Volume 59 Number 02 
      Produced: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 16:13:26 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Mail-jewish team]
"Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality (5)
    [Stuart Wise  Jeanette  Friedman  Ira L. Jacobson  Meir Shinnar  Frank Silbermann]
Get Suggestion 
    [Carl Singer]
Heat and Halachah (2)
    [Ira L. Jacobson  Ira L. Jacobson]
homosexual cures 
    [Jeanette  Friedman]
Protecting molesters 
    [Meir Shinnar]
To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew 
    [Meir Shinnar]


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From: Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

LISA LIEL wrote(MJ 58#98):

> It's to  show gay Jews that the Torah is not off limits to
> them.  That there  is no "fee" to get in that requires falsifying
> one's identity.  That  being frum and gay simultaneously is simply a
> matter of refraining from  acts that are forbidden.  Not to minimize
> the difficulty this may  present, of course, but that is the sum and
> total of it.

Why would anyone think that the Torah is off limits under any circumstance? 
 I don't understand that, unless someone inculcated them with such an 
idea -- which  makes no sense. Also, I think not mentioned here are those 
homosexuals that want to be accepted not only for being gay but for acting gay
-- in other words, gay couples, who may or may not be engaging in sexual
activities. I for one would have a hard time believing that such 
couples are strictly  platonic, and perhaps I am not alone with such an 
assessment, which may lead to people shunning such a couple. I myself would not,
but I can understand why some  people would.
Stuart Wise

From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

Frank Silverman writes (MJ 59#01):
> The belief (that homosexuality is a mental illness) is an artifact
> of late 19th and early 20th century attempts by psychologists and
> psychiatrists to have society stop treating their homosexual patients
> as  felons guilty of what some European countries considered to be a
> capital  crime.
And it is now, thanks to three biblical fundamentalist American 
evangelicals, punishable by death in Uganda and other African countries.

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

Lisa Liel <lisa@...> stated in mail-Jewish Vol.58 #98:

> Homosexuality is not an illness, and there is absolutely nothing in
> Judaism that says it is.

The practice of homosexuality is referred to in halakha as mishkav zakhur and is
a very serious infraction of Torah law.  So it can rightfully be called a sin.

While the psychiatric community (for, among other reasons, political
correctness) has removed homosexuality from its lists of illnesses, there 
is still a minority of mental health professionals who not only classify this as
an illness, but also claim to have positive results in their treatment of such

See the following description of the politics involved in reclassifying the
pathological nature of homosexuality 

http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html :

"In 1973, the weight of empirical data, coupled with changing social norms and
the development of a politically active gay community in the United States, led
the Board of Directors of the Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality 
from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Some
psychiatrists who fiercely opposed their action subsequently circulated a
petition calling for a vote on the issue by the Association's membership. That
vote was held in 1974, and the Board's decision was ratified."

Clearly, the majority, who do not regard the practice of homosexuality as
treatable, are not going to try to treat it.  Hence the relatively low number of
reports of successfully treated ex-homosexuals.

> That belief is an artifact of late 19th and >early 20th century primitive
> attempts at >psychology and psychiatry, and has no place in any discussion
> about Jewish norms.

See also http://www.equip.org/PDF/DH055-1.pdf :

"Dr. Charles Socarides - who was at the [American Psychiatric Association, APA]
meetings and was an expert in the area of homosexuality, having treated
homosexuals for more than twenty years - described the political atmosphere 
leading up to the 1973 vote.  He writes that during this time, 'militant
homosexual groups continued to attack any psychiatrist or psychoanalyst who
dared to present his findings as to the psychopathology [i.e., the study of 
mental disorders from all aspects] of homosexuality before national or local
meetings of psychiatrists or in public forums.'  Elsewhere Socarides stated that
the decision of the APA trustees was 'the medical hoax of the century.'

