This week, on the East Coast, The Washington Post announced that it will use ‘they’ as a singular pronoun in stories where the subject identifies as neither a “he” nor a “she.” And The New York Times used a “Mx.” for those who are neither a “Mr.” nor a “Ms.”
So I was surprised and shocked – nay appalled – when I picked up a West Coast copy of the Jewish Journal and read an essay by Dennis Prager which severely criticized a transgender rabbi who dresses in clothes traditionally associated with men and uses a name usually applied to women.
In the essay, titled “The Torah and the transgendered,” Prager asks whether the “Torah [is] really the best guide?” and opines that “whenever most Jews differ from the Torah, they assume that the Torah is wrong.” He then cites:
To cite a contemporary example, the Torah prohibits men from wearing women’s clothing, and women from wearing male garb. For the Torah, the distinction between men and women is fundamental to creating civilization. When the human being is created, the Torah emphasizes: “Male and female He created them.” And that distinction is made manifest in the commandments against men and women wearing the clothing of the opposite sex. But for most modern Jews, the Torah’s male-female distinction is anachronistic at best and bigoted at worst.
And goes on to criticize all women’s colleges and women’s sports teams that admit anatomical males. Then Prager derides to some extent “a Southern California synagogue” that has hired as “its director of education a biological female rabbi who identifies as male, wears masculine clothing, is referred to as male and insists on being called by her/his given female name.”
I am happy that the Jewish Journal published Prager’s divergent view. But I was surprised that the Jewish Journal allowed the essay to criticize an unnamed synagogue and rabbi, when anyone who reads the paper and blogs knows that he is referring to Rabbi Becky Silverstein and the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center. It should have just named names.
To top it off, like the Houston, Texas opponents of LGBTQA rights, Prager brings up the frightening idea of a man being allowed into a women’s locker room.
Essentially, he wants the Torah to guide us with regard to transgender issues, but not with regard to capital punishment and other issues.
Something tells me that students at PragerU won’t be finding any unisex bathrooms on “campus.”
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