Two weeks ago, The Jewish Standard included a public announcement of a same sex ceremony. A group of Orthodox rabbis protested, and the Standard published a statement that it no longer would include such announcements. I realize that the paper faced certain pressures. In a carefully worded statement, the Standard expressed consternation over unintended pain caused.
It should be clear to our entire community that the statement caused serious pain.
Some might argue that if this announcement had not been published, the issue would not have arisen. That is now irrelevant. Indeed, with controversy brewing, the Standard should have convened a spectrum of rabbis to discuss the situation.
We should be outraged at allowing the Orthodox to hold sway over any matter of Jewish life that affects us all. Since when does one branch of Jewish expression determine the course of everyone’s lives – of what is Jewishly legitimate?
The different branches of Judaism have different approaches. We are all serious.
Judaism survives because God has compelled us to question and challenge unethical and evil behavior, and we adapt and evolve accordingly. This is our history and heritage. This is the power and authority behind our rabbinic texts, the Talmud and Maimonides and Chasidut and Musar – and the sages and ethicists from the spectrum of the contemporary Jewish world. The ethics and values are what compel us. And they are interpreted, with care and compassion, by each of us.
Finally, in the words of your own mission statement: “The Jewish Standard is not affiliated with any program, organization, movement, or point of view, but is dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life. The Jewish Standard is independent; it is committed to Jewish continuity and to Israel and America’s well-being.”
You did the right thing when you published the announcement of the same-sex ceremony. It’s the province of rabbis to do the right thing by posting our own responses, teaching the community appropriately about what we believe.