Volume 7 Number 17

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Palo Alto
         [Stan Payzer]
Salute to Israel Parade (4)
         [Josh Rapps, Janice Gelb, Joseph Greenberg, Len Moskowitz]


From: <payzer@...> (Stan Payzer)
Date: Wed, 5 May 93 11:28:00 -0400
Subject: Palo Alto

Apologies for bothering the list on such short notice and for forgetting
where the traveler data files are archived.

I'll be spending May 10 through 14 in Palo Alto attending a class at
3260 Hillview Avenue. Any information on grocery, take out, and sit down
food is appreciated. Convenient minyanim will also be considered. Please
reply directly to "<payzer@...>". Todah (Thanks).


From: <jr@...> (Josh Rapps)
Date: Wed, 5 May 93 10:12 EDT
Subject: Re: Salute to Israel Parade

I would like to add my 2 cents on this subject, but from a slightly
different angle. There is a fascinating Gemara in Sanhedrin 74a-b that
discusses the famous cases oh yehareg veal yaavor (YVA'Y) (one should
submit to death in order to sanctify the name of Hashem rather than
transgress and desecrate the name of Hashem g'f). The Gemara says that
YVA'Y applies only to the big 3, gilui arayot shefichat damim and avodah
zarah (forbidden sexual relationships, murder, idolatry).  However in
the time of Gezayrat Hamalchut (an evil king wishing tocause the jewish
people to transgress on the mitzvot, see the Rambam in Hilchot Yesodei
Hatorah, 5:3) then one is required to be mekadesh shem shamayim
(publicly sanctify gd's name) even for a Mitzvah Kalah (literally a
Mitzvah that may seem trivial. This interpretation is admittedly
shallow, but I will not go into this any further and just note the
famous mishnah in Avot 2:1 hevay zahir bmitzvah kalah kevachamurah...).
The Gemara continues that pressure to violate a Mitzvah Kalah, like
changing the way jews tie their sandals based on pressure by Malchut
Harasha (evil government), would constitute cause for kidush hashem
(sanctifying gd's name).  There is an asterisk in the Gemara on 74a that
offers an interpretation for Sheat Gezayrat Hamalchut: in order to lead
jews away from their faith towards practicing idolatry.  Rashi (74b,
dibur hamatchil Arketa) adds that where there is a situation where there
where there is an accepted behavior within Yahadut added to the
underlying principle that B'Y are modest, to change the behavior of B'Y
in such a situation and to conform to the whims of the Government is not
permitted and such a situation is a candidate for kidush hashem.

I would interpret this to mean that in a society that brings undue
pressure on B'Y to change their ways of Tzniyut in a situation where the
correct behavior definitely has a Tzad Yahadut associated with it then
we must resist and protest both the behavior of society and reject their
trying to foist it upon us. The current climate of the political season
in N.Y.C.  and the involvement of the city government in the social and
religious affairs of the residents of the city (witness the recent
situation surrounding the st. patricks day parade lehavdil eleph alphi
havdalot (to distinguish between) and the comments by the Mayor of NYC
regarding how pleased he was that the Jewish Organizations were so
willing to accept his opinion on the desires of society regarding
allowing gays to march in the parade) to my mind raise the need to
reject this pseudo Gezayart Hamalchut and not to participate in the
march. Kiddush Hashem need not require a situation of laying your life
down. "Just saying no" is a just as powerful an act of Kiddush Hashem.

There is a significant difference between partcipating with
non-religious groups that are openly Mechalel Shabbos (desecrate the
shabbos) as these groups are not forced into the parade as an act of
gezayrat hamalchut (act of government).  Rather their participation in
showing support for Eretz Yisrael may be viewed as genuine and they have
no agenda other than support of E'Y. The gay group I believe is doing
this for selfish reasons, having been emboldened by the pressure applied
by the city government. Their participation will turn the parade into a
showcase for gay rights rather than support for Israel.  This can only
result in a chillul hashem (desecration of gd's name) and I believe that
Yeshivot should not help them in their unholy quest. Some have suggested
that we should go and make it be known that we are against the gay
participation. I would disagree with this because the protest against
their participation would make a mockery out of the real reason for
participating in the parade: to show support for E'Y.  I would venture a
guess that the major media coverage and talk surrounding the parade will
center around the gay participation and not the protests of their
paraticipation or the expressions of support for E'Y.  Better not to go
at all and let the absence of a significant number of participating
organizations speak out against their participation.

However, I would like to see the yeshivot that will not be participating
in the parade set aside another day, perhaps Yom Yerushalayim to get
together and celebrate in a torah way and atmosphere, with shir
vashevach (song and praise) to Hashem for giving us back Eretz Yisrael
in our lifetimes and pray that hopefully He will bring Moshiach soon as

josh rapps

From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Sat, 1 May 93 17:11:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Salute to Israel Parade

In mail.jewish Vol. 7 #12 Digest, Arnold Lustiger writes:

> 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.

