Melanie Nathan -10-05-10;
A New Jersey based Jewish newspaper won’t publish wedding or engagement announcements from same-gender couples any longer after receiving complaints, according to a statement from the editor on the newspaper’s website.
The following are excerpts of the message posted by the Jewish Standard editor, Rebecca Kaplan Boroson: “We set off a firestorm last week by publishing a same-gender couple’s announcement of their intent to marry. Given the tenor of the times, we did not expect the volume of comments we have received, many of them against our decision to run the announcement, but many supportive as well.
A group of rabbis has reached out to us and conveyed the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community to this issue. Our subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused. The Jewish Standard has always striven to draw the community together, rather than drive its many segments apart. We have decided, therefore, since this is such a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future.”
Clearly your newspaper does not support all Jews, like me and my wife who were married in a Reform Congregation. My orthodox family came to the wedding and no one got hurt!
I Imagine your Newspaper fails to support Reform Judaism as you have clearly made a choice. That said recently a large group of Orthodox Rabbis and Jewish Educators came out in favor of full acceptance of gays and lesbians in their Orthodox congregations and by their families. What gives the view of a select group credence over a view of another select group.
It is an absolute outrage that you think pulling the ads/announcements solves the problem. The only way to solve the problem is not to publish any if you fear offending some! To speak to the “tone” is to denounce the current tone shows your lack of support for equality, because you have given in to one side.
This is an outrage and I truly hope you are sued. You owe the gay community a BIG apology. The firestorm has just began. What a bunch of cowards. Torah teaches us to stand up for what is right and you have failed miserably; even Israel has managed to adapt to the what is right. How can you begin to suggest this draws the community together?
Even if you are a religious publication – you have crossed the line, merely in your statement!”
UPDATED: Here are some comments from the NJ Paper itself - -
This editorial decision is insulting to those who were overjoyed by the celebration of a beautiful life-cycle event. A non-ideological newspaper should report, not place value decisions on events in the Jewish community. Moreover, the desire to please those who have experienced “pain and consternation” causes even greater pain for those who are gay and their friends and family. It hurts much more to know that we are not welcome in the Northern Jersey Jewish community by the standards of this paper.
How disappointing for this publication, one where I always felt at home reading about this accepting Jewish faith. You have lost a faithful reader in me and believer that Jews are some of the most compassionate people on Earth, especially because of our past plight. To say the least, I am extremely saddened, disapointed and disheartened by my own people and our religious and supposed moral leaders.
This is just plain disappointing. A paper that claims to represent the Jewish community bowing down to the pressure of one group, while spitting in the face of the other. This is not how to resolve conflicts and will only further suppress dialogue on this issue if we cant even read about it in our daily newspaper.
Hopefully these days will be behind us soon…..
you should be ashamed of yourselves, cow towing to a bunch of BIGOTS. I will indeed encourage people to take a pass on this publication, because Bigots suck and that is what this mag has reduced itself to-a bigoted disgusting Piece fo garbage.
How does it draw the community together to exclude the marriages of many members from public acknowledgment? I wholeheartedly agree with mmmmmm
If the paper doesn’t count gay and lesbian Jews as members, so be it. But don’t pretend hat this solution is uncontroversial, or does not cause pain. You’ve just chosen the prejudices and discomfort of one segment of the community over the simchas of another.posted 04 Oct 2010 at 05:34 PM
I am dismayed that a newspaper which seeks to be a voice for the ENTIRE Jewish community in Northern New Jersey, not just for “a group of rabbis within the traditional/Orthodox community,” would make such an unjust editorial decision. I was initially quite proud that The Jewish Standard was among the first Jewish newspapers in the country to publish a simcha announcement for a same-sex couple. Presenting an inclusive portrait of Jewish community in which we affirm the humanity and dignity of every Jew embodies the Jewish value of b’tzelem elohim, the notion that people are created in the divine image of God. What a shame that gay and lesbian Jews will open up the pages of The Jewish Standard and be told that there is no place for them here. How terribly painful to send a message to those who are leading meaningful Jewish lives that their love is not worthy of communal recognition. These messages are hurtful, mean-spirited, and very un-Jewish. I would hope that a Jewish paper would know that the Jewish community is, and always has been, strengthened by its diversity.=posted 04 Oct 2010 at 05:36 PM
Some “traditional/Orthodox” Jews experienced “pain and consternation” in reading a wedding announcement of a couple who just happened to be of the same sex? These people had no connection with the couple whatsoever and their marriage had no effect on them or their lives whatsoever. Given that absolute lack of any meaningful connection between these readers and the couple, it is disingenuous to claim they felt “pain” as seeing the wedding announcement. Rather, the proper word in this case is “hatred.” They did not like the idea of a gay couple’s celebration of their commitment and religious identity being equated to their own, and reacted with rage.
And now the Jewish Standard has decided that the hated-fueled rage of some “traditional/Orthodox” readers is more important that the REAL “pain and consternation” felt by gay and lesbian Jews, theri families, and friends at the Jewish Standard’s decision that their life-cycle events are not valuable or meaningful enough to report in the community newspaper.
This decision makes sense, in crass and venal sense: the “traditional/Orthodox” community is large and spends a lot of money that the Jewish Standard’s circulation and advertisers care about a great deal. It’s just sad that the rage of bigots and filthy lucre count for more than the lives and loves of other human beings.
This apology is disgusting and abhorrent. In light of the recently publicized suicides of gay youth, how dare a Jewish newspaper apologize for publishing a same-sex marriage announcement? Whoever decided that was ok can add that to their list of things to do teshuvah for next year. This kind of absurd public apology is shameful, embarrassing, and dangerous. You are basically telling every young gay person who might happen upon this apology that, oops, we shouldn’t have shown support for gay people, because it offends some ignorant, insensitive members of our community. I’m shocked and horrified by this. And P.S.—there are segments of the Orthodox community that are coming around on this issue, so let’s not assume all Orthodox people think it’s ok to implicitly gay-bash. It’s also very un-Jewish.
Hmm… you can publish treyf restaurant ads but not an announcement of two people joining their lives together? Sounds fishy to me.
