Gay Parade 07Jerusalem Pride Summer '07

Woke up this morning after spending most of the night in anticipation of my first standup for Israel Television. Today I would cover the much anticipated Gay Pride parade. I jumped into the TV van, script in hand, ready and waiting for whatever Jerusalem would throw at me today. After what seemed like 25 police road blocks and having to argue to gain entry to King David street, I finally reached my destination. With moments to the broadcast and the parade about to begin, I stood amongst 7000 security officials, took a deep breath and prayed to God that the words would come to me.

Leah's 1st StandupI took a quick glance over my shoulder only to see thousands of rainbow clad parade participants getting ready to march. “We’re rolling!” and with that I began to speak: “I’m standing here on King David street where the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade you see behind me is about to begin. There is a massive security presence here with some 7000 Police and border guards on patrol. Officers here have been preparing for a wide variety of scenarios ranging from stabbing attempts to terrorist attacks with multiple casualties. Organizers were hoping for a longer, more central parade route, but they will only march several hundred yards along this street where I’m standing, down to Liberty Bell Park. About 5,000 people are expected to attend in a demonstration of Democracy in action…”

After a couple of takes with the parade marchers advancing towards me – mission accomplished! I celebrated my first real standup along side the participants’ accomplishment of finally being able to march in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city where every day brings a new opportunity to feel free and alive, whether its proving yourself as a journalist or being able to be proud of who you are. Today was an historical day both for me and for the thousands of gay and lesbian citizens in the city we all call home.

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  • Rabbi Sedley – there were indeed a lot of Police. Not just on the parade grounds but even blocks away. There were however only individual protesters – maybe a handful. They weren’t even a remotely significant presence.

    Why didn’t everyone stay at home? Are you talking about the homos? Look, they wanted to march, for whatever reason. It’s their right as citizens. The parade was subdued and as respectful of the sensibilities of Jerusalemites as could be. I wish i could say the same thing of our Haredi friends – why do they always take out their anger on garbage bins? I know the rabbis told them to behave but still. I could say the same thing about the- why didn’t they stay at home and do their own thing? Because freedom of assembly is considered a basic right in any democracy. Haredim cannot expect to benefit from the fruits of democracy while simultaneously trying to deny the same benefits to others. It makes no sense in a democracy and until further notice, Israel is still a democracy.

    I am also happy to report that my heterosexuality emerged unscathed from having witnessed all the assembled queers. Granted those rainbow balloons are pretty compelling but I guess anal sex just isn’t my thing.

  • Why didn’t everyone stay at home? Are you talking about the homos?

    – No, I was talking about everyone. Especially the Haredim.

    There were however only individual protesters – maybe a handful.

    – So why are you so angry?

    Because freedom of assembly is considered a basic right in any democracy.

    – nobody was complaining about freedom of assembly. The parade was designed to promote the validity of a certain lifestyle, not to assemble. That is nothing to do with democracy. In my opinion it was completely unnecessary and reflected very badly on Israel and Jerusalem, but not as badly as the Haredim protesting, which was just a chilul Hashem.

    I am also happy to report that my heterosexuality emerged unscathed from having witnessed all the assembled queers

    – I’m very glad to hear that. I think you should be more polite and pc in your language though (with all due respect). Using language like ‘homos’, ‘queers’ and unnecessary explicitness is not my thing.

    Have a great Shabbos

    And Well done Leah on your big day.

  • ck,
    freedom of assembly is not a basic right of democracy. Democracy is plain and simple majority rule. This is neither good nor bad but dependent on the community. Hamas and Hitler were democratically elected and Plato’s dictim that democracyt leads to dictatorship is often correct.
    Because of the potential tyrranny of democracy , the founding fathers of the American Constitution put in the Bill of Rights which LIMITS democracy and allows freedom of expression.
    Just a little civics 101.

  • A precursor from next week’s Parshat HaShavua, Balak, with thanks to Rabbi Riskin:

    And so we must ask the fundamental question: Was the more heinous crime the sexual immorality, or was it the worship of Pe’or?

