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The Jewish Standard kicks out the gays

Timothy Kincaid

October 5th, 2010

Last week the Jewish Standard ran the engagement notice of Avi Smolen to Justin Rosen. However, Orthodox Rabbis thought that this was simply unacceptable. So they expressed their discontent.

And as it seems that the Jewish Standard believes that Smolen and Rosen’s sexual orientation makes them less Jewish (or at least less important), they’ve adopted an all-new “no homos” policy. And they have apologized. To the rabbis.

We set off a firestorm last week by publishing a same-sex couple’s announcement of their intent to marry. Given the tenor of the times, we did not expect the volume of comments we have received, many of them against our decision to run the announcement, but many supportive as well.

A group of rabbis has reached out to us and conveyed the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community to this issue. Our subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused.

The Jewish Standard has always striven to draw the community together, rather than drive its many segments apart. We have decided, therefore, since this is such a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future.

Well guess what, JS, you haven’t brought ANYONE together. When you throw some Jews out of the family due to the whining of others, you don’t have cohesion, you have coercion. And I think you’ll soon come to discover that there are more Jews in this country (and in New Jersey) who believe in inclusion than in winnowing out the not-Jewish-enough.



October 5th, 2010 | LINK

The comments on that article are heartening :)

October 5th, 2010 | LINK

It’d be nice if you could link to the article…

Chris McCoy
October 5th, 2010 | LINK

Here’s the link to the JS statement.

October 5th, 2010 | LINK

wow. what an outpouring of love and outrage in the comments to the JS statement. I particularly like Wayne’s:

“I assume the Standard will also stop running articles about women who work outside the home, wear immodest clothing, or sing in the presence of men, since those people might behave in way that offends the delicate sensitivities of a few readers? . . . pushing certain people back into invisibility in order to avoid being ‘divisive’ is, in itself, a horribly divisive stand. Shame.”

October 5th, 2010 | LINK

I should have linked to it, I didn’t notice it wasn’t, sorry.

October 5th, 2010 | LINK

They probably caved to 5-6 Orthodox rabbi’s but won’t be swayed by hundreds of outraged readers.

October 5th, 2010 | LINK

So far, of all the responses to the new exclusionary policy posted on the website, there is ONE agreeing with the policy. And that person posted anonymously.


Every. single. other. response condemns the bigotry, often in quite sharp and pointed language. My favorite response states that if the announcement of a joyous life event causes you pain, you need therapy.

October 5th, 2010 | LINK

Of all communities, the Jews?


October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for the links, y’all, and, yes, I do know how to use the google! I just wish Timothy would be a little more careful about linking to his sources in his posts.

October 6th, 2010 | LINK

“publication of the announcement caused pain”

Unless their eyes started bleeding from it, I fail to comprehend how mere publication caused anyone pain. Retracting it–especially so conspicuously–certainly did.

Ben in Oakland
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

I posted this there yesterday:

I am a Jewish, gay man, legally married in california to my partner of 9 years. When I was a boy, my aunt bell’s only son was going to marry a goy. Aunt Bell was ready to sit shiva for him. My father talked her out of it, pointing out that she was going to lose her son. When Howard died a few years later from cancer, Wanda was with him until the end, and Aunt Bell loved her like the dutiful daughter she had been.

Aunt Bell chose love instead of “pain and consternation”. She was rewarded for it, even in the depths of her sorrow.

Let’s fast forward. Would you also refuse to run a wedding announcement between a Jewish woman and a non-religious man, lest it cause pain to someone who does not know the people and is not involved in their lives? Let’s suppose that a secular newspaper refused to run a wedding announcement for a Jewish couple on the off chance that their bigoted readers might object? That would be just fine, right?

It always amazes me when fundamentalist (or otherwise) Jews manage to come up with excuses for bigotry. Gay people and Jews have been subject to Christian persecution for 2000 years. It is hard to tell which group has been hated more. There is a simple solution for those orthodox Jews who are so bothered by the existence of gay people that even the announcement of their existence causes “pain and consternation”.

It’s called live and let live.

If you don’t like gay people– excuse me, if your religious beliefs are offended by gay people– don’t be gay. don’t go to same-sex weddings. If you are so deeply offended that you cannot just skip that particular wedding announcement, then stop taking the Jewish standard.

Your problem is solved. the standard may lose a few readers, but it has contributed to the light in the world, not pervasive bigotry, whether it is admitted for what it is, or dressed up in its Saturday-go-to-Shabbat’ drag of “sincere religious belief”.

If the orthodox are so offended by the existence of gay people, maybe they should start their very own newspaper, where they can then exclude anyone they want.

Maybe they could call it “The Shtetl”.

October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Always amazing how those who have suffered at the hand of prejudice are only too eager to practice it themselves.

Timothy Kincaid
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

I looked through some of the comments on their announcement. As expected, the Jewish Standard has found itself the target of some really angry Jews.

I have noticed that among the most vocal and determined supporters of our community you will always find Jews: rabbis, community leaders, politicians, and grandmas.

Emily K
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

I’m proud so many of my people have spoken up for the right side of history. The comments section is gold.

October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Ben. Brilliant.

It seems such a short time ago when Christians were saying there weren’t any gay Jews. Funny how I sort of believed that until I encountered an Orthodox Jew wearing the standard uniform with a fur hat walking down Santa Monica Blvd. holding hands with an enormous black man at the Pride Parade.

Mark F.
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Well, the comments section after that statement really cheered me up. We are winning!

October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Well, looks like they attempted to diffuse the overwhelming animosity they generated, while not actually backing down from their position, by really listening to an anonymous group of people.

A Statement From the Publisher

We ran the wedding announcement because we felt, as a community newspaper, that it was our job to serve the entire community — something we have been doing for 80 years.

We did not expect the heated response we got, and — in truth — we believe now that we may have acted too quickly in issuing the follow-up statement, responding only to one segment of the community.

We are now having meetings with local rabbis and community leaders. We will also be printing, in the paper and online, many of the letters that have been pouring in since our statement was published.

We urge everyone to take a step back and reflect on what this series of events has taught us about the community we care so much about, and about the steps we must take to move forward together.

James Janoff, Publisher
New Jersey Jewish Standard

Ben in Oakland
October 7th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks, Ray.

Mark F.
October 8th, 2010 | LINK

Well, the paper may pull a Linda Lingle (Jewish , by the way). Listen to both sides and then spit in our face.

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