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.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei speaks following his election victory. Photo: Reuters/Jose Cabezas.
A prominent Guatemalan supporter of Israel who once said, “He who is Israel’s enemy is Guatemala’s enemy,” won the country’s presidential election with 58.5 percent of the vote, results on Monday confirmed.
Conservative candidate Alejandro Giammattei emerged victorious in the vote in the second round of elections on Sunday, beating his rival Sandra Torres, a former first lady.
Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany August 1, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer.
German exports to Iran fell by nearly half in the first six months of 2019, data showed on Monday, suggesting companies are scaling back business ties with Tehran to avoid trouble with the United States after Washington reimposed sanctions.
Sales to Iran plunged by 48 percent to 678 million euros ($758.8 million) from January through June year-on-year, data from the Federal Statistics Office reviewed by Reutersshowed. Imports from Iran declined by 43 percent to nearly 110 million euros.
The New York Times logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
A New York Times editor is in trouble for what the Times calls repeated poor judgment on social media.
The editor, Jonathan Weisman, works in the Times Washington bureau with the title “deputy Washington editor” and is the author of the 2018 book (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in the Age Of Trump.
Canadian Observer to Post: Canada has niche capabilities to help in such a scenario.
“Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
The five-day, large-scale multinational exercise, with 10 foreign fleets off the Haifa coast simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake, has brought the Israel Navy to “another level” of preparedness.
Dubbed “Mighty Waves,” the drill saw the participation of hundreds of troops on six ships at sea. Five helicopters also took part in the exercise, which focused on the after-effects of a significant 7.5 earthquake that leaves thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
A food market in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo: Dr. Avishai Teicher vis Wikimedia Commons.
CTech – Israel has a reputation for being the Startup Nation, but Marcelle Machluf, dean of biotechnology and food engineering at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, predicts that in coming years Israel will be known as the FoodTech Nation.
“Foodtech and biotech are two fields that are climbing to the top of the tech industry,” Machluf told Calcalist in a recent interview. “This push is happening for a reason.
Mass shootings are nothing new in the United States, but their sudden rise is ballooning into a shocking nationwide epidemic. Many blame a toxic political culture that is accentuating divisions rather than commonalities between Americans, and the ease in which Americans can access guns, including automatic assault rifles.
If Saturday’s horrifying terrorist attack in an El Paso Walmart had taken place in Jerusalem, leaving 22 Israelis dead, the killer would rot in jail knowing his family would be taken care of, paid every month by his government.
What, one has to ask, does Iran’s Islamic regime have to fear from the country’s Christians, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, Sufis, Sunni Muslims, or Jews? Yet its treatment of these minorities is so repressive that it seems not unreasonable to ask if the clerics might be afraid of what they consider challenges to their fantasy of pure Islamic identity.
The fate of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2017 executive order barring state contractors from participating in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is in the hands of a federal judge. The order violates First Amendment rights, a lawsuit filed by a former Maryland state legislator claims. wsuit.
This week my family and I have the privilege of celebrating two significant and interrelated milestones. We celebrate the 15th anniversary of our arrival in Israel, taking on citizenship and planting our roots firmly in our historic homeland. And we celebrate (yes, celebrate) the induction into the IDF of our oldest son.
When our youngest son was born in Jerusalem, we knew that he would serve in the army, an obligation and privilege as an Israeli Jew, pretty much as genetic as his actual DNA. But when our oldest son was born in N.J., we didn’t know this would be his destiny.