Rabbis, professionals, academic and public figures congratulate organization HOD (Homosexual and Religious) on its 8th anniversary.
Rabbi Ron Ben-Yosef, Executive Director of HOD
HOD was established in 2008 from an Internet forum on the Israeli website Walla. Hod’s team, which at that time numbered 12 people, unreservedly supported the Orthodox stream and were committed to Jewish Halacha and to the importance of dialogue with rabbis and the Jewish religious educational establishment, while members of another group that was established through the Walla forum and later became Havruta, believed in changing the reality in the field- through the rabbis.
Now, after 8 years in existence, the members of HOD see themselves as an integral part of the Orthodox community, and wish to remain part of it. “We do not want to give up on our religious identity, nor do we wish to abandon our homosexual identity,” their website states.
Over the past week, the organization published on it’s Facebook page a series of letters of support that were received from Rabbis, professionals, academic and public figures – who chose to show support despite rejection from the overall orthodox Jewish community. Here are selected quotes from the letters:
“It’s obvious that human beings in distress need help and should be accepted the way they are – everyone in the way he choses to deal with his difficulty. And of course we shouldn’t reject them and exclude them from society or family. There are good and kosher Jewish men who deal with a difficulty that very few people can deal with, and it’s our obligation to give them a hand, and certainly not to object, reject or disturb them.” – Michael Avraham, High Institute of Torah, Bar Ilan University.
“People who are willing to be included in the community of God worshipers despite the enormous difficulty they face deserve to be supported and appreciated…” – Rabbis Yehuda Gilad and David Bigman
“Organization HOD supports and helps homosexual religious men in dealing with the incredible challenge and the enormous test in front of which they stand, as well as the daily difficulties that life hands them. There’s no doubt in my heart that organizations like HOD literally save lives.” – Rabbi ILay Ofran, Yavne Group
“Men and women with same-sex tendencies – there’s no Halachtic invalidity in them, nor any moral one. They are obligated to do Mitzvas and deserved to be integrated into society.” – Rabbi Schlomo Hecht, Beit Hillel Executive Director
“A decision to come out of a dark closet to the outside air is most important to me, and is equal to the Torah’s Mitzvah, ‘you shall choose life.'” – Rabbi Dr. Binyamin Lau, Ramban Community Rabbi, Jerusalem.
“HOD asks to preserve and respect the religious feelings and practices and at the same time to work for human rights and the welfare of same-sex individuals in the community. This is a brave choice to be respected and appreciated. Yeshar Koach” – Prof. Yididya Stern, Vice President, Israeli Democracy Institution.