Looking Forward to Celebrating First Ever Civil Partnership in a Synagogue


By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
March 3, 2010
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Liberal Judaism welcomes the new amendment to the Equality Bill, which will lift the ban on Civil Partnerships being held in religious buildings. The vote was passed in the House of Lords on Tuesday 2nd March, by 95 votes to 21.

The ban on holding civil partnerships in religious buildings was introduced by the Civil Partnerships Act (2004). The new amendment will not force religious movements to hold civil partnerships in their buildings. It simply allows those who wish to do so to register their premises for the conduct of civil partnerships. It does not allow ministers of religion to officiate over the civil partnership itself.

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Joint Chair of the Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Judaism, said: “We are delighted that our synagogues are now able to host civil partnerships at the same time as same-sex commitment blessings. It is another step towards full equality for gay men and lesbians. My community is looking forward to being able to celebrate its first ever Jewish spiritual blessing together with the English legal ceremony, and to enjoying the whole simcha onsite.”

Speaking in the Lords, Baroness Neuberger, President of Liberal Judaism, said, “This is about what we in this chamber can do to ensure the happiness not only of the couples involved but also, as I said in committee and I speak as a Jewish mother, of the parents involved. It will make a lot of difference to them. We should not underestimate this. This does not weaken marriage. It is not about marriage. It is about civil partnership between people who are religiously faithful and wish to recognise that religious faith after a civil partnership."

Quakers and Unitarians also joined Liberal Judaism in supporting the amendment when it was proposed by Lord Waheed Alli.

COMMENTS

JLCohen

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 19:05

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That is truly fantastic news and, hopefully, an important milestone on the way to achieving full equality between all people regardless of their sexuality. Congratulations are in order to you, Rabbi Neuberger and to the rest of Liberal Judaism for your efforts that have helped make this possible.


Jon_i_Cohen

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 20:58

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It states clearly in Leviticus Chapter 18 verse 22 " 'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

If you want to "be" considered Jewish, this is the rule that we must abide by. There is no choice in the matter - it is crystal clear.

If you do not want to be considered Jewish then the "rules" do not apply and you can do what you like.

Liberal Judaism has made a mockery of Jewish values and of the sanctity of marriage with this step; it is a step too far, even for the Liberal movement. Although, as a Liberal Jew myself, I appreciate that sometimes it is far preferable to uphold the spirit rather than the letter of the Law, I believe this is flying in the face of the essence of the Torah and of marriage. I have homosexual friends; three couples. However, I believe that to call a homosexual pairing a "marriage" is absurd - marriage is a union of a man and a woman, enjoined to "be fruitful and multiply". Liberal Judaism may find that it has shot itself in the foot with a divisive move that might alienate many of its congregants; the movement might find that the only people standing under its chuppah in future are same sex couples. Compassion for gays, yes; marriage, never.

This is the Jewish Chronicle web site; compassion and understanding OK, but please, let's stop with this idea advocating "Gay" as if it is an alternative to normality; it is NOT. Those who wish to advocate this idea should be blogging on "Gay Pride" web sites not the Jewish Chronicle.

I was getting upset about the Jewish Chronicle giving publicity to Gay ideas, when it finally dawned on me; last week was Purim, and all this Gay nonsense on the Jewish Chronicle web-site has surely been a been a prolonged "Purim Spiel".


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 21:21

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Leviticus was written by and for a desert tribe of nomads several thousand years ago and mirrors their morals and values. It isn't appropriate for the 21st century. What would you have done to adulterers? Stoning? That's in Leviticus too. Is that what you want, to be like Saudi Arabia and Iran?


Jon_i_Cohen

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 22:03

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No Morals No Values - typical left-wing nonsense
The desert Nomads you refer to were the Jewish people.
We, the Jewish people, today adhere to a strict code of moral conduct - that FORBIDS homosexuality.
If you do NOT want to be part of the Jewish people then you do as all left-wingers do - please yourself and be as gay as a lumberjack and you'll be alright' - but you won't be Jewish.


Lanne

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 22:48

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"I was getting upset about the Jewish Chronicle giving publicity to Gay ideas," . The Jewish chronicle has the role of reporting all news of interest to the Jewish community which includes articles from different rabbis. This enables Jewish people to have knowledge of what is going on in the community.


Akiva

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 22:54

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I hear they are lobbying to change their name to Liberal Liberalism next.


Akiva

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 23:01

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Doesn't everyone love how moshetzarfati2 et al provide us with a wonderful example of creating G-d in their own image? I mean the timing is just incredible...


Yvetta

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 23:13

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The C of E used to be dubbed "The Conservative Party at prayer".
Liberal Judaism can now be dubbed "The Guardianista Jews' lair". Or summat like that.


Yvetta

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 23:14

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Well said, incidentally, Jon Cohen. And Moshe, some truthes are timeless.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 08:33

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Jon, 3,300 years ago the Jewish people were desert nomads and Leviticus reflected their morals and values. What did you think? That Jews have always lived as suburbanite Middle class people in 4-bedroom semis?


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 08:38

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Akiva and Yvetta, don't you think that the God you have created is ever so slightly an extremely intolerant interfering being. Do you honestly think that an omnipresent omnipotent being is bothered by what mere mortals do, wear, eat, say? Not much of a superior being then. Just very human.


Akiva

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 09:11

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Now you are trying to rationalise the infinite with your own finite logic. I said this to you before, but we can never know HaShem, we can only go by what He tells us. If HaShem says homosexuality is an abomination and the history and traditions of our people attest to this, then anything outside this is an attempt to bend the will of HaShem with modern human thinking and to jettison all remaining Jewish Identity on some warped conceptions of policital correctness.

