Saturday, May 26, 2012

Israeli rabbis disagree on same-sex "marriage"

As the old saying goes, where there are two Jews, there will be three opinions. As reported by Kobi Nahshoni of Ynet News on August 29, 2011:

Senior Religious Zionism Rabbis Yaakov Ariel, Haim Drukman and Elyakim Levanon have withdrawn their support from a recent initiative seeking to match between religious homosexuals and lesbians until the religious and ethical aspects of the issue are clarified, Ynet has learned.

The three even demanded that the Kamoha association, which is part of the matchmaking initiative, immediately remove their names from the list of supporters on the association's website – until further notice.

In the past few days, the rabbis have been asked to explain their support for the initiative. They clarified that despite being involved in the matter, they did not approve the final version of the initiative, which was made public.

Rabbi Ariel claimed in writing that he had had no contact with the Kamoha association, but only with a particular rabbi, and that "the real solution for those with reversed tendencies is psychological treatment."

Rabbi Drukman declared, "I never engaged in this issue," while Rabbi Levanon clarified that he "urges guys with unhealthy inclinations to seek the proper treatment for the sake of furthering repair."

Rabbis Ariel and Drukman are refusing to address the issue and explain their stand, but Ynet has learned that they have not ruled out matches between homosexuals and lesbians. They believe that this option must be discussed seriously and thoroughly, including the halachic and mental aspects of such a move.

They also believe that the issue of whether the initiative should be made public must be discussed as well. In the coming days they plan to engage in the issue, and until they make a decision they refuse to be linked to the initiative.

Rabbi Levanon, on the other hand, said he had no intention of expressing his full support or objection, explaining that each case must be examined individually.


Early launch

The three rabbis feel that Rabbi Arale Harel, who initiated the new project, took things too fast when he launched the initiative based on their agreement in principle, and without receiving their final approval.

They three are also unhappy with the involvement of the Kamoha organization, due to the objection of some of them to organizations bringing together religious gays.

If at the end of the inquiry Ariel and Drukman refuse to publicly support the initiative, the plan will likely suffer a heavy blow as the two were the most senior religious leaders linked to it.

Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Jewish fertility organization Puah Institute, who supports the initiative, admitted that Rabbi Harel was wrong to have rushed to link the rabbis to the project, but added that he had no doubt that all Religious Zionism rabbis would eventually support it.

According to Burstein, a homosexual and lesbian planning to marry through the new project are required to present a letter from a therapist confirming that they have tried to become straight but failed, promise to remain faithful to each other as long as they are married and accept psychological guidance for them and their children – three conditions aimed at meeting any rabbinical or professional objection to the matter.

The project's initiator, Rabbi Harel, told Ynet that "throughout the years that the matchmaking initiative has been conducted, the abovementioned rabbis have been escorting the idea with their advice and resourcefulness. Now, after it has been made public, they have expressed reservations over its public aspect, as well as additional questions relating to a small number of the couples.

"These reservations were presented to me in talks I had with the rabbis, and therefore we stopped publishing their names as supporters of the initiative until the issue is clarified. Apart from the abovementioned rabbis, there are others who support this initiative and their names will be published soon."

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