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Jewish Mental-Health Group Pokes Proverbial Hole In Sheet For Orthodox Gays

When it comes to demonizing homosexuals, Judaism generally has a better track record than Christianity. Maybe it’s because Jews don’t believe the Son of God can magically take all your troubles away if you pray hard enough or that sinners will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity. As He’Bro founder Jayson Littman discussed in a recent HuffPo piece, there’s only one Jewish “pray the gay away” group—Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (JONAH)—and it’s so small they have to piggyback onto Christian reparative retreats.

Reform and Reconstructionist Jews officially welcome gay clergy and perform same-sex marriages and though the Conservative movement is a bit all over the place, it’s heading in the right direction.

Now, just weeks after the announcement of an alleged anti-gay declaration signed by several Hassidic rabbis, even Orthodox Judaism seems to making the tiniest advances.

The Jerusalem Post reports that last weekend members of the support group Jewish Queer Youth (JQY) were allowed to have a table at the annual conference of Nefesh International, an association of Orthodox mental-health professionals. It’s the first time there has been any LGBT representation at the 15-year-old conference, though the three JQY members were only allowed to attend as individuals, not representing their group—and only after asking Nefesh to make a special exception.

JQY makes a distinction between homosexuality as an orientation and certain same-sex acts, which are banned by the Torah. “They wanted to talk about their struggles as homosexuals in the Orthodox world,” Nefesh president Simcha Feuerman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Mental health professionals should be aware of those voices.” Though he says Nefesh cannot support  homosexuality, Feuerman explains, “we certainly have great compassion and interest in the challenges and struggles that persons with homosexual desires and orientation experience.”

We have compassion for JQY members, too: We feel sorry for anyone who begs for crumbs from a group that denigrates them. Unlike being gay, being an observant Orthodox Jew is a choice.

As for the members of Nefesh, we can’t help but feel contempt: Medical professionals who put their religious affiliation before their practice should have their license taken away.

On:           Dec 8, 2011
Tagged: , , , ,
    • slanty

      “The group makes a distinction between homosexuality as an orientation and same-sex acts, which are banned by the Torah.”

      So they’ve made the same distinction the Catholic Church made decades ago…. not very progressive, and not far enough to be called gay-friendly.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 11:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • o

      @slanty: Unfortunately, their doctrine is regressive, not progressive at all! Gay people who feel it’s okay for them to have same-sex desires, as long as they don’t act on them, end up becoming neurotic. Suddenly they have the additional problem of being neurotic added on to the original problem of low self-esteem!

      Dec 8, 2011 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      One thing though, this group represents a small minority. Around 80% of American Jews belong to either Reform or Conservative groups.

      The Reform which is the largest group ordains gay rabbis and supports gay marriage. The conservative movement supports gay rights and has commitment ceremonies etc…

      So as far as major religions go the majority of this religion is decades ahead of The Catholic Church.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MEJ

      Orthodox mental-health professionals

      That’s an oxymoron isn’t it?

      Dec 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • chip1218

      @Cam: The Conservative Judaism movement now allows for gay/lesbian rabbis, and for same sex marriage, it’s up to the individual congregations to decide. I don’t know the statistics, but I currently live in the South and if same sex marriage was legal in that state, my congregation would have no problem with performing a same sex marriage.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard

      Any God that would create you with particular attributes merely for the purpose of making your existence miserable due to those attributes…is a stupid asshole.

      So if you refuse to believe that God is merely the Supreme Stupid Asshole, you’re left with the following alternatives:

      1. God isn’t a stupid asshole and doesn’t actually want you to be miserable; religious people are the stupid assholes who do, and to that end they collectively wrote a “how-to be a stupid asshole” manual, falsely ascribing its authorship to God.

