Monday, 2 June 2014

Thank you all : some heart, some theology

Hi all,

I've updated, edited and redrafted some of this  post, which I wrote in haste last night...

Me and my housemates  & other friends are just having a summer BBQ , with Kosher Sausages and Beef burgers.  I just wanted to say on behalf of me and my girlfriend Sarah, THANK YOU for being so lovely and kind to us as we have admitted our feeling for each other & made our relationship public; yes it is an intimate and close one and that is all we want to say about that. Neither of us can tell you what it means to have this support and this love. I've been, for a couple of years,  in a deep black hole for a while, a depressive, suicidal, horrible place where I've struggled with my religion, observance, belief  & sexuality: I've flipped and I've flopped, I've been uncertain, inconsistent, unsure, I've tried to tow the party line & above all I've been afraid of my true feelings and needs.

Should I be a Jew? Or a Christian ? Does Hashem love me? Am I allowed to express my love? Have a companion? A soulmate?

And the answer is, after 10 years of difficulty,  yes ! yes and yes! I am a Jew, proud of my heritage, loving every Jew, every Synagogue, loving our homeland of Israel with a passion that I cannot express. Loving & loyal, but not necessarily, understanding of our G-d and  the Torah. But yet,  I am LOVED by Hashem; as child of the G-d of   Abraham Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, as child of Israel, made in his image, created by him.

I've known great joy, but great sadness and a deep, deep, longing to be loved by someone and to love in return. But, bit, by bit I've been able to understand these issues, thank Hashem. But thanks to YOU guys, my FAMILY AND MY FRIENDS, who have always been there for me, who have loved me and supported me through all the pain and all the difficulties. 

I love you all lots,  THANK YOU !! XXXXXXX

I also know that not everyone is happy at present, that people do struggle, strive and don't get everything about religion and sexuality, or just life :  the pain, the love, the tears, the difficulties, the cultural pressures & how one has to deal with fundamentalist attitudes as the bee all and end all of Orthodoxy. Well, we are here for you .As is G-d. G-d loves all of humanity. You don't need to be a Jew to know him and to love him or to walk in his ways. You don't need to dress up or wear a black hat to worship him, you just need to hear his voice. He LOVES you and all of humanity. 

This is my personal view and passions. But how does this stack up against Judaism and current Rabbinical thought?

The first thing to note is that as I am an Orthodox Jew, I do take the Torah or Hebrew Bible extremely seriously . When I say Orthodox, I mean that I believe the Torah WAS given to us  Jews as people at Siani as a HISTORICAL fact, both oral and written versions are unalterable, divine and eternally binding on each and every Jew from now until the end of time. Whilst there is room for disagreement, difficulty or view on the text & interpretation & on what to take literally or as poetry, what to take metaphorically or allegorically, this does not take away any of the facts I've just listed. That is the difference between Orthodoxy and other forms of Judaism [at least to me it is]. Furthermore to me Orthodoxy is about a devotion to the G-d of the universe, the G-d of Israel, his people, the land he gave to us & Torah, whilst also loving ALL other people as your neighbour (i.e. non Jews).

In respect of the Torah, homosexuality is dealt with briefly in the famous passages of Leviticus (18,22 & 20,13). It should be noted that the traditional interpretation of these passages is that it prohibits male on male sexual intercourse; it does not legislate against lesbians and nor does it attack a person's sexual orientation. It is, in order words, the sexual act which is wrong (according to this view). It was the Rabbis of the Talmud who legislated against lesbian sex via a reading of Leviticus 18:3. This is the traditional interpretation, however, Rabbi Yossie Bloch, puts a different view across in this article here  & in another one here. 

