Thursday, December 07, 2006

The day after the CJLS decision

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably heard about the CJLS's approval of three contradictory responsa on the issue of the position of gays and lesbians in the Jewish community. I would wonder if the press release qualifies as one of the most successful press releases ever in terms of fast promulgation.

Immediate analysis (and reporting) of the decision and its fallout (notably, the resignations of four CJLS members) may be found elsewhere. I intend to reserve most comment in detail until the final text of the approved teshuvot is released to the public. It's a bit hard to comment when one does not know the content of what he's commenting about. When they are released, I might do an analysis of their arguments.

From the early indications, it seems like the CJLS did the right thing for two out of the three documents. Approving contradictory statements (Roth's and Dorff's) leaves a pluralistic approach open. From what I've read, one of the texts advocates the scientifically unsound "restorative therapy" approach (I haven't read the text myself, take what I say for the nothing it's worth).

UPDATE: R. Nevins, who voted against Levy's responsum, called the statement that it advocates "restorative therapy" a "distortion." If so, it was distorted by the CJLS's own press office. Openness can clear this up. Hint, hint, CJLS...

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Actually, what I find impressive is the speed with which other organizations issued their "reaction/response" press releases.

Question: Did Roth also resign from JTS and CY?
Actually, what I find impressive is the speed with which other organizations issued their "reaction/response" press releases.
Not really. The result was not unexpected.

Did Roth also resign from JTS and CY?
I don't think so, but I have no inside information.
Of course, the result was expected, but it still amazes me to see office workers standing by a fax machine with their fingers poised on the "send" button, so that they can send out a "response" press release the minute that the release they are responding to is announced.

-- Mer
Taken from

by Rabbi Daniel Nevins:

It has been reported that Rabbi Leonard Levy called for “reparative therapy” for gay and lesbian Jews to function as heterosexuals. This is, as Len likes to say, a “sweeping generalization.” In fact, his point was that while most people who experience same-sex attraction may never be able to change that, even if highly motivated, a small percentage nevertheless may, and they should be offered that opportunity. I don’t think anyone disagrees that people should be able to understand their sexual orientation with the assistance of open minded counselors. Where we disagree with Len is in his claim that you can maintain an exclusive public policy that bans all homosexual intimacy and the recognition of homosexual families while also creating a welcoming and respectful environment for people who identify as gay or lesbian. I voted against Len’s paper, but I don’t think it should be distorted.
Thanks for the link. As I stated before, I haven't read the text and was relying primarily on the CJLS's own press release (a copy of which I linked to). Distortions would be cleared up by releasing the actual text. I look forward to reading it.
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