From your own “About Us” page:
“The Jewish Standard is not affiliated with any program, organization, movement, or point of view, but is dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life. “
…except for the lives of homosexuals.
Your actions sicken me. Take your mission seriously or take your lofty statements of principles down, you filthy hypocrites.
Shame on your excuse for a newspaper. How can you bring a community together by refusing to print marriage announcements from people within the community? You can’t be a community newspaper if you refuse to carry notices from your own community. You caused pain and consternation for the Orthodox Jews? What about the pain you’re causing gay Jews and their friends and families? You want to be divisive? Congratulations, by caving into religious extremism you’ve managed to highlight divisions within the community and widen them. Did you notice that your two grooms are Orthodox Jews and were both leaders of Jewish student organizations? What about their Orthodox families? Do they not get considered into your worries about consternation and pain?
און פאַר די גאָר פרומע װאָס האָבן געסטראַשעט די צײטונג: שװײג אײערע פּיסקעלעך. אַרבעט אױף אײערע אײגענע פּראָבלעמען פאַר דעם װאָס איר מאַכט מער צרות פאַר דער רעשט פון אונדז. אױב איר װילט אַװעקטרײבן אַלע האָמאָסעקסואַליסטן פון אידישקײט, הײב אָן מיט אײערע אײגענע געמײנדע װײל איר װײסט גאַנץ גוט װיפל געפינען זיך צװישן עץ
What kind of newspaper are you? Have you no backbone? You are a newspaper, first and foremost. It is because of ridiculous “sensitivity” reactions like this that force young, bright children to jump off of bridges. What’s next, no more NY Times because they publish gay wedding announcements? No inter-racial wedding announcements because someone might get upset? Since when does one group of readers determine what all readers get to read? If it upsets the reader, DON’T READ IT.B. Whine posted 04 Oct 2010 at 06:51 PM
Thank you for making me feel like a valid and respected member of the Jewish community. Not.Bert posted 04 Oct 2010 at 06:54 PM
Are you serious? I guess you are. How disappointing. And stupid.
What a craven and ridiculous decision! How on earth can someone else’s simcha cause anyone pain and consternation? If it does, that person needs therapy, not to throw his or her weight around and bully a newspaper into bigotry.
As a reader of the Jewish Standard and as someone who is engaged to be married, I am outraged by your discriminatory and biased decision not to publish life-cycle announcements from same sex couples. SHAME ON YOU!
To all regular readers out there and anyone else reading this, you must let the newspaper hear your outrage too.
Absolutely despicable decision, and the most craven form of journalism. I assume the Standard will also stop running articles about women who work outside the home, wear immodest clothing, or sing in the presence of men, since those people might behave in way that offends the delicate sensitivities of a few readers? Photos of men and women who are not related will now be segregated by gender, lest readers get the idea that sometimes men and women socialize without being married or related? I assume *all* mention of Conservative and Reform (and don’t even mention secular) Jews will also simply be stricken, since what they call Judaism might not measure up to the standards of the strictest traditionalists, and should therefore simply be ignored, as if it didn’t exist? And anything at all—anything—that the most observant Jew doesn’t like, you will simply excise from your pages and pretend that by doing so, the real world has ceased to operate? When you cave in to the most restrictive among us, you alienate everyone else—and pushing certain people back into invisibility in order to avoid being “divisive” is, in itself, a horribly divisive stand. Shame.
I just wanted to thank you for letting me know I am not welcome in your community.
I’m not quite sure what constitutes “pain & consternation” caused by announcement of a couple’s pledge of love and devotion, but it doesn’t compare one bit to the pain you have caused all LGBT Jewish women and men by caving to in fear and bigotry.
If you are striving so hard to draw the community together, you’ve done a great disservice to the former members you’ve thrown under the bus.
Shame on you.
I suspect that some gay people, and even some of their friends and family members, feel pain from so many instititutions of our society not recognizing their lifelong committment in marriage.Debbie Appel posted 04 Oct 2010 at 07:07 PM
The logic of this statement is baffling. The Jewish Standard is “striving to bring the community together” by marginalizing LGBT Jews. What about the “pain and consternation”of that group of Jews who are being told by this statement that their celebrations are not worth celebrating.
I feel the decision to run the original announcement was correct. I am saddened that a fraction of our Jewish Community may have felt hurt by your decision to announce a simcha. Our halakhic tradition demands that we treat all members of our community with love amd respect. The Jewish People have been victim to fear and bigotry throughout our long, rich cultural history, it is shocking and sickening to me that a Jewish newspaper serving members of our Jewish Community would condone this bigoted behavior and allow fears based on prejudice determine their policies. I am shocked and disappointed. We can do better.SH posted 04 Oct 2010 at 07:18 PM
As a supporter and active Jewish citizen in Bergen County, I would like to state that while I understand the opinion of the traditional/Orthodox community and the pressures they often place on media outlets and the private sector, it is disappointing to find the Jewish Standard to have chosen to only speak to that community and change their policies of inclusion of all sectors of the Jewish community in northern NJ due to pressures. Perhaps it is that the Jewish Standard does not believe the secular Jewish community will make as much of a scene about this issue, but in light of the media coverage in NJ due to Tyler Clementi’s passing and bias crime that took place at Rutgers University, home to many secular Jews from northern NJ, I would have expected a VERY different decision by such a well-renowned publication. I am asking you to please change your decision, and understand that you are a publication for the ENTIRE Jewish community, no matter what pressures are put on you for social reasons. Thank you for understanding and I hope to hear that you reverse your decision and return to being the Jewish publication you have been for many years.T posted 04 Oct 2010 at 07:22 PM
It’s a simcha! Simchas don’t cause pain and consternation, at least not in my book. A gigantic mazal tov and kol hakavod to the happy, beautiful, and inspirational couple. We love you!
I write today to sincerely protest your exclusion of same-sex wedding announcements from your newspaper.
I sympathize with your conflicted decision making process, given the diversity of your readership, whose varying values are not only important but also are part and parcel of the very make-up of the communities you service. Indeed, I applaud your sensitivity to the feelings of your readers.
However, your aim to be sensitive to one faction of the Jewish community has left another to suffer. While I understand the publishing of a gay wedding may be upsetting to some, these readers are not being asked to attend or to approve. To protest the publishing of such an announcement has more to do with accepting such people as existing in the world than accepting them as part of one’s community.
