media follies

Jewish Standard: Gay Engagement Announcement Might Not Bring Lord’s Wrath After All

New Jersey’s The Jewish Standard thought they acted too quickly when they published a the engagement announcement of Justin Rosen and Avi Smolen, a gay couple marrying in the coming weeks (in New York, though the paperwork will be from Connecticut). So the editors quickly apologized, saying after hearing from Orthodox rabbis they would never run another gay relationship notice in the paper. Whoops, says James Janoff, maybe that was acting too quickly.

“We ran the wedding announcement because we felt, as a community newspaper, that it was our job to serve the entire community — something we have been doing for 80 years,” writes Janoff in a statement on Facebook. “We did not expect the heated response we got, and — in truth — we believe now that we may have acted too quickly in issuing the follow-up statement, responding only to one segment of the community. We are now having meetings with local rabbis and community leaders. We will also be printing, in the paper and online, many of the letters that have been pouring in since our statement was published. The issue clearly demands debate and serious consideration, which we will do our best to encourage.”

So fault the Standard for its initial idiocy, but give them credit for publicly acknowledging its knee jerk response was wrong — and for engaging in a dialogue about the proper way to move forward. So long as they reach the “right decision” (and you know what that is).

NB: Not only did the newspaper’s original decision to halt any gay engagement/wedding announcements completely ignore the gay community, it was a slight to respected members of its own: According to the paper’s original engagement announcement, Smolen works at Keren Or (the Jerusalem Center For Blind Children With Multiple Disabilities), while Rosen — with gigs at the Schusterman Foundation, The AVODAH: Jewish Service Corps, and The Foundation for Jewish Camp — has devoted much of his young life to the Jewish community.

[photo via Facebook]

Jewish Standard Promises Readers It Won’t Cause More Pain With Gay Engagement Announcements

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  • Cam

    Good, and this is why the people who say we need to be quiet as a community and not upset anybody, I feel, are wrong. If nobody wrote in or complained to this paper, then gays would have continued to be invisible. As it is now they have a reason to possibly ignore the attacks from the Orthodox Rabbis and continue publishing gay announcements.

  • ait10101

    Good for them, and good for the people who protested the initial decision. It gives me some hope. Which is what religion is supposed to be about, though I don’t give it much truck in any case. Maybe it works sometimes.

  • S

    I’m glad the Standard saw fit to issue the second statement.

    I suspect that its advertisers will be among, if not THE, most important stakeholders in the paper’s ultimate decision on this matter.

  • Kieran

    Maybe they can reach a compromise whereby the paper will agree to tolerate Jewish engagement announcements—-but only under the condition that the gay couple wear prominent pink triangles.

  • Gary B.

    As a (non-practicing) Jew, I must say that I’m very proud of the Jewish Standard for reconsidering their stance. This confirms for me my experience with most Jews in America, being one of overwhelming tolerance and acceptance. After all, both the Jews and gays have shared persecution history. It would be ridiculous for any Jews to abandon their natural allies now as they strive for equality and acceptance.

  • Hershl

    The publisher was shocked at the massive outpouring of support for same-sex union announcements.

    Their comments section is overflowing with 99.9% comments condemning their bowing to bigotry.

    However, in spite of the mollifying words he wrote, he still has not decided to return to the original policy of printing such announcement.

    Don’t celebrate quite yet. The bigots are still turning up the heat on them, threatening to destroy any restaurant, caterer, supplier that depends on rabbinical certification in order to do business with kosher food. This threat, if implemented, would bankrupt the paper which depends for revenue on such ads. The threat is simply, if the paper prints same sex union ads, anyone who advertises in it will be screwed and put out of business. They are trying to hold the entire Jewish kosher-keeping community hostage.

    On a happier note, one of the two men who originally placed the announcement has done a very upbeat interview.

    The Jewish Daily Report is run by a gay, Jewish man and is one of the few Jewish papers which highlights gay, Jewish news. For that, it has also been attacked by Jews.

    So what else is new?

  • Fitz

    As a general rule, Jews don’t do that “Lord’s Wrath” crap that you mentioned in your title. Come on.. there must be a Jewish person around you that you could have run this by!

    The good news in all of this mishagas is the overwhelming opinion of the readership of the newspaper– go to their website and see the subscriber comments on this issue. It’s very good.

  • Mark

    The Jewish Standard has not yet reversed their homophobic decision, or apologised for it,

    Until they do, they should be regarded as bigots.

  • Miss Understood

    Science beats religion every time.

  • Cam

    Wow, it’s actually really heartwarming to see the letters in the comments section. Head over to the paper, you will be shocked at all the non-gay Jews attacking the paper for cowtowing to the rabbis.

Comments are closed.