Esther Azar, final year of study in the Aleph rabbinical program, says: “Sorry, Rabbis: Gay men can’t be happy with women — I married one and I know.”
As some in the Sephardi world stand in an uproar as one rabbi opens a dialog around homosexuality, I am grief stricken. Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Chief Rabbi of the Spanish Portuguese community in London, recently gave a class discussing homosexuality in the context of Jewish texts. His words in no way permitted that which is biblical prohibited but rather offered a perspective that recognizes that men having loving relationships might be a good thing. The response has been deafening. Those to the right are screaming for his head on a platter while most on the left sitting in silence.
I, personally affected by the rabbinate’s distorted power, stand in fear.
I feel obligated to speak up for those that have been silenced. Unlike Rabbi Dweck, I will not be satisfied with opening a dialog inside of the Sephardi world. I am calling for something more demanding and I am willing to risk my place in heaven. If our God condones the rabbinate’s behavior, I am not interested in entering those heavenly gates.
I, Hadassah Hee Esther, call for a Beit Din on this 18th day of Sivan 5777.
16 years ago, on the 6th day of June, I married a Syrian Jewish man who grew up in the Sephardic community. The community’s homophobia, in the name of halacha (Jewish law), caused him to hide his sexual orientation. The pain and fear that he held kept us from deeply connecting and ultimately caused irreparable damage to our lives. With two children, confused and hurt, our separation was painful. The trembling aftershocks continue to affect all involved. The Rabbis’ unwillingness to see the damage they are inflicting has left my children to live in a world where respecting your parents feels like a sin. Continue reading in The Forward