I find it tragically ironic that the stated motives for your decision hinge on community members’ pain, but you have effected quite a hurtful act in its own right, causing real pain to those who know now for sure that they will not be accepted (not approved of, merely acknowledged) in the Jewish community – at least the one you represent. You are hardly “drawing the community together” in this move; you are merely choosing which group is worth listening to, which group is expendable.
I find your decision objectionable and offensive. In two weeks, I will rejoice at the holy khasunah of my friends, whose wedding announcement was elided. Our community will be strong and loving, as we welcome them with open arms.
To whom this may concern,
I find this news disturbing, especially in light of the number of suicides by homosexuals that occurred in the USA over the course of the past month.
Why should the public announcement of a homosexual couple be more abhorrent to an Orthodox Jew than the announcement of a Simchat Torah celebration for young Jews where Jews must pay for entry or where musical instruments are used, or the announcement of services at a synagogue where non-Kosher food may be served at communal celebrations, or the announcement of the installation of a new female clergy person? And furthermore, why should an Orthodox Jew’s discomfort with announcing a life cycle event of two people unknown to him or her allow the publication, read also by non-Orthodox Jews, convince a community not to publish announcements that will upset several Orthodox Jews who clearly are at odds with recent attempts from the Orthodox Jewish community to reach out to and to welcome gay Jews?
Regardless of Jewish law’s ramifications surrounding a homosexual union, I am willing to suggest that it just might be a Chillul Hashem—a desecration of the God name—when a free publication that writes for and about Jewish causes sinks to the level of engaging in the shaming of an entire percentile of the Jewish population by refusing to acknowledge their lives, their lifestyles, their life cycles, and their existence.
We should not read about a gay union just as much as we should not read about Jews who belong to egalitarian synagogues, Jews who do not keep kosher, and Jews who do not engage in the core Mitzvah of “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).
Rabbinical Student, Jewish Theological Seminary 2015
Under New Jersey law, same-sex couples can enter a civil union, which grants them all the legal rights and obligations of marriage at the state level. It is shameful that this newspaper would seek to accomodate a vocal minority of readers whose values run counter to the majority of Jewish denominations (and the majority of Jews in the US) as well as to discriminate against same-sex couples whose unions are legally sanctioned in the State of New Jersey.
Your newspaper has set a new low for American Jewish journalism.
While I am happy to learn that you want to be sensitive to those in your community who are bigoted and exclusionist, I wonder whether you even care about the rest of us, the majority, who welcome the announcement of love and commitment between two members of the Jewish community?
You are making news in ways that you might never have anticipated.RT posted 04 Oct 2010 at 07:46 PM
Every day people reach out to me to tell me about the pain and consternation homophobia causes lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Maybe you should apologize for writing this offensive apology.
Backpedalling on this issue will only exacerbate the problem. Bowing to the pressure of religious fundamentalists alienates those in the Jewish community who view marriage rights as a civil rights issue. This editorial is an insult and pretending that it will somehow reduce divisiveness is a foolish delusion.
By apologizing to the homophobic and ignorant you are spreading hate. What if the New York Times apologized to the KKK and all of it’s readers for publishing a jewish marriage taking place and promised never to do it again so as not to ‘cause pain and consternation’ to the good white Christian men of the KKK.
You’ve just told every single person who loves another person of the same sex that they are wrong and that the world doesn’t want to know that they exist. But why stop there? We can’t have this group of Rabbis feel bad. Maybe we should round up all the gay’s and put them somewhere that they can’t be seen at all. Maybe a camp somewhere.
Doesn’t this decision betray your mission statement?:
“TO PROVIDE a forum for members of the community.
The Jewish Standard is not affiliated with any program, organization, movement, or point of view, but is dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life.
The Jewish Standard is independent; it is committed to Jewish continuity and to Israel and America’s well-being.”Meir posted 04 Oct 2010 at 07:56 PM
I echo Matthew ’s succinctly expressed opinion regarding the Standard’s unfortunate reversal of a brave and well-reasoned decision to print the Smolen/Rosen wedding announcement. I grew up in Bergen County, and my own adolescence and coming-out process as a gay man would have been unimaginably easier had I seen such examples of same-sex love and commitment in the local Jewish newspaper. I urge the Standard not to give in to “the pain and consternation” of one segment of the community at the risk of causing even more pain to another segment. In any case, calling these two groups “separate” is foolish, for by now we know very well that there are gay and lesbian people within the Orthodox community as well—some of whom may have been delighted to see this wedding announcement printed in the Standard, despite the protestations of the Orthodox leadership.
Great, so a bunch of religious fundamentalists pressured a newspaper into discriminating against gays. Do you guys have an Afghani edition by the way
Solomon posted 04 Oct 2010 at 08:01 PM
I am appalled that The Jewish Standard would cave in the face of prejudiced bullying. I understand that same-sex partnership is seen as a “hot-button issue” especially within religious communities, but to say that a simple and unadorned announcement of the joyous union of two children of Israel causes “pain” to those who would rather have these two young men live out their lives alone or in unhappy and unhealthy heterosexual marriages is completely backwards. What is painful is that such couples who want nothing more than to live happy and observant Jewish lives with a loving and supportive partner continue to have to hide from and within our communities for fear of setting off a “firestorm” merely by existing as they are.
We as a people have to stop giving in to the right wing Orthodox just because they threaten and throw tantrums when the rest of us do not conform to their vision of how Judaism should look, and dare to have our own ideas about what we value as Jews and as ethical human beings in a confusing world. The more we give in, the more this minority gains the control to dictate where and how the rest of us worship. who is and is not allowed to live and celebrate lifecycle events in Israel, right down to who is and is not Jewish. I personally am not willing to quietly sit by while that happens.Michael posted 04 Oct 2010 at 08:02 PM
I read items in newspapers all the time that cause me “pain and consternation.” My solution? Turn the page!
Jewish same-sex weddings aren’t going to stop just because you now refuse to announce them. Your decision is short-sighted, discriminatory, and ultimately, cowardly. Score one for intolerance, zero for journalistic independence. For shame!
