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January 25, 2012

Gay, Orthodox, And Fed Up With Frum Homophobia And The "Torah Declaration"

Chaim Levin closeup"It confuses me that this Torah Declaration contains flawed arguments that would pass muster in the beis medrash. Saying that Hashem would never make a gay person unable to change is simplistic, inconsistent and flat-out wrong. If someone gets into an accident we would never say that we know he can be “cured” simply because his affliction is not genetic and he wasn’t born this way. We would never tell a deaf person (born deaf or not) that his nisayon is to find a way to hear again, so that he can be mekayem the mitzvah of shofar? Yet the Torah Declaration uses all of these arguments to make gay people feel that their nisayon in life is to change their sexuality, simply because it may not be genetic and Hashem would never make it unchangeable. This is the worst kind of rationalized homophobia."

 

Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community
Chaim Levin • The Jewish Press

It’s been more than six months since The Jewish Press published an op-ed titled “Orthodox Homosexuals and the Pursuit of Self Indulgence.” In the article, the writer, while not mentioning my name, calls me shameless and self-indulgent and suggests that I learn to suffer in silence. He was referring to an anti-suicide video I made for the “It Gets Better” project. In the YouTube video I talk about the endless bullying in my childhood, the trauma of reparative therapy and my suicide attempt as a result of a frum community that seemed to not want me to exist simply because I was gay.

My message was that, with time, with understanding friends and with self-acceptance, it gets better. I hoped to tell other kids who may be on the brink of suicide to stick it out, because life gets better; even for gay Jews growing up in the Orthodox community. This video never talks about private behavior, never mentions any assur activity, and certainly does not divulge anything about what I do behind closed doors. However, simply because I talk about how I was bullied for being gay, the author tried to make me feel horrible for simply sending a message of hope. He succeeded in embarrassing me and making me feel unwanted by this community.

I wish I could say that this is the exception. But the truth is that despite the fact that I would never talk publicly about private personal behavior or engaging in sin, the frum world seems to see me as part of a “gay agenda” simply because I won’t stay quiet.

My name is Chaim Levin. I grew up in a heimishe family in Crown Heights. I love my mother, my father and my family. I had always felt different and was the subject of relentless bullying by other boys for “seeming” gay. When I was 17 I confided to a friend that I was attracted to men and not sexually attracted to women at all. When it came out, I was thrown out of yeshiva. For the longest time I felt so alone because I truly believed that I was the only person battling this secret war. My older siblings were getting married and having kids, and all I ever wanted was to be a part of the beautiful world my parents had raised me in. My dream was to marry a woman and live the life my family hoped and dreamed for me. I would never have chosen to be gay; I could not imagine anyone growing up in the Orthodox world who would choose to be someone who doesn’t fit into the values and norms of everyone around them.

So do I think that I was “born gay”? I don’t know and I am not sure how important that is. What is important is that it certainly is not something that I chose or had anything to do with. And I felt immense pressure to somehow change who I was.

After much time and research I found a well-known organization that “specialized” in reparative therapy. This organization had endorsements from a wide range of rabbanim and I was sure that it was the answer to all my problems. The organization’s executive director told me that he believes everyone can change if they simply put in the hard work. I would have done anything to change, and this message was just the hope I was looking for. I spent two years attending every group meeting, weekend, and individual life coaching sessions they offered. My parents and I paid thousands of dollars. Every day, every session, I was working and waiting to feel a shift in my desires or experience authentic change. That moment never came. I didn’t change, I never developed any sexual desire for women, and never stopped being attracted to men. Instead, I only felt more and more helpless because I wasn’t changing. The organization and its staff taught us that change only comes to those who truly want it and are willing to put in the work. So if I wasn’t changing, I was seen as someone who either really didn’t sincerely want it, or would not put in the necessary work. In other words, there was no one to blame but myself.

The worst part of my experience in reparative therapy came at the end. In a locked office, alone with my unlicensed “life coach,” I was told to undress, stand in front of the counselor and do things too graphic to describe in this article. I was extremely uncomfortable, but he said that I must do this for the sake of changing and that if I didn’t remove my clothing I wouldn’t be doing the work it takes to achieve change. I would do anything to change, and so I did what he asked me to do. It was probably the most traumatizing experience of my life.

I tried to tell people what happened, but the organization said it wasn’t true and refused to fire the life coach. But I have spoken to other men whom underwent the same experience. And I can only imagine how many other young men who this has happened to who have not yet come forward. One of the most frustrating aspects was that because this coach is not licensed by any professional board, he is unaccountable to any licensing committee. Since I was over eighteen and agreed to this kind of therapy, I am told that I have no legal recourse. But I do have my voice! Yet, even after coming forward with what happened, nothing has changed. I often hear that this therapy has helped people, that it is wonderful, but I wonder, how helpful can an organization be when it causes great suffering and pain to many who come to them for hope.

The recent Torah Declaration, signed by so many rabbis, only serves to perpetuate the notion that all homosexuals in the Orthodox community must change in reparative therapy. Unlike the helpful recent RCA statement on welcoming homosexuals or the “Statement of Principles” written and signed by over 200 responsible rabbis, the Torah Declaration does not demand that therapists must be board licensed. Unlike these other statements, it does not allow those for whom this kind of therapy is harmful or not working to seek other options. It kills me that this Torah Declaration will be used by parents to force their children into therapies that may be harmful to them. It frightens me that this Torah Declaration says that “change is mandated by the Torah,” when I know personally that change therapy has not worked and was so harmful for me. It hurts me to know that I am now being blamed by these rabbis and therapists for this failed therapy.

It confuses me that this Torah Declaration contains flawed arguments that would pass muster in the beis medrash. Saying that Hashem would never make a gay person unable to change is simplistic, inconsistent and flat-out wrong. If someone gets into an accident we would never say that we know he can be “cured” simply because his affliction is not genetic and he wasn’t born this way. We would never tell a deaf person (born deaf or not) that his nisayon is to find a way to hear again, so that he can be mekayem the mitzvah of shofar? Yet the Torah Declaration uses all of these arguments to make gay people feel that their nisayon in life is to change their sexuality, simply because it may not be genetic and Hashem would never make it unchangeable. This is the worst kind of rationalized homophobia.

