City with a Wall of Stone

In the immediate aftermath of this summer’s Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, Saeed Taji Farouky interviews several people regarding the issue of sexual identity and religion, including Yonatan Gher, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Open House, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and Talya Lev, a 2009 ROI alum and a spokesperson for Bat Kol, an organization for Orthodox Lesbians.

Jerusalem is SO weird. Feiglin is the co-founder and president of the Likud party’s Manhigut Yehudit (“Jewish Leadership”) faction which was started to, in Feiglin’s words, “return the country to the people and lead the State of Israel through authentic Jewish values”. Often at odds with the leadership of Likud, Feiglin has also distinguished himself for his work on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American incarcerated since 1986 after being found guilty of espionage. I know that several members of Bat Kol are supporters of Feiglin and have also had leadership positions in the campaign to free Pollard. Feiglin for his part, remains a vocal critic of the Jerusalem Pride parade and the gay rights movement in Israel. Go figure, right? Well, you know what they say – one in every minyan!

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I just dont get it what is your agenda? This is not about discrimination this is all about incitement against the norms of acceptable behaviour according to the Torah. No one is suggesting that people are not free to practice their chosen lifestyle but why oh why is it necessary to exhibit this in public in the holy city? What about the sensitivities of the majority community?

  • Roaming Rabbi — It’s about freedom and acceptance. Since when is a peaceful march based on the idea of freedom to express and support considered insensitive? I’m pretty sure that the liberal members of the Jerusalem LGBT community would also be tolerant if the Haredi community wanted to join together for a peaceful display of their own lifestyle and beliefs; however, unfortunately, this is not the case as violence and fear are usually the counter results.

  • Thanks for your comments Rabbi. I have to note the following – Israel is not yet a theocracy, as such Torah norms of conduct may be instructive, but they are not binding. Any citizen in Israel has or ought to have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. At the very least, if those that worship Jesus can parade in Jerusalem, then certainly those that support equal rights for gays can do so as well. Such rights are not reserved just for those expressing mainstream or popular opinions.

    Secondly, Lesbianism is, without a doubt, not assur deoraytah and even by the strictest definition, homosexual activity is at least as abhorrent as eating shrimp. Even if the conventional Orthodox understanding of the proscription against male homosexual activity is totally not open to interpretation, the attention given to homosexual issues by some in the Orthodox world is far greater than is merited. Where is the rabid outrage over Sabbath violation which, as you know, is a capital offense, a sin greater than eating on Yom Kippur? How much money have Orthodox charities taken from secular Jews who are blatant and unrepentant violators of the Sabbath? Where are the protests!! Where is the outrage!

    It’s ok though. I mean I get it. Y’all are laboring under 1950s era assumptions about the gays – that they are pedophiles, that they prey on the confused, that they are sexual freaks who choose to pursue their unnatural desires, etc. etc. What do you do however, with people who engage in consensual and loving adult activity, who in every respect lead rich and even inspiring Jewish lives. What do you do with them? They cannot change who they are. What does Hashem’s compassion dictate? They don’t want you to be gay. What do you do Rabbi?

    And for the record, I started this blog and thus I know who you are (I think) and despite my tone, I am honored by your presence here. I thank you every time I use the tachanah merkazit!

  • My dear RR,

    Your post was straight (pardon the pun) out of central casting. Apparently you believe it is a “chosen lifestyle.” Well that’s just great. Did you choose to be straight (assuming that you are)? Or was there not a little voice inside you that flipped your switch for women? Maybe it’s NOT a chosen lifestyle, and so maybe you should be a bit more humble in your approach.

    That said, even if homosexuality IS a choice you, sir, do not live in a theocracy, but rather a pluralistic democracy where one should expect to be able to live one’s life not just behind one’s closed doors (and presumably windows), but actually outside in the open.

    Second, sir, you are not quite accurate when you state that “no one is suggesting that people are not free to practice their chosen lifestyle.” In fact, plenty of people try to tell LGBTQs how to live and how not to live. If you are not among those self-righteous windbags, then bully for you, but please dont insult my average intelligence by pretending there aren’t lots of those busy-bodies in and out of Yerushalayim.

    And you are right to be worried about the senstitivites of the community. Why not start by protesting the city’s billboard advertising, or the television shows, or the revealing clothes sold in stores. Those things trangress 365 days a year, whereas the Pride Parade lasts for just a few previously scheduled hours, during which I’m sure you can avert your eyes with the study of Torah.

    MYOB, dude. It’s a free world, and not just for you.

    • The Rebbe raises a valid point, namely, that all political correctness and understanding aside, there are things that clash with Jewish doctrine. On the one hand, Israel tries to uphold its Jewish identity, on the other hand it tries to accommodate today’s realities. Many areas of public life in Israel are governed by people just like the Roaming Rebbe himself (I happen to know him); much of it has not only got the flavour but the reality of a theocracy. Not all theocracies need to stringently only admit adherents to one particular faith.

