NJ Jewish paper bows to bigots.

Jewish Taliban intimidates NJ Jewish Standard and wins!

The New Jersey Jewish Standard, a Jewish community newspaper in Central NJ, has announced that it will no longer publish any ads celebrating unions of Jews who are gay or lesbian.

On September 24, 2010, a  gay Jew and his partner joined other happy couples in letting the world know of  their civil union. The NJ Jewish Standard printed the piece without comment. It was an announcement of their union and they and their families wanted to celebrate and let the community know about it. They are both observant Jews and well known in the community.

Such civil unions are the law of the land in many parts of America including New Jersey. According to Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and some modern orthodox rabbis, they are quite acceptable for Jews.

The editor of the New Jersey Jewish Standard, Rebecca Kaplan Boroson, wrote that many letters were received, some of them condemning the publication of this announcement, others supporting it. She said that she met with orthodox rabbis who said that they were offended and hurt by the announcement.

She wrote:

“A group of rabbis has reached out to us and conveyed the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community to this issue. Our subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused.”

Her solution was to ban all such announcements in the future.

Thanks, Ms. Boroson, for caving into the bigots in your community. I suppose that will not cause “pain and consternation” for the rest of us, right? After all, gay, lesbian and the majority of Jews other than the few bigots in your community lack feelings.

The New Jersey Jewish Standard has set a new standard for the lowest common denominator in Jewish journalism.

Your newspaper serves the Rutgers University community where freshman Tyler Clementi, a victim of the homophobia which you allowed to intimidate you, killed himself.  It is shocking that you would publicly ally yourself and your newspaper with such hateful people.

What a delightful way to enter the new year, 5771.

Here is the offensive announcement which caused such “pain and consternation”:

Simchas | Engagement
Avichai David Smolen, son of Robert Smolen and Barbara Schneider of New Milford, and Justin Taylor Rosen, son of Keith and Elizabeth Rosen of Coram, N.Y., plan to be married next month by Rabbi Joshua Gruenberg at North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, N.Y.
Smolen, 23, is a development and communications associate at the Manhattan office of Keren Or, the Jerusalem Center for Blind Children with Multiple Disabilities. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University and worked as a Faiths Act Fellow in Washington, D.C., a joint venture between the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Interfaith Youth Core. His father is the principal at the Gerrard Berman Day School Solomon Schechter of North Jersey in Oakland and his mother is a medical technologist and high school biology teacher in New Jersey.
Rosen, 24, is a master’s degree candidate in public administration at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and at the Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies for a master’s of arts in Jewish studies. He is a Wexner Fellow taking part in a leadership development program for emerging professionals in the Jewish community. He did his undergraduate work at List College, the joint program between Columbia University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and Jewish Theological Seminary, where he received a bachelor’s in Jewish thought. His mother is a teacher at Longwood High School and his father is a computer software programmer in New York.

Let the NJ Jewish Standard know your thoughts. I am sure that they would appreciate it.

http://www.jstandard.com/content/item/a_statement_from_the_jewish_standard/

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10 Responses to NJ Jewish paper bows to bigots.

  1. Ann Glasser says:

    The headline says it all! How sad that the ultra right has triumphed again!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention NJ Jewish paper bows to bigots. | Jewish Daily Report -- Topsy.com

  3. Malka says:

    Please note that although the announcement was attributed to Rebecca Boroson, that was only because she is the editor; it was not written by her, and neither the statement nor the attitude should be attributed to her – she is understandable distressed over this. It is gratifying to see the reaction against this decision, in the postings on the Standard’s website. But it’s important to note that the pressure put on the newspaper by the prejudiced minority is brought by the minority that wields power in the form of advertising – and it wields power over those who advertise, and those who purchase from the advertisers. Once a threat is made to keep advertisers out, and to have members of the community boycott remaining advertisers, and the cumulative effect would be to put the newspaper out of business – what choice is there? People – Jews of several different stripes, attitudes, and beliefs, including at least one gay staff member – will be out of jobs. If you were the owner of the newspaper, would you be willing to ruin not only your livelihood, but that of many other people? Would you, individually, be willing to join the ranks of the unemployed, be unable to feed, clothe, or house your family, all for taking a stand – or would you look for a way to take a stand without gambling your – and other people’s – individual and family security?
    Instead of vilifying the newspaper and withdrawing support from it, those opposed to this statement should make it clear that the newspaper’s rescinding this decision means they would *support* it by advertising and/or supporting its advertisers. With the threat of financial ruin removed from the equation, see what the Standard will do – remember what they did before this, before any pressure was brought to bear.

  4. mw13 says:

    Its about time. If you define yourself as Jewish, you should adhere to Judaism’s basic principles. One of them is that being gay is an abomination, and is punishable by death. It says so clearly in the Torah, so I can’t imagine how any self-defined jew could have an issue with this.

    • Nice to have your loving comment.

      Obviously you are unfamiliar with halakha (Jewish law) or have bought into the party line that to sleep with a man in the manner of a woman refers to homosexuality.

      It does not according to most m’forshim ( commentators).

      It refers to sodomy which can be performed between two men or a man and a woman. The m’forshim specifically state that this is not condemning homosexuality. If homosexuality were condemned by Torah then we would also have to see a condemnation of lesbians. As you may or may not know, lesbians are never mentioned in the Torah.

      Therefore, the conclusion is that the act of sodomy or anal intercourse is being prohibited and not homosexuality.

      As one great poysek ( specialist in Jewish law) informed me, anyone who believes that the Torah condemns homosexuality is ignorant. How could something biological be condemned by Torah, something which Ha Shem in His Wisdom created as part of His world?

      We are an equal opportunity site.

