This is a letter to the Publisher of the Jewish Standard who recently succumbed to pressure from the Orthodox community to retract gay and lesbian Jewish wedding announcements in that paper.
Dear Mr. Janoff:
I am deeply disappointed in your paper’s (The Jewish Standard) policy to exclude gay couples from wedding announcements. What happened to the notion of a diverse Jewish community? What happened to the Talmudic ideal of “These and These are the voice of the living God” Are you there to serve only the Orthodox in Teaneck? If you are going to publish wedding announcements then you ought to publish them all. The Jewish community is a diverse and vibrant world. I would have hoped you would want to be a part of that vibrancy.
As President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis I am committed to the notion of Klal Yisrael. Everyone in the Jewish community counts. Orthodox and Reform, Gay and straight, affiliated and not. I try to work toward the goal that we are one people. We may have different ways of doing things. But I believe we are still one people. And I believe a Jewish newspaper ought to report on all of the Jewish community.
In a week where so much national attention has been given to the issue of bullying and specifically bullying of gay people your actions have added to this pain. The Orthodox pressure that you received is bullying because of gay and lesbian Jews. Their threats are bullying. For the young people like Tyler Clementi of Rutgers University in New Jersey the pain was too great.
Your paper sadly has contributed to the pain and spiritual violence in the world by your actions this week. In a week when we read from Parshat Noach and we read about a world that had to be destroyed because of cruelty and brutality, I wonder why you added to the world’s cruelty and brutality by your actions. For the gay and lesbian Jewish community and those that love and welcome gay people into their lives your actions are cruel and dehumanizing.
How sadly ironic that the week in which we learn about the rainbow as a sign that God won’t destroy the world by flood again, a symbol that has been adopted by the gay and lesbian community as a symbol of its diversity and pride, you would destroy worlds through your words and action.
Rabbi Denise L. Eger
Congregation Kol Ami
West Hollywood, CA