  • Edelman:
    a pluralistic democracy where one should expect to be able to live one’s life not just behind one’s closed doors, but actually outside in the open.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    …yet the sexual aspects of hetero life are not conducted “outside in the open.”

    Sorry, mamaleh – even in “pluralistic democracies” the individual must curb their public (and sometimes private) behavior in deference to the values of the larger society that they are part of.

    … what’s really telling is that there is nothing to the “gay identity” besides this stuff…

  • ck:
    Y’all are laboring under 1950s era assumptions about the gays – that they are pedophiles,
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Gay men are twice as likely as straights to have a history of childhood/teenage molestation.

    The gay rights movement was notoriously slow to sever its ties to NAMBLA and other pedophilia organizations.

    Gay porno/clubbing/tourism/prostitution all have a significant “market segment” revolving around “twinks” and boylike “chickens”.

    (and Yes, I have links for all of these – you can find most of them simply by Googling)

    that they prey on the confused
    – – – – – – – – – –
    Despite clear evidence that 25-30 percent of teens/20s experience *transient* same-sex attractions on their way to heterosexuality, the gay lobby has rolled into high schools to convince the lonely and confused that they are “born that way” – and to basically indoctrinate them by promoting homosexual contact.

    Pro-gay propaganda has been a series of Goebbelsian Big Lies, repeated ad nauseum:

    – 10 percent of the population is gay! (nope – less that 3 percent)

    – AIDS is a national health crisis! (nope – it never spread much beyond those having promiscuous sex or shooting dope)

    – I’m born that way! (nope – no gay gene or hormonal cause of homosexuality has ever been found, after 30-plus years of pseudo-scientific ranting).

    – We’re just like you, with a different orientation! (nope – homosexuality plays out as compulsive promiscuity, with high levels of depression and substance abuse even after full equality is granted)

    that they are sexual freaks who choose to pursue their unnatural desires, etc.
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Well, that’s the profile that emerges from studies published by the Health Ministries of Holland, Sweden, New York, San Fran, and Australia.

    The typical gay man has upwards of 20 sexual partners a year – the Dutch Ministry of Health found the most new AIDS cases among those in “committed relationships” – F*ck, what does a “committed relationship” mean in such a community?

    Even Judaism’s Reform movement rejected the attempt to create a “blessing” for one-night bath-housing, proposed by a “progressive” west-coast congregation.

    …so when you, ck, ask:
    What do you do however, with people who engage in consensual and loving adult activity, who in every respect lead rich and even inspiring Jewish lives. What do you do with them?
    – – – – – – – – – –
    Count them on the fingers of one hand….

    Sorry: if it walks like a duck, quacks, like a duck, swims like a duck, flies like a duck – it’s a duck.

    -has developmental causes just like a disorder.
    -has typical patterns of compulsive behavior just like a disorder.
    -has high levels of dissatisfaction, addiction, and suicide like a disorder.

    It’s a disorder.

  • CK, I think you misspelled “pled guilty in order to spare the US an embarrassing trial, only to have his plea bargain trampled upon by Casper “I hate my ancestors” Weinberger”.

  • Ben David –

    Didn’t you forgot a few things from your list sent to ck? Like how we Jews are greedy? and African Americans (though you likely call them “schvartzes”) have great rhythm? and how women are too ditzy to drive? and to vote?

    Your writing, my dear tateleh, would lead one to think that you are a neandrethal.

  • … Edelman does the PC two-step – a side-step really, using name-calling and innuendo to avoid factual discussion.

    Instead of slapping labels on me – pick one of my thesis points and disprove it.

  • What? You don’t like to be called “tateleh?” When did you become so touchy?

    How ’bout this: since they’re so well deserved, I’ll confirm any labels, whether implicit or explicit that you feel I’ve leveled against you, AND I’ll disprove your theses. Here goes:

    Writes Tateleh: – We’re just like you, with a different orientation! (nope – homosexuality plays out as compulsive promiscuity, with high levels of depression and substance abuse even after full equality is granted)

    Have your virgin eyes watched SATC? Desperate Housewives? The six o’clock news? Pssst, don’t faint, but I hear there are compulsive promiscuity, high levels of depression and substance abuse in the non-gay community also.

    And as much as I have to hold back a little bit of vomit when I think of being “just like you,” it may be truer than either of us cares to admit. My husband and I are both gay men. He holds a huge job with a major software developer and I am an attorney with a long list of clients that I have helped over the years. We have a nice, quiet home, with a dog, and I can’t remember the last time either of us attended a gay pride parade. Other than our productive jobs, I bet that sounds a lot like you, doesn’t it?

    Also, you know what? I have a straight friend who loves porn even more than I do (which is a helluva lot). And you should be prepared to get your panties in a bunch when I tell you I’ve seen some of those straight porn sites and, lemme tell ya, now THEY have a woodie for twinkie porn. And no, that’s not okay.