I know first hand how this kind of societal bullying can lead to self-harm and suicide. I know of too many young men who have been pressured to stay in these kinds of therapies only to be tormented to point of taking their own lives. No one can bring these boys back. However, there are many Orthodox rabbis, frum therapists and organizations that remind us we are loved and that we belong. In the darkness of my days, a grass roots support community organization called JQY saved my life. JQY (www.JQYouth.org) is a group of over five hundred young Jews who grew up in the frum community. Their goal is to combat shame, bullying and ostracizing, while making families, yeshivas and communities safe and welcoming to their gay members. They do not advocate for any change in halacha, but rather assert that one can believe that certain behaviors are halachically prohibited and still be a happy, healthy and fulfilled person.

In JQY the right path for an individual is unique for each person. There are some members of JQY who are trying to change their orientation and many like me, who have tried for years and have discovered that it is not possible for them. We are all just trying to be the best that we can be. We learn from each other and are there for each other because we know how hard it is to be gay in a frum family. JQY is my logical family. We have support meetings, crisis resources, Yom Tov get-togethers and Shabbos meals where we know it is safe to be ourselves.

I now have a sense of pride about who I am. However, I understand the concept of “pride” as combating the years of self-shame and instead promoting a sense of personal self worth. Pride is not a celebration of any personal behavior or desire. Nowhere in my story do I ever mention prohibited behaviors. I know that “being gay” does not express anything about personal intimate behavior; it merely expresses an orientation. I do not support or encourage any sexual or intimate behavior. I adhere to the concept of tzniut (modesty), which demands that intimate behavior stays private and discrete, and has no place in the public forum. In fact I do not know any gay person from a frum background who doesn’t believe the same way.

This is not an appeal to change halacha or anyone’s political views. This is not a push for gay marriage or any legitimizing of gay marriage within Orthodoxy. I am simply asking my community not to judge. Remember the compassion we show to the agunah, who may also desire something that is halachically prohibited through no fault of her own. Similarly, why pressure someone to participate in a program or therapy that they may have already tried or which causes harm. Just because someone is honest about being gay, does not mean that he engages in any sin or chillul Hashem. No one should feel silenced or asked to lie about who they are. Abuse and cruelty should never be tolerated or ignored. We should assume the best about people’s actions and intentions and ask Hashem for guidance in situations where we do not have easy answers. A little humility goes a long way. Sometimes the kindest and most thoughtful response when it comes to very difficult situations is, “I don’t know, but I’m here for you because you are part of my family and community.”

This is why I have so much hakaras hatov (gratitude) to The Jewish Press for allowing me to tell my story, so that the frum community can hear what really happens to its gay sons, brothers, and family members.

May we be zoche to live in a world free of suffering.

Comments

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These gays are just being emo now. The technology just isn't there to make all of them straight yet.

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Obvious Centrist is obvious[ly a troll].

from the heart thanks my dear friend chaim

Gay marriage failed in every U.S. state that it was put to a popular vote. Being against gay marriage is indeed the centrist position.

Anyways, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBBb4jzGPE4 XD

"So do I think that I was “born gay”? I don’t know and I am not sure how important that is."

Exactly this! All the right-wing-bags who keep harping on this are just building straw-man arguments. The fact is that Chaim prefers the dudes and that's just the way he is. How that came to be is nor relevant at all.

Now that we accept the facts of 'now' we can move on to explain why Chaim should be welcomed by all Jews and all that entails.

A. Nuran, just out of curiosity, did I see you comment at FARK.com?

[PHOTO DELETED BY SITEOWNER]

Actually this is how I imagine myself standing up when I demolish a liberal argument. XD

Shame on the Jewish Press. Now will know more reasons why not to buy it.

++We would never tell a deaf person (born deaf or not) that his nisayon is to find a way to hear again, so that he can be mekayem the mitzvah of shofar? Yet the Torah Declaration uses all of these++

Am haaretz'es.
Cheresh Shoite Vekotan is free of doing mitzvohs.So no need in doing anything.
But a man who has an urge and attraction to another man must do anything to control the urge so not to act on it which the Torah prohibit.
I'm not talking about this organization becuase i have no clue about it

I'm not here to judge anyone but lets be clear:the Torah prohibits a man having sex with another man there is no ifs and buts.
Some guys feel they must do it with a married woman.Some need it with a whore.All is not allowed becuase they are sins and anyone doing all those things are manivolim(degenerate).The yetzer hora is big,no need to inform the world about the sins.And dont ask us to say that its ok to do.

You were born gay. You mentioned older brothers. Statistically, the more older brothers a boy has, the more likely he is to be gay. They don't really know why, but that is the way it is.
The tone of your article comes across as very humble. You don't need to be so humble (everyone needs to be a little humble). If I was your mother, I would be proud of you for your courage in speaking up and for helping others who have been deeply wronged by the frum community. Considering the pedophile problem in that community, they should STFU.

That was a dumb comment. Someone who is gay is not manuvel, more likely you are for your benighted attitude. So when was the last time you stood up and spoke out about all the sexual perverts and abusers and sinners in the frum world. When you do that, then perhaps you might earn a right to talk about other things. A first step might be to educate yourself about the whole issue of gay.

Chaim, perhaps you just haven't met the right gal? I know some Southern types who could, umm, straighten you right up. BTW, the pic (above) makes you look both gay and cross-eyed. A good Optometrist may be able to assist with the latter defect.

mr chaim. unfortunetly being gay is not excepted and never will be in the frum community so just join another community or "hide" your sexual orientation like many others have done for hundreds if not thousands of years in the frum community but you will not get any pity from any frum people so dont even try

This is a really sad story for all sorts of reason. The guy is in a tough spot. I don't have anything more to say than that.

