Volume 7 Number 12

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Salute to Israel Day Parade (6)
         [Yosef Bechhofer, Joe Abeles, Shlomo H. Pick, Arnold Lustiger,
Rechell Schwartz, Joseph Greenberg]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1993 20:45:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Just a quick note on the posting address and  archive server mail-jewish

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Avi Feldblum
mail.jewish Moderator


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 19:09:30 -0400
Subject: Salute to Israel Day Parade

     It seems that I am among the minority of MJ readers on this issue,
being favorably inclined (from Chicago) to the boycott of the NY March,
but so be it!
     As to the distinction between marching with Homosexuals as opposed
to HaShomer HaTzair and, of course, for that matter, any Reform or
Conservative synagogue, the difference in my opinion is clear. In a
Reform or any other Temple, group, etc., to the best of my
understanding, the banner and theme is not: "we are here to be Mechalel
Shabbos, that is the raison d'etre of our institution." This may have
been Isaac Mayer Wise's intent way back when, and he was indeed, IMHO, a
Mumar L'Hachis.  Today however, the reform movement is only, in our
perspective, "watered down" observance, and their banner may defined as:
"we are more open and inclusive." This is not the same as a Congregation
which states: "we are here to be homosexual, this is our raison d'etre!"
     Nonetheless, had all the publicity not preceded this event, I agree
that this did not have necessarily to be a sticking point.  At this
point, however, Alexander Schindler and other leaders of the Reform
movement have made it too high a profile issue with too much at stake.
Bereft of the symbolism inherent in attendant publicity it would have
not been a statement. Now, the focus on the issue has made this a test
of the Legitimacy of an Aberration.
     Let me make this more graphic: suppose Cong. "Beth Esav," whose
slogan was "murderers, and proud of it" were involved in the March.
What then should be the Orthodox response?
     BTW, I received my information from the Long Island Jewish World.
The representative (pro and con ) Rabbinical sources on the Orthodox
side, quoted there, while perhaps Communal Leaders, are by no stretch of
the Imagination Poskim in Halacha.  perhaps one (incorrectly, in my
opinion, as evinced by the very much Halachic debate over Communal Unity
in other areas) might hold that this is not a Halachic matter, yet,
nonetheless, at the very least, Poskim Gedolim should be queried as to a
matter that effects Am Yisroel!

From: Joe Abeles <joe_abeles@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 12:32:47 EDT
Subject: Salute to Israel Day Parade

Let me state at the outset that I do not in any way accept the premise
-- claimed by the so-called "gay-rights" groups -- that there even
exists such a phenomenon as homosexuality (excepting that, obviously,
there is such a thing as homosexual behavior).

Nevertheless interesting issues are raised by the current fracas.

An issue w.r.t. Israel and, of course, the Israel Day Parade (vis a vis
the Orthodox) is that Orthodox support for Israel has not in the past
nor today been a "given."  I believe that there is a real question here
as to whether or to what degree any decision not to march in the parade
is in response to the participation of the homosexuals (as ostensibly
claimed) and whether or to what degree it rests on a long-standing
disapproval on the part of Orthodox rabbis of the State of Israel.

In sum, the homosexual marching issue simply reflects an inability of
Orthodox halachic authorities to influence non-Orthodox Jews, or, to
more passively state the same thing, live among and participate with all
other Jews who do not act publicly as though they respect and are bound
by halachic principles.  Orthodoxy does not easily tolerate pluralism
among Jews, especially when it permits overt violation of Orthodox
norms.  (Private violations by contrast seem to be tolerated and
considered as if only between man and Hashem).

Consider the following example: If a sizable, vocal, and identifying
group of, e.g., homosexuals, tried to participate in a function
sponsored by, especially, a Brooklyn, right-wing, Orthodox group, they
would be excluded.  The same Orthodox groups cannot adequately influence
the policies of the State of Israel, and this has been the bone of
contention from day one in the Zionist/Religious Antizionist

Accomodations were reached because they didn't violate most Orthodox
peoples' principles to a very great extent and because they benefitted
those people materially particularly with respect to yeshivot and
related institutions in Israel which receive sizable government funding
and benefit as well in other ways (e.g., exemption from military

In the same vein, the Orthodox rabbis cannot prevent homosexual groups
from acting publicly in Israel; nor can they prevent other non-Halachic
groups from doing the same.  This threatens to disrupt the modus vivendi
which has stably evolved there.  That is the problem which the parade
controversy represents.