      2. There is no God; people are the way they are; and belief that God is a Supreme Stupid Asshole merely permits stupid assholes to believe that being a stupid asshole isn’t self-indulgent and irrational — it’s a holy duty.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville

      @the crustybastard: Well done.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael

      Please take a look at this http://www.gofundme.com/b36zo

      Dec 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ryanthehulk

      For some reason, most Jews are uncomfortable with taking an unpopular minority group and blanketly blaming them for all of society’s ills, go figure.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnAGJ

      @Cam: Interesting, thanks. For a minority within a minority group, Orthodox Judaism certainly is good at making itself seem larger than it actually is. I looked around online and according to the NJPS Orthodox Judaism compromises only 10% of American Jews, Conservative 26%, Reform 35%, Others 9% and non-affliated but self-identified Jews 20%. Amazingly 59% of those raised in an Orthodox Jewish household here in the USA do not identify as Orthodox upon reaching adulthood.

      NJPS link: http://www.jewishfederations.org/local_includes/downloads/4983.pdf

      Dec 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dr. Dick

      @the crustybastard: Beautifully stated!

      Dec 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • R

      @Queer Supremacist: Oh yeah let’s all bow down before you. Imbecile.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • You're a genius

      “It’s the first time there has been any LGBT representation at the 15-year-old conference, though the three JQY members were only allowed to attend as individuals, not representing their group—and only after asking Nefesh to make a special exception.”

      That would be the same position the Catholic Church holds re: the St. Patrick’s Day parade in NYC, yet teh geyz condemn that.

      Try to be consistent in your reasoning; you’ll look less stupid.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the undeniable

      the deadly desert three… judiasm, christianity and islam. no other religions in history have caused more death and destruction than these. power hungry and oppressive, these ‘religions’ are obsessed with world domination and anal sex. what a truly sad and disgusting bunch. i am sorry, but if you are lgbt and adhere to any of these sick mythologies, you obviously hate yourself.

      Dec 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rev. Jim Cunningham

      @the undeniable:
      I’m not only an Out & Proud gay man, but I’m also an Out & Proud born again Fundamentalist Conservative Protestant minister and host of GayChristianSurvivors(dotcom) and King James Bible Ministries International. Unlike you, I do not judge The Lord by the stupid things that people say about Him. There is not one single verse in the Bible that says I’m singled out for the Lake of Fire because I’m gay, and it is your responsibility to investigate for yourself what the Bible says rather than just believing the propaganda of those you know are hateful toward you. You are no better than the people you condemn because you’ve make yourself a judge, too. Some Christians are in the pro-gay faction and some are in the anti-gay faction, just as some Americans are Republican and some are Democrat. To say that I must hate myself for adhering to my Faith because some other people in my Faith hate me, that’s like saying that I must hate myself for being an American since other Americans hate my political views.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 10:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard

      @Rev. Jim Cunningham: “You are no better than the people you condemn because you’ve make yourself a judge…”

      LOL. Well, that’s just your judgment.

      My judgment is that the undeniable is by many orders of magnitude a better person than those “people of faith” who have found in religion a license to murder, torture, enslave, plunder, denigrate and despoil.

      And I think that’s a really, really easy call (but I have the advantage of not being burdened by loads of superstitious crap undermining my exercise of reason).

      Merely calling attention to the fact that religion is directly responsible for legions of enormous horrors should not be regarded by any sensible person as any crime at all, much less a crime commensurate with the generations of perpetrators and enablers of said horrors, and the historical revisionists content to simply whitewash those horrors away.

      But A+ for effort.

      “Some Christians are in the pro-gay faction and some are in the anti-gay faction, just as some Americans are Republican and some are Democrat.”

      Seriously? You’re framing the global religious persecution of gays as a mere difference of opinion, like preferring blue over red, or vanilla over chocolate?

      Um, no. Your argument is much more like “some fascists are nice people, so it’s wrong to just outright condemn fascism.” Except that given fascism’s history, it’s entirely reasonable and perfectly sensible to condemn fascism generally, and fascists individually. Religion really isn’t particularly distinct from fascism.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ari

      So does Queetry thinks Jews control the world or something with “Jew World Order?”on this story? I wonder why they never say this about other religions? just saying. Also why not ask the same question to Orthodox Christians if they control the world.

      Dec 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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