Rabbi Lisa in the Jewish Journal: “Not everyone, not yet”


The Jewish Journal published this weekend Rabbi Lisa Edwards’ commentary on this week’s torah portion. Read it here:

“Times have certainly changed,” someone said to me the other day. “We have a new generation of children growing up just with marriage — not gay marriage and straight marriage, but ‘just marriage.’ ”

Nice pun, I thought, “just marriage.” The oft-quoted Torah verse, “justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20) came to mind.

And of course, times have indeed changed; I need only look at the number of weddings on my calendar since last summer (or at the number of new babies in our congregation!) to see how the United States Supreme Court’s toppling of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) has affected life in the LGBTQ community.

On the other hand, it’s a rare week when I don’t get a “hit” of the homophobia or naiveté (sometimes willful) that remains. How quickly people think legalized marriage in some places solves all problems in all places. A quick scan of Web sites such as the Williams Institute (williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research), Keshet (keshetonline.org) or Lambda Legal (lambdalegal.org) tells a different tale. There, statistics and anecdotes still report sad stories of bullying, rejection, suicide and hate crimes.

The source of much of this ongoing pain remains one Torah verse from this week’s portion, Kedoshim: “If a man lies with a male as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; mot yu-ma-tu,they will surely die, d’mei-hem bam, their blood upon them” (Leviticus 20:13).

We shall indeed die, blood upon us, if that verse remains an invitation to reject or kill us.

How sad that this one verse still causes such pain, though it comes in the midst of a long list of other prohibitions, few of which are given much attention today. How sad that this verse gets singled out, even though it immediately follows one of the most revered passages of Torah, the Holiness Code (Leviticus 19) with its litany of Judaism’s core values, all of which heighten the understanding of one central verse: You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

Continue reading on Jewish Journal website

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