Baltimore/DC Rabbis’ Open Letter on Gay Marriage

In response to my podcast on the “Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a Homosexual Orientation in Our Community”, a friend sent in a PDF of “An Open Letter to the Greater Washington Community” included below which seems to focus on opposing gay marriage.

While it may be worthwhile comparing the tone to the aforementioned Statement of Principles, it is important to address the context. First, the open letter could be responding to the issue of civil marriage which the Statement did not address, or to the religious ceremonies which the Statement also rejected.1

Also worth noting is that as of this blog posting, only R. Joel Tessler signed on to both documents – though this could also be attributed to Baltimore/DC rabbinic politics as well.


July 15, 2010

An Open Letter to the Greater Washington Community:

We the Rabbis of the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington representing the large majority of the orthodox Jewish community of Washington wish to reiterate the position of Jewish law and tradition re: The question of gay marriage.

The eternal and unalterable word of G-d as revealed through the Torah (in Leviticus chapter 20, verse 13) states that homosexual relationships are forbidden and sanctions only the union of a man and a woman through matrimony. This is consistent with the Jewish tradition that marriage of a man and a woman is the very basis of human Society,n keeping with the Divine plan as set forth in the Biblical description of the creation of mankind. From Genesis chapter 2, verse 22 when we are told that G-d created Eve to serve as a mate for Adam, Jewish teachers have understood that we cannot progress in this world without preserving and protecting the immutable format of traditional marriage. History has shown that many societal ills result from the weakening of this fundamental institution. Any representation of the position of traditional Judaism as differing from the above is inaccurate and unauthorized.

We call on you to look past the popular sentiments and recognize that moving in this direction away from traditional family values is a grave mistake.

Please,we ask you; do not support gay marriage.

Also please be aware that the Jewish Community Relations Council does not speak for the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington.

Rabbi Hillel Klavan,
President

Rabbi Barry Freundel
Rabbi, Kesher Israel
Vice President

Rabbi Dovid Rosenbaum
Assistant Rabbi, V.I.S.E.
Secretary

Rabbi Kalman Winter,
Rabbi, Southeast Hebrew
Cong. Director

Rabbi Jack Bieler
Rabbi, Kemp Mill Synagogue

Rabbi Eliezer Kreiser
Rabbi, Ezras Israel Cong.

Rabbi Shaya Milikowsky
Rabbi, Ohev Shalom, Olney

Rabbi Vosef Singer
Rabbi, Y.I. Potomac

Rabbi Avraham Sussman
Rabbi, Am Hatorah

Rabbi Joel Tessler
Rabbi, Beth Shalom Cong.


1. To quote from point 11, “Halakhic Judaism cannot give its blessing and imprimatur to Jewish religious same-sex commitment ceremonies and weddings, and halakhic values proscribe individuals and communities from encouraging practices that grant religious legitimacy to gay marriage and couplehood.”

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