From: Shlomo H. Pick <F12013%<BARILAN.bitnet@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 12:32:13 EDT
Subject: Salute to Israel Day Parade

Concerning Yoseph Bechoffer's comments on gay synagogues and his
comparison to messianic one's - would he be of the same opinion
concerning those synagouges who sanction chillul shabbat and at
the end of Hilchot Shabbat the Rambam does draw a parallelism
between shabbat observance and idolatry (messianic jews).  The
reaction seems to be emotional and sitting in Eretz Yesrael I
don't think I clearly understand the emotions - certainly the
Salute to Israel Parade is a zionist affair and not necessarily
a religious one.

From: Arnold Lustiger <ALUSTIG%<ERENJ.BITNET@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 18:10:57 EDT
Subject: Salute to Israel Day Parade

I would like to register my opinion in favor of the boycott. This
argument is made on a number of levels:

1) " Is there a fundamental difference between homosexuality and
explicit rejection of the authority of halacha?" I submit that the
rejection of halacha by e.g. reform, hashomer hatzair is fundamentally
different qualitatively than the rejection of halacha by a gay
synagogue. The rejection of halacha by Reform groups does not involve
any of the three cardinal sins, especially "gilui arayot" (sexual
immorality). The basic sexual morality of all Jewish based organizations
was never at question until now. The rejection of halacha per se is not
"yaharog ve'al ya'avor" (a sin under which one should give up his life
rather than submit), gilui arayot is.

2) Secondly, another qualitative difference is that Reform, Hashomer
Hatzair, do not *identify* themselves as violators of specific
transgessions.  For example, no Reform synagogue is called "Bet Hanaa
(House of Pleasure): the wife swapping synagogue".  In the case of the
gay synagogue, they identify themselves explicitly through a Biblically
defined moral crime.

3) The "benefit question": what do we gain by boycotting? First, let me
say that there must be a theoretical point beyond which no Jew would
march.  For example: would you march in the parade if an officially
sanctioned group was marching identified under the banner "the
murderers' synagogue"? Yet the same question would apply: what benefit
would there be in boycotting such a parade?  The answer is that one
reaches a point where the spiritual cost to Jews and Judaism by their
participation outweighs the benefits to Israel. If this analogy sounds a
little extreme, I submit that 20 years ago "the gay synagogue" would be
viewed as negatively in public perception as "the murderers' synagogue"
would be today.

4) Most importantly, touching again on the benefit question. In this
week's parshiot of Acharei Mot- Kedoshim, the prohibition of gilui
arayot is identified with a particularly extreme and unfortunate result:
"taki ha'aretz": the land of Israel vomiting out it's inhabitants.  No
other set of transgressions has this punishment as a consequence.  I
submit that our passive acquiescence in allowing the gays to march in
the Salute to Israel parade may accomplish *precisely the opposite* of
the desired effect of the parade, which is, of course, the strengthening
of the State of Israel.

Passive acquiescence to transgression make us virtual accomplices to the
crime: the famous story of Kamza and Bar Kamza illustrates that the
destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash occurred not only due to Sin'at
Chinam (unwarranted hatred) but more import- antly due to the passivity
of the Rabbis to this sin'ah.  The Torah virtually promises that
widespread immorality will result in the destruction, chas veshalom, of
the State of Israel.  For this reason alone, we must do all we can to
limit the gay lifestyle as a viable "Jewish" option. Tacit acceptance of
their presence at the parade while they are identified in this way paves
the way for an acceptance of this lifestyle in the Jewish community.

I urge all to respect the boycott.

Arnie Lustiger

From: mtnet1!rrs (Rechell Schwartz)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 12:35:31 EDT
Subject: Salute to Israel Day Parade

I feel that Sam Saal's suggestion is far better than boycotting the
parade, but it is a less than perfect solution, since it still draws
attention away rom the original intent of the parade -- support for the
State of Israel. I certainly don't have any better solutions, and would
recommend Saal's solution over the alternative of boycotting the parade.

From: <Joseph_Greenberg@...> (Joseph Greenberg)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 14:42:57 -0400
Subject: Salute to Israel Day Parade

I fully concur with our moderator's analysis of the boycott dilemma (at
least for me it is a dilemma, although I live in Detroit, and I won't be
attending anyway). I would like to stress that while one can make the
case (as does R.  Bechoffer) that one aveira is as bad as another, we
have not, to date, excluded those who reject select (or all)
mitzvot/aveirot from the parade, and it is unlikely that we will be able
to acheive _anything_ by attempting to exclude those "rejectors" now (it
is interesting that this follows our discussion of Yom HaShoah, in that
during the Holocaust, no exclusions were allowed). In addition, if you
choose to "weight" the value of the mitzva that is being ignored
(willfully or casually) or the aveira (sin) that is being committed, I
would point out that we must remember to judge based on what our mesora
is, not upon out personal feelings. Yes, we regard halacha, but no, we
can not overlay our decisions with our own distaste.


End of Volume 7 Issue 12