Thank you, Joseph Kaplan
I always enjoy reading the opinion pieces by Joseph Kaplan in your paper. As a lawyer and a Modern Orthodox Jew, and as the parent of six children and one son-in-law who graduated from Yeshiva University, I especially enjoyed reading Mr. Kaplan’s latest opinion piece concerning litigation now before the U.S. Supreme Court in which Yeshiva University is arguing that it has the right to deny the request of its LGBTQ students to form a Pride Alliance club on campus (“There must be a better way,” September 9). Such a club would be devoted to building community and support for LGBTQ students. Despite possibly going against the opinions of many of those in the Orthodox community, I agree with Mr. Kaplan that YU should not be litigating this matter and should instead permit its students the right to form such a club.
YU should care about the well-being of all of its students, including those who are LGBTQ and who may often feel ostracized and rejected. It should not discriminate against them by denying them rights that are afforded to other students. It has been reported that, unfortunately, LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. They are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather they are placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.
Of course, YU is an Orthodox Jewish institution, and it must adhere to Jewish law. However, by allowing the club to exist on campus, as Mr. Kaplan points out, YU would not be advocating for any behavior forbidden by halacha, and YU is not being asked to change any of its values.
The Torah teaches us to love and treat others the way that we would want to be treated ourselves, thus treating others with dignity and respect. By allowing the club, YU will be showing that it is welcoming and respectful to those in the LGBTQ community. By denying them the right to have their own club, YU would be adopting a hurtful policy. Such a policy would cause them to feel even more mistreated and stigmatized, which could lead to greater harm. To do so would seem to be inconsistent with Torah values.
Bernie (Dov) Mintz