Disagrees with columnist

Disagrees with columnist

Rabbi Aryeh Meir of Teaneck is on the faculty of the Academy for Jewish Religion and is the chairperson of the Teaneck Environmental Commission.

While I agree with Rabbi Boteach on his main point – that gays are not the problem with marriage in this country – I cannot agree on several other points in his Jan. 15 article, “Focus on divorce, not gays, to fix the family.”

Rabbi Boteach states, “While the Torah’s teachings on homosexuality are clear, the Jewish community has wisely told gay men and women to come to synagogue, keep a kosher home, honor the Sabbath, affix a mezuzah, and come to classes on Judaism as clear equals to everyone else.” Sure, we want them to feel welcome in our synagogues, etc. But, “The Torah’s teachings on homosexuality are clear”? What does the good rabbi mean by this?

From my perspective as a member of the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative), the Torah’s teachings on homosexuality are clear, but not in the way that Rabbi Boteach understands those teachings. The Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Law and Standards has issued several halachic responsa that found a halachic basis for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in all aspects of Jewish life, including positions of rabbinic and lay leadership.

Second, in his article Rabbi Boteach uses the phrase “lifestyle choices.” My understanding of many years of studying the issue has led me to understand that gays and lesbians have not made a “lifestyle choice” in their sexual/gender identity. Rather, they have come to the realization that they too have been created (in the image of God) either gay or lesbian. It was not a choice they made. It was a blessing given to them by their Creator.