      We even accomodate bigots and hatemongers as well as those whose beards and payos hide their ignorance of Torah.

      You are a great advertisement for the failure of a Torah education.

      Ever consider becoming a Jehovah’s Witness? I hear you can make a small fortune peddling Awake! door to door.

  5. mw13 says:

    Nice to have your loving response.

    “It refers to sodomy which can be performed between two men or a man and a woman. The m’forshim specifically state that this is not condemning homosexuality. If homosexuality were condemned by Torah then we would also have to see a condemnation of lesbians. As you may or may not know, lesbians are never mentioned in the Torah.
    Therefore, the conclusion is that the act of sodomy or anal intercourse is being prohibited and not homosexuality.
    As one great poysek ( specialist in Jewish law) informed me, anyone who believes that the Torah condemns homosexuality is ignorant. How could something biological be condemned by Torah, something which Ha Shem in His Wisdom created as part of His world?”

    You are 100% right. When I said “being gay is an abomination, and is punishable by death”, I was referring to the actual acts involved, not just the mere temptation. I do not consider somebody who has a homosexual nature to be gay, only those who give in to it. However, I’d say it’s a fair assumption that two men who are getting married are also having sex, wouldn’t you?

    “We are an equal opportunity site.
    We even accomodate bigots and hatemongers as well as those whose beards and payos hide their ignorance of Torah.
    You are a great advertisement for the failure of a Torah education.
    Ever consider becoming a Jehovah’s Witness? I hear you can make a small fortune peddling Awake! door to door.”

    Yes, I can see how open-minded you are… never insulting or mocking anybody who disagrees with you. We should all aspire to be so tolerant.

    • Good that you make the distinction between acts and temptation.

      You could argue with the posek, Rabbi Dov Lesser, zts”l, now niftar ( dead) who specifically told me that, in his estimation, being a homosexual, as you acknowledge, is not prohibited at all by Torah. However, he also added that it is an individual matter regarding the acts. For example, mutual masturbation, fellatio and other acts are permissible according to Torah. However, he thought that probably anal intercourse would be treyf, so to speak. However, on this last note, one of the greatest Sefardic sages alive today in Israel gave orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg a heter ( permission) for sodomy with his partner. Things are lightening up around this whole matter with the rabbinate as they realize that Torah also must accommodate our lives and serve to keep people from going crazy with humras ( strictness). Homosexuality, per se, contrary to popular thought, is not at all prohibited by Torah. Sodomy is but, as above, even that is changing in new interpretations.

      This should be our only problem in life.

      As far as assuming that all married couples or soon to be married are having sex, I can show you several cases where this is not the case. The greatest joy I have experienced with my partner has not been sexual. We have been together for 25 years and the intimacy that has flowered, the profound love and mutual support, is something I thought I would never have experienced in this life time.

      I am all for intimate sex but that is not always the case or even possible for all couples. Sometimes, the sex actually involves non-loving fantasies or is mechanical which takes away from the intimacy. I would rather refrain from sex than have such degrading and non-intimate contact with another being made in the image and likeness of Ha Shem. When we have sex, we are coming closer to HaShem. Degrading, fantasy based and mechanical sex, in my opinion, actually takes us away from HaShem and His love.

      Live and learn.

      I hope that you are happy and have a great day.

    • Jason S says:

      I’m not jewish but I agree with some peoples comments but your comments are unfaithful because if the guy before didn’t understand your first comment obviously you gave lack of information which can lead to affensiveness. I on the other hand felt you did give lack of information until now. But you also forgot that there are people like myslf who ar gay and class myself as a homosexual but do not practice it as I am selibate. I have no interest in sexual intercourse but I would like to concider marriage in the future. I also believe which others have backed me up on is that any god is loving and you must love everyone. I look past hate and its yours and other people comments which starts hate and war against others. If you do not like others practicing homosexuality then you should ignore it. The reason is: Every human life is valuable, every person has a right to live. As long as a person does not effect another hman life in the way of danger then no one shou;d need to be angry at another or jealous etc. So remember writing negative comments is not love it is a dislike which can lead to evil and evil is a sin and can lead people to destruction, so if you think you disagree with something in a positive way, justify yourself like I am, or if it leads to words like death or negativity then please refrain from using those hurtful words as it can effect everyone who reads it.

  6. Hey says:

    MW13, I would like you to refer to the recent “Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a Homosexual Orientation in Our Community”. If you are unfamiliar, it is a document put out by Orthodox Rabbis and mental health professionals within “our” community.
    Prinicple #1 specifically states ” Embarrassing, harassing or demeaning someone with a homosexual orientation or same-sex attraction is a violation of Torah prohibitions that embody the deepest values of Judaism”
    Who made you the arbiter of halacha?
    Just like there are many factions within Judaism, there is pluralism within the gay community, I personally know of gay Jews who avoid sodomy because of the prohibition to do so. To assume the Jews listed above aren’t torah observant and are acceptable targets of your vitriol is offensive to me and the other members of MY Orthodox community.

  7. Jason S says:

    Another comment I’d like to express is about written texts:

    Any person who reads bibles or texts from past texts need to remember. Humans wrote this, humans make mistakes, humans were old fashioned in the past and decide to tell others to stay in the order to what they believe.
    NO GOD WROTE TEXT!!
    What ever you believe in. Such as, if you believe a God made you. And if you believe God knows all. If God knows all and made us. God knew we were going to turn out to be ourselves, God knew people were going to be GAY. So before you say God says this and that, remember God did not, only bibles or other text told us not to, for all you know some person who didnt like Homosexuals to their own opinion wrote that in there. All you need to know is follow your own two feet!!! Remember to be good and positive because thats all that really matters.

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