Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two "Orthodox" Shuls Make "Kiddush" For Same Sex "Wedding"

A picture of the website

This Was On Mekor Habracha (a "Orthodox" Shul's) Website

The Rabbi's Blog

Blog Posting by Dr. Sunnie Epstein About Mekor - August 25th, 2014

As a Modern "Orthodox" Jew, I often find myself standing too far to the right or too far to the left or without much of a standing at all in a world that is defined too often by extreme positions. How sad! When I remember the Orthodoxy of my childhood, it was gentle, open, and caring. People did not ask what went on in the bedroom or your kitchen or your home and then judge you on it – that was between YOU and G-D this was her way of writing God (which is a double chumra if done on a computer). Unfortunately, today in our world in which there is EXTREMELY too much EXTREMISM, the intended quality of life and support of community that Orthodoxy meant and means to so many is getting lost in the details which occupy too many conversations and force people too often into categories of “accepted” or “not accepted.” Years ago, a friend of mine schlepped (such an appropriate word here, thanks MG) me to a meeting at which women were trying to make matches (shidduchim) between young men and women they know. The wonderful Rebbetzin (who is quite religious and observant by every measure you can come up with) got frustrated with questions about white tablecloths and whether or not and how the mother of the girl covers her hair and just lost it – she basically said this was shtuyot (craziness) and NOT what being an Observant Jew is about. She and her husband remain one of my favorite Orthodox Rabbinic couples until today.
Website's bio of the "rabbi"

Those of you who know me could sit together and we could get frustrated, angry, share many laughs and/or cry a bit about this phenomenon. That being said, I want to share a wonderful personal story about TWO "ORTHODOX" SHULS of which I am very proud. We are members of both!

Several months ago, one of our daughters became "engaged" to the love of her life – and now I will have a new daughter-in-law. Needless to say, living in the Orthodox world with a gay child has its challenges. It has recently brought us untold joy. One of our shuls, Mekor Habracha who's website this appeared on, is ALWAYS amazing regarding every possible issue of human needs and comfort and this is due to the able and menschlach leadership of its "Rav", "Rabbi" Eliezer Hirsch, who is no less "observant" than other "Orthodox" Rabbis  – he just observes BOTH the Mitzvot between him and G-d except lo sischalal shem kadshi etc. as well as those between people, also dictated by Ribbonu shel Olam and teaches about them equally. From the moment we announced Rachie and Liz’s "engagement", there were Mazel Tovs, hugs and just a wonderful "celebratory" feeling. We all felt blessed and grateful that the shul community could be part of and add to our "simcha".

Additionally, we belong to Young Israel of Elkins Park whose ?rabbi? is, ?Rabbi? Dov Aaron Brisman is the Av Beit Din of the Beit Din of Philadelphia and an associate Av Beit Din of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, and received semichah yoreh yoreh yadin yadin from Rabbi Schneur Kotler, zt”l, he is also very close with R Shmuel Kamenetsky where I, to be honest, do not always feel so comfortable, given my knowledge, profession, life view and politics. That being said, I "respect" the standards that are maintained and continue to be part of this Kehilah along with our many wonderful friends. My husband and I spoke long and carefully crafted how we would present this news to the people in our more centrist/leaning to the right Orthodox shul community. We were having a big "engagement" party and we wanted to invite our friends but knew that not all would be comfortable. We carefully indicated this to people and received one of four responses. Either they said they would come, needed to check in with their spouse, would have to think about it or did not think they could come. That being said, everyone WITHOUT EXCEPTION was kind, caring and respectful and wished us "Mazel Tov". When the party did come, there were over 90 "celebrants" present to "rejoice" with our family and our daughter and her "fiancĂ©e". Not only that, but we were able to sponsor a Kiddush in BOTH shuls in honor of the many semachot in our family, including the engagement of Rachie and Liz. how is it possible that the YI allowed this?  After all they kicked out other shuls for much less serious infractions of halacha And in BOTH shuls, everyone wished them Mazel Tov, including our “black hat” Rabbi and his wifeis this reffering to ?rabbi? Brisman or "rabbi" Hirsch Honestly, we have received nothing but validating and wonderful feedback and caring reactions from all we know with "only" two "sad" exceptionswho are not part of either of these communities, but rather within extended family connections.

I want to be very clear. We have been respectful, advocated for "our children" and acknowledged that this may be a problem for some – all simultaneously. The reaction we have received has been respectful of us in turn, loving for "our children" and acknowledging of our position in our communities.

In a sadly explosive climate where we hear too many stories of intolerance, I want to state how extremely proud I am of both of our " synagogue" communities and that with respectful approaches, shared knowledge, and understanding of our most foundational Jewish principles of protecting and celebrating life last I checked 2 women together has nothing to do with life, we CAN all live together in a meaningful and validating way, just as is intended for our "Jewish" community.

I know there are other communities out there like ours, so please consider sharing wonderful stories of acceptance and validation with all you know so that our voice is not eclipsed by others who would attempt to shout us down.
Shabbat Shalom!
(Center City Shul's website)  highlights are my additions

If your wondering how this could have happened  it's because we who had kosher values have voted for candidates that caused these immoral values to become legislated into law.  Furthermore our rabbis for the most part have been silent on this great threat for the past 45 yearsas we saw numerous times in yesterdays parsha we are influenced by are surroundings
Rabanu Bahya explains that the prohibition of going back to Egypt only applies to that generation because Egypt was known to have all the toevos, he then goes on to cite the same words where chazal learn out a issur of same sex "marriage" the reason for the issur was so we would not learn from the Egyptians

To read our previous coverage of this person saying that she would "only" do something at home