On the same-sex announcement controversy

On the same-sex announcement controversy

Cogregation Beth Haverim Shir Shalom, Mahwah, Reform

When the editorial board of The Jewish Standard takes bold decisions that move our community forward, I applaud them. And when they take steps that send us hurtling backwards, I cannot but hold them accountable.

I am very angry that The Jewish Standard has decided to rescind its bold decision to publish wedding announcements for same-sex couples.

I was not one of the rabbis that the Standard consulted with on this issue, and I am disappointed that the paper would choose to consult with rabbis of only one stream of Judaism on its editorial policy. I do not always agree with the editorial decisions of the several papers I read each week; neither would I expect those papers to step away from principled editorial decisions based on my views or the views of a subset of their readership. But if the Standard is willing to set its policies based on the “pain and consternation” of its readership, let it be known that I and many people in our community have been pained by this latest decision.

As we mourn the death of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student and a native of Ridgewood who took his own life as a result of being publicly humiliated about his sexual orientation, I am appalled that the Standard would publicly marginalize gay and lesbian Jews in our Jewish community. If, as a recent Torah portion taught us, we are indeed all created in God’s image, surely we must at minimum acknowledge that gay and lesbian Jews are human beings whose love for each other, far from threatening heterosexuality, is something to be celebrated in a world sadly in need of love and celebration.

As a community, we must not participate in attempting to bully members of our congregations and community into a corner, a closet, or worse. I urge the Standard to reconsider whom they are hurting, and whom they are helping, in this matter.