Volume 49 Number 39
                    Produced: Mon Aug  8  5:11:57 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Child Molesters
         [R E Sternglantz]
Family Membership
         [Eliyahu Shiffman]
Family Membership and Homosexuals
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Frum and Gay
gender and sex
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Hard-wired sexuality?
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Partnering as a basic human need
         [Akiva Miller]


From: R E Sternglantz <resternglantz@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 09:16:12 -0400
Subject: Child Molesters

Chaim Shapiro wrote:

>   In two of the examples Menashe Elyashiv gives of tragic marriages to
> purportedly gay men, the male was a child molester.  Current thought is
> that child molesters are not by definition gay, at least in the typical
> sense of the word.  While some gays CAN abstain from homosexual sex,
> almost no child molesters can or do abstain from molesting kids.  Any
> other thoughts?

Child molestation has nothing to do with homosexuality, typical or
otherwise.  Most child molesters/pedophiles are heterosexual males.


From: Eliyahu Shiffman <sunhouse@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 22:53:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Family Membership

> Why should the synagogue be out of the business of deciding what a
> family is.  A synagogue exists to promote Judaism.  Jewish law clearly
> defines what a family is and a gay couple is not a family under halacha.

As far as I know, the Torah does not define what is or isn't a family.
It does define who is considered a close relative to whom.  There is no
halachic obligation for synagogues to utilize these Torah definitions
for deciding criteria for inclusion under the "family membership"
category.  To do so would constitute a "chumra" that would result in a
lot of pain, and not just for gay people.  My wife and I are adoptive
parents.  I would be grossly offended if, because our son is
halachically unrelated to us, he was denied inclusion in our family

This is just one of many instances in which people unrelated by blood or
marriage come together as a family.  The situations may not be typical,
but I have a sense these non-typical families are more common than we
realize.  Like every family (at best), they provide a safe haven to grow
while helping to keep loneliness and alienation at bay.

Let shuls accept as a family any group that defines itself as a family
and lives as a family, without any implied stamp of approval.  Leave
approval or disapproval to God, except where He has explicitly asked us
to sit in judgement.

Eliyahu Shiffman
Beit Shemesh, Israel 


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2005 13:18:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Family Membership and Homosexuals

I am reliably informed that the constitution of one Young Israel
synagogue in the New York area contains the following unique provisions:

Family membership - This membership entitles all spouses or heads of
household to the rights and privileges of membership. Each family
membership shall be allocated a maximum of two (2) full votes, one to
each spouse or head of household, and each shall be considered a
member. .

Section 1: Unless otherwise explicitly noted, the use of the male form
of pronoun in this Constitution shall be construed as meaning either
male or female.

Accoding to the draftsman, these provisions were designed to cover
homosexual "family units" but not roommates.

Orrin Tilevitz


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 11:37:58 -0400
Subject: RE: Frum and Gay

From: Rise Goldstein <rbgoldstein@...>
>Juvenile delinquency, to the extent that it is familial, reflects both
>pre- (e.g., exposure to tobacco in utero) and postnatal rearing
>environment far, far more than genetic factors.

Are you saying that if your mother smoked when pregnant, a) that you are
more likely to be a juvenile delinquent or b) that you are more likely
to have one particular characteristic associated with delinquency,
smoking at an early age, say while still in Junior High School?  The
first is a lot worse than the second, and something I've not heard

>>[Paraphrasing], What does it mean when one identical twin considers 
>>herself homosexual and the other does not?
>There are few genetic conditions, even those transmitted by single genes
>in Mendelian fashion, in which *both* members of *all* known monozygotic
>("identical") twin pairs expressed the condition.  The evidence is
>increasingly clear that there is a strong genetic component to sexual
>orientation (once again, bibliography provided by private e-mail upon
>request).  Thus, it is not at all surprising that there are monozygotic
>twin pairs discordant for sexual orientation (i.e., one claiming to be
>gay and one claiming to be straight), which will almost certainly prove
>to be determined by *multiple* genetic influences, and probably a number
>of nongenetic, but biological and/or biochemical, influences, such as
>the levels of hormones and other such factors to which the fetus is
>exposed in utero, as well.  Again, I can provide a bibliography upon
>request through private e-mail.

I understood it until the last 5 lines.  What does it matter if there
are *multiple* genetic influences if they are identical twins?  How
likely is it that they will get different levels of hormones and other
factors in utero if they are in the same utero?  How different could
they be from the same blood stream?

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 10:54:19 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: gender and sex

Aliza Berger writes:

> in the course of the gays discussion, someone mentioned that "gender"
> is a grammatical term.  Today, "gender" is used in psychology as well,
> e.g., "gender identity."  In psychology (and perhaps all of social
> science; I'm not sure), "sex" is reserved for the biological (e.g.,
> the male and female sexes).

