Let me take issue for the article regarding Eshel for several reasons (“Oy vey, my child is gay,” March 27).
First of all, the article takes a number of things out of context. The Helfgott letter never spoke of the halachic legitimacy of a same sex intimate relationship; it simply stated that gay individuals should be respected and tolerated the same as other Jews who are lacking in observance of Shabbat or kashrut. Rabbi Boteach made the same point. The call for a reinterpretation of the verse in Leviticus prohibiting homosexual relations is outside the realm of Orthodox Judaism just as reinterpreting the Torah to eliminate kashrut or Shabbat would be.
Secondly, there is a problem that I have with both Eshel and Keshet via the Orthodox community. They are not asking for respect and inclusion (the same way one would include a Jew who violates certain precepts of the Torah). They are asking for a heter for same sex intimate relationships.
That the Orthodox community cannot do and remain faithful to the Torah.
Respect and limited inclusion, yes but permission of a same-sex intimate relationship, no.