It’s such a shame that this publication has gone from joining members of their community in celebrating their joyous occasions to pandering to a crowd of isolated, insular, intolerant, and selfish fanatics. This move has shown that certain sectors of the community are more valued than others. I personally find this decision sad, frustrating, and painful.
Since The Standard has decided that it is only for “certain” Jews, I hope that everyone else chooses to no longer patronize your newspaper.
Does the Jewish Standard publish announcements of interfaith marriages or is the Jewish paper of Northern New Jersey unwelcoming to those couples as well? More importantly, how does Rebecca have time to even write this when she should be home having kids and baking challah?
I’m saddened to read such news that you will no longer run ‘such’ announcements. I am proud and happy to know many a gay couple and my life will continue to be so much more enlightening and gratifying with them in my life and with your publication out of it.
Your editorial is shameful. These narrowminded rabbis are causing serious “pain and consternation” to gay and lesbian Jews and to lots of other Jews who care deeply about their gay friends and family members. Why do the loudest bigots get to dictate the standards of a newspaper?James mace posted 04 Oct 2010 at 08:20 PM
Maybe you shouldn’t post ANY life-cycle events. That wouldn’t work, would it? This pressured discrimination comes from a minority that has made it their personal mission to disconnect more than 80% of all Jews who do not subscribe to their way. I will no longer read your post.
Striving to bring a community together by treating a segment of the community as lepers—exiling them to the outskirts of the city, and declaring them as unclean. Good luck.
It wasn’t your publication of the announcement that is driving the community apart, it is those who are complaining that they are being forced to look upon the unclean, and your bowing to their wishes to treat the unclean as if they don’t exist, that is driving the community apart.
I hope that the editorial staff decides to reverse their decision. As an observant Jew, I am always overjoyed to hear of the simcha of any two people uniting in love.
Please reverse your decision and continue to run same-sex announcements!
If you don’t like same-sex weddings, I have three words for you: DON’T HAVE ONE!Rabbi David Greenstein posted 04 Oct 2010 at 08:32 PM
The decision of The Jewish Standard to refrain from publishing announcements of sam-sex marriages in the Jewish community is shameful. It perpetuates the stigmatization of members of our community, with all the known results of emotional and real physical harm this causes.
It does so in order to placate another segment of the community that claims that it feels consternation to read about such events. But the assymetry of the claims of these two groups is blatant. No reputable newspaper tries to limit its coverage to stories that make everyone happy. Indeed, we all know that many things happen in the Jewish community that cause consternation to other groups. Such discomfort is the necessary corollary of living in a pluralistic world. Frankly, reading that some Orthodox rabbis objected to the marriage announcement causes great consternation to me – a rabbi who is overjoyed that the marriage took place. Would you consider not reporting their objection so as not to cause me, and the many, many other committed Jews who feel as I do, terrible consternation?
On the other hand, the erasure from its pages of the life-cycle events of one group of Jews supports the perpetuation of real-life suffering and misery and – read the recent newspapers – even death.
Until such time that the The Jewish Standard decides to become the official newspaper of only a certain segment of the Jewish community it is obligated to report the events in the entire community fairly and inclusively.
As Jews, we have always been commited to advocating for human rights, and giving respect to all. The Standard should represent all aspects of the Jewish world, and give the same opportunities for all Jewish couples who want to announce the joy of their upcoming marraiges. I am ashamed that the Standard (which is supposed to represent all viewpoints), would take this backwards step. Human beings are being hurt here. I respect Orthodox Jews for living in the manner that is appropriate for them, and that respect should be given to all in the Jewish community.
As a friend to the couple, a queer ally, and a committed Jew, I am insulted and disgusted by this decision. The decision of these two young men to commit to each other and to build a Jewish family is one worth celebrating, and I am disturbed that you would bow to the opinions of small minded bigots who cannot see its value. If we are truly to grow and thrive in this country, it behooves us to move with the winds of history, which are blowing increasingly towards tolerance.Sid Kivanoski posted 04 Oct 2010 at 09:09 PM
So you are simply valueing the “deep sensitivities” of some Jews over others. Not a very ethical decision, is it?
Have you not read or heard about all the teen suicides these past few weeks? They were all the result of bullying, and being made to feel that they were lesser humans because of their sexual orientation. A person’s sexual orientation is a gift from G-d, not some perverse medical condition. The true mitzvah would be to continue to announce these wonderful life cycle events until they ceased to seem “wrong” to some members of the community. They are the ones that need education and to find their truly loving hearts.
What a shande. By allowing this segment of your readership the power to prevent you from reporting that these events occur, you’ve left behind your journalistic role and moved into acting as an apparatus of social ostracism. It’s so incredibly disingenuous to say that you’re making this decision to allow for greater unity when in fact your decision means the wholesale exclusion of LGBT Jews. This action can only be construed as “drawing the community together” if you believe that LGBT Jews don’t belong in the first place; that “some [Jews] are more equal than others.” Shame on you. Such behavior does not deserve the name of “The Jewish Standard.”
It caused people pain? I feel pain every time I see an ad for a non-kosher restaurant in your publication because it means that Jews are going to eat non-kosher. I also feel pain everytime you advertise an event on shabbat because it means that Jews might not observe shabbat. Will you take note of my pain and refrain from advertising anything that violates halachic Judaism?
I feel so horrible for the “pain and consternation” experienced by members of the Haredi community. How about the “pain and consternation” experienced by traditional LGBT Jews who feel invisible and alienated on a daily basis!?
I think you need to change the name of your newspaper to “The Jewish Double Standard”…
This is in direct contradiction to your mission statement, in which you say that you are not affiliated with any movement or point of view and that you are dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life. You have betrayed your own standards, let alone the trust of those non-traditional Jews who were also your readers, and you should be ashamed.
What is divisive? Refusing to acknowledge the joyous life-cycle events of non-traditional Jews, simply because traditional Jews don’t want to see or hear anything about them.
What are you communicating about the sensitivities and suffering of Jews? The sensitivities and suffering of traditional Jews, though such announcements affect them only indirectly, are more important than the sensitivities and suffering of traditionally marginalized Jews who may be driven away from the Jewish community entirely from such treatment.