    I believe the answer becomes clear when we attempt to understand the nature of Pe’or worship. The Mishnah in tractate Sanhedrin teaches that Pe’or was worshipped by defecating in front of him – hardly the kind of appetizing religious cult which would attract masses of adherents. But apparently Pe’or was very popular, at least with Midian and Moab. And I would suggest that Pe’or remains popular until this very day. What was the Pe’or god saying to its adherents? Defecation is a normal human function, and the individual who relieves himself feels relieved! Do whatever is natural to do, do whatever makes you feel good. “Let it all hang out;” if this is your nature, if the act is natural, then it becomes correct to express it.

    Is this not merely a re-statement – or cultural precursor – of much of contemporary, post-modern thought, of John Brown’s Eros and Civilization and Herbert Marcuse’s attitude towards life?! Discipline has become the “Hobgoblin of little minds,” and self-expression takes precedence over duty to family, to country and to ideal. It is a ramification of Korah’s “we are all holy” as is, without the necessity of sacrifice and striving, and a confirmation of the fact that there are no absolutes with regard to what is proper or improper conduct. Everyone has the right to his feelings, and everyone is right from his/her point of view. Ethics are “situational,” dependent upon one’s situation, and every individual is a genius when it comes to justifying his desires in his subjective situation.

    This is a far cry from Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents which presumes the price of limiting one’s desires in order to form a civil society; it is the very antithesis of the Jewish ideal of “perfecting the world in the Kingship of the Divine” and the necessity of self-sacrifice in order to achieve that goal.

    What was the greater crime, worshipping Pe’or or indulging in public fornication? They are both precisely the very same thing. Pe’or teaches that if one feels like fornicating one fornicates, when and with whom one wishes to do it. After all, sex has nothing to do with love and sanctity and everything to do with a natural physical urge, much more in line with defecation than a sacred union.

    From this perspective, the Rabbinical voices like the Meiri were absolutely correct: idolatry has little to do with theology and much to do with the “disgusting, immoral practices” of those who follow the teachings of the likes of Pe’or.

    Have your freedom and your democracy, Am Yisrael! Whoop it up! See where it gets you, if you haven’t noticed yet which direction we’re heading in. We will pay the price again and heavily, guaranteed.

  • My apologies Rabbi Sedley for my colorful language. I guess I just don’t believe in mincing my words. I am also sorry that I gave you the impression that i was angry – I’m not. I am preparing for shabbat and getting ready for some much needed rest and relaxation. I’m not going to pass judgment on anyone’s lifestyle because I recognize that I myself have a lot to work on. I’d need to get much closer to God before I can even start thinking of that. Granted I am comfortable passing judgment on pedophiles and rapists and people who pimp out their girlfriends to others etc.

    Whatever the intent of the marchers was is irrelevant. They weren’t breaking ANY laws. OK now I am pooped. I’ll write more later.

  • Shy guy – I know you didn’t personally write the quote you used but you almost certainly agree with it. Do you agree that falling in love with your bashert is a “disgusting and immoral practice?” That is all the marchers are doing. They are a far, far cry from fornicating in public.

  • I saw on tv that Christian, Jews, and Muslims were up in arms over this secular parade. What nonsense. All they seem to do over there is fight with each other . . . everybody hates everybody, then the one thing that can bring all these religious groups together is their intolerance for a secular group. Nice one, Christians, Jews, and Muslims of Israel.

  • i was there thursday at the parade and it was the most amazing expierence of my life. i was on a temple mission from florida staying at the david citadel and a bunch of us, all of us straight, decided o go and check out the parade. my younger sister and i even went past security and marched through the parade. there was more police there than marchers, but it was still a beautiful event that i was proud to be a part of

  • If our “Civilization” continues may be soon the Paedophiles will ask the right to marry with children and go out with their chidlren like a show of “Freedom” because the rights for everybody is considered a basic right in any democracy


  • Jorge – Children cannot consent. Have never had the ability to consent. Hence the “consenting adults” part of the argument. Speaking of which, if you’re going to make an argument, study up a bit beforehand.