Like All Discreet Homosexual Exchanges, Jewish Standard‘s Rabbi Meeting Was Behind Closed Doors

The New Jersey Jewish Standard, which isn’t sure if it wants to run gay engagement and wedding announcements, on Thursday met with some 35 rabbis to discuss whether homosexuals like Justin Rosen and Avi Smolen or Orthodox views should carry more weight.

At the meeting (running the meeting) was our own guest columnist Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner, of the conservative Temple Emanu-El, who called out the paper for its hypocrisies (no to gays but yes to advertising events on Shabbat and restaurants that serve shellfish?).

Conservative Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner of Temple Emanu-El in Closter organized Thursday’s meeting along with Rabbi Randall Mark of Wayne, president of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis. The gathering brought the paper’s leadership together with rabbis from the four main branches of Judaism – Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Orthodox. While the Orthodox generally oppose to same-sex marriage, some rabbis from the other branches are supportive.

“It was a good first step,” Kirshner said of the closed, off-the-record meeting. “No one was coming in with an ultimatum that it had to be a certain way. It was about compassion and understanding and tolerance and about listening. We definitely had a lot of emotion, but also reason and compassion,” Kirshner added. “It’s as if a married couple had a big fight. You need to get your pent-up emotions out there, and find out where you’re on the same page. To extend the analogy, we were not necessarily hugging, kissing and making love again when the meeting ended.” Kirshner said the group plans more meetings to continue the discussion, whether or not the newspaper’s leadership decides to attend.

Not revealed: Whether publisher James Janoff would be running any same-sex announcements in the near future. But pick up next week’s edition, where you’ll find a great deal for Saturday brunch at Red Lobster.