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October 06, 2010

Orthodox Rabbis Allegedly Use Extortion To Force Jewish Newspaper To Stop Taking Announcements For Same Sex Weddings

Gay Wedding Cake Mafia-like tactics allegedly used; newspaper buckles and then issues weak apology for offending the liberal and secular Jews of its community.

Last week, the New Jersey Jewish Standard ran a wedding announcement for a same-sex couple well known in the community. The couple is to be married by two rabbis, one Conservative and one Reform.

In response, Orthodox rabbis complained to the paper's publisher.

If that is all that happened, I'd have no complaints against either the paper or the Orthodox rabbis. But allegedly, the Orthodox rabbis did not stop with simple complaining – they made threats.

Here's how those threats allegedly worked according to a source familiar with the situation:

1. The rabbis told the newspaper that they would stop advertisers dependant on the Orthodox rabbis' kashrut endorsements from advertising in the Standard.

2. The Orthodox rabbis then told all kosher restaurants, caterers, etc. that anyone who advertises in the Standard will automatically lose their hechsher (a rabbinic seal of approval stating that the food is kosher).

3. The Orthodox rabbis also told that Standard that day schools, yeshivot and seminaries would not advertise in the Standard if any more same-sex announcements or ads are published by it.

The Standard's publisher buckled and forced his editor to issue an apoloigy to the Orthodox community. That published apology promised the Standard would not take any more same-sex announcements or ads, which is especially strange becuase I'm told the Standard takes ads for non-kosher restaurants, some of which serve shrimp, and the Torah refers to shrimp-eating the same way it does to male homosexual relations – as a toevah, and abomination, a classification of sin used very rarely in the Torah.

Yet somehow both the Orthodox rabbis and the Standard view the "abomination" of eating shrimp in a far more benign way than they view the "abomination" of same-sex marriage, which leads me to believe homophobia, not the Torah, is the source of their actions.

A New Jersey Jewish blog broke the story. This created an uproar on other blogs, and Tablet Magazine has done some good reporting following this issue.

That uproar and Tablet's reporting caused the paper's publisher to issue a statement directed to the non-Orthodox people hurt by his actions. Here's an excerpt:

“We did not expect the heated response we got, and—in truth—we believe now that we may have acted too quickly in issuing the follow-up statement [i.e., the apology to the Orthodox community], responding only to one segment of the community,” wrote James Janoff. “We are now having meetings with local rabbis and community leaders.”

The Standard acted reprehensibly and the Orthodox rabbis even worse – especally when you realize that gay student committed suicide a few days ago after being bullied and then visciously outed on the Web, and that student lived in the area served by the Standard.

This is another in a long line of examples that show what life would be like for Jews if Orthodoxy ever took control of the Jewish community.

If you know what's good for you, you'll do everything in your power to make sure that never happens.

Update 10-8-10 – The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County New Jersey has issued a statement about this issue in which they deny the allegations of threats and extortion.

Comments

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Same sex weddings deserve to be announced in a newspaper just like deaths are announced in the obituary section.

I agree 100% with the Orthodox Rabbis.

A community or nation that encourages homosexual marriage is cutting its own spiritual throat.

Next issue...

There's no such thing as same sex "weddings" in New Jersey. There is no gay marriage in New Jersey.

Throughout the United States, whenever gay marriage comes up for an actual, democratic vote, it loses. I think its only in four states where gay marriage is legal, because liberal judges, overreading their own state constitutions, made it legal. In only one or maybe two states, have state legislatures made it legal.

There is absolutely nothing in the Bible, Mishna, Gemara, or any Codes recognizing same sex marriage in Judaism. To the contrary, there is an explicity Torah verse, saying it is toieva for a man to lie with a man as if with a woman.

People who never read the wedding announcements in the NY Times now scan them for announcements of Adam and Steve, or Eve and Eva.

There's inevitably one of each.

The orthodox telegram:

Start hating.

Details to follow.