Why is the pain of traditional Jews who are simply seeing an engagement announcement of which they disapprove valued above the pain of those who want to share their joy with those in their community who may wish to celebrate with them? If your management and/or editorial staff are not biased, then, at the very least, you’ve kowtowed to those who are.
You are not “drawing the community together.”
You’re silencing those who are different and making them feel less welcome.
Dear Jewish Standard,
Conservative and Reform Jews recognize that gay individuals are also “created in the image of God”. They also have feelings and needs like the rest of us. They and their families actually experience pain inflicted upon them by such opinions and editorial policies as yours when you deny their humanity in the same way that the Germans did when they put them in concentration camps. In the State of Israel gay parades are permitted.but you would deny them even a joyful announcement in your paper. Please reconsider.
Rabbi Bernard Spielman.
To the editors of the Jewish Standard:
As a long time subscriber of the Jewish Standard, I was deeply saddened to read your apology to printing an announcement of engagement in a recent issue.
How disappointing it is for me to know that I can not announce my own family’s simchas without knowing that I may face censorship by your newspaper—this causes me “great pain and consternation.”
Knowing that we are all created “B’Tzelem Elohim,” in G-d’s image, and that in every community we pray for and strive for Shalom… peace and completeness, I cannot believe you have allowed a group of our own people to marginalize another group of our own people.
I hope you will reconsider your decision and perhaps consult with other members of our community who would share a clearer perspective on our wonderful, multi-faceted religion.
And yet you choose to cut off those Jews who celebrate same-sex relationships. I don’t just mean Jews IN same-sex relationships, but all those who celebrate them.
If we look at CA, 83% of Jews voted against Prop 8, meaning 83% of Jews were committed
if not to acceptance of marriage for gay and lesbian people, at least to tolerance.
I believe through this decision you are hurting more people by insulting the Judaism of these 83%. The 27% may be more vocal, but the “Standard” of the Jewish community is clearly with the 83%.
Jewish law itself teaches us to go with the majority in almost all cases.
By going with the minority, and refusing to publish these celebrations, I believe you are
doing something very UN-Jewish both for traditional and ethical reasons.Rachel Jane posted 04 Oct 2010 at 10:32 PM
I am deeply upset at your decision to not include simachs like the one you so admirably posted last week. I am confused as to how this publication thought that it would bring together the Jewish community rather than push it away when they were so deeply influenced by one sect of Judaism, that being Orthodox. What the Jewish standard failed to consider, is the accepting and supportive views of homosexuality that many Reformed, Reconstructionist and Conservative Jews support. This decision only promotes one theory of thought while neglecting THREE others. In an age where there is an epidemic of gay teens committing suicide (including ones in places where the Jewish Standard is delivered, like Ridgewood NJ), this publication has a social responsibility to help people who feel ostracized and unaccepted rather than push them away. However, the views that created your decision are not ones that I am proud to promote as a Jew. This decision will not ‘bring the community together’ as it is intended. I am hurt and ashamed by your actions and I feel that you as a publication should reconsider your decision and speak with all of the Reformed, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and GLBT Jews who may think differently on this matter.
It is such an incredible insult to think a newspaper would censor itself based on pressure from certain homophobic members of the community. I hope this reaction to such censorship, and to the recent suicides of gay children due to isolation, harrassment, abuse, and social shunning will make you reconsider your misguided, shortsighted decision.SM posted 04 Oct 2010 at 10:39 PM
How sad that you caved to those who are intolerant. You are now causing “pain and consternation” to the rest of us in the Jewish community who do not want to believe that our religion is hateful and bigoted. Shame on you.—————————————————-
Your decision to discontinue the publishing of same-sex engagements/marriage is both cowardly and unimpressive. The so called ‘pain’ of those opposed is a mask to encourage and promote sinas chinam. The pain of all Jewish LGBT people and friends/family is greater than you give credit for. To be shunned and hidden, to feel invisible and inferior is a far greater pain than the ‘pain’ of bigots.
Maybe you’re afraid that you will lose majority of your readers, but what ever happened to integrity? What ever happened to doing the right thing despite what people will think? To being stronger than the weak and narrow-minded. To promote tolerance and love. To be a leader instead of being a victim to your ‘numbers’.
It’s such a shame that people who are in the position to take a stand and have their voices heard choose to silence themselves and others hiding behind excuses that ooze fear and weakness.
I hope you will soon see what a big mistake and misjudgment this is on your part.
“The Jewish Standard has always striven to draw the community together, rather than drive its many segments apart. We have decided, therefore, since this is such a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future.”
This is not the reason why announcements of same-sex marriages are not to be published. The decision not to publish these announcements in the future drives away a segment of the community, excluding a group in favor of pacifying the complaints of another.
“we did not expect the volume of comments we have received, many of them against our decision to run the announcement, but many supportive as well.”
There are members of the community who support the publication of this announcement as well as those who do not. It is possible that those who are in support of same-sex marriage are more willing to remain quiet and not complain than those who do not. That, however, is no reason to assume that by refusing to publish future announcements you will not be dividing the community.
The announcement made some people happy while others were upset. To not publish these announcements in the future says that those who were supportive of this couple’s intent to marry are, at best, less important members of the community you wish to draw together more tightly. The decision to not print future announcements divides the community just as clearly as did publishing it in the first place. If your intent was to draw the community together, you failed, and must for the sake of the community try again.Hershl posted 04 Oct 2010 at 10:46 PM
I never knew that the NJ Jewish Standard existed until you distinguished yourself by banning gay and lesbian civil union announcements.
Good for you. Now you are famous around the world, thanks to the net, as the number one Jewish organ for hate and intolerance in New Jersey.
Clever marketing ploy. Now all the bigots will subscribe.
If you did not expect the volume of comments you received on this issue, you are woefully out of tough with the true tenor of the times. I am sorry to hear that you have elected not to run such announcements in the future. It is an indicator that you have no intention of drawing the community together, but fully intend to pander to voices of bigotry and prejudice. I am saddened by your decision.