In this excellent article Rabbi Zeb Ferber puts forward the compelling Orthodox case for inclusiveness and understanding for gay people and gay couples, in which he takes up the idea (via Rabbi Norman Lamm) of “oness rahmana patrei” – 'The Merciful One overlooks what is out of a person’s control' and concludes : 
"Consequently, it is my firm belief that the Orthodox community should accept the fact that there will be non-celibate homosexuals in our midst and we should welcome them.
 I would further suggest, if only for considerations of social policy and community health, that we encourage exclusivity and the forming of a loving and lasting relationship-bond as the optimal lifestyle for gay Orthodox Jews who feel they are oness and cannot be celibate (and this is the vast majority). This type of relationship is the closest in character to the choice made by married heterosexual couples in our community. Gay Orthodox couples should not be penalized for forming a committed relationship; certainly their children, natural or adopted, must not be. It is the obligation of the synagogue to think creatively and open-mindedly about how to accommodate these families, especially when it comes to celebrating the children’s semahot. Certainly, if any homosexual Jewish man or woman feels that he or she wishes to follow the halakha and be celibate and looks to the rabbi for encouragement, the rabbi should give this person all the encouragement he or she needs. However, no Orthodox rabbi should feel duty-bound to urge homosexual Jews to be celibate. This is not a practical option for most people, and advocating this will only cause that person intense pain and guilt. In short, there should be no social penalty in the Orthodox world for being a non-celibate homosexual Jew. Homosexual congress is not a moral violation; it is purely a violation of a religious prohibition, one that is the inevitable consequence of the person’s psychological and even biological makeup. If God overlooks the inevitable, so should we".

To conclude with a quote from  Rabbi Shumley Boteach  argued last year  :

"I’m tired of a religion that makes us feel permanently inadequate, that focuses more on what we omit than what we observe, that makes us feel guilty for our spiritual failures rather than proud of our moral accomplishments. I’m tired of reading of religion existing to primarily condemn gays or obsess over abortion, rather than giving guidance to the living as to how they can be loving spouses and inspired parents.I’m weary of a religion that is more interested in condemning the infidel rather than loving our neighbor, that is more focused on God as punisher-in-chief rather than a fountain of life and blessing.In the coming year I want to see a Judaism that inspires gay men to put on tefilin and observe the Sabbath, rather than telling them that their sexuality bars them from any meaningful place in Jewish life.I want to see a Judaism that reaches out to Jewish men and women who have married outside the faith, exposing both them and their non-Jewish spouses to the beauty of our tradition with a view toward the non-Jewish partner, giving serious consideration to halachic conversion."
As a wrap up -

Love G-d, love others. Do the best you can of life. Take that, grasp that. Love G-d, love others and love life and live it, live it to your best. That is what G-d wants of you, no more, no less.  :)


  1. Hannah,

    Thanks for sharing this post and explaining your views. I can't say I'm with all of this, but as said before we are family and that is what counts. Take care, David.

  2. Hey Hannah,

    Thanks for this post, it means a lot!

  3. Hannah,

    Thanks for the thank you, but you know it isn't really necessary!! We all care for you very deeply and are happy that you are happy. The smug shits who don't have gay relatives can shut up as far as I'm concerned, but the only reason why they say half of what they say is because they've never gone through this themselves and what they do say can be somewhat hurtful. I understand where you are coming from. I think almost every human being needs company and dare I mention it (well I will) sexual intimacy. You're gay, you can't help that. As you said in the article you quoted from, this is beyond your control. I understand that you need a framework and an outlet for that part of your humanity. It seems that you are much more happier than you have been in the past. As I said before, I really want you and Sarah to come over and see us. I've emailed some dates. Don't disappoint, sis!! And a big hug from me to you as well!x

  4. I second that. Also invitation is in the post (as said before). Come on we wanna meet you two!

  5. Hannah,

    Great post. I hope this provides the closure on this part of your life and you can 'move forward' and enjoy the rest of it!

  6. It was a great time last night. Glad things are really getting together for everyone. I think we all deserve a bit of happiness now and again. I also like the arguments you've presented, as sometimes it is difficult to get beyond feelings and put down a Torah based case. Soooooo glad you are happy with Sarah. And it is no-one's business as to what level of intimacy your relationship is pitched at.