Used properly, "gender" is solely a grammatical term, generally
referring to nouns (generally in languages other than English) and
pronouns, and their agreement with verbs.  According to
http://www.princeton.edu/~spectatr/general/misused.htm, "gender refers
to the grammatical classification of a word only; sex is proper for
male/female distinctions".  My 1971 edition of the Oxford English
Dictionary classifies the use of "gender" to mean "sex" as "jocular",
and the Merriam-Webster Second classifies it as "colloquial".  Theodore
Bernstein's 1958 book, "Watch Your Language", states: "Gender pertains
to grammatical distinctions, sex to physiological ones", and a much more
recent book by the same author, that I noticed on Amazon.com, comes to
the same conclusion.  I suspect that the recent widespread use and
seeming acceptability of "gender" as a synonym for "sex"--colleges have
"gender equality" policies--dates from the feminist movement in the
1970s, and the origin may well be sex discrimination litigation pursued
by then Professor, now Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  A 1974 U.S. Supreme
Court case that she argued -- and won--,Kahn v. Shevin, uses the term
"gender-based discrimination", and I'd guess the justices got it from
her briefs.  Certainly, language changes, and you will find authorities
who say that it's ok to use the word that way today.  But to my mind,
it's a politically correct misuse.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Aug 05 11:46:00 -0400
Subject: Hard-wired sexuality?

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
>From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
>> Yes, it seems to be indisputable that sexual preference *IS* hardwired,
>> just as skin-color is hardwired (Michael Jackson notwithstanding), and
>> unlike one's religiosity, bigotry, or character.

> I don't think that the science is in any way conclusive on this
> statement (take a look at
> http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/narth/bioresearch.html and especially the
> references cite therein).  There are, for example, cases of identical
> twins (i.e. genetically identical) where one twin considers herself
> homosexual and the other does not.

There are not just isolated cases. The number is at least 50%. Which
means, you are forced to agree, that no more than 50% of male
homosexuals can be hardwired at birth. And that is a ceiling, a maximum,
not a floor.

It could be, of course, that there were two separate groups, one group
100% hardwired , and another group with a lower chance, but this is just
throwing out ideas. It could very well be that no one is destined at
birth for that.

The people putting up websites like...


don't seem to realize what the 50% figure signifies. I guess they would
wanbt to say that some kind of environmental influence accounts for the
difference. But what kind of environmental influence? (They are probably
thinking of things like diabetes, to be fair to them, which no one would
say is a choice. That's not my theory, however.)

I think people get confused here because:

1) They are reasoning abstractly, without examples.

2) They are confused by semantics.  (In other words homosexuality is not
the opposite of heterosexuality - it is something totally different, and
belongs in a class with other paraphilias.)

It is quite true that male homosexuals cannot be changed. The way I
explain this fact is that men are *imprinted* by their first sexual
activity. But it no more inherited or destined at birth than is
pedophilia, or becoming a serial killer. Everyone agrees there that they
cannot change and that there is not too much logic behind it, and that
even if someone in every other way is law-abiding, they will very
readily do it again, and that why people want sexual offenders
registered. But few would argue that a person was destined at birth to
be a pedophile or to become a serial killer.

There is no reason to believe that homosexuality is any different from
what you might call a medical point of view - moral values aside, as far
as the factors of inheritance and permanence go, whatever is true for
one is almost certainly true for other. To the extent one is permanent,
so is the other; to the extent one is inherited, so is the other. To the
extent one is not inherited, neither is the other; to the extent one is
not permanent, neither is the other, and the degree of repugnance of the
underlying act doesn't and shouldn't logically matter. (Now how
important it might be to avoid someone continuing to do this is another
story - it is obvious that homosexuality can be more tolerated than
pedophilia and serial killing, and many people may consider it not to
create victims.)

Homsexuality therefore is a choice - but it is a choice made at the age
of 12, 13, 14 and 15. The practical conclusion is that it is very
important to teach boys against this BEFORE they are Bar Mitzvah - and
that to whom the Torah is mainly addressed to. All arayos in fact must
be taught BEFORE someone gets the opportunity to do them - otherwise
it's not effective.

Once done, it creates a Yetzer Haroh for the same thing.

Why this exists? Possibly because while a woman will imprint for an
individual (cf Berishis 3:16 - your desire shall be toward your husband)
imprinting is not absent from men. A man will not imprint for a specific
woman, but he will imprint for a type of woman. People note how men who
divorce their wives often marry women who look like them. I remember one
time I said to someone who only had a desire for brown skinned women
that that was probably because that is what he did at the start, and he
told was about to go somewhere with a woman there (a Haitian), which I
didn't know till he told me, but he didn't because I said it (people
hate being predicted, that's another thing, or maybe it is because once
you understand something you can resist it better) and he called me a

So the benefit is that a man will at least someone be tied to his wife -
not specdifically , but still he will only be very attracted to a
minority of women (and this is why houses of prostitution have different

But if someone goes completely wrong, he can become a homosexual, or
even worse, a serial killer. And all this is choice at some stage in his

So when the Torah warns aginst this, it warns against something that
creates a permanent change in the brain - permament damage. Something
that is not supposed to be, but the possibility exists in order to get
some other kind of benefit (namely a somewhat less than exclusive tie of
a man to his wife)

I remember reading somewhere also, in some writing about identical twins
(raised apart I believe) that they showed many similiarities in likes
and dislikes and habits - but NOT in the types of women of women they
were attracted to (or married) In other words, sexual attraction is not
inherited - it is something that is imprinted, like the way a duck is
imprinted with the identity of who is its mother.