In JQY the right path for an individual is unique for each person. There are some members of JQY who are trying to change their orientation and many like me, who have tried for years and have discovered that it is not possible for them. We are all just trying to be the best that we can be. We learn from each other and are there for each other because we know how hard it is to be gay in a frum family. JQY is my logical family. We have support meetings, crisis resources, Yom Tov get-togethers and Shabbos meals where we know it is safe to be ourselves.

JQY, a most worthy organization. It is important for anyone inflicted with an illness or misfortune to be able to go somewhere where they can have some respite and a chance to get some chizuk to help them through the tough times.

I wish them all a refuah.

I love the way Chaim - and the JP - refused to print the word "queer."

@ centrist

You feel like a Muslim?

Centrist-
How do you code a photo into a comment?

Chaim,
I heart you and bless you with strength.
Not easy when people play g-d.


A lot of people are not judging you and respect you.
Please know that.
If my son were gay, I would always be proud because I love him. I would love and accept him because WHY NOT???
A Jew is a Jew is a Jew

Centrist-
How do you code a photo into a comment?

Posted by: abcdef | January 25, 2012 at 04:46 PM

You don't, because if you do I notice it, I'll delete it.

Chaim,
Not to make you feel better, but all the gay people I know in monsey are married. Happy, they tell me.
LoL
Brainwashed, I say. Be very proud of who u are.

Posted by: A. Nuran | January 25, 2012 at 03:10 PM

Heh!

Actually this is how I imagine myself standing up when I demolish a liberal argument. XD

Posted by: centrist | January 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM

Good for you! When you successfully demolish one, let us know!

Chaim, I wish you happiness for the rest of your life, forget about the backward orthodox community, they will never change; they were born into a hateful society.

You don't, because if you do I notice it, I'll delete it.

Posted by: Shmarya | January 25, 2012 at 04:53 PM

Funny, I still see the two posts with images, I guess you did not notice them yet.

No, asswipe, I noticed them.

I just haven't had time to delete them yet.

Perhaps I should make time now, though, and delete your comments while I'm at it.

As I'm diabetic, I keep a current Merck Manual around. It's a handbook on medical conditions and procedures written by doctors and scientists.

In the midst of all this, I looked in the index. It had an entry on homosexuality. The entry informs the reader, on behalf of doctors and scientists, that this is NOT a medical condition or problem, and that what the person needs is love and support, and not to be made to change.

Since when does halacha disregard the best medical knowledge? Since when are we to beat up our children and their friends because G-d wants us to -- as if you can find this in the Torah of anyone except the misled?

And why does the Torah Declaration refuse to accept -- why do the frum, like sheep, buy this and refuse to accept -- that facts are facts, and continue to invent a completely BS set of facts?

The facts, well-established, are that reparative therapy has some perceived degree of "success" less than 20 percent of the time. The facts are that no reputable doctor or psychologist considers this to be an illness or other "condition" in need of treatment.

Halacha once prided itself on following the world around it. The Rambam did not write in a vacuum. But the modern frum believe that outside knowledge that would make sense for anyone to learn, whether on this or anything else, will destroy orthodox Judaism. Medical knowledge didn't destroy the beliefs of any of the doctors and other medical professionals in my family, here or back in the old country, and it didn't destroy the Rambam's. What is the problem!

Jeff, you ain't that smart. here is a youtube video of you getting your butt kicked by a lying chabadnic.

And here is a link to me kicking your butt personally. This is where I un-retard you. If being jewish is based on belief, then, you, me, Shmarya, and Atheist Rabbi, ARE ALL NOT JEWISH. If being jewish is based on ethnicity, then we are all jewish.

Now that I made you logical, live long and prosper mother fucker.

Chaim, I am very proud of you.

Incidentally, if what Chaim says is true, and I do not doubt that it is, his so-called therapist requested that he perform certain acts that are not only non-halachically permissible, but are also not permissible for legitimate therapists to request that patients do.

This is just as much abuse as what we hear of from some of our supposedly sanctified rebbes and rosh yeshivas.

Just another way to mess up frum Jewish kids. Ridiculous. Anyone here who approves of such actions to "cure" an LGBT Jew apparently must also think it's fine for so-called tzaddikim to do it with kids as long as it's not on the scrolls. They're both abuse.

The frumma are consumed with hate for everyone and everything.

If you are gay, you are wasting your time being among frumma. You will not change the frumma or anything about them.

To Chaim Levin, I wish you all the best. Stop wasting your time living amongst people who are devoted to hating you. There is nothing you can say or do to make them stop hating you. Forget about Torah Declarations and other such bullshit. Free yourself from the abomination known as frum Judaism.

Being gay and staying in a community like that is like staying with an abusive husband who finds fault with an integral and unchangeable part of yourself. Marrying a woman if you are gay is cruel and misogynistic.

Please, please, please realize that your community will be very slow to accept you, If you can live with it, then so be it, but if you absolutely need acceptance for a healthy psyche, that community is not for you. It's a big world out there.

Chaim, congratulations on having the guts to come out. You have my respect and you will get no name-calling from me.

In short, here's how I see it.

The Torah doesn't say, "No love between men." It merely says, no intercourse between men. (Now, hold on. Don't jump to conclusions. I know what you're thinking. Read on.)

As a matter of fact, for those of you frum like me who (unlike me) have a hard time reconciling the phenomenon of same-sex attraction and the Torah, let me turn your thinking on its head.

Get this: The Torah itself recognizes gayness among men. Yes, you read that right.

Consider: Does the Torah say, "No flying allowed?" Sorry, Jews, no jumping off your roof and flying off to work flapping your arms--the Torah says no.

Does it? No. For one simple reason--flying is not something human beings are capable of. It's not part of our experience. It's not within our range.

However, same-sex attraction is. How do we know? Because the Torah mentions it.

So the question now is, what are we to make of the Torah's statement banning intercourse between men?