  7. Yes! This is our sis coming back - out, loud, proud, intelligent, feisty and passionate !

  8. Hannah,

    Thanks for sharing this with us. It doesn't matter whether this is a sexually active relationship or not, but the fact is you have a lover who you are happy with :) X

  9. Bible and Truth2 June 2014 at 14:00

    Homosexual sex is a sin, period!

  10. Unless you know exactly what goes on in their bedroom, you have no right to make such assumptions. Both the Torah and rabbinic literature including Talmud, Midrash, Codes and commentary are humanly written documents with divine inspiration which reflect their time. They are subject to new understandings and new insights, as is the case here. Empirical evidence shows that the same potential exists for loving committed relationships and strong families, so I can't see a committed same sex relationship as sinful

  11. We are all God's creations.

  12. Hi Hannah,

    Sooo proud you with these latest set of posts. You are so brave, hugs to you & Sarah from me and my partner (: x

  13. You Should Know Better2 June 2014 at 14:13

    Jewish or non-Jewish everyone needs to follow God's laws. When people start disregarding them we get anarchy and violence. Which kind of society would you prefer?

  14. You Should Know Better2 June 2014 at 14:14

    any Jews who is in favor of this marriage is an apikores.

    youre in favor of what god thinks is worthy of destroying the earth

  15. Bible and Truth2 June 2014 at 14:19

    And Jesus said, "Do not misunderstand me. I did not come to abolish the Old laws of Moses or the prophets. Rather, I came to fulfill them."

  16. Atheist Shrugged2 June 2014 at 14:20

    The Bible wasn't written by God. It was written by primitive, barbaric, ignorant humans. At the time Leviticus was written people were ignorant about conception and thought that the sperm itself was a child and that not putting the sperm into a woman was the same as killing a baby. This is why Leviticus says having sex during a woman's period is a sin on the same level as homosexuality. If you really think Leviticus should be taken seriously, then gather a pile of stones to throw at and kill your neighbor next time he works on the Sabbath, for Leviticus commands you to do so.

  17. Bible and Truth2 June 2014 at 14:21

    Agreed. These liberals need to understand the Torah form Jews such as you.

  18. Bible and Truth2 June 2014 at 14:26

    Sin is sin, no matter how much you and other lesbians plead otherwise!

  19. Bible and Truth2 June 2014 at 14:33

    My opinion doesn't count. Only what God says. One thing is made clear throughout the Bible. We are not condemned because of who we are, but by how we behave. It's our thoughts and deeds that are the problem. I'll give you an example.

    I'm a heterosexual male and I have a couple of very close male friends. I love them very much, but there's no sexual attraction whatsoever. Where I have to be careful is in my tendency to lust after women. I don't actually have to have sex with them to sin. Merely thinking about it will do the trick. In Matthew 5 Jesus said that lusting is just as much a sin as adultery and that being angry is just as much a sin as murder. The point He wanted to get across is that it's nearly impossible not to sin.

    Well then we're all pretty much damned if that's the case. Except Jesus has already taken the punishment for all our sins. And because God knows we can't stop sinning, He doesn't make behavior a factor in our salvation. We're saved by what we believe, not by how we behave.

    Listen. We all sin, and we all commit the same sins over and over. For some it’s over eating, or drinking too much. Others can’t control their tempers, or their lusts, or their envy, or their pride. Still others have idols they can’t lay down, like their possessions, their bank accounts, or their leisure activities. If sin wasn’t pleasurable we’d have no trouble denying it.

