Volume 7 Number 9

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cemetery in Brooklyn
         [Aliza Berger]
Orthodox Boycott of the 1993 Salute to Israel Parade (4)
         [Avi Feldblum, Janice Gelb, Yosef Bechhofer, Lon Eisenberg]


From: <A_BERGER@...> (Aliza Berger)
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1993 22:59:42 EDT
Subject: Cemetery in Brooklyn

I think the only Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn is the Washington
Cemetery, address:
Bay Parkway and McDonald Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11230

Telephone: 718-377-8690 (from the phone book - Baruch hashem I have
never used this number myself, so I can't vouch for it)


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 07:35:19 -0400
Subject: Orthodox Boycott of the 1993 Salute to Israel Parade

I also find the decision by the Orthodox Leadership in this issue to be
disturbing, as I had discussed with both Sam's prior to their submitting
their postings. Some of the issues were touched on by Sam and Sam,
others by Lon and Janice a bit.

While I think I disagree with Janice about what "right" or even
"responsibility" the Orthodox Leadership has, as it seems to me that
they have the clear right to say to their followers that we will not
participate in some activity for whatever reason, the question in my
mind is whether they are indeed properly exercising their
"responsibility". This leads first to a point both Janice and Lon made
on one side of the issue, and Yoseph on the other (and goes back to our
discussion earlier in the year on homosexuality). Is there a fundimental
difference between homosexuality and explicit rejection of the authority
of Halakha? For as has been pointed out, there have always been many
participants in the Parade from Reform Synagogues (whose fundamental
philosophy of allowing/demanding each person to choose what mitzvot to
keep), and groups like Hashomer Hatzair (I hope I got the correct
zionist group here, they are strongly anti-religious and many of the
leaders are openly atheistic). From the point of view of association, it
would appear to me that the latter would fall under the catagory of
"mumar lehachis" - a philosophic rejection of the fundamentals of
Judaism as we understand it, while the former are "mumar leteavon" - a
rejection of one mitzah due to the desires of the flesh, to be compared
more to those who eat non-kosher. From a "lumdish" [don't have a good
translation for this, talmudic technical is the best I come up with
right now] perspective, I would argue that you cannot believe them, in
the legal sense, as the actions done are in private and we don't accept
confessions in Halakha (unless there was a group of three and you
understand the sugya of palginan deburei, which I spent a long time with
and remain uncomfortable with [ignore if you don't understand]). This is
in contrast to those who openly eat non-kosher and desecrate the
Shabbat. The counter arguement has been the classic "slippery slope"
arguement that what has been done in the past cannot easilly be changed,
but now it is time to put a stake in ground and no longer allow anything

The responsibility question to my mind then comes down to, is what is it
that we come out with by engaging in this boycott? Can we do a
cost/benefit analysis and be convinced that the benefit outways the
costs? It is on this point that I am very skeptical. I do not believe we
will "win" this issue, as happened (maybe) in the St. Patrick day parade
issue. The parade is likely to occur without orthodox participation and
with the gay participation. The "PR" outcome will be that the Orthodox
do not support Israel, and additional publicity will be gained by the
gay congregation. I do not believe that any significant number of
additional orthodox people will "become" gay or openly
associate/advocate gay positions because they march in the same parade
as one where a gay synagogue marches.

I find Sam Saal's suggestion more interesting, although I don't think I
fully agree with it. I think that part of my hesitation is that it
conjures up in my mind the tactics of the Christian fundamentalists
which I am uncomfortable with having orthodox Judaism associated with in
the view of the outside world. The other issue is the differentiation of
homosexuality from all the other violations that are represented at the
parade. Maybe the placards should have three verses on it. The first, in
the largest type would be one of the verses which say that you should
follow all the mitzvot in the Torah, with under it two other verses, say
Shabbat and homosexual acts. I would be more comfortable with that. We
stake out our real message, that we believe that Halakha must be
followed. While the gay march may be what triggers the "slippery slope"
response, the response must be more general.

Avi Feldblum
mail.jewish Moderator

From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 93 17:34:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Orthodox Boycott of the 1993 Salute to Israel Parade

In mail.jewish Vol. 7 #4 Digest, Sam Saal says: 
> Recently, a letter sent to Orthodox schools and educators called on them
> to boycott the parade because a gay congregation demanded its "right" to
> march.
> The gay congregation seems to have made up its mind to march even if the
> Orthodox boycott. Thus, it appears that recognition of this lifestyle is
> of greater importance than support for Israel. After all, more Orthodox
> will boycott than gays will march.

And Samuel Gamoran says:

> This past Shabbat, Rabbi Kaminetzky of Cong. Ohav Emeth (Highland Park,
> N.J.)  read exerpts from a letter signed by various Orthodox
> organizations (e.g.  the OU, NCSY, Emunah, Amit, Association of Day
> Schools, etc.).  In effect the letter said that they would be boycotting
> the parade unless 'the necessary changes would be made'.  The Rabbi
> added that 'it was unfortunate that certain groups are using the parade
> to turn attention to their own private issues.'  (At no time did he or
> the letter mention a specific group or the issue of homosexuality).
> IMHO, it would be far better to ignore a group that Orthodoxy finds
> offensive rather than to empower them with a boycott.
> On a personal level I am deeply disappointed.
> I will not attend the parade if 'official' Orthodoxy has declared a boycott
> but I was certainly looking forward to it.  

What does observance of Halacha have to do with Jews showing support for
Israel? I don't see that "official Orthodoxy" has any right or
responsibility to judge what other Jewish groups wish to show their
support for Israel. The march is a Zionist rather than a religious one.

And even assuming "official Orthodoxy" DID have a right or
responsibility to judge, they haven't used this option in the past for
other groups who have marched who also have beliefs or practices not in
accordance with Orthodox belief or tradition. Have the Orthodox groups
threatened a boycott in the past because Reform Jews, who eat treyf and
are mechalel Shabbat, are marching? Or because Reconstructionist Jews
are marching, or anti-Da'ati kibbutz garinim?  I doubt it, so I don't
see where they can claim to all of a sudden be exercising such a right
or responsibility now against one group but not against many others in
the same category.

I find this deeply disturbing. 

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 

From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 93 19:56:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Orthodox Boycott of the 1993 Salute to Israel Parade

Homosexual Synagouge

        It seems to me that there is no difference between an openly
homosexual synagouge and a so called Messianic (Jews for J) synagogue.
Both carry the banner of aveiros which are yehareg v'al ya'avors [it is
required to give up one's life rather than transgress - Mod.], and are
thus antithetical to Judaism. I realize that some may distinguish
between one of the Rambam's thirteen principles, and something which is
"only" a Toe'eva", but in my opinion that is only a difference of
degree, not substance. I do not think any Orthodox organization would
march with a Messianic synagogue, and the same approach should apply to
the the homosexual one.

From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 93 08:35:04 -0400
Subject: Orthodox Boycott of the 1993 Salute to Israel Parade

I will not be attending.  It is a bit far for me to travel.  Besides, for me,
every day is "Israeli Day".  But I don't think it should be boycotted:

With all this talk of boycotting the parade, I wonder why it was never
boycotted in the past.  Aren't there groups who have marched (reform, etc.)
who advocate Sabbath desecration, non-observance of dietary laws, and almost
complete rejection of the Torah?  They, in fact, "do their thing" where all
can see.  At least the gays are usually a bit more discrete.


End of Volume 7 Issue 9