It would be easy for me to say, "Oh, just don't do it." I'm not gay. I don't know what it's like to be Chaim Levin.

But still, the Torah does say exactly that. Does that mean a gay person can be the captain of his ship, overcome his same-sex attraction and live a straight life?

I would guess so.

But with respect to Chaim, easier said than done.

Best wishes to you in your journey.

Oh, and Chaim--e-mail me any time you want to just talk. No lectures, guaranteed. Totaltext@gmail.com.

Posted by: Deremes | January 25, 2012 at 03:47 PM

if you read his article carefully he was only talking about orientation not sexual acts

the Torah does not prohibit orientation it prohibits an act

The orthodox jewish society is like a pretty girl who plays hard to get so its impossible to join with her. So, what do you do when you get a girl who is like that? You walk away. Lots of other girls out there. After any number of years the girl realizes she has noone and the excitement of her wanes and her prettiness may even decline a little bit if she gets old enough. Only then, she becomes more level headed and not so uptight over who she is accepting of; but, by that point, it is too late. The men have moved on.

Chaim, I think you're great. I wish you every happiness in life. From what you mentioned of the organization that you attend, I can find nothing the matter with it. It is awful you were put in an abusive situation with the other organization and you are right in speaking out.

Good for you, Chaim! You're a brave guy! Thanks for speaking up!

I understand that it's like having been born with a passion for murder or stealing. Everyone aggrees that these things are evil, and while the person has to learn to deal with them, he is not respected for these passions. If he follows up on these passions he is a wicked person. The Torah does recognize that people are born with certain passions but teaches us how to deal with them and not to carry them out. Just one example is the Gemara says that if a person is born with a passion to see blood (or to murder), use it for mitzvos. Like Dovid Hamelech was born with a passion for blood, he waged war for Hashem to kill the enemies. But if a person has a passion for an evil act, that cannot be used for a mitzva, has to learn to recognize it and restrain it. You cannot justify this act for which a person is to be stoned by Beis Din according to the Torah, just like you can't justify murdering innocent people, because a person was born with it.

Chaim,

You are brave to share your story. Chazak v'Ematz! I wish you all the happiness you deserve and hope that you find it.

I understand that it's like having been born with a passion for murder or stealing.…Posted by: TorahJew | January 25, 2012 at 06:19 PM

That makes sense to you because you view homosexuality as sin and you view all forms of sin as the equivalent of crimes in secular law.

Conversely, you view crimes not mentioned in the Torah or rabbinic writings as non-crimes and judge their permissibility based on whether or not they fall under dina d'malkhuta dina or not.

Therefore murder, homosexual sex, masturbation, plucking out one hair on Shabbat or eating a cheeseburger are all "crimes" while committing certain biblically mandated genocides, owning or trafficking in slaves, mortgage flipping, and tax evasion are not.

Put another way same sex sexual attraction is only bad because Judaism says it is.

In other words, it's a bein adom l'makom, not a bein adom l'haveiro, and your logic does not apply.

Like Dovid Hamelech was born with a passion for blood, he waged war for Hashem to kill the enemies. But if a person has a passion for an evil act, that cannot be used for a mitzva, has to learn to recognize it and restrain it. You cannot justify this act for which a person is to be stoned by Beis Din according to the Torah, just like you can't justify murdering innocent people, because a person was born with it.

Posted by: TorahJew | January 25, 2012 at 06:19 PM

Dovid Hamelech said so, however there is no proof that god told him anything except his own words and you fall for it.

another word holy war is ok as long as your god said so, no different than the Muslim terrorist they also kill for god

The only flaw that I found in this gentleman's article was his desire to share the "beautiful world" that his parents had raised him in. Come on now! "Beautiful world????" "Crown Heights???????" They just don't go together!

Chaim,

Get married, have kids, and you'll have a nice life. That's what the Torah says to do. And you know the Torah is emes.

I agree it would be good if there were a cure for your problem, but unfortunately there is no cure. But the good news is that whether you are attracted to men or women doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. G-d doesn't care and after 120 years nobody will care either. So just get married and get on with your life.

Those of you who are actually interested in being educated in the Torah and how it relates to gay people should read this book. If you are just commenting without knowledge about Torah, then keep your comments to yourselves.

Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View

You can find this book on www.amazon.com

I am gay and Jewish.

There is no contradiction.

Rov Dov Lesser, zts"l, a talmid of R. Aaron Kotler,zts"l and one of the greatest minds in Lakewood up until he was nifter several years ago, told me that the Torah doesn't condemn homosexuality or even many homosexual acts except for sodomy which can be done between two men and a man and a woman.

This was a revelation to me. He told me ( late 80's) that the frum community has been taken over by right-wing fanatics ( he called them the Jewish Taliban) who, besides being accomplished ignoramuses when it comes to Torah, have made hashem in their own image.

They are, effectively, baalei avodah zorah.

So why should they embrace hashem's creation in its totality including those of us who are different than them?

Gay men and women have been here before the Torah was unleashed on the world and we will continue to be here long after all groups that reject hashem ( ie. religions) are footnotes in history.

Betzalel, are you really as out of touch with reality as that? What good is marrying a woman going to do for him - or for her? Things don't work like that. Period.

Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View

You can find this book on www.amazon.com

Posted by: Esther | January 25, 2012 at 08:28 PM
---------------------

I will be happy to read it if you send me a copy. hint hint.

Chaim:
The intolerant ultra-orthodox community will not be happy until they have the entire Jewish world marching in lock-step to their twisted world view. You will not change them, you must live your life and find happiness. Fuck the haters, they will stand one day before Hashem who, if there is justice, condemn them.

Find someone to love, who will love you back. I live by one simple rule, and I don't give two shits about what others may think especially the black hatted/hearted cultists who threaten Judaism:

Simply this: What happens in my bedroom is my business. What happens in your bedroom is your business. In other words : How I achieve my orgasm is of utmost importance to me. How others achieve their orgasm is of no consequence.

Be well.

