Chief Rabbi should speak up on LGBT

DAYAN Gabriel Krausz, of the Manchester Beth Din, has added his name — albeit in a personal capacity — to a boycott of a London Jewish community centre because it supports gay people.

Also objecting to London’s JW3 centre, after it celebrated the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality last year, are Gateshead Rav Shraga Feivel Zimmerman and Gateshead Rosh Hayeshiva Rabbi Avrohom Gurwicz.

Why did these revered rabbis see fit to ask their northern supporters to boycott a venue hundreds of miles away, which they were unlikely to attend anyway?

They probably felt beholden to support their southern charedi colleagues, led by Rabbi Aharon Bassous, of the get-rid-of Sephardi head Rabbi Joseph Dweck campaign, in their fight against LGBT policies which have infiltrated the Jewish community.

But boycotts and witch-hunts, like the one against Rabbi Dweck because he said something positive about homosexuals, don’t work. They are usually counter-productive.

Limmud, the cross-community adult education programme, massively increased its popularity after it was boycotted by charedim. Rabbi Dweck has remained in office despite the malicious campaign against him.

However, there is a real issue here between the aggressive campaigns of the LGBT so-called “community”, which is massively infringing on free speech in this country, and the charedim who protest against them.

In 2004, Rabbi Chaim Rapoport, who held the medical portfolio in former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks’ cabinet, wrote the book Judaism and Homosexuality — An Authentic Orthodox View, which combined compassion and a plea for inclusiveness for Jewish gays with adherence to Jewish law.

The book’s introduction was written by Lord Sacks, who was no stranger to controversy.

His successor, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who has been brilliantly successful in keeping away from controversy, has failed to follow in Lord Sacks’ footsteps.

Rabbi Mirvis failed to answer my question on the Jewish view of LGBT, but he has previously toed general society’s party line of outlawing homophobia and has urged rabbis to be inclusive of gays in their communities.

But that’s just the point.

The LGBT militants don’t want to be included in our communities because they have created their own so-called “community”.

Sexuality is a private, intimate matter. But the LGBT “community” have made it public and strident by their Gay Pride marches.

Unlike their charedi counterparts, mainstream United Synagogue-style shuls welcome all halachic Jews, whether or not they observe Shabbat or not, eat kosher or not, are honest in their business dealings or not and whatever their sexuality.

The private lives of congregants is a matter between them, their consciences and their Maker and no business of synagogue management.

But when a minority has been persecuted for centuries, like the horrific imprisonment of gay people in former eras, they are extremely reluctant to give up their victim status and cry homophobia whenever anyone takes a slightly different line from them.

Most people in this country are scared to stray from the LGBT party line.

I know from my own experience when, six years ago, I dared to suggest that there was an issue of patient choice over whether people choose to opt for gay cures or not, as suggested by many rabbis.

I was not advocating these so-called cures as I am not a medical expert, but merely promoting the policy of patient choice.

Nevertheless, I was lambasted in the Pink News and in the letters’ column of my own newspaper for daring to discuss the topic.

I have mostly avoided it ever since. But this is a serious infringement of free speech when so many of us are scared to say what we really think.

However, not everyone is scared. Rabbi Bassous certainly is not, but I totally disapprove of his counter-productive tactics.

At the same time as Pink News was lambasting me, they were also slamming former Tory politician Ann Widdecombe for similar views to those I had expressed.

But nothing can scare this admirable, feisty septuagenarian who was not afraid to state her traditional, religious views on sexuality on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. And she came second to the winner, drag queen Shane Jenek, alias Courtney, who blatantly used his/her appearance to promote LGBT values.

The rather smutty show, which this year celebrated Year of the Woman after a centenary of women’s votes in the UK, played out the moral dilemma which is currently facing British society over whether a minority like the LGBT so-called “community” should be allowed to suppress free speech and freedom of religious expression in this country.

The fact that Ann came second shows that a substantial section of the British public agrees with her and respects her right to stand up and be counted on controversial issues.

In our Jewish community, a mainstream voice willing to openly confront the issue is sadly lacking and leadership has fallen away to the extremists on both sides.


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