JUDAISM AND HOMOSEXUALITY:
The Reconstructionist movement of Judaism is a small and very liberal group within the
religion. It was founded in 1955. Their total membership is about 48,000 in North America.
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) serves more than 100
affiliated congregations and groups. The Reconstructionist
Rabbinical Association (RRA) is an association of their rabbis. The the
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) is their seminary. The
College publishes The Reconstructionist, a journal of contemporary
Jewish thought and practice.
They regard all restrictions on homosexuality in the Hebrew Scriptures to
be null and void. They ordain homosexual Jews as rabbis and cantors. For many
years, their Reconstructionist
Rabbinical Association has supported rabbis who chose to perform same-sex
commitment ceremonies. The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation has stated that the "JRF
opposes all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and actively
supports legislation designed to prohibit such discrimination."
In 1993, the Reconstructionist Commission on Homosexuality issued
a 42 page report titled: "Homosexuality and Judaism." It
says in part: "We regard the Jewish values that affirm the inherent
dignity, integrity and equality of human beings as having primacy over
historically conditioned attitudes based on...texts that condemn
homosexuality as an abomination. It is our duty to correct the
misunderstandings and resulting injustice of the past and to fulfill the
Jewish obligation to seek justice...." The report urged "all
Reconstructionist affiliates, rabbis, and members of the Reconstructionist
Rabbinical College community to engage in a process of education about the
issues relating to Judaism and homosexuality." A book containing a series of
eight workshops is also available. 1,2
Rabbi Lewis John Eron, Ph.D. of Cherry Hill, NJ concluded a sermon on
homosexuality with the following: "In the Jewish community, as well as in religious communities
throughout North America, people are re-examining traditional attitudes
toward homosexuality. In the Jewish world we see a variety of approaches
expressed by thoughtful and religiously committed people and supported by
the various religious movements. However, when it comes to hatred and
violence in general and to homophobia in particular, I believe that as a
people we are unequivocal in our condemnation." 3
The Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (CSJO) is a small Jewish
group which blends Jewish culture with a secular lifestyle. 4 They passed a
resolution in 1992 on sexual orientation. It states, in part:
for liberty governed by just laws, and the promotion of civil rights for
all members of society are fundamental tenets of the philosophy of Secular
Humanistic Judaism. Inherent in that liberty and those civil rights is the
freedom to live in accord with one's personal dictates and desires as long
as these do not infringe on the liberties and civil rights of others.
Sexual orientation, however determined, is a personal expression of one's
own sexuality and a manifestation of one's own personhood and being. In a
democratic society, where individual rights are paramount, no person
should be deprived of dignity, self-respect and the freedom of individual
self-expression on the basis of sexual orientation or any other basis
within the rule of law.
It is in this spirit that the CSJO condemns
discrimination against anyone because of his/her sexual orientation. To
discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation contradicts the very
premise upon which Secular Judaism is built.
We welcome into our ranks and into our
leadership anyone whose aim it is to promote the well-being of the Secular
Humanistic Jewish movement, regardless of that individual's gender or sexual
orientation. In the same spirit, we call upon the entire Jewish community to
open its doors and its leadership to all Jews."
The World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations (WCGLJO) was
founded in 1980. It consists of 65 gay synagogues and organizations worldwide.
The organization consists of "more than 65 member organizations in Argentina,
Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, The
Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The World
Congress holds conferences and workshops representing the interests of lesbian,
gay, bisexual, & transgender Jews around the world. The focus of these sessions
varies from regional, national, continental, to global." 6
Their "vision is an environment where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
(LGBT) Jews worldwide can enjoy free and fulfilling lives."
The Hebrew subtitle of the WCGLJO is "Keshet Ga'avah" – "Rainbow of
applied for membership in the World Jewish Congress. In 1997-DEC they obtained a
commitment from the WJC's European section to consider their membership. Lee
president of the WCGLJO commented: "Today, at a time when the wider Jewish
community sees the way we reconnect Gay men and Lesbians with Judaism...I think they view
us a lot differently." Their membership was rejected in 2002.
- "Position Papers," at:
- Rabbi Robert Gluck, Ed., "Homosexuality and Judaism: A
Reconstructionist Workshop Series," at:
- Rabbi Lewis John Eron, "The Sins of Sodom", 1999 at:
- "The Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations,"
- "Social Action Resolutions," Congress of Secular Jewish
- Keshet Ga'avah -- The
World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: at:
Copyright © 2000 to 2003 incl., by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2000-OCT-25
Latest update: 2003-AUG-4
Author: B.A. Robinson