This entire subject devolved into left vs right, with strawman arguments abound and the politicization of the personal. The leftists are absolutely sure that it's always genetic for everyone, all the time, and that there's no prior emotional damage in any case, ever. For you to suggest otherwise means you're a homophobe.

This construct is identical to Islamophobia. It's militant.

Then there's that whole spiritual warfare thing that goes on with gay supremacists and the left's hysterical mocking of such an agenda.

Haredim, being what they are, seek any excuse to subjugate or oppress the weak and the other, so they look at the Torah's prohibition of the behavior as a license to treat them as subhuman.

I thought it was well written, good for you Chaim Levin! Bravo to you for being brave enough to speak about this.

The frumma are consumed with hate for everyone and everything.

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton | January 25, 2012 at 05:29 PM
---------------------------------------
THAT's NOT TrUE! and I hate anyone who says that! oh.....OOPS!

Now, seriously:

1. How do you know this to be true?

2. And if a frum guy is a hater, and then becomes a non-frum guy, will he still continue to be a hater? under what conditions will he continue in the hat anyway, and which conditions will it dissipate?

3. Please note that a similar concept, "The Jew against the world" is a classic archetype, *and* stereotype. I wonder how it relates.

Chaim Levin, Be yourself, stay strong. Don't sleep with men, that's the actual sin, not the orientation.

Uh, gay supremacists?

Faggot!

Go stick ur salami up a guys ass you lowlife! How can u not like hot chicks! What a douchebag! Fags are screwed up in the head!

Crown Heights Resident says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

January 26, 2012 at 3:30 PM
as i leave on the same block as chaim levin
let me start by the Facts Chaim Levin in no way can be called
Orthodox Jew (and that is his choince)he is working in Apple Store
in manhatten on SHABBES that is why i am so surprise at the Jewish Press
for publishing his Mental illnes in public.
and this is not a secret where is he comming from and where is he going to
real shame that unstable people bacome outspoken and preachers.
people who follow some of this crazy person how he bashed his perents and made up stories about his own father know real well who is the Face behind the story.

shame on all the people who give him corage to continue this path of destruction.

and a question to you Mr Gay Chaim

Orthodoxy is not for you in the form of crown heights .
what are you doing in crown heights now find a place closer to work so you can do one less chilul chabbes and walk to work instead of driving to work.

May the One who blessed our ancestors –

Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah –

bless and heal the one who is ill:

Chaim
son of
Bella

May the Holy Blessed One

will send him, speedily,

a complete healing –

healing of the soul and healing of the body –

along with all the ill,

among the people of Israel and all humankind,

soon,

speedily,

without delay,

and let us all say: Amen!

Wouldn't the world be a much better place if everyone just minded their own business? If someone is happy and her/his happiness doesn't infringe on your personal property or space in any (real) way, just live and let live.

Chaim, Don't worry what other people think. Your happiness is the most important thing. History is full of people who hated others because they were of different nationalities, orientations and/or colors. These societies don't last long, eventually they always come around. Look around today, the most successful, productive and happy societies are also the most tolerant.

Without hurting others, do what's best for you and what makes you happy. There ARE Jews who support you.

Gay Orthodox is like Kosher-Ham, How about Im a Orthodox-Mechalel Shabbos, or Im Frum but I married my sister!!!!!

Stop giving those sick people attention!!!!!

Jeff, you ain't that smart. here is a youtube video of you getting your butt kicked by a lying chabadnic.

And here is a link to me kicking your butt personally. This is where I un-retard you. If being jewish is based on belief, then, you, me, Shmarya, and Atheist Rabbi, ARE ALL NOT JEWISH. If being jewish is based on ethnicity, then we are all jewish.

Now that I made you logical, live long and prosper mother fucker.

Posted by: centrist | January 25, 2012 at 05:23 PM

Okay, let's get this sorted out.

A) I didn't get my "butt kicked". He did what you do; he skirted the issue and responded to things that hadn't been said, because he had "arguments" that he thought were rational.

B) He was, unfortunately, mentally ill and took his life soon after. I've been fighting on and off with YouTube since then to have the video taken down, as it's a violation of my privacy. I'm sorry that I even bothered with him in the comments section. He clearly wasn't capable of holding his own; you merely think he was because he said the sort of thing you'd say.

C) The link you provided is to Jeff Falick's blog. Apparently, you're SJ - which doesn't surprise me, frankly. In fact, now that I think of it, that would make sense, as you used to comment on DK's blog around the time I had that exchange with the Chabad guy.

D) You still don't get it. What you should get is help, which you need desperately.

Happy

Thank you for the display of the current state of Orthodox Jewish education. BTW, since you have graduated, there are two new inventions with which you should familiarize yourself. They are called "grammar" and "punctuation". Also, congratulations on achieving your degree so that you can diagnose mental illness. I have an idea of where your interest in this subject might have originated.

Additional note: Last time I checked, Crown Heights was in the state of New York, fully incorporated under its laws, and under the jurisdiction of U.S. federal law as well. I believe that entitles anyone to live there under full protection of the laws of both, without regard to race, creed, religion, political beliefs or orientation.

Note to Mendy Hecht: Thank you for your sobriety and for doing your job (as I presume you are a shliach). It is a refreshing change from what we are accustomed to seeing out of shliach land.

If i'm attracted to my married next door neighbors wife, that means that I have a problem, and have to deal with it.
I won't start a support group for being attracted to all women, nor will I go public with my needs...You either live a torah life, or you don't. The torah tells us that some things are forbidden, whether it comes easy for me or not. I feel your pain, but do you feel the pain for all those that covet their neighbors wife? They also say they were born that way with a unnatural sex drive. Should they start a orthodox swingers support group??
Your problem is real, and has to be dealt with, but you seem to be familiar with halacha. You have to choose either you want to live your life halachikly, or not.
Forums or support groups can't dress it up in any way...

