Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi Dov Linzer, dean of the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) in Riverdale, founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss and one of the most thriving Orthodox rabbinical seminaries in the US, last week refused to ordain Daniel Atwood, 27, a fourth-year student who has been openly gay since his first year at the seminary.
Rabbi Linzer sent an email to The Jewish Week, stating: “We accept all students regardless of sexual orientation, provided that they are fully committed to Orthodox halachic observance. There have been students in the past that did not receive semicha (ordination), each one for reasons specific to his case. Out of respect for all our students, the yeshiva does not discuss particular students and why any student may or may not be receiving semicha.”
Linzer admitted that YCT could have handled better telling Atwood he would not be ordained, and apologized “for the hurt that was caused as a result.”
A blogger I admire, Rabbi Harry Maryles of Emes Ve-Emunah, chose to treat this farce seriously, God love him, and stated aptly: “Even though there is nothing wrong with ordaining a man who is gay, I personally disagree with ordaining a man who publicizes it. It sends the wrong message about homosexuality – leading lay people to assume that if a rabbi can be openly gay, then it must be OK to not only be gay but to live a gay lifestyle that almost certainly includes behavior that is a serious violation of Halacha.”
No modern Orthodox Jewish person in their right mind could find fault in this statement, including yours truly. The only problem I could possibly see in it is that it has nothing, but absolutely nothing to do with Jewish halacha.
There is no such thing as a homosexual in our law, divine and rabbinic. There are individuals who engage in homosexual acts, and tractate Sanhedrin explores this in a manner that focuses entirely on the rules of testimony and evidence and decidedly not on the grounds of lifestyle.
Indeed, our tradition recognizes that a man might be troubled by his homosexual inclinations and is full of good advise as to how he should avoid them – just as it is chock full of advise regarding men with urgent heterosexual desires.
Our halacha is not more concerned with whether or not to ordain an “openly gay” man as rabbi than it is with an “openly thieving” man, or “openly driving on Shabbat” man, or “openly eating pork” man – you get the point. Rabbi Maryles suggests that ordaining such a person rabbi would give the wrong impression – wrong impression? The man declared himself “openly gay” and is married to Judah— not a good name for a kalah under any circumstance—why would he even consider himself fit to be anyone’s Orthodox rabbi?
The cultural and spiritual corruption is not so much in Daniel Atwood’s choice to pursue a rabbinic ordination while announcing willingly that he engages on a regular basis in sexual abomination. The cultural and spiritual corruption is that his rosh yeshiva has to explain, if not outright apologize, for blocking him from his rabbinic path.
For the record, just like Rabbi Maryles, and, I presume, Rabbi Linzer, I totally embrace the idea of a shul rabbi with homosexual inclination. We all have our stars of David to bear. I object to shul rabbis who won’t shut up about it.
BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti (YouTube)
Omar Barghouti, founder and leader of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was denied entry to the United States on Wednesday.
He was informed by airline staff at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel that U.S. immigration officials told the American consul in Tel Aviv to block him from boarding the flight.
A State Department official told NPR, “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Four of Israel’s most dedicated supporters in the US Congress on Friday expressed concern that the Jewish state may annex the West Bank, as results from Israel’s election earlier this week confirmed the likelihood of a right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“As strong, life-long supporters of Israel, a U.S.-Israel relationship rooted in our shared values, and the two-state solution, we are greatly concerned by the possibility of Israel taking unilateral steps to annex the West Bank,” said a joint statement from Democratic representatives Eliot Engel (NY), Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The final image sent by Israeli spacecraft Beresheet before it crash-landed on the moon. Photo: courtesy of Space IL.
Astronauts and scientists at the US space agency NASA commended the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL for its efforts afyer its spacecraft “Beresheet” failed to land safely on the moon on Thursday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit.”
“Der ewige Jude” – “Theeternal Jew” movie poster . (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The lead article Thursday on the opinion page of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the 1940 Nazi antisemitic movie The Eternal Jew.
The article was titled in the paper “The Eternal Netanyahu” in a word play in connection with director Fritz Hippler’s antisemitic pseudo-documentary, based on the medieval legend of the wandering Jew, that served as a cinematographic justification for the Holocaust.
As an orthopedic surgeon for 30 years in Washington, D.C. I see patients from all over the world and from every walk of life and what has become clear to me is that everyone is fundamentally the same. As a rule, I shy away from political or religious discussions with my patients as they have no bearing on their care. But occasionally, the discussions are thrust on me.
Several years ago I treated a professor of political science from a local university and had established a good rapport with him. On his last visit before saying goodbye he popped a question.
It is well-known by some and wholly ignored by others that Islam has a long, sad history of antisemitism, a bigotry that originated in the seventh century CE (the first Islamic century) and has grown more vicious in the 21st. Combined with an almost universal anti-Zionism and bolstered by many on the political “left”, it is today the most ubiquitous and deadliest form of Jew-hatred. It takes the form, not just of insults, boycotts, and lawfare, but of wars, terrorist attacks, and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jews.
Amman – The streets in Amman’s Jebel al-Weibdeh are crowded in the early evening with sounds of young people looking for a place to relax. Coffee shops intermix with art studios selling crafts for tourists. At the Maestro bar and restaurant, a band is getting ready for a live performance. The lights are dimmed and someone has put “no smoking” signs on the tables – they are out of place with the ash trays. Apparently, Monday has jam sessions and anyone can bring their instrument to join in. But it’s Wednesday.
A few of my readers recently asked me to explain the difference between “Palestinians” living inside and outside of Israel’s borders. Who are the “Palestinians” anyway? First, see below:
“Palestine” does not exist today as a nation-state, but at multiple times in history, including the present, it has been one of the names of a place. The Romans, recalling the defunct Philistines – non-Arab Sea People – coined it after defeating [Jewish general] Bar Kochba in 135 CE to disassociate what had been Judaea from Jews.
President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict surfaced two years ago and to this day – remarkably – only he and a handful of aides know its precise details. A stream of leaks, however, contains enough internal consistency that their collation, supplemented by conversations with administration officials, provides a plausible outline of the plan’s contents.
On March 31, a South Bend grandma brought her grandson to the hospital. The 11-month-old baby boy had been shot. His grandmother’s car had also taken fire. It was another early morning in South Bend.
Around the same time, Mayor Buttigieg, was toting up the $7 million in donations from his charm offensive as his bid for the 2020 Democrat nomination got underway. The national media never bothered reporting the shooting of an 11-month-old boy in the city he was supposed to be running, but instead confined its coverage of South Bend matters to a publicity stunt wedding officiated by Buttigieg.
The Palestinian students are being targeted because of their political affiliations and not because of any crime they committed.
While the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are busy beating up each other’s supporters, “pro-Palestinian” activists on US and Canadian university campuses are busy blaming Israel for Palestinian woes.
As an American Christian who has had the privilege of working in senior-level positions for four US presidents and who has enjoyed a close association with three of Israel’s prime ministers, I believe it is my obligation to provide the Israeli people with my views. I think my viewpoint is important because a vast number of American Evangelical Christians believe as I believe. In addition, Evangelical Christians are, without question, Israel’s strongest supporters in the United States.
Does Case 3000 – known as the submarine affair – prove that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is guilty of doing something illegal? Well, all Likud supporters believe with absolute confidence that it’s a political plot. Netanyahu’s opponents, however, believe – also with absolute confidence – that it’s the largest corruption case to ever occur in the State of Israel.