grooms.jpg7 out of 10 provinces in Canada allow same-sex marriage and marriages of one country are typically recognized by other countries. Putting those to facts together is not always easy when other countries are not as liberal as the relevant chunks of Canada.

The Israeli Supreme Court, much to many citizen’s annoyance, ruled that the Israeli Interior Ministry is obliged to recognized same sex marriages performed abroad. Following the ruling, five gay couples took the trip to Canada and were united in holy matrimony and planned to return to Israel where, as per the supreme court ruling, they would be recognized in Israel.

The intriguing part of the story occurred today, as MKs rushed a vote on a bill designed to make recognizing gay marriage by the Ministry a crime. The sneak attack worked, sort of: the proposal passed 33-31.

Don’t get too excited yet, whether or not you are pro or anti the proposal. It still have 2 readings to go through and by all accounts, will fail.

See Jpost.

In other Gay news, conservative rabbis recognized the possibility of homosexual rabbis. See Haaretz.

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  • So far 4 of the committee’s 25 members have resigned.

    Two of the answers uphold the status quo, which forbids homosexuality. But one of them allows ordination of gay men and lesbians and same-sex ceremonies while maintaining a ban on anal sex.

    Ban on anal sex? Uh… yeah. So they will still be requiring Conservatively ordained rabbis who are gay and male to sin quietly. I dunno, seems kind of half assed (pun not intended). I am certain there are oodles of rabbis, both Conservative and Orthodox, who are gay. Of this I have no doubt. And they go through life keeping their sexuality quiet and hidden. So what does this change? Do you really expect a Rabbi to honestly say “Hi! I’m gay and I’m your Rabbi but all me and my boyfriend do is cuddle. Because anal sex between men is wrong. No really…”

    That quote above came from The Washington Post.

    Stay tuned!

  • CK –

    It’s gonna go the way the ban on women leading davening did – for the first year it’ll get talked about, maybe even a silly contract like back then, but soon enough, it’ll stop being a talked-about issue except for the few stodgy old guys who like to concern themsevles with such things.

  • Rabbi Yonah – it’s mighty quiet because the vast majority of ostensibly Conservative Jews are apathetic and uninvolved, as are the vast majority of all non-Orthodox Jews.

    The Conservative institutions are once again trailing and following the people they are supposed to lead.

    So what is there to comment about? Those of us who know Judaism and practice it have seen this before, and those who don’t, don’t care.

  • Ok Rabbi,
    Here’s some loud Conservative input: who the fuck cares how people pleasure each other or who they pleasure when there are people shooting school rooms full of children and hunger, disease and war going on in all parts of the world. And let’s not forget the ever popular Ortho. favorite sins like showing some elbow or knee in the summertime or cheating in business and paying off government officials to support it.

    If more people were busy giving each other orgasms maybe this world would be a happier place to live in.

    If more gay men would just come out and marry other gay men instead of pretending to be straight for the sake of “religion” maybe there would be less women stuck in miserable marriages thinking their husbands are out “learning” when they are really out taking it up the ass from their “chevrusas”.

    Why don’t you Orthos go argue over something important like whether teenage boys should be allowed to masterbate or not.

  • Well, in view of this ruling, I think there are going to be a lot of people out there, such as myself, who are too religious to be Conservative and not religious enough for the UTJ (Union for Traditional Judaism) or Orthodox.
    I bet we’re going to see another group forming, which I think may be a good idea.

  • I think that some of us in Judaism are too strict about the separation of the sexes, and some of us are too lax. The problem with these issues is- is there are a hierarchy of laws within the the Torah or not? Ie. are all the Torah commandments equally important?
    While I think that we should aspire to keep all of them, some Torah commandments are definitely more important than others. The question is- who decides that? That is the big big question.

  • The big, big question is how does an individual decide to live his or her own life to best serve his or her community and Creator.

    Think for yourself and you will know how to live.

  • I think people are silent because either they are apathetic [like Ben-David says – probably the majority of the movement], happy about the decision [a majority of the actively involved people I’ve spoken to], or are not happy with the decision but are afraid to be called a homophobe.

    Honestly, I think this will go the way of the woman rabbi. Soon it will become impossible for a congregation to say that they don’t want to hire a gay rabbi. And once the commitment ceremonies are allowed (I don’t think they were in this latest debate), it will become impossible for a rabbi to say that he won’t perform commitment ceremonies (he simply will not be hired).

    And shockingly to myself I agree with Ben-David, that the Conservative institution is following the people instead of leading them. This of course started, at least majorly, by the driving tshuva, that people now vehemently defend. They defend it because the Conservative movement has grown around it like a scar on a tree [synagogues are too far away NOT to drive, etc, except that if that tshuva had never been written people would live closer to shul] and now it has become such a part of the Conservative movement you will not find a shul that discourages driving in any way on Shabbat. And of course the fact that you’re only allowed to drive TO and FROM SHUL is totally lost on everyone/everyone is their own posek and decides that includes the shopping mall, etc.