Look, I'm not going to lie, as a man who loves the vaginya and its many mysterious forms and mystical prowess, I can hardly relate to a dude who finds another dude attractive. And if the Lord Almighty wanted a man to be entered from the poop chute, wouldn't he make it a self-lubricating canal?


Remember people who speak with venom in their heart have no place in the world to come.

It doesn't matter if you can relate or understand any of this.

If any people should know about what it means to be singled out it is we Jews.

Yet we are just like everyone else.

Ignorant, filled with the joy of gossip, loving sounding like experts and not having the guts to leave all of this alone. It is none of our busnesss.

Why worry over a world that is not yours? Besides those of you that hate gays sound just like Nazi's to me.

Note--why are we in exile?
Answer-Sinas Chinam
Checklist- Hatred is Sinat chinam. Free wheeling ignorant hatred.
Conclusion-Those of you that hate gays and wish them violence or think they must change are keeping Moshiach from coming.

ALL FAGOTTS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO COMMIT SUICIDE!!!!!!!!!!

There's no room in society for those vermon!!!!!

TrenZack:

Please go away, you are an idiot.

I have an idea, let's make a list of people among klal Yisrael to deal with:

Pedophiles
Rapists
Fraudsters
Spouse Abusers
You know…

…looking at the items already on it, I don't think we have time to bother with the consenting adults who act in private. It might be cruel to neglect their immortal souls but think of the children! Let's deal with saving the widows and orphans and women and the weak first, then we can save grown men from themselves if we have any time left.

Imbeciles.

Kudos to the JewishPress.com, not only for publishing the article, but for letting all those comments go up too!

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

Kudos to the JewishPress.com, not only for publishing the article, but for letting all those comments go up too!

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

kol hakavod....respect!

I have an idea, let's make a list of people among klal Yisrael to deal with:

Pedophiles
Rapists
Fraudsters
Spouse Abusers
You know…

Posted by: BiF | January 26, 2012 at 09:55 AM

You seem to have sexual obsessions, particularly regarding homosexuality. You need help desperately. Please get it.

Isn't it curious that the topic of homosexuality gets some people to just lose it?

Incidentally, homosexuality does not necessarily involve actual sex anymore than being a heterosexual means that one is having sex.

For me it is more an orientation. I love a man and have lived with him for over 26 years now.

The intimacy is the main reason we are together. It is the only totally honest relationship I have had in my life. I am never afraid to tell him what is on my mind and neither is he. We support each other through thick and thin.

We have been physically intimate but the psychological and emotional intimacy is what makes this relationship so rewarding.

Does anyone seriously believe that a relationship solely built on sex will last?

May the One who blessed our ancestors –

Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah –

bless and heal the one who is ill:

Chaim
son of
Bella

May the Holy Blessed One

will send him, speedily,

a complete healing –

healing of the soul and healing of the body –

along with all the ill,

among the people of Israel and all humankind,

soon,

speedily,

without delay,

and let us all say: Amen!

The only thing that attracts me is my friends wife together with her dog. Should I talk about it in public? After all I have a right to stop all my endless suffering.

I really don’t know what the all fuss is about! It does not say in the Torah that you can’t be 'gay'!! The only sin is actual anal intercourse with another man. Surly curing a person of the need to perform this unhygienic act is curable!

Confused:

You miss my point. The people who are so concerned take license from the fact that these men are Jews. They appeal to the doctrine that says all of our fates are connected. So, let's get rid of the people that hurt others on a first-order basis before we concern ourselves with two consenting adults.

Let's eliminate the pedophile "rabbis" who prey on our children, and the rapist "rabbis" who force themselves on women by abusing their power, and the fraudster "rabbis" who steal money from those who are already in dire straits, and the men who beat their wives. Let's deal with the Jews among us that directly and clearly hurt others, and then, once that's cleared up, we can consider the case of men who do something to one another.

I suspect that by the time we've purged the violent criminals from our midst we might have a different perspective on what needs to be done next.

Posted by: SplogeNick

As I pointed out in my comment above, the issue, according to the Torah, according to R. Dov Lesser, zts'l, and many other poskim, is not homosexuality, as you stated, but the act of anal intercourse which can be performed by two men AND also be performed by a man and a woman.

I assume that you just forgot the second part of this definition when writing your comment.

The nonsense that homosexuality, per se, is prohibited is a myth that has caused untold suffering for many in our community. The morons who teach such ignorance are themselves motivated by hate and community pressure.

I find it interesting that many of those who are loud in teaching hate of gays and lesbians who, btw, are not mentioned in the Torah, are themselves guilty of abusing other men.

What hypocrisy.

But why should such hypocrisy surprise us when much of the leadership of the frum world is often caught with its pants down, so to speak.

Litvishm would that include a condom or not? did they have them back then?

What I don't get is even if the people are doing a 'sin' who does not sin against something in Torah? Be it Loshon Harah, or not doing this or that? Why is this obsession to demonize one set of people? I don't get it.

My understanding of this issue is if one is bi, they should in course of getting married hetero but if one is not bi but stricly gay they should not marry hetero.

The frumma community is missing opportunity to use these good people those married couples could adopt children in need of a safe loving environment, instead we act as if this people are the biggest criminals in the community which we know is clearly not the case.

Fuck all of you guys wasting your breath over this stupid subject, go shtup a rooster!

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God." [micha 6:8].


A book in the Tanach that most of my friends growing up in Crown Heights probably never read to understand. (The tradition is to nonsensically babble in an obscure and ancient tongue)....

If only they tried to think and understand...

The love that has had a rebirth with the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov has indeed been forgotten by today's Hasidim.

Yeah Chaim, if they only ever tried to understand....

What if we discover that someone became gay due to the trauma of being repeatedly molested by an older male cousin, would we then be able say that his being gay is because of the molestation, and going to a proper therapist may be able to make a distinction in his brain between males and sexual behavior? There is still hope Chaim.

What if we discover that someone became gay due to the trauma of being repeatedly molested by an older male cousin, would we then be able say that his being gay is because of the molestation, and going to a proper therapist may be able to make a distinction in his brain between males and sexual behavior? There is still hope Chaim.

