Response To Open Letter To OU
Dear Avi Goldstein,
Your open letter to the OU regarding Big Gay Ice Cream, as printed in the February 8 edition of the 5TJT, was the topic of discussion at our Eshel support group this past week. Eshel is an organization that attempts to build a bridge between the Orthodox Jewish community and our LGBTQ children. As Orthodox parents of LGBTQ children, we meet to offer support and advice to each other in dealing with our shared challenge — how to love and stay close to our children even though they have taken a path that we find difficult to accept.
From the tone of your letter, it is obvious that you have no idea how widespread this issue is. Clearly, you don’t realize that the entire spectrum of Orthodox Jewry is facing this issue — from “Conservodox” to Modern Orthodox to yeshivish to chassidic. Clearly, you don’t realize that every Jewish community is facing this issue — from New York to Baltimore to Chicago to Los Angeles and, yes, even the Five Towns. Would you have written your letter if you knew that your chavrusa’s son or your rebbe daughter lead “alternative” lifestyles? What will you do if your own child or grandchild “comes out” to you one day?
We know what the Torah says about homosexuality, but where does it say that you can’t also be kosher? There are quite a few prohibitions in the Torah. Among them: desecrating Shabbos, collecting interest, cheating in business, adultery, eating treif, etc. Does the OU need to check out all of these prohibitions before certifying the kashrus of a product? If you cheat in business, can you no longer be certified as kosher?
Through Eshel, we have learned that it’s not something that “we” did wrong as parents and that it’s not a choice that “they” have made. In most cases, it is a natural predisposition that they were born with. Through Eshel we have learned that homosexuality is not something new. It has been around since the world was created. Until now, it was always hidden “in the closet.” The secular world has just recently learned to accept it, and now our Orthodox Jewish community must find a way to deal with it as well.
Our Orthodox Jewish community must not push these children away. They are Jewish children. If we tell them to leave, they will. What does your “moral compass” say about that? Must your son be forced to choose between happiness and Jewishness? When your daughter gives birth to a Jewish child and applies to the “Yeshiva of Moral High Ground,” will your moral compass point the child to the entrance or the exit?
Yes. We agree. There are big questions that the rabbinical authorities must deal with on this issue, but the kashrus of the controversial ice cream is certainly not one of them. We suggest that people like Mr. Goldstein should open their eyes a little bit wider. This issue is a lot bigger than you think and it’s not going away.
With love and understanding for all Jewish children,
The Long Island Eshel Support Group