    And.. I’m pretty sure that this whole debate isn’t actually about whether gay people are people or Jews; it’s about the Conservative movement deciding to break/ignore/reinterpret laws directly from the Torah that have been interpreted and dealt with for hundreds of years. Unfortunately it happens to be about this issue.

  • Tzipi, I disagree with you about the driving tshuva. I am Sephardic and I know a lot of people who drive to near the synagogue and park on the street behind. The problem with not allowing people to drive to synagogue is that if you do so, you force them to stay in a small community near their home, and they may not get along with or even be miserably sad with the Jewish people who happen to live near by them. So, they either don”t pray at all , or like myself pray at home. Judaism is about people too. Personally I don”t want to live in a Jewish ghetto.
    I still think that all the Torah laws are ideals to be strived always. I do not agree with people who say that they are not important, and indeed supreme.
    However some people interpret them in a way as to make Judaism unwelcoming. The first thing is to welcome, then one can insist on all kinds of things.
    I think in the matter of what constitutes proper/ desirable Shabbat observance, one would do well to consider the Karaite position on this- I think it”s on the website of Orah Saddiqim, which is the website of the Karaite synagogue in California. Mind you, the Karaites do believe in Torah Mi Sinai, but they have managed to develop a compromise position regarding driving on Shabbat.

  • In theory, driving on Shabbat isn’t the end of all Shabbat observance as we know it. But the people who drive to shul on Shabbat when they aren’t supposed to, probably just drive to and from and go home and finish their observance of Shabbat. Whereas, the people who are allowed to drive, generally then go out and do other activities that aren’t Shabbat-esque like shopping and going to the movies with their friends after shul.

  • Some points…

    1. The Torah only talks about male anal sex. Everyone agrees on that. The Dorff teshuvah isn’t re-writing anything in the Torah, it’s re-evaluating extensions of that law made by Chazal (an style of halachic change that is normal and theologically unproblematic in Cons. Jud.)

    2. There are more ways for 2 men to have sex than by screwing up the ass. Also: why is everyone always forgetting the lesbians?

    3. I think it interesting that at least one rabbi, according to the vote tallies, voted for *both* the Dorff and Roth teshuvas. I wonder who, and why.

    4. Muffti, are you trying to tell us something with all your queer-themed posts? Cause I’d totally go on a date with you. ;-D

  • Part of the reason the Conservative movement has taken these regrettable steps
    is because as Tzipi and Ben-David have said, the Conservative movement is following its congregants. Its congregants are following society. Western society is in some ways moral than it used to be, but in the respect of what I would consider international moral values (not just Jewish) the society has declined.
    Why? Because western society has accepted such practices as anal sex between a man and a woman, and oral sex performed by a woman on a man. In my opinion oral sex performed by a woman on a man is demeaning to the woman, and will remain demeaning to the woman until society changes so radically that men and women are totally equally economically and equal in their power relationships, which quite frankly has not yet happened. Anal sex is not only disgusting, but also hurtful to the woman and highly contra-indicated from a medical point of view.
    Once heterosexual society has accepted these practices as being normal for themselves (practices that I find disgusting, degrading, and demeaning, and medically contra-indicated), it is no surprise that gays would then say “well you people do it, so why not us””.

  • Adam, they are not harming anybody. The opposite is true.
    If you force a gay person into a hetero marriage, they will hate the partner and cause violence. THis is documented in many cases in the frum and the Jewish blog community.

    The issue is, why is there this exceptional concern about gay activities over Kashrus for example, or dishonesty in general in the frum community.

  • Dear Adam,

    I’d be more than happy to post my name except I’ve already been outed at my former job by a Jewlicious blogger. Anyway, half the fun of blogging is letting my alter ego speak for herself.

    Wimp? Maybe. As they said on Hill Street Blues “Let’s be careful out there!”

    Further, did you know that the law in New Jersey is that it does NOT constitute criminal harassment to tell someone to go fuck themselves?

  • Dave’s absolutely right about oral sex. Men should never get a blowjob without rendering appropriate fiscal compensation first.

  • I think the conservative movement is lees relevant than the Israeli Supreme Court who thinks that it can decide which of its laws Israel should keep or change, as opposed to trying to uphold the laws which is expected of them.

    The past head judge liked to decide Israeli constitutional issues while Israel still lacks a constitution.

  • Tom Morrissey, ha!

    I love men discussing how blow jobs are demeaning to women. Glad to know y’all are looking out for me. 😛

    Oral sex is not demeaning when both parties want it and when it goes both ways.

    I have a lot more to say about this issue (gay marriage, not blow jobs. . .although that could be a whole entry on its own) but I have stuff to do.

  • I’m sorry but I don’t exactly agree with you, Dave, in reference to what people are doing and whether it’s disgusting/demeaning or not. That, from what I can tell, is not the real issue here. The real issue is the break from halacha, regardless of the subject matter.

  • TZIPI and DAVE I agree with both of you and I think you are both right.

    There are lots of reasons to be against gay marriage…..