Posted by: haim bin | January 27, 2012 at 07:22 AM

What if we discover that a certain configuration of nerve cells in the brain makes someone frum (actually, we're pretty close to that now), and that medication can be used to control this condition?

There is still hope for that, too.

Chaim, I hope you have a wonderful life!

"Chaim, I hope you have a wonderful life!"

Posts like this are more obscene than calling the guy a faggot and a queer!

Finish the sentence - I wish you a good life even though you're a ____________. How hypocritical! Does the same poster go around wishing heterosexuals with normal sex lives a wonderful life?

The guy is attracted to men, not running around the streets with Ebola sores oozing pus. His normal and your normal aren't the same. So?

My personal opinion, yours and the worlds should have zero to do with how this Chaim, gets up in the morning. As I've posted in the past and as was posted above, my desire to sleep with half the women in my neighborhood doesn't make me sick, it makes me human. Tiger Woods isn't a sexaholic suffering from some disease, he's a degenerate halfnigger who doesn't appreciate the good in life he has so he fucks anything with a pulse to fill whatever void daddy created way back when. It's not a disease, its a decision.

Decisions come with consequences. If my kid were friends with Chaim, it's my decision to welcome him in to my home or lock the door and fumigate the place. But at least I'll be honest enough and open enough to put myself out there. Wishing the guy a wonderful life is just disgustingly condescending.

V'ahavta l'reyacha k'mocha is how I would have to address Chaim in the real world - I don't agree with his choices, but I would accept them, as long as we understand that the aforementioned verse is not meant literally.

Have a wonderful life. Puhleeezze!

BiF:

I dont' think you are stupid so I have to believe you are trolling.

A gay orthodox man faces enormous obstacles to a "wonderful life". So yes, "even though you are gay" is understood, but it is not an insult. It is a matter of observation that people will discriminate, express hatred, and shun him. The wish for a wonderful life is in spite of this, not because he is gay but because others are idiots with ethical difficulties you say you don't share.

Turning the problem around on a person who recognizes the prejudice and mistreatment and expresses his hope that it doesn't drag Chaim down is just trolling, or, maybe you are a well meaning simpleton—but frankly you don't seem simple to me.

Cgi:

Pedophilia and homosexuality are two different things. Most pedophile men who molest boys are not gay and do not have an interest in adult males at all.

You should learn more before saying foolish things.

Chaim Levin - STANDING OVATION!!!!! Excellent article!!

I didn't read the other comments (yet) but I know a lot of trolls come here and bash like crazy every time this topic comes up. When there's an article on Frum convicted criminals in prison you don't hear a peep from these guys, but when it's about gay issues - they are their with all their hate.

But I'd rather focus on the sanity and kindness in this world - and Chaim - you nailed it perfectly!

And for anyone that still doesn't get it - NO FRUM PERSON WANTS TO BE GAY. They would change in an instant given the choice. There is no "agenda". Frum gay people just don't want to be hated and despised and ostracized by the Frum community. They just want to be able to deal with their issues like everyone else, without being told that their issues and struggles means that they can't be frum, or can't be part of the frum world. We don't say that to criminals returning from prison - why should we say it gay frum Jews?

Excellent article Chaim. Well done.

Without taking a stand on this issue.

I just want to point out to those who say to Chaim that if he can't or won't control his sexual desires, then he should leave the Toirah life altogether.

This way of thinking is absolutely against the halachah!

If someone is a Mimaar on several mitzvos, it doesn't mean that he's "free" not to perform and abide to the rest of the Toirah!

Since I'm no gay person, so I will never understand or feel what Chaim is going thru his life.
But I can understand how he feels that he's between a rock and a hard place.

The Toirah and his community being the rock,and him being gay the hard place.

One thing that I would- honestly without being judgmental -like to understand,

Why is it that while I was in yeshivah there was a turnaround of approximately 1500 students, and each and everyone went on to marry a women, and no one" came out" and declared that he's not able to marry a woman? If someone leads a double life is a different issue,
I just want to understand how those- statistically it suppose to be- who are gay in my community can lead - at least on the outside- a normal family life?
And Chaim can't ?

http://www.jonahweb.org/sections.php?secId=128 ...... this is what chaims rebbe, the lubavitcher rebbe has to say on this topic!

http://www.jonahweb.org/sections.php?secId=322 .... a letter from the rebbe to a man struggling with this illness!

You really can't believe, can you, that in a population of 1500 men, that every single one of them was straight? You really don't know why not one of them came out?

In FrumWorld, it's all about how it looks, not about how it is. So, there are many people living double lives - and not all of them out of desperation. Many do so because they want it both ways.

(It seems there is already a JK here who comments regularly. So, JK2 I am.)

:מרדכי סטמר

People who live in a virulently homophobic society, but value the milieu, are perfectly capable of deception. Coming out in the frum world is social suicide. It means you can never, ever have a "normal" life. It means losing friends and family.

It is no surprise that men marry, and even have children, while remaining gay. Even straight men enter loveless marriages, business arrangements, have children—and mistresses. This is not much different, if different at all.

Exactly this was my question!

How come people from where I come from CAN deal with it .by deception or not, no difference to my question,

And Chaim feels that HE CAN'T ?

(Please do NOT respond on Shabbos, I don't want any part - grama- of the avierah?

Mordechai:

I am shomer Shabbat.

Mordechai, you are so focused on olam habah you cannot see why someone is concerned with a joyous life. You have accepted a theology that focuses on "the corridor", but that is not the only possible way to understand the purpose of this life.

Some of us are concerned with the world we live in now. Chaim doesn't want to be sad, to live in darkness, to be hurt every day by the people that claim "ahavat Yisrael" is a guiding principle.

