from the home you once shared because you couldn’t get married. Pain is the result of being denied entry into the hospital room of your ailing lover.
What these Orthodox Jews are feeling is actually resentment. That is a result of people not giving two hoots about their desire to be the sole arbiters of what is legitimately Jewish. It is also the result of realizing that the other Jews are uninterested in their many primitive ideas. They’ve lost their power over the rest of us. We know they’re wrong and we don’t care what they have to say.
And that gives me pleasure.