Is reason 6/7 of treason?

Das Jewish Theological Seminary of America setzt mit sofortiger Wirkung seinen Beschluß, schwule und lesbische Kandidaten offiziell in seine Studiengänge aufzunehmen, um.

Die Entwicklung als solche war absehbar – und erwartet, der interessanteste Aspekt für konservative Juden liegt jedoch in der halachischen Begründung.

Arnold Eisen, der Kanzler des JTS, fasst sie in seinem Communique sehr prägnant zusammen:

I begin by directly confronting the two major obstacles standing in the way of a credible stance allowing for gay and lesbian ordination. The first is Leviticus chapter 18, verse 22. “Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is abomination (to’eva).” Is the text not crystal clear? Is it not God’s word? Why, then, were learned rabbis (and the rest of us) even debating the acceptability of homosexuality? The question has been posed to me many times. It cannot be avoided by any Jew who takes the Torah seriously. No matter how complicated our relationship to the Torah, how much we move away from obedience to its rules, or whatever our views on the divine or human nature of its authorship — one cannot cavalierly dismiss Leviticus and then claim faithfulness to the larger tradition of Torah of which the Five Books of Moses are the core. Integrity and authenticity require more than this.

Moreover, if one claims to be a halakhic Jew, the Oral Torah (as we call Jewish law and teaching over the centuries) also weighs in with serious objection to ordaining gays and lesbians. There is precious little legal precedent that can be invoked in favor of such ordination in the entire 2,000-year history of the Jewish rabbinic tradition. One finds instead either reaffirmation of previous opinion or utter silence on the matter — though there are legal opinions urging welcome of and compassion toward homosexuals. To Conservative Jews, the weight of Rabbinic opinion is no less decisive than the words of the Torah, and it is arguably more so. As Solomon Schechter explained a century ago, “It is not the mere revealed Bible that is of first importance to the Jew, but the Bible as it repeats itself in history, in other words, as it is interpreted by tradition.” That is why the fact of Leviticus 18:22 in and of itself did not free the CJLS or any other Conservative Jew from the need to debate the matter of gay and lesbian ordination.

Our sages found ways two millennia ago to limit the applicability of biblical statutes, one famous example being Deuteronomy’s injunction to put the rebellious son to death. The Rabbis effectively rendered that injunction unenforceable. They have defined and limited the applicability of numerous other biblical ordinances, including some set forth in Leviticus. I am among the faculty members (including many rabbis and experts in Talmud) who are persuaded by the argument that established procedures of halakhah allow for and mandate revision of the legal limitations placed upon homosexual activity; or perhaps one should say that these procedures allow for and mandate expansion of the welcome and acceptance accorded homosexuals under previous Law Committee rulings.

Wenn ich die Argumentation der Gegner richtig lese, hält sie an der Praxis der Halacha über die Jahrtausende um ihrer selbst willen fest.Jede Veränderung würde konservatives jüdisches Leben zum Einsturz bringen. Um auf mein Thurber Zitat im Titel zurück zu kommen: die These lautet: überdenkt man ein Detail, stürzt das konservative Judentum in sich zusammen.

Ich hingegen bin der Ansicht, dass gerade die Stärke des konservativen Judentums in der kritischen Auseinandersetzung mit Halacha und Tradition liegt. Jüdische Lesben und Schwule sollen mit den Geboten leben, warum sollte der Schöpfer sie so geschaffen habe, wie sie sind und ihnen dann das Leben verbieten?

Zum Weiterlesen…