President of Reconstructing Judaism speaks with clarity and boldness on combating antisemitism today

I have the privilege of getting to work with Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., as part of my job at Reconstructing Judaism, the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement of Judaism. The current landscape of antisemitism is toxic in ways that demand clear thinking and a willingness to make our struggle – the Jewish people’s struggle – interconnected with the struggle for justice and equity for all.

I highly recommend that people take a few minutes to read her October 27, 2021 piece featured in eJewish Philanthropy. It is one of the best concise pieces on this subject that I’ve seen in quite a while.

One of my Leviticus / LGBT jawns

First, for those unfamiliar with Philly slang, this.

Okay. This is me archiving this piece that Keshet and My Jewish Learning ran a few years ago, being re-shared now in case it’s useful to someone.

“Among LGBT Jews & their allies, Leviticus is a dirty word”

Among LGBT Jews and their allies, Leviticus is a dirty word. And not just because of its two famous homophobic verses. There are many challenging issues with Leviticus. For instance, while we support gender equality, Leviticus establishes an all-male system of ritual leadership. While we affirm the equal worth of people with physical disabilities, Leviticus excludes them from the priesthood. And of course, while we celebrate the blessing and beauty in loving same-sex relationships, Leviticus prescribes the death penalty for gay men who have intercourse.

So how do we work with a sacred text that is at odds with some of our deepest values–values that other parts of Torah affirm (like every person being created in God’s image)? For me, it starts with an approach to sacred texts that views them as human-created documents. Consistent with my Reconstructionist philosophy, I view the Torah as a record of our Israelite ancestors’ best efforts to describe their experiences of God and Truth.

Continue reading “One of my Leviticus / LGBT jawns”

Cardinals & Homophobia

Thinking about a news story that appeared regarding Tyler Dunnington,  a 2014 minor league player in the Cardinals system who quit the sport due to the high degree of homophobic commentary he encountered. I just posted the following comment on an article discussing the steps the team is taking, along with MLB’s national consultant on LGBT inclusion, Billy Bean, on my favorite Cardinals blog,

As a Cards fan and longtime LGBT ally

…I’m saddened by this story. Great that [John Mozeliak, General Manager of the Cards] is saying he wants to do the right thing and great that Billy Bean is doing the work he’s doing. I guess I have to say that it’s getting harder and harder for me to continue being an enthusiastic Cards fan given the many deeply politically conservative and religiously conservative movements so many in the organization have been overtly and subtly supporting for years. When you have a major religious organization with key Cards involved among MLB players preaching a version of Christianity that views homosexual behavior as contrary to God’s will; when you have players on Cards WS championship teams declining to go to the White House for the team honors; when you have Pujols and LaRussa appearing at Glenn Beck’s rally; when you have Waino’s twitter promoting Chik-fil-a restaurants; and the frequent anti-choice radio ads during ballgames on KMOX, the act of trying to be an active Cards fan feels more and more like it requires me to enter into some kind of quiet fraternity of the very socially conservative. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not begrudging every American his/her right to his/her opinion, nor do I begrudge the members of the Cardinals family the right to express theirs too. I’m just saying that, as someone who has very different values and beliefs, it’s getting really uncomfortable for me to have anything to do with the Redbirds. And that’s so sad, as I’ve loved following the team since I was a child.


The article can be found here.