This incident will set the cause of orthodox Judaism back yet another 100 years.

This incident will set the cause of orthodox Judaism back yet another 100 years.

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton | October 06, 2010 at 07:13 PM

Sadly, that's a "good" thing in their eyes.

Milwaukee, good point.

These are same-sex unions which are perfectly legal in NJ.

Homosexuality is not usser. Sodomy is the issue. Lesbians are no where mentioned in the Torah since there is no problem with homosexuality per se. As you know, they cannot perform sodomy.

Men and men and men and women can. This is what it comes down to and absolutely nothing more.

Anyone who believes that the Torah prohibits homosexuality is ignorant. Anyone who believes that Torah prohibits two men from having a loving, committed relationship is not an eved hashem. And, for the record, there are many ways of having sexual contact between two men which are totally OK with a committed Torah life.

As this story points out, there is a lot of ignorance out there especially in the frumme velt.

Eating shrimp is only an abomination for Jews. Sodomy is an abomination for everyone. This is all according to the Torah.

I agree with the rabbis on this one. Sodomy is evil on many levels. From a physical perspective, it is unsanitary, which as we modern people know is the cause of disease. From a evolutionary perspective, it decreases the odds of survival of the human race. From a logical perspective, it is obvious that it goes against what the Creator of our bodies created us for. From an emotional perspective, it is a revolting act. From a historical perspective, look at what happened to Sodom. From a religious perspective it is a rebellion against G-d.

Sodomy is plain and simple evil. Most of the people who practice it are naive and they believe that they are somehow predestined to practice it, because they believe they are "gay".

This cannot be true. If it were true, then why do prisons get a reputation for holding lots of people who practice sodomy? Are these prisoners mostly "gay"? Does this mean that "gay" people are more likely to commit crimes? It doesn't make any sense.

"Gay" is a modern concept. Before the last century, there were no "gay" people.

After all this is New Jersey, so why someone cannot arrange to whack the rabbis ?

the rebbies went to far "lose a hescher if they advertise in the New Jersey Jewish Standard"
I thought a rebbies only cares whether the place is kosher and does not care about other stuff.

at least that is what they say in the case of SMR

And of course, you have proof of all this, right? I live in BC, and I know this story is totally exaggerated!!!!

After all this is New Jersey, so why someone cannot arrange to whack the rabbis ?

Posted by: Bassy the Haredi Slayer | October 06, 2010 at 07:47 PM

Saw that as "so why someone cannot arrange to whack-off the rabbis". Heh.

This is another in a long line of examples that show what life would be like for Jews if Orthodoxy ever took control of the Jewish community.

I like that they mobilized and took action when they saw something that was wrong and sinful in the eyes of man and g-d. However I would have allowed the announcements to appear in the obituary section since this unholy union was punishable by death.

Naomi Grossman, freelance journalist, stated in her Apr. 2001 article "The Gay Orthodox Undergound" in Moment Magazine:
"The Torah strictly forbids homosexual sex, and rabbis have consistently upheld that prohibition through the ages... The prohibition against homosexual sex comes from Leviticus: 'Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence' (18:22). In biblical times, the punishment for violating that code was clear. 'If a man lies with a male as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to death -— their bloodguilt is upon them' (Leviticus 20:13). The Talmud extends the prohibition to lesbian sex [Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:8]."

You may be DaEmes but you're certainly not DaMoach:

"From a physical perspective, it is unsanitary, which as we modern people know is the cause of disease."

Really? Because the gemarah says that sex wtih one's wife through the backdoor is ok.

"From an evolutionary perspective, it decreases the odds of survival of the human race."

No it doesn't. The planet happens to be overpopulated and getting worse.

"From a logical perspective, it is obvious that it goes against what the Creator of our bodies created us for. From an emotional perspective, it is a revolting act. From a historical perspective, look at what happened to Sodom. From a religious perspective it is a rebellion against G-d."