You, I know, would agree that every Jew commits aveirot. Even the "greatest" among us. And we have many traditions that make all mitzvot equal. So, if a Jew isn't even committing an aveirah, why should he have to hide who he is? It's because of frum society's hatred of gays. Yes, hatred. Even if Chaim were to "pass", the chance of being outed, and being ostracized is ever present. That is no way to live life. Even the man who takes mistresses is winked at by his fellows and only suffers if he makes his dalliances the subject of public talk.

So, for a person who does not accept your understanding of the purpose of this life, passing is no value, it is just torture. And, while I am sure you sincerely believe in the rôle of olam habah in Judaism, it is actually pretty new.

Hi Yaakov,

I admire your ability and patience to have conversations with Mordechai Satmar, and others like him. Although I wonder what the purpose is. Do you think he will ever understand what you are saying or where you are coming from, even while you extend that understanding to him? Do you think you are making a dent? I'm just curious.

Anyway, I was also interested in what you meant by the role of olam habah being pretty new in Judaism. It appears in Pirkei Avos, a Mishnah, that's pretty old.

Abracadabra:

I think you will see that if someone is a refractory ideologue, in particular if they are willing to dissemble in service to set of a priori outcomes, ignoring what they know to be valid arguments against their self-serving, invented world, that I will engage them only until they ignore my arguments and spew nonsense in response.

Mordechai is wrong, in my opinion, but, he does not lie about things. He may take the most favorable interpretation, but that's just being human. He also asks sincere questions, even if the potential "valid" answers are ultimately constrained by the immutable tenets of his ideology. Mordechai projects humanity. He treats people here like people, not foils for his beliefs. He isn't here to sharpen his rhetorical axe on the backs of others.

And this, the acknowledgement of humanity in others, is the key. Why do I spend time? Because I am not better than Mordechai. I am not infallible. I make my best effort to do what I think is right, and to think things through, but, I could be wrong. Mordechai, and everyone one else here, deserves the sort of treatment I would like for myself.

Some people defect from this compact of humanity and stand on others' backs to raise themselves up. Of course, I am within my rights of self defense to reject these people and ignore them. Sometimes, I will argue with them for the sake of those observing, usually just long enough to state the cogent objections to their arguments. Then I will ignore them because there is nothing more to be gained.

My interaction is mutual. The more that someone gives the more that I will give in return. Mordechai is an ideologue, this is clear, but, he is still a person and presents himself as one. He treats others as people. He doesn't suffer from the solipsism so many people who share his ideological outlook do. He maintains his humanity and so being no better than him, he maintains my attention as a fellow human being trying to work out the ultimate puzzle. I am sure I don't have to specify counterexamples as contrast, you can pick them out for yourself.

On the afterlife question…

This is rather controversial. I agree that Rabbinic Judaism has long included Olam haBah as a tenet of religious Judaism. But, compare the origins of Judaism (Let's say 1000 BCE, for round numbers) and the origins of the Mishnaic sources (around 400 BCE, again as a round number).

We can see from the diversity in the pre-Mishnaic traditions that not all Israelites had the same views. The final form, as we have it today, is medieval in origin.

Taking the meager evidence from the Mishna, and other sources which don't have the same strength as the Mishna, a version of the afterlife took shape. Recall, nowhere in the Chumash is it mentioned.

Even if I were to concede that Olam haBah has a rôle to play in our theology, it must be reconciled with gilgulim. This is not easy with the standardized form of techiat hameisim.

My bottom line is not to deny the theological value of the afterlife but to question the centrality it took on later. I find it has been used as a life-denying hammer, and a soporific for aspirations of the Jewish people. This conveniently served the power structure of Jewish society by keeping the people low.

There is more to say, but I have already written too much. Perhaps we can discuss this more later.

Yaakov,

Thank you for your long and thoughtful reply.

I respect your ability to differentiate between different commenters, and even moreso, your humility in your approach to them and to your thoughts.

I think I mentioned before, I very much enjoy reading your comments. You are clearly intellectually stronger and more educated than a lot of people who comment here. And your comments are not just intelligent, and show a depth of understanding but are thoughtful and sensitive as well. This is especially admirable on blogs where people (myself included) tend to hide behind the anonymity of a screenname and then feel free to speak in nasty ways that they wouldn’t dream of in “real life”.

Your insights into olam habah are interesting. For many years I wondered how G-d would reconcile the idea of Techiyas Hameisim with Gilgulim. I suppose I wasn’t the only one who saw this as a technical difficulty. The answer, when speaking of magical things we know nothing about in the first place, was always that there is surely another magical way of making that work, and we, in our finite understanding do not know how an Infinite G-d will conduct that which is in His realm which we cannot fathom in the first place.

Btw - some of us who were strictly yeshiva educated need to use a dictionary when reading some of your comments. Sometimes I find it inconvenient, but other times it is good to learn new words and stretch a little.

I have tried to read your blog, but must admit that it is a little too intellectual for me. Some of what you write I simply do not understand. But I do enjoy your insights when they are watered down and explained on the level of “the layman”.

You’re a unique person, and add a lot to this blog where most of the commenters (myself included) are angry and disillusioned, having been hurt in some way by frumkeit or by those who claim to be the sole practitioners and disseminators of it. Hurt and anger in their raw forms do not produce pretty results, and a lot of us let out our raw emotions and anger at the Frum establishment in this forum where we can retain our anonymity. Your voice of sanity and measured intellectual discourse about the subjects at hand adds some much needed fresh air and sanity to this place.

Speaking of butts, check out this funny parody. http://youtu.be/4KE4K6VQnvo

i would like to reiterate and and to what a prior poster stated. i do believe there are people that are born with an attraction to those of the same sex. How do i know this? the torah tells me this. by the torah stating that a man cannot "lie" with another man; as one would with a woman, that means there are those men with an attraction to another man. HOWEVER, even so he must NOT be with another man!

that said, for someone to engage in bullying or bad mouthing someone for this attraction is also against the torah. so be careful, ....never ridicule or make fun or someone the torah forbids it - as for the gay man, if you don't act on your natural tendencies, god has a great reward for you

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