"Was this the end of the debate? Did the vast majority of 'competent'
psychiatrists agree with the APA's decision?  In 1977 ten thousand members 
of the APA were polled at random, asking them their opinion on this.  In an
article entitled 'Sick Again?' Time magazine summarized the results of the poll:
"Of those answering, 69% said they believed 'homosexuality is usually a 
pathological adaptation, as opposed to a normal variation,' 18% disagreed and
13% were uncertain."

Now I shall duck while all the enlightened PC people here attack.


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

Melech Press wrote (MJ 58 # 98):

> Joseph Kaplan (MJ 58#97) quotes a "frum expert" on homosexuality who says that
> one can no more repent and be cured from homosexuality than one can repent 
> and be cured from being a quadriplegic.  The person who supposedly made 
> that statement (and I will accept that Mr. Kaplan is quoting correctly) 
> is not only not an "expert" on these issues but is an ignoramus and a 
> fool.  I would be more than happy to discuss with Mr. Kaplan any 
> evidence that his expert can bring to bear on his statement and we will 
> see if he can support his claim.  The bottom line is that we simply do 
> not know the etiology of same-sex attractions in a convincing way and we 
> certainly have reason to believe that the "expert"'s statement is 
> scientifically false.  This is not to deny that there are many who claim 
> to be experts in this area who make politically correct statements, but 
> only that they are almost universally unwilling to submit their claims 
> to careful scientific examination.

This is not my area, and I have not gone through the primary data.  Furthermore,
I would agree that the subject is heavily politicized - on both sides of the
debate. However, while Dr. Press may be right about the quality of the data
supporting the incurability of homosexuality (not having reviewed it, it is
difficult to argue, especially in a forum like this, about detailed scientific
issues), I think that he would agree that in the field, his position is a
minority position - and that most psychiatrists do (whether rightly or wrongly)
subscribe to the opposing position - and that there have been many studies
published about the biological bases of homosexuality (again, scientific quality
may be debated).  This consensus includes also frum psychiatrists and
psychologists, as well as religious professionals from other religions, who
don't have a political axe to grind. Furthermore, while the quality of the data
supporting the incurability may be problematic, the data supporting the opposite
position is even more problematic...

Therefore, as a professional, Dr. Press is entitled (and even obligated) to
follow what he thinks the truth is on his reading of the data.  However, it is a
bit harsh to criticize someone who states the reigning consensus as an
"ignoramus and fool". For most of us, who are not in the field, following the
reigning consensus seems the best approximation to the truth (knowing full well
that the consensus may be wrong...)

Meir Shinnar

From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

Subject:  "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

 Russell J Hendel v59 #01:
> I asserted that the principles SHOULD have had a  STRONG clause stating that
> Judaism BELIEVES in man's capacity to repent.  Jeanette and Joe Kaplan 
> demurred. Joe pointed out that not all experts believe this - hence a 
> statement of principles might not want to go against the experts.
> But that is PRECISELY my point. If Judaism believes something that 
> psychologists do not believe, isn't it our duty to clearly state Jewish 
> beliefs (and toacknowledge that we fully and strongly disagree with modern 
> psychology).
> I really think the principles missed a golden opportunity. I also think they
> were wrong in not standing up to science.

I think two separate issues are being confused.
I do not believe that modern psychologists deny that homosexuals have a capacity
to repent.  (If anything, they deny that homosexual behavior even requires it.)
A separate issue is whether homosexuals have a capacity to change.
Many therapists nowadays say no.  And while Judaism believes in man's capacity
to repent, I have never heard that the average Jew has the capability,
through repentence, to eliminate his Yetzer Hara (sinful desires).
At best one might speculate that might happen, sometimes.
As for the prospect of a homosexual suppressing his homosexual desires
and leading a heterosexual life despite them, I suppose the difficulty depends
upon the degree of bisexuality present.
Frank Silbermann, Memphis, Tennessee


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Get Suggestion

Batya Medad (MJ58#99) provides a thoughtful suggestion re: get.