These are all the same argument. We know you're a fundamentalist and think it's koodies and God thinks it's uchie too; you don't need to repeatedly rephrase the same argument in an attempt to appear rational.

"Sodomy is plain and simple evil. Most of the people who practice it are naive and they believe that they are somehow predestined to practice it, because they believe they are "gay".

This cannot be true. If it were true, then why do prisons get a reputation for holding lots of people who practice sodomy? Are these prisoners mostly "gay"? Does this mean that "gay" people are more likely to commit crimes? It doesn't make any sense."

Ummm, because they can't have sex with women in prison? You really do need to learn some thinking skills.

""Gay" is a modern concept. Before the last century, there were no "gay" people."

Ok Emes. If you should ever desire to actually learn anything instead of making things up to suit your religious beliefs, feel free to open a history or biology book.

Mazel Tov to the khosn and khosneh.

I did not use the word kale in order to be politically correct & respectful of the boy's khasene.

The word תּוֹעֵבָה is not used very often in the Torah. In addition to the psukim referencing certain types of homosexual acts, it is also used in reference to food (Deut 14:3) and even more curiously in reference to a man remarrying his 1st wife once she has been divorced or widowed by a 2nd husband (Deut 24:4).

Do these rebeim require due diligence on food-related and heteresexual marriage announcements to make sure these other forms of תּוֹעֵבָה are also not published?

Do these rebeim require due diligence on food-related and heterosexual marriage announcements to make sure these other potential forms of תּוֹעֵבָה are also not published?

IH,

Excellent point!

""Gay" is a modern concept. Before the last century, there were no "gay" people."

if so the Torah would not have mentioned it way back then

There is no evidence the Rabbis were motivated by bigotry or hatred. They are engaging in a boycott of sorts. I don't approve of their inconsistent application of a boycott, however that is a choice they have the right to make. Also, one, in theory could have a coke at a treif restaurant (issues with maurit ayin would discourage it, but still can happen. There is no evidence the restaurant was flauting their shrimp or implying it is now legitimate to eat it.

From wikipedia:

"Extortion, outwresting, and/or exaction is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion. "

"Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. Making a threat of violence which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property to halt future violence is sufficient to commit the offense. Exaction refers not only to extortion or the unlawful demanding and obtaining of something through force,[1] but additionally, in its formal definition, means the infliction of something such as pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant."

Say what you want about the rabbis in question, but they have not committed any criminal offenses, and the headline is once again misleading and slanderous by claiming that they are using "extortion."

As per the orthodox chief rabbi of Israel, "gratuitous cruelty to animals during the slaughter process does not disqualify the meat", but advertising in a newspaper that mentions a gay civil union would cause your restaurant to lose its hechsher.
Advertising traif food isn't a problem for the orthodox, either.

So the issue isn't religion, the issue is the orthodox hatred of gays.

This behavior by this rabble of rabbis is an abomination.

Extortion is a crime. A felony, in fact. These rabbinical scumbags broke the law, and should be criminally prosecuted.

Not one orthodox rabbi will step forward to justify pulling the hechsher of a restaurant that would advertise in that newspaper.

Such courageous rabbis.

If you saw that civil union announcement, you'd agree that it was totally innocuous. You could easily have overlooked it, or choose to skip reading it, just like you skip over wedding or bar mitzvah announcements of people you don't know.

But that's not good enough for the orthodox rabbinical mafia. It's all about power, money, and hate when it comes to the orthodox version of the Torah.

Suburban NJ Jewish newspapers are being overwhelmed with protests from readers against the orthodox mafia. I liked the one who said they should omit orthodox wedding announcements, because some people might find them to be offensive.

the hechsher given to a restaurant is testimony that the food has been prepared according to halacha. this can quite logically be understood to include verification that animals used for the food product have been treated humanely throughout the process in keeping with halachic standards. but that is where it ends. the kosher mafia has no right to be involved with other matters such as where the store chooses to advertise.
just imagine if secular regulators acted in this manner....

the health dept. could withhold certification for a new restaurant if the owners donated to the opposing political party.
the FDA could withhold approval of a new drug if they disagreed with the CEO's position on drug legalization.

the health dept. could withhold certification for a new restaurant if the owners donated to the opposing political party.

Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | October 07, 2010 at 12:49 PM

So, business as usual in Noo Joisey, then?

I'm of two minds on this. One the one hand, it's typical of the Ortho rabbinate to impose their standards on others who have different standards.

However, they are entitled to limit advertising where and when they choose and they are also entitled to impose any standard they see fit on the business that subscribe to their services.

The problem is, if the business owners don't have a detailed contract with the Vaad, they can't do a thing. If it allows them latitude in their advertising, they can take them to court for breach of contract and restraint of trade.

Similarly, the non-Ortho community can respond by mobilizing and boycotting Vaad businesses , as well as increasing the ad rate in the newspaper to compensate for lost ads.

There's enough of a free market on that level to offer many choices other then just whining.

Anal sodomy? For a really big surprise, google The First Scandal Adam and Eve. Then click once or twice to get the surprise, which will be...too much work?

"Really? Because the gemarah says that sex wtih one's wife through the backdoor is ok."

Not the gemarah, it's Gemorrah, as in Sodom and Gemorrah.

I read a Karaite Jewish website.
They consider homosexual behaviour to be a toeivah. Furthermore they quote Ibn Ezra (with whom they agree) as stating that anal sex is a toeivah. Ibn Ezra didn't say "it's o.k. to have anal sex with your wife", he condemned it for anyone.

However I would have allowed the announcements to appear in the obituary section since this unholy union was punishable by death.

Posted by Harold (in case that wasn't obvious)

I'm pretty sure it's just the anal sex part that's forbidden and as far as I could tell it wasn't advertizing what the couple was planning for their wedding night.

Besides, what about the penalty for violating Shabbos? There are plenty of ads for non-kosher places and non-shomer shabbos businesses... of course nothing has the power to unite like hatred of the gays.

It's only been 6 week since Ki Titzai was Parshat Ha'Shavua -- and maybe you were shmoozing during Chamishi -- but check out the first 4 psukim of Devarim 24 and you'll find that magic תּוֹעֵבָה word again.

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/t/t0524.htm

Please someone explaint to me how this is "immoral" and "evil" as chas-ve'shalom anal sex?

"Ummm, because they can't have sex with women in prison? You really do need to learn some thinking skills."

If there really were a such thing as "gay" sexual orientation which exists in about 3% of the population, the amount of sodomy that occurs in prisons would be about the same as in the general society. Yet, it's not, according to common knowledge. This proves that homosexual behavior is not caused by "gay" sexual-orientation.

++This proves that homosexual behavior is not caused by "gay" sexual-orientation++

Wrong. It proves that some guys will f*ck just about anything if women aren't around.

Woolsilk, wouldn't they just masturbate in that case? Why do they have to rape a fellow inmate? It does seem rather odd that that is such a past-time for criminals. Well, that and converting to Islam.

The frumma velt's fascination with tuches schtupping is quite amazing.

nothing has the power to unite like hatred of the gays

What I don't quite understand is the need to advertise ones marriage or “union”, whether straight or gay. Do it the normal way. Buy wedding invitations, mail it to the people who would like to share in your simcha and that you would like to share your simcha with and that’s it!

This new world of Facebook, twitter etc is polluting people to think that everything they do is deserving for the world to know about it. It's this “in your face” issue that is disturbing.

It's kinda like posting your daughter's achievements, no?

But, I agree that onlysimchas.com should be assur.

Well said IH!

Harold still doesn't answer re: shabbos violators.

No one is forced to read any announcements, gay or straight. The normal way is to put it in a local paper that your friends and neighbors read. Anybody who doesn't know you can ignore your blurb.
Only the frumma velt wants to control who puts what in a publicly distributed newspaper.

You can delete facebook 'friends' who fill your page with drek.

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