    We have heads to think for ourselves, which Dave is doing (and doing a great job). And we have Halacha to correct us if we think something is right, when it isn’t.

    CHUTZPAH, The best defence for your arguement is telling me to go fuck myself? So much for tolerance. NOW YOU SHOW YOUR TRUE COLORS.

    I really feel sorry for you. Its unfortunate that your not intelligent, but to also be cursed with a distasteful personality is a double whammy.

  • Adam,

    I didn’t tell you to go fuck yourself, I just said it’s not a criminal offense to tell someone do so in N.J.

    I will say that you are overly self-righteous and that other people’s pleasures are NOT your business and not for you to judge until you get to sit on a Court of Law or become G-d.

    Finally, I don’t understand your wiki link to Randy Kraft unless he is a personal hero of yours.

  • Tom, very funny, ha ha !

    Bumblee, my point about oral sex is that society is still male dominated. Most women are not equal to men in financial terms. Most women are not in a truly equal relationship with their husbands/ boyfriends. This is very unfortunate, but it is a fact.
    Therefore any purported consent of the woman to performing oral sex is in fact not true consent, because she is presently subjected to a male dominated society.
    I would go so far as to say that a true mensch would perform oral sex on his wife/ girlfriend, but would refuse it from her.
    Tzipi, the reason these acts are demeaning (female performing oral sex on man), or disgusting (anal sex) is that they are not meant to appeal to most human beings.
    The aesthetics reflect the inner moral turpitude of the acts in question.
    Halacha encompasses not only the strict law but also the spirit of the law. The above acts violate the spirit of the law as well as the letter.
    Furthermore I am sure, from reading their literature, that even non-halachic traditional Jewish groups such as the Karaites and the Samaritans agree with me.
    Adam, thanks for your kind words. I am glad that we are in agreement. I sincerely believe that it is the will of Hashem that traditional morality shall prevail, and what is going on now in society is a transient phenomenon but will not last.

  • Sorry, Alan, Muffti is a lady’s man. Or, at least, such is his aspriation. But if he is ever feeling experimental, he’ll keep you in mind 😉

  • I hope that wasn’t me. What sordid sordid days those were. One allows such depravity in difficult times, there is no explanation.

    I think they deleted it from the records tho.

    I am pretty sure CK would remember there was a lot of animosity going on here on this site in those days, but things have become more civilized over here now.

    BUt I am prety sure they killed the ad,
    there were just some inuendos.

    What a dumb mistake.

    I am working on my spam assignment, don’t mind me.

  • My point is that I do judge other peoples pleasures, like Randy Kraft’s. And I’ll judge yours too.

    What makes you so egotistical that you’re so above everyone else, that no one can even question how you act?

    This isn’t your world.

  • Steves Rick:

    “The issue is, why is there this exceptional concern about gay activities over Kashrus for example, or dishonesty in general in the frum community.”

    I can’t speak for the frum community necessarily (unless you count Conservative as frum, which I doubt), BUT. From my understanding, papers that were passed say that you should still welcome gay people into the community and not treat them as outsiders, because to be honest what they are doing according to the law is not really “worse” than not keeping kosher or Shabbat. However, rabbis are held to a higher standard, and they ARE expected to keep kosher and Shabbat and all that jazz.

  • Rick:
    “The issue is, why is there this exceptional concern about gay activities over Kashrus for example, or dishonesty in general in the frum community.”
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … but then we start talking about Kashrus, and people say “why does it matter what people eat – they should just be moral”.

    And then you ask them what it means to be moral – and you get a blank, bovine stare.

    Judaism is not just an ethnic identity – it is a moral code, based on core religious beliefs. Judaism is ALLOWED and EXPECTED to dictate how people behave. That is what it is supposed to do.

    That is its primary value to its adherents.

    Many of us have been living so long in the secular media echo-chamber that we seem to have forgotten that.

    Eating and copulating are two human activities that have great potential to develop and support exploitative, selfish attitudes and behaviors. So Judaism – like many other moral codes on this planet – regulates them.

    There is no distinction between “ritual” and “moral” commandments. Observance of the commandments – all of them – contributes to moral and spiritual development.

    Again – that is what Judaism is SUPPOSED TO DO as a moral code.

    It’s not an imposition or an Inquisition to insist that Jews (strive to) live up to the Torah’s moral code.

    And yes, we are all adults so we all know that nobody is perfect, that one can always point to other areas in which effort is needed for growth. That does not void the purpose or validity of OTHER commandments, or of the effort to live up to the rules.

  • Yes but these couples are role models. They want to be married and not live a more precarious and dangerous lifestyle.

    Judaism’s moral laws are also based on community standards.

    Things are changed, dropped, added, based on outside influences all the time.

    Who is to say what is a ‘core’ or not?

    The info we have from the Torah is very minimal on gayness. It says do not sleep w. a man as w/ a woman. We also have the incidents in Lot where imo, the actions were more of a gang rape type of scene.

    This is not what current gay people are advocating.