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Meltzer’s comment above. My Jewish upbringing taught me to be inclusive and not just tolerant but celebratory of differences. This statement is outrageous and shameful as a reflection on the Jewish community.Alan posted 04 Oct 2010 at 11:22 PM
Your decision is reprehensible. It is said that when there are two Jews there are three opiniions. I didn’t know that the opinion of one group would discount the feelings and opinions of another within the Jewish community. You state “The Jewish Standard has always striven to draw the community together, rather than drive its many segments apart.” Your decision not to run announcements of this sort will be divisive to the community as a whole while solidifying one right wing view.
As a former Teaneck resident I was delighted to see how progressive and open-minded the Standard had suddenly become by announcing a gay marriage. I am deeply disappointed by their retraction. It greatly devalues my estimation of the paper. I certainly would never consider placing an announcement in it from now on!
I do not think I can adequately express how disgusted I am by this decision. As one of the most oppressed groups in history—a group targeted over and over by violence, excluded, scape goated, hated—one would think the Jewish people would have developed an acute empathy for those who continue to suffer at the hand of small mindedness. And I think, for the most part, one would be correct. But not in this case. This is a cowardly pathetic, backwards, and hypocritical step for a group of Jews to take. The world has continually sought to marginalize the Jews for no reason other than fear. So now a group of Jews has the gall to do the same?
You claim you are striving to draw the community together. So you make the deliberate choice to exclude active members of your community because of their sexual orientation, their genetic makeup. What an excellent exhibit of togetherness. An excellent example for the rest of this hateful, prejudiced world.
It happened just a few days ago, in this newspaper’s home state: A boy jumped off a bridge into the Hudson because society made it clear to him that being gay is too far out of the norm for him to be treated with respect.
Can such an event not teach us that the least we can do is welcome gay individuals as part of our community?
Are we as Jews going to set such an example to the world – cutting people out of our circle?
Is that our new standard?
You have chosen to make this a divisive issue and you have chosen your side. Gay teens around the country are being bullied to death and you have chosen to embrace homophobia. All gays will always be welcome in my home. The Jewish Standard…not so much.Pollak posted 04 Oct 2010 at 11:46 PM
Your reaction to the Orthodox cries of hurt feelings seems typical to me. We all back down to them as if they hear God better than the rest of us poor Jews. I don’t buy it and gay Jews certainly don’t either. You shouldn’t report news of the community as if the gays don’t exist. We can’t all live in a bubble world like the Orthodox. It’s a big world out there and gays are not shadow people and they can hear God as well as the Orthodox. So you should hear the gays and let them speak in your paper too. Unless, that is, there is more you don’t say—perhaps the people complaining are threatening nonsupport of your paper? If so then say so and be honest. Money is always at the root of most injustice it seems.
The headlines are full of the numerous lgbtq youth who have committed suicide in the past few weeks, and we wonder why. Could it be because the public institutions of our society, faith and community – like The Standard – choose to send a message over and over that it is acceptable to affirm discrimination? As a member of the Jewish community, I don’t know how you can call yourself Jews – and embrace the tenants of tikkun olum- and yet make a decision like this. You are worried about “the pain” you have caused a group of orthodox rabbis by sharing a happy announcement of a marriage. The Standard should consider the pain of people who are living as second class citizens in this country…something that Jews have unfortunately experienced and should be fighting against. It is time for us all to acknowledge the responsibility we share in these tragic and preventable deaths.Bati posted 04 Oct 2010 at 11:59 PM
For the Jewish Standard to support the shaming of gay Jews is a shonda. How cowardly to knuckle under to pressure from one segment of the Jewish community. What is that segment afraid of—that their children will see what is already commonplace in this country; that is, that people who identify as the same gender can marry and/or have a formalized partnership? Wouldn’t it be better for those who object to these announcements to let their children ask them questions than to have same-sex partnership be something they can’t talk to their parents about? From whom, then, will they learn about it? In addition, with the current crop of gay teen suicides in the news, don’t you understand that shame can be fatal? Some percentage of Jewish people are gay. That’s the reality. It’s time to accept it, and our gay brothers and sisters, and move on. Remember ahavat Israel, people?
I would ask that the editors reconsider their decision. Would you stop posting announcements about events on Friday nights and Saturdays just because they did not comply with Orthodox practices on Shabbat? The truth is that the stance against gay marriage is a fundamentalist opinion. Your decision to publicly refuse to publish gay marriage announcements is far more alienating to mainstream and secular Jews. I live in Los Angeles. I learned of this horrible decision on facebook. It was forwarded to me by another Jew who lives in California. Your decision will continue to have negative reverberations even if you decide to make a “separate but equal” accommodation.
As a Jewish woman, Jewish educator and a mom of kids straight and gay, I am disappointed that this publication would purport to represent Jewish values while disenfranchising a significant portion of Klal Yisrael. Shame on you.
Can it be that the editor is apologizing for letting people know that two members of the community love each other and want to share the simcha of their plan to wed? The editorial apology completely ignores the pain caused by deliberately throwing LGBT people under the bus in some quest for community harmony.
If the new litmus test is whether traditional or Orthodox leaders experience “pain and consternation” from an announcement, then the Standard needs to make some other changes, too. First, amend the statement of purpose, which currently says, “The Jewish Standard is not affiliated with any . . . movement, or point of view, but is dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life.” Simply add: “except gay people’s Jewish lives, which do not count.” Second, ask for Orthodox permission before publishing other parts of the Standard, too. Does the ordination of women rabbis alienate traditional leaders? Then just stop telling your readers that it happens!
Or try another approach: Publish the happy announcements (and the objections from people who are afraid of, or pained by, others’ joy). Or at least apologize to the people whose lives are actually affected by your decision, rather than to bystanders who were not invited to the wedding.
I am very sorry to hear that you have reversed your original decision. In doing so, you have chosen to hurt those who are often marginalized and most need our support. Jews of all peoples should understand that, regardless of their personal views.
The way to move towards inclusion and pluralism is not to sweep bigotry and hate under the table. This is a despicable decision on the part of the editorial staff. Cloaking hate in the speech of pluralism is absolutely unacceptable and a complete farse. Let’s call a spade a spade. This is straight up bigotry. If these Orthodox Rabbis actually want pluralism, they’ll put on their big boy pants and turn the other cheek. Or, if they want Jewish continuity, as they say they do, they’ll wake up and smell the roses and include gay Jews in their communities. Welcome to the 21st century!
