In a new interview, ‘America’s Rabbi’ Shmuley Boteach says that when a gay man comes to him for advice – he tells him to focus on the other Jewish laws.
While Boteach is now mostly concerned with defending Israel, when I meet him he is due to take part in a debate about marriage. “I believe the state should have nothing to do with marriage. I believe in civil unions for all and marriage for none. I’m a great believer in the separation of Church and State. What is the government doing recognising a marriage by any clergy? The government should not have any regulation over our spiritual lives,” he says.
Without pausing for breath he segues into talking about homosexuality, a topic he had to deal with early on, when his brother, also a practicing Orthodox Jew came out during Shmuley’s teen years.
Boteach is clear on the fact that homosexuality is prohibited in the Torah, but says it is not “immoral” and encourages openly gay Jews who come to him for advice to instead focus on the other Jewish laws. “You’re left with 611, that will keep you pretty busy,” he quips. It is a refreshing approach for an Orthodox rabbi, and perhaps part of the reason for his mass appeal.