Depends on your viewpoint: homosexuals feel that the prohibition against
gay sex does not apply any more, just as Reform and some Conservative
Jews and synagogues feel that other Biblical restrictions do not apply
any more. That is why the Reform movement is in existence!  Also, the
Reform movement allows gay synagogues to affiliate with it and has for
years: why has there been no boycott due to this "permissiveness"?

> 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.

I doubt that the name of the gay congregation is "Defiers of Leviticus."
And I guarantee you that the members of the gay synagogue do not
"identify themselves as violators of specific transgressions."  And, I
might add that members of a gay synagogue could very well identify
themselves as homosexuals but never have actually had homosexual sex;
the Bible does not prohibit an orientation, just an explicit act.

> 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. 

What is the spiritual cost here? Are you seriously suggesting that the
presence of members of a gay synagogue marching in a parade (sponsored,
let me remind you, not by a religious organization but by a Zionist one)
are going to inspire Jewish onlookers to become homosexual themselves?
Or are going to make onlookers believe that Judaism actively promotes

> 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.

I find this comparison outrageous: murderers harm others; homosexuals
harm no one.

> 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.
> 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.

The desired effect of the parade is for Jewish groups to show their 
support of the State of Israel; not to make any statements implied 
or otherwise, about the acceptance of the Jewish community of the 
views held by any marcher in that parade.

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

From: <Joseph_Greenberg@...> (Joseph Greenberg)
Date: Sat, 1 May 93 17:10:39 -0400
Subject: Salute to Israel Parade

On the issue of the boycott of the parade, I have several questions/points.
1) I don't believe that "the gay synagogue" calls itself that. They have a
name (Bait something or other). They do _not_ identify themselves primarily
as gay, they identify themselves primarily as Jewish, who happen to be
gay. Their reason de etre is not being gay, their reson de etre is their
being Jewish, and because people can not treat them simply as human beings
(I think we would all admit that even those who sin are human), they decided
to form another synagogue. I personally wouldn't daven there, but then, I
wouldn't daven in a conservative synagogue either.
2) Perhaps this is ignorance, but I have always thought that gilui arayot
refers to prohibited _incestuous_ relationships (seven, I think). While
sex between men is considered an abomination (as is bestiality), I don't
believe that this is considered one of the arayot, and therefore would not
be yehareg v'al ya'avor (die and not transgress). I would say, though, that
even if I am wrong in this assumption (and I would appreciate being corrected
if I am), I still would feel the same way about the parade.
3) Allowing all Jews to march in the parade is a mark of our strength. To the
extent that we exclude _anyone_, we lessen the impact, and the perceived
support of Zionism. I don't have to mention what this can cause in the future,
but for that matter, look what "we" look like now to more right-wing groups
that wouldn't march in the parade anyway.
4) I personally find it offensive that two people (so far) conceived of the
comparison of "murderers" relating to a conversation of homosexuals (no, I
didn't say that you called them murderers, only that you could think of that
at the same time, in the same breath). I strongly believe that those who can
do this would likely find some rationale to march with the Beit Mavet
(murderer's sysnagogue), because they don't have as much personal bias
against murder (let's face it, if you bumped into two people in a subway, one
gay and one a murderer, which would you feel more "grossed-out" about?).
5) I don't think the issue needs to be our halachic rejection of their
behavior; I don't think they intended on marching with a banner that said
were they going to march in drag or leather, like some notables in Washington
last week. The issue needs to be whether or not we can stand next to someone
that we don't approve of, and still support Israel and Zionism. If this was
a parade in honor of halacha, then I would agree that "they" should be
6) While I would agree that Wise was a mumar l'hachis (intentionally
fomented dissent), I would think that most reform temple members are not
just "observantly lax" (hey, this could be the p.c. word for Reform!), they
are there because they are conciously not interested in maintaining any of the
halachic guidelines that have been transmitted over the years. If you really
feel that current Reform is not mumar l'hachis, then I assume that you would
be prepared to give any Reform person (including "Rabbinate") an aliyah to
the Torah. If you still maintain that this is assur (prohibited) (by the way,
as I do), then you can not say that the congregation is just there out of
convenience. And imagine trying to let the Reform members march, but not
their Rabbis!
7) I can't help but get the feeling that the Orthodox community is once
again selectively applying the slippery slope doctrine. Many of the Orthodox
would prefer to exclude Reform as well, but they know where there yeshiva
budgets are buttered. I can't help but wonder what the frum community would
say (or what rationale would "suddenly" develop) if the gay synagogue
decided to raise and provide funds for yeshivot (straight ones, I mean, like
Telshe, Or Samayach, etc.).

From: Len Moskowitz <moskowit@...>
Date: Sat, 1 May 93 17:10:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Salute to Israel Parade

Janice Gelb writes:

> 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.

Keep in mind that Rav Herschel Schachter (one of the Roshei Yeshiva at
YU) has not asked for a total boycott of the parade but rather that
Orthodox organizations not march *in* the parade.  He suggested that
anyone who wants to participate should do so from the sidewalk as an

Len Moskowitz


End of Volume 7 Issue 17