There are other kinds of imprinting, by the way. I already mentioned a
women for her husband. No one would argue this could be inherited at
birth. What if the man died? What if the man wasn't born? What if he
lived in a far away country. Now here is something that is nearly
unshakeable, but it can hardly be said to innate. People at most will
believe that it is "bashert" - destined - but not that it is present at

We also have the love of a mother for her child. Unshakable (almost cf:
Isaiah 49:15) So you see that the quality of irreversibility has nothing
to do with the quality of innateness. The high level of abstraction,
however, has disguised this from people.

Another point, The number of homosexuals. This has been greatly
exaggerated.  It is not 10% of course, nd not 3% and not even 1%. I
think the true figure in the United States of America is more like 1/3
of 1%.

I calculated this several ways. One way I did was to take the number of
homosexuals who had died of AIDS as of the year 1991, which was around
100,000. I then guessed at what percentage of all homosexuals alive in
the year 1980 this might be. This surely was at least 1/3. It was
described and perceived as a plague - people dying all over. If 1/3 then
the total original number of male homosexuals in the United States in
1980 was about 300.000. There were about 100 million males in round
numbers. Do the arithmetic and you get a proportion of 3 in a
thousand. If the percentage was higher than 1/3 by the end of 1991 than
the percentage of male homosexuals was even lower. And if it was lower,
then the death rate was higher - there is a one to one correspondence
between the two figures - even if you don't know the exact numbers, one
is a function of the other. While we don't know the exact numbers we do
know that certain estimates are reasonable and others are not.

You cannot go by polls, by the way, because whenever the true incidence
of anything is below 1% or 2% polls are probably useless. A certain
percentage of people will answer or be coded yes or no by whim or
accident to any question. Therefore I do not believe polls showing say,
an incidence of 1.6% of all males being homosexuals. That figure is far
too high (A figure of 1.6% would mean a total of about 1,600,000 in
1980, and would mean that by 1991, AIDS had killed only about 6% of all
homosexuals, which we all know is far too low an estimate.)

If so, if the number was so low, you may ask, how do or did homosexuals
find each other, given that this is all so secret?

(There is the argument - what does it matter hiw many homosexuals there
are, few or many, what does it have to do with how they should be
treated? The answer is that it goes into the issue of how homosexuality
is created. If the number is relatively high, you can say they find each
other, but if it is this low, then how do they find each other?)

The answer is, that they do NOT find each other. Homosexuality is
created, They are converted, although not in the sense that Mormons go
out seeking converts. You might call this the vampire theory of

I am not the first person to realize this. This is what is behind - that
was the most important reason in earlier generations for exluding
homosexuals from boarding schools, from the military and the like. In
earlier times, most men at the age of 17 or 18 had not yet become
sexually active and so could be imprinted as homosexuals. Of course
finding out that men became homosexuals there, would hurt recruiting, to
say the least.

Another example of asn epidemic of homsexuality: Some Catholic
seminaries in the 1960s became bastions of homosexuality. This was not
because homosexuals went there - how would they know? - but because men
BECAME homosexuals there.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 12:07:51 GMT
Subject: Partnering as a basic human need

In the thread "Frum and Gay", an anonymous "Becky" wrote: <<< I think
you will agree that "partnering" with another human being is a hardwired
human need -- the Torah seems to think so. >>>

I agree with the rest of her post, but I need to comment on this one
point, because it has bothered me for many years.

My personal subjective emotional feeling is that, yes indeed, I feel
that I've been hard-wired to need physical closeness with another
person. But, unlike what Becky sees, I do *not* see evidence of this in
the Torah.

The Torah says that a wife has a right to expect such closeness from her
husband, and he is obligated to provide it to her. But there is no
corresponding obligation in the other direction, and I've always been
perplexed over this. It would seem that from the Torah's perspective,
men and women are not equal in this area.

Some have pointed out that a wife *is* obligated to her husband, and
that if she refuses she is considered a "moredet" and will forfeit her
kesuba. But as I understand it, that is based merely on her agreement to
be his wife and the societal implications of that agreement. It is a far
cry from the sort of Torah obligation which the Torah places on the

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 49 Issue 39