> There are cases of men who after initiating religious, halachik divorce
> then refuse to give a get once the wife wants the divorce.  Wouldn't it
> be helpful if Batei Din would require men who initiate a divorce to
> deposit a get with them as a condition?  The husband must also be
> informed that by signing the Ketuba, he has legally pledged $X money to
> his wife.  And some legal-financial procedure should be established to
> compensate the wife according to Jewish Law, according to the Ketuba.
> This would prevent men from using divorce as a threat.  And yes, the
> same can be required from the wife, some sort of legal pledge to accept
> the get if she initiates divorce.  Property negotiation should be
> separate from the get.

> Premarital Jewish counseling by the rabbi should include an
> explanation of what the Ketuba, witnessed and signed, really means.
> It's a chillul Hashem that the Batei Din don't enforce it.

There have been several well thought out "legal" or "structural" attempts to
deal with this problem. I believe that no amount of halachic "innovation" will
yield some pre-nuptual document which could automatically be invoked as a
legitimate get at the time of divorce (without the need of either party
to consent at that time)

There are, I believe, pre-nuptual documents that compel the granting of a
get -- these still seem to require some action by the parties involved and may
be halachically controversial.

I never thought I'd quote (or possibly misquote) General Eisenhower in the
MJ forum -- but why not?: "You can't push a string."

I'm afraid that no documentation, no contracts, no threats or coercion, not
even the fear of HaShem will work.   Logical solutions do not work in the midst
of emotional turmoil.

The role of Batei Din is another topic, perhaps a tangent for another post.
All are not equally scrupulous and even-handed.



From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Heat and Halachah

Shemuel Himelstein <him <els@...> stated (MJ 59#01) :

> If I am not mistaken, many Israeli Charedi homes which use 
> battery-driven light on Shabbat nevertheless have a ruling of many 
> years' standing that they may use electricity for a refrigerator on 
> Shabbat, because there is no way a battery can keep a refrigerator 
> working (and I assume that a lack of refrigeration could cause real 
> health problems).

There are neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods in Benei Beraq, among 
other places, that have private electric generators to solve that problem.

I read recently that the Israel Electric Company is encouraging this.

It appears that this past Shabbat, most of Benei Beraq was without 
electricity.  Rav Hayyim Kanievsky had informed the IEC that most of 
Benei Beraq uses private generators on Shabbat, so that when IEC had 
to cut down on electricity consumption, they considered that they 
would be doing the least inconvenience if they disconnected Benei 
Beraq, or so it is stated in 


Another story is that there was a fault this past Shabbat, and the 
IEC knew what protests there would be if they repaired in the same day.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Heat and Halachah

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> stated the following in 
mail-jewish Vol.59 #01 Digest:

> The Israeli Maariv paper of August 24

Wasn't it from the 23rd?

> carried an article that in the synagogue of Rabbi Chaim Kanievski 
> (son of the Steipler), which had not used Israeli-produced 
> electricity on Shabbat (due to the fact that Jews are involved in 
> its production on that day), a rabbi fainted on a recent Shabbat due 
> to the intense heat wave which enveloped the country. According to 
> the newspaper, as a result Rabbi Kanievski has now permitted the 
> installation of an air conditioner in the synagogue.

The story is this.  The Steipeler used electricity from a private 
generator on Shabbat.  Nevertheless, he did not permit air 
conditioners to be installed in his Beis Medrash, not even for use on weekdays.

His son, Reb Hayyim continued this procedure.

However, after a rav fainted from the heat in the Beis Medrash this 
past Shabbat, Reb Hayyim told his gabba'im to install air conditioners.

One problem will be to avoid purchasing Electra air conditioners, 
which are being avoided by most Haredim until the cemetery excavation 
issue in Yafo is resolved.  But there are plenty of other brands 
available.  However, Reb Hayyim objects to thermostat control and 
accepts only Shabbos-clock control, and Electra is one of the few 
brands that provides this option, as I understand.