    So here’s the point, to the extent your hideous portrayals of some admitted aspects of the gay community were meant to differentiate it from (and thereby portray it as better than) the gay community, I have just disproven not one, but TWO of your points by showing that they are not at all different. Well, unless you consider our being more tolerant.

    Now I have to get back to work.


  • Feiglin has several decades’ worth of gay-rights history to draw on in framing a response. He’s probably wrong to focus on the parade itself. Very few people would wish to return to the days of gay and lesbian invisibility.

    However, the agenda isn’t just visibility and libertarian acceptance (consenting adults behind closed doors, etc.). The final dsstination ia a radical re-working of social institutions, in which gayness is as morally neutral as left-handedness, and we’d no sooner deny gay folks marriage rights as southpaws.

    There’s actually space for reasonable people to disagree– though, as we’ve seen here in Mass., that space can vanish overnight before the advance of the PC crowd.

  • Morrissey, when did you become the moral arbiter of sexual preferences? Did I miss that election?

  • Cool, if we’re lucky we’ll get to watch the sophisticated, Catholic, art-loving, jazz-loving, unmarried, heterosexual lawyer without a dog debate an articulate, porn-loving, gay, married, dog-owning, Jewish lawyer!

    I love Jewlicious.

  • JD, if you’re gonna try to get me to compare my porn stash to yours, it ain’t gonna work, buster.

    • Just an aside note, the way to list adjectives before a noun: [determiner = number / article] evaluation, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, compound

      Tom, just don’t shlep all that porn from Boston to NYC this week, k?

  • NYC’s second only to the Valley as homeland of porn, you faux-innocent, you. (Message me re your schedule, btw…)

  • middle: if I wanted to cause a certain someone to have a stroke, I would have mentioned that my husband is Catholic and that we were married by both a rabbi and a priest, but we won’t go there.

    Morrisey: That’s funny. Ever heard of the internet? I threw away my “porn stash” years ago! Unless you’re referring to facial hair…. hmmm.. let’s not go there either.

  • As long as you make sure the woman you hire to provide the egg is Jewish, I don’t think ck will have a tough time with the fact you didn’t make your spouse convert.

    And don’t worry about Morrissey too much. We sent him a computer where the browser opens only to He has no idea there are other wesbsites out there.

  • JD, at a moment when it’s celebrating the 2016 Olympics and preparing to clobber the rest of the planet at the World Cup, shame on you for suggesting I’m anti-Brazil.

    • Haven’t you guys got anybody to bring you chicken soup? I drove almost 100 miles to Frankfurt to bring Muffti some chicken soup!

  • Isnt it closer to Cologne? or is Frankfort a better Hechsher? Rabbi Klein I think it is.

  • thinking about it if you brought from Cologne he may have mistaken it for Eau de Cologne! strictly speaking thats what it is water from Cologne cooked with chicken carcass.

    • 4711 – eine der schönsten Freuden der Welt. 😉

      Farvos shlufsti nisht?

      To stay on topic, Cologne’s to Europe what San Francisco is to the US.

  • Edelman – your fan-dance doesn’t change the facts:

    1) The numbers for gay promiscuity, depression, and substance abuse are off the charts compared to straights.

    The “20 partners a year” gays in the Dutch Ministry of Health study are the ones “in committed relationships” – there’s a much larger cadre of gays with up to/over 100 sexual partners a year.

    How many partners have you and hubby “shared” with over the past year?

    In comparison – most unmarried straight men have between 4-12 sexual partners a year.

    Similarly – gay drug abuse and suicide rates are 4-5 TIMES the rate in the general population.

    2) I don’t need or use porn in the context of my marriage. Why do you?

    … So I guess we’re not really so alike.

  • Alas, Ben David –

    Your last posting shows we aren’t very much alike at all. You are vulgar and your heart is filled with hate and prejudice. God surely does work in mysterious ways.

    Do you feel safe leveling such vulgarity from the safe distance of the internet? If you would ask such a question in my presence, my answer would have removed some of your teeth.

    Have a nice life, and I hope G-d removes the hatred from your alleged heart and mind.

  • More tap dancing from Edelman.

    To say nothing of the narcissistic coupling of bitchy personal attack with a sense of aggrievement. Inexplicable, but entertaining.

    Facts, mammaleh, facts – far too many people have already met up with the sordid reality underlying the cleaned-up-for-prime-time image of the gay “community.”

    So: set aside the tiara, pick one of my factual assertions, and address it.

  • Exactly what is the best Canon Powershot electronic (duh) camera? I are interested for mostly casual pictures (christmas, birthdays, family reunions that almost stuff). And occasionally a group of cool artistic photos. Im told than a 6-7 mm lens may be the best Other than in which, what else is very good???