    Even Paul said he couldn’t stop sinning. But he said when he did sin God didn’t count it against him but against the sin nature that still lived within Him (Romans 7:18-20). Sins are violations of God’s law, but Paul said we have been given a righteousness from God apart from the Law. It comes through faith to all who believe (Romans 3:21-22). This righteousness allows God to see us as if we don’t sin at all. He sees us as if we’re a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) as righteous as He is (2 Corinthians 5:21) That’s because by His one sacrifice for sin, Jesus has made us perfect forever (Hebrews 10:14) in God's eyes. And when we sin, as soon as we confess, God forgives us and purifies us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

  20. You're obviously a spokesman for the Global Jewish - Homosexual Conspiracy, and a supporter of The Homosexual Agenda !!!

    Homosexuality is a debauched, sinful, lifestyle choice that is repugnant to God and all Real Christians.

    NEVER use the "g" word to describe homosexuality. That word means happy, and there are absolutely no happy homosexuals. There never has been !!!!

  21. Dominique Vasilkovsky2 June 2014 at 14:37

    Walks into this thread, walks out.

    Must be logging on time in the bible belt of American or something.

  22. Dominique Vasilkovsky2 June 2014 at 14:38

    Hi Hannah,

    It was great to see you & Sarah at the BBQ yesterday. You deserve to be happy, you are a funny, devout frum, who looks after people and whose friendship is deep and loyal.

    Um. What's with all the nutters on the comments?

  23. Thanks David. I know that this is difficult for you. I hope you still love me as a sister?

  24. Hi GF,

    I'm glad that this touched hearts. It is my closure on the matter, so I can move forward to other things.

  25. Hi Ruth,

    Oh, we'll be in touch to see you some time soon don't you worry :) x

  26. That believe is entirely up to you. I disagree of course. See the blog post above, for further information.

  27. Hi Esther,

    Thanks for those comforting and understanding words. I've replied to your mail. See you soon! :)

  28. Thanks Paul, I know what you mean there!

  29. I think we Jews only suggest that non-Jews follow 7 basic laws, not the whole 613 Mitzvot though.

  30. Exactly put. I'd also add that It is interesting how far people like to go in getting all excited about bedroom activity, which is frankly none of their business.

  31. Hi Sophie,

    You're an role model and inspiration for me, how you are able to maintain your devout faith and still live in the freedom of being who you are and not what people demand you to be.

  32. Yawn. Can you think of better arguments than calling someone a heretic, just because you disagree with them. It is pretty lazy, but then you are a crappy debater all told.

  33. You should know by now quoting endless Christian scripture at me simply has no effect what so ever, so I have no real interest in your opinion (which of course has to be the correct one) on what you think your god's opinion actually is. This may sound harsh, but I don't care about that either.

  34. LOL!! What a lot of crap. None of us are involved in a 'homosexual global Jewish conspiracy'.

    I'll use the 'g' word-GAY- all I like .Gay, gay, gay, gay ,gay!!! And yes I AM HAPPY !! Happy as I've been in a very long time. As I said in the post above.

  35. Yes! I think it must be Dom ! x

  36. Thanks Dominique, you're a great friend too. Don't know about the nutty comments, guess I just attract nutters eh? ROFL!

  37. Hannah,

    Yes I still love you as a sister. No, my apologises if my reply was a bit brusque, however, it was nothing to do with your post. I did read the links you gave and find them informative and will reflect on them. As I said before, what goes on in closed doors is not my place to judge or to make comment on. I really want you and Sarah to do well at welcoming people, being kind etc. So don't worry about that (:

    No my malaise today stems from the fact i had to let someone go, first time in about 10 years. I feel sad, as If I've let the person down, despite really putting effort and training into that individual. But that person simply couldn't do the job. It is a bit like when Obi Wann says to Skywalker " I have failed you Anakin" -

  38. Hi David,

    Oh, I'm sorry about that .Hugs to U XXX

  39. Thanks Hannah, appreciated that. And the after work beer yesterday!

  40. I'm a heterosexual woman, who has been happily married for 14 years. Can you at least get your facts correct, before going off on one.

  41. חנה אני אוהבת אותך with all my heart xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  42. אני אוהבת אותך שרה And with all my heart back:) xxx


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