From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: homosexual cures

Russell Hendel wrote (MJ 59#01):

> if through traumatic events he now feels differently he can repent (from

In most cases, homosexuality is a physical condition caused in the womb by  
hormonal changes. There are even people who because of these hormonal 
washes early in a mother's pregnancy born with both sets of sexual 
organs, and  parents and doctors have to decide what to do about that. There are
men trapped in women's bodies and women trapped in men's bodies. This is a 
scientific fact proven by X-rays, cat scans and other medical procedures, 
and in many cases, these people are surgically corrected and when they are 
adults, you might never know if they started life as a member of the 
opposite sex.
According to Wikipedia:

> People with intersex conditions sometimes choose to live  exclusively as
> one sex or the other, using clothing, social cues, genital  surgery, and
> hormone replacement therapy to blend into the sex they identify with more
> closely. Some people who are intersex, such as some of those with
> Klinefelter's syndrome and androgen insensitivity syndrome, outwardly
> appear completely female or male already, without realizing they are
> intersex. Other kinds of intersex conditions are identified immediately at
> birth... Intersex is thought by some to be caused by unusual sex hormones;
> the unusual hormones may be caused by an atypical set of sex  chromosomes.
> (Kim M.D., Kyu-Rae; Youngmee Kwon M.D., Jae Young Joung  M.D., Kun Suk Kim
> M.D., Alberto G Ayala M.D. and Jae Y Ro M.D. (2002). . Modern Pathology
> (Nature Publishing Group) 15 (10): 1013"1019.)
There are, of course, varying manifestations of these disorders, and even  
if you inject people with "counter" hormones for the rest of their lives, 
you might not be able to "fix" the "problem."
What you are asking someone to do, if he or she is an Orthodox homosexual, 
is to coerce themselves into living lives without sexual love and 
intimacy. You cannot force such people to marry the opposite sex without
condemning them to living a lie in their souls and  hearts, and to a life of
misery. Friendship is one thing, intimacy and sexual loving are another. It's
like asking someone to cut his own heart out or be a nazir.


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Protecting molesters

> Menashe Elyashiv (MJ 58 #99) wrote:
> BTW, most of the victems dropped out of Yeshiva with in a short time
> A story just came up about a teacher in a Haredi moshav, that had been a 
> molster for 20 years! But the LOR would not allow going to the police. So 
> they made him a fundraiser. He was in the USA when the story came out, and 
> of course he never came back here. 

While I agree in general with the post, it illustrates one aspect of the
problem.  The term LOR refers to local Orthodox rabbi.  We have to have zero
tolerance of molesters - and zero tolerance of those who protect them - and a
rav who would not allow going to the police is not an Orthodox rav - just as
someone who is mechallel shabbat is not Orthodox - and we have to learn to stop
referring to them as such.  

Furthermore, we have to start acting appropriately against them and their
institutions  e.g. not give money to any institution that protects molesters (I
have dropped out of the OU after the Lanner affair, and after Weinreb reneged on
his promise with the Tropp affair will never join), boycott hashgachot (and
publicize - letters to companies, ads, etc) whose mashgichim and supervision
protect molesters, etc.  Until it becomes unacceptable not only to molest, but
to protect the molesters, nothing will happen... Too many people are shocked by
the episodes, want to help, but are unwilling to act against the enablers.

Meir Shinnar


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew

Akiva Miller (MJ 58 # 99) wrote:
> I apologize if it sounded like I did not believe their problem to be real.
> That was not my intention. I do understand that some people have real
> leadership strengths, and other strengths and needs, and I sympathize that
> they are frustrated in their inability to use those talents. My question
> (which I still have not heard them answer) was whether or not their negative
> feelings are dampened (even a little bit) by the privileges they have which
> men do not have.

I had written (MJ 58#97): 

>> The rule that you can't judge someone until you are in his place
>> should be remembered.
> Again, I have tried very hard not to judge, but merely to ask whether or
> not my guesses match their feelings.
I don't know whether their negative feelings are dampened "a little bit" - I do
know that by their actions and feelings, those negative feelings are there, and
quite strong   Furthermore, what underlies this post and attitude is the belief
that the people with those feelings haven't fully thought out or are unaware of
all the great things that come with their status - and now that they have been
pointed out maybe they will do tshuva....  

Meir Shinnar


End of Volume 59 Issue 2