I find your paper’s stance to be unprincipled. If the wedding that you are asked to announce is a legal union in your state, then it is discriminatory to refuse to publish a notice—even if the basis of the discrimination is religious faith. In this case, there are rabbis on both sides. Your decision to refrain from publicizing gay Jewish unions is taking sides in a Jewish cultural conflict. I urge you to reconsider it.
Dear Ms. Boroson,
I’m sure you’ve received a flood of emails following your editorial earlier today, and I do hope that you’ll take the time to read mine as well. As a young, recently out Jew, I consider myself lucky to have been raised in a familial and Jewish community where a “gentleman’s agreement” to keep my sexuality private seemed destined for the history books, not the newspapers. Imagine my disappointment to find that the Jewish Standard was kow-towing to a minority of the Jewish community behind the polite semantics of wishing not to appear divisive.
To me (and many others, I’m sure), the Jewish community has always been one that works to include and care for all of its members. As one kehillah, we applaud our philanthropists and shun only our most sinister evil-doers; after all, “a Jew is a Jew.” Yet you have determined, through rescinding the marriage advertisement, which Jewish voices fit within the cannon of Judaism, and which ones shall be cast out. How can you, as the authority for a newspaper that claims to unite diverse branches of Judaism, make such a judgment call?
I have never been faced with a choice between my religion and my sexuality. Perhaps I have lived a charmed life where Jewish avenues in which I participate either avoid making judgment calls, or make ones that specifically make me feel more welcome. But as a Jew who aspires to marry Jewish, raise Jewish children in a Jewish home and synagogue, and works full time for the Jewish movement, you have offered me little hope. I sincerely wish that this is not indicative of all multi-denominational organizations out there, and that, as you hope, this will be an issue that can unite Jews one day soon, and not divide them.
This decision is beyond baffling and is causing “pain and consternation” among concerned Jews around the world!
The Jewish Standard is not a partisan political or ideological organ for one segment of the Jewish community. In a time of high rates of intermarriage, and enduring homophobia, two Jews of the same sex want to commit their lives to each other, in a way sanctioned by all but the Orthodox segments of the Jewish community? How can the Jewish newspaper of record *not* publish such an announcement?
It is ironic that you use the word “pain” twice in your short retraction, given how deeply painful it is to GLBT Jews, their friends and families and people who care about them, that their lives are not visible in our communities and publications. It is just that invisibility and lack of validation—a sense that there is no future for them—that leads young gays and lesbians to attempt or commit suicide. Make no mistake about it—THIS is causing pain.
How this decision will avoid confronting a divisive issue is beyond me. Both the content and process of the decision are deeply embarrassing. Jewish same-sex weddings and unions are happening. To exclude those announcements is to say that the paper is controlled by Orthodox concerns. Once the standard is “must not cause pain and consternation to the Orthodox rabbinate”, you will quickly find yourself with a very different paper.
I urge you to reconsider your position.
Dear Editorial Staff.
As you have heard in other comments: Reportage is Reportage. To announce a same sex union/marriage is not an opinion. One can not disclaim a fact. If it is raining, and the rain offends someone, would you put a disclaimer on your weather report? I suggest in the future that you print what is reportable, and let the “offended parties” look to themselves.Yossi Horowitz posted 05 Oct 2010 at 12:55 AM
The decision not to run such announcements in the future will serve to divide the community just as much as the decision to continue to run them would have. Speaking as an Orthodox Jew myself, I am very perturbed to hear about your caving to bigotry in the name of my sub-culture.
Your editorial staff should be making decisions that they themselves believe are ethical, rather than relying on the ethics of their readership.
Your disregard of the pain and consternation of the LGBTQ community and their supporters is a SIN. Your thoughtlessness in the matter is making a larger breach in the community— GLBTQ Jews benefit so much more from seeing themselves accepted than the ultraOrthodox “suffer” from seeing a marriage announcement. Your decision to no longer announce gay weddings, which mirrors actions of so many bigots out there, demeans members of the community who need our support more than ever. Your mission statement says that you are “dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life”— clearly only when it doesn’t insult the extremists! You should be ashamed of yourselves.Harry posted 05 Oct 2010 at 01:20 AM
The upcoming marriage of Justin Rosin and Avi Smolen is unquestionably “news of Jewish interest” that deserves to be printed in your pages. The decision to suppress marriage announcements of same-sex Jewish couples is a morally inadequate one. If the Jewish Standard is, as it claims to be, a publication that represents the Jewish voice of Northern New Jersey, its decision to silence its members does injury to that voice and to the publication’s reputation.
The suppression of this news distorts the reality of the contemporary Jewish world. Non-recognition of homosexual members of our congregations, counselors at our Jewish summer camps, and pupils at our Jewish day schools does not protect Jewish values; it impoverishes Jewish discourse. If Judaism is to survive in America as a serious system of ethical thought, it must engage critically with the cultural and technological changes which define our reality.
The Jewish Standard should print announcements like this one for a compelling moral reason. By silencing the announcement of the marriages of gay Jews, we prevent gay Jews from appearing in public. By silencing the voices of gay Jewish adults, we put young Jews who are developing their sexual identities at risk by depriving them of role models. Demonstrating their life-long commitment to Jewish life, service, and learning, Avi and Justin are certainly such role models.
The Jewish Standard’s editorial explaining its decision demonstrated that the opinions of some Orthodox members of the community about homosexuality compelled its decision to exclude homosexual members of the community from the public forum. By submitting to the “sensitivities” of the Orthodox establishment, the Jewish Standard deprives developing Jewish young people from envisioning happy Jewish lives in a way consistent with their sexual orientations. I fervently hope that the Jewish Standard will reverse its decision to perpetuates the exclusion of some members of the Jewish community. This act of exclusion has truly caused pain.
Mazal tov to Justin and Avi.
Before this stunning display of bigotry I had never heard of the NJ Jewish Standard even though I grew up in NJ.
Now I hope that I never hear of it again.