Homosexual behavior is as much a sin as theft (moreso even), if the Liberal "synagogue" allows this then it must be willing to forfeight the right to ever wearing the facade of a G-d centred religion, let alone a Judaism, again.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 10:12

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Akiva, as an equally finite entity, you appear to know the infinite very well as you have decided what it wants us to eat and how to eat it, wear, sleep with, not sleep with etc. That seems pretty petty to me. And it's not Political Correctness, either. Under Leviticus, slavery was OK, too. Do you have a slave? Do you condone slavery?
Seems to me that the Orthodox want to bend Hashem to their view of the world, not the other way around.


Akiva

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 10:26

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I haven't decided anything, the Torah decided and the Sages and leaders of our people (who were given authority to legislate) interperated.

Unless you can argue the point that you can only know G-d by what he reveals of Himself, then you really don't have anything to go by at all.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 10:42

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Who gave these "sages" and "leaders of the people" the authority to legislate? They were no more than the ayatollahs of their day. And that's fine if you want to live in antiquity, but we don't. Morals and values are not immovable. The social and economic processes in which we live determine what is moral. We've moved on. Not much more than two centuries ago, it was fine to hold slaves. It isn't now. Not much more than century ago, people like you and me were not entitled to free health care of education -- it was deemed moral to deny us those rights. Women were denied equal rights up to and including the Second World War. Some would argue, with some justification, that even now women do not enjoy equality.


Akiva

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 12:09

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That's good, you've moved on. HaShem, the eternal and unchanging Infinite G-d has not. But that's exactly my point, you jettison the standard by which we have been told to live and in doing so forfeight any right to call yourselves a Judaism. G-d means nothing to you, He's a nobody, a fictional reality that it's optional to even believe exists.

You may think things are moving forward for your merry band of Liberals, but the statistics show the above lack of morals, direction and most of all reliance on G-d, is exactly the reason that young people are leaving your movement in droves. Statistics show Liberal Judaism won't even exist in three generations. Compare that to thousands of years of our people clinging to the Eternal Torah and you'll see how insignificant you really are.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 12:23

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Akiva, the God I believe in isn't a small-minded interferer who needs to know all that we eat, wear, drink and with whom we sleep. That kind of God is a caricature of a Soviet-style bureaucrat. The God I believe in is far more metaphysical and above the day-to-day concerns of everyday beings. Non-judgmental. It's a physical force.
And if you want to talk statistics, take a look at the growing number of Orthodox Jews becoming chozrim be'she'elah. The demise of Liberal Judaism, in its various forms, has been predicted from the days it came into being. It's still here, thank-you-very-much and in that, it's a bit like Israel.


Yvetta

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 12:33

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I used to be an active member of a splendid non-Orthodox congregation somewhere in the Brit Commonwealth of Nations. It was privileged to have as its spiritual leaders two wonderful long-serving rabbis. Both were marvellous orators, both had a keen sense of history and of Klal Yisrael, and both were staunch Zionists. (Compare the Liberal movement here!) Alas, since that time the congregation has been served by lesser men, who have turned the shul, so I'm given to understand, into a haven for "alternative lifestylers". Finding that the shul seems more interested in such persons than in the mainstream, the stalwart former congregants - apparently taken for granted - have voted with their feet. I belong to a Liberal congregation in the UK, but will not be renewing my membership when subscriptions are due. Liberal Judaism's mockery of marriage and disdain for the ethics of the Torah is the reason. Liberal Judaism discarded many outdated Judaic precepts and emphasised the spirit of the Law over the letter of the Law. But there are some old landmarks from which we must never deviate.


Akiva

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 12:34

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Avoiding the point again.

The diety you believe in is not the G-d of the Bible and is thusly not the G-d of Judaism, so why do you call yourselves a Judaism?

Also, if you accept that G-d is infinite and outside the scope of human comprehension, how can you say for sure he approves or disapproves of anything? You have no basis, no foundation, nothing. It's just a grow-your-own "religion" where the only constant seems to be a total disregard anything Jewish.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 12:43

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I'm not avoiding any point, Akiva. The God of the Bible as the Orthodox imagine Him, is a reflection of biblical era morals and values. We do not live like that any more.
And let's not forget that the Bible is a document which was passed by word of mouth from one generation to the next before being written down and codified. It is also a document that has borrowed heavily from surrounding contemporary cultures.
I could turn your question around and say that as you accept that God is infinite, how can you say for sure he approves or disapproves of anything or nothing? All you are doing is apeing a long-lost era without much thought for societal change.


Yvetta

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 19:15

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In the film Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks as a gay guy sacked from his job when his employers realise he has AIDs, the homophobic lawyer (naturally, being Hollywood, he sees the light halfway through) tells his liberal wife that he can't possibly represent the Hanks character in Court because he's repulsed by "what those guys do". I guess the Almighty, who made males and females and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply, felt the same way. After all, the - er - other mode of life serves no purpose in nature. The days when gays were persecuted are long past (except in Iran - oops, sorry, as Ahmadinejad remarked, there are no gays there - Zimbabwe, and parts of the Islamic world), and they no longer suffer the fear of blackmail. But civil equality should not mean that a shul or a church or any other place of religion should have the civil polity imposed on it. In this case. Liberal Judaism is flouting the Torah and mocking Jewish marriage.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 20:12

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I see. Where in the Torah is the Jewish marriage in its current Orthodox form described, Yvetta?


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 20:13

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I see. Where in the Torah is the Jewish marriage in its current Orthodox form described, Yvetta?

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