Shame on you. Seeing things you disagree with in the paper is not “pain and suffering.” By that logic, I’m sure whites in Selma felt a good deal of “pain and suffering” when they were forced to watch black people eat at their lunch counters, too.Adam posted 05 Oct 2010 at 01:47 AM
Dear Jewish Daily Standard,
With the love that dare not speak its name (and is agenda-ed to destroy the world!),
I am so disappointed to here you have decided to continue to make gay people invisible again. How appalling and said for you and your readers. One day you will look back on this and be shamed by being on the wrong side of this issue!
I am a member of the orthodox community, but I must say that those Rabbis DO NOT represent me. This is a horrible decision by the editors of this newspaper, and I hope they decide to reverse it. Our Jewish community will always have its disagreements and differences, but we cannot allow the preferences of some to override those of others. There is enough room in our Jewish tent for a whole world of diversity, and it’s horribly upsetting to see a newspaper that claims to represent the community decide that it is their policy to do the opposite.
I’m not sure if I can expect there to be any change, but I can say that until further notice, I have no plans to read this newspaper ever again, and would gladly support a competitor that would take its place.
I support your decision to abstain from publishing such announcements in the future.
Publishing announcements of this nature are akin to publishing statements about Jews proudly eating pork or watching Saturday morning cartoons. While we know that Jews break Jewish law, it is not the business of a Jewish newspaper to proclaim it from the rooftops.
I applaud your newspaper not bending to pressure from the left wing of Judaism that is more sensitive to being politically correct than to being halachic Jews.
That being said, you need to be consistent. You can’t publish events held on Shabbos or Yom Tov and run ads from non-Kosher restaurants and expect that people won’t throw that in your face at the selective adherence to Jewish law.
You are a Northern New Jersey paper. A Rutgers student jumped off the George Washington Bridge in pain last week and you are apologizing to the Orthodox for any pain you might have caused by allowing a gay couple to announce its simcha? Are you mad????? What pain? Did it hurt their poor Orthodox eyeballs to see gay people failing to have anonymous gay sex in the back of a gay movie theater like good little sinners? What was it about this couple’s happiness that was so painful to the Orthodox? What next? Will it hurt the poor Orthodox people to see a wedding between a Cohen and a divorcee? A Lubavitch and a Satmar? A wedding officiated by a Reform rabbi? One with inadequately kosher food? One involving a non-Orthodox convert? You so worried about causing the Orthodox pain, don’t announce simchas at all.
I just can’t get over it. The very week a gay student in your own backyard kills himself in pain you apologize to the Orthodox for allowing some gay people a moment’s respite from pain. Sick, twisted and shameful. I urge you to retract this ugly decision immediately.
The Jewish people have had a long, proud legacy of both existing on the margins of society and of defending those people who occupy the margins along with us.
Refusing to publish queer marriage announcements in this publication is a travesty, a betrayal of our commitment to social justice and tikkun olam, and ultimately, an act of cowardice.
It is times like these that I remember it is more important for certain members of my community to exclude people like me in order to close ranks; I’m sorry that’s the case, because every time you make this decision you will deprive the Jewish community of some of its most observant, committed, lively, engaged, and passionate members.
Your wrong-headed apology reminded me of our Seder plate, which for many years has included an orange next to the shank bone and bitter herbs. Someone reads a short paragraph about prejudice against gay people, then urges everyone to eat a slice of orange and “spit out the seeds of homophobia.”
What’s significant is that this custom wasn’t started by a gay person, but by an older straight couple. It has now been passed on to their many children and grandchildren. Perhaps you and your rabbis with “deep sensitivities” should consider an addition to your Passover rituals next year.
So you will not again announce the impending nuptials of two Jews of the same sex because I, another Jew, might not approve? Will you also not announce the election of Jews to public office unless I supported them? Do you ignore the conviction of that goniff Bernie Madoff because it’s a shanda and the goyim might possibly read of it in your paper? The logic here is nebulous. The spinelessness is apparent.Erez posted 05 Oct 2010 at 02:47 AM
This statement is an embarrassment to Jews everywhere. The complete lack of sensitivity demonstrated less than a week after a gay teen committed suicide in NJ over bullying and harassment is utterly repulsive.
To the editor:
You’ve done a great job publicizing your periodical. You see, before today, I had never read the New Jersey Jewish Standard. Your new editorial policy has been “going viral” today among some of the Jewish students here on campus, and it would have gotten quite a laugh for backwardness if it weren’t about such a serious issue.
I’m a Jewish—and gay—college student, and I’m writing to express my disappointment in your new editorial policy of excluding same-sex wedding announcements.
Simply “not [running] such announcements in the future” does not make the issue less divisive or make the problem go away. It only further alienates gay community members—especially youth. An epidemic of gay youth suicides such as the one our country is experiencing this fall (including the latest in New Jersey) is a tragedy, but not an accident. By including same-sex couples in your announcements, you would show gay youth that they can be Jewish; you would not be complicit in their oppression.
If Jews in New Jersey are getting married, then you should print their announcements. It’s that simple. Unless, of course, you trying to say that same-sex couples aren’t sufficiently Jewish.
I know there are people out there who hold such a view, and I respect that they may still be good people and good Jews. However, that doesn’t mean I would want to read their newsletter. Rest assured that this is both the first and the last time I read your publication—until the policy is reversed.
I trust that your board can find a way to tactfully include same-sex couples equally in the Jewish community.
With great respect but also with great disappointment,
BenMelinda Koster posted 05 Oct 2010 at 03:11 AM
In your mission statement, you proclaim that your aim is to “provide the Jewish communities of Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, and Rockland counties with an indispensable newspaper that will present local, national, and world news of Jewish interest.” Yet today’s statement cheapens these goals. In announcing your decision to refrain from publicizing same-sex wedding announcements, your paper marginalizes members of YOUR community who already experience “pain and consternation.” I hope that your paper reverses its policy and decides to celebrate inclusiveness over bigotry. Until then, you are accomplishing exactly what you claim to fear—you are driving your many segments apart!
I am a young Jewish professional, and this is my first encounter with your publication. I am deeply offended by this apologetic editorial. The traditional/Orthodox community needs to learn that their sensibilities are no more godly than anyone else. Your words have unleashed a rotten stench.
I just want to make it known that I, and many others, find this decision discriminatory and offensive.
I rest My Case!!!