The Shmooze

Jewish Paper Stands Up to Anti-Gay Bullies

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Jewish Press, a Brooklyn-based weekly tabloid with a strong religious focus, is standing its ground after its advertisers were “threatened” by unnamed groups who objected to a recent op-ed by a gay ex-Hasid.

That story, by a young man named Chaim Levin, revealed “bullying, silencing, and torment for being gay in the frum community”, forced therapy sessions aimed at changing his sexual orientation – and pressure in his Orthodox milieu that nearly led Levin to suicide.

In an op-ed this week headlined “The Jewish Press Won’t Be Silenced,” the paper’s editorial board thanked “our advertisers who have notified us that they plan to continue with us despite the threatening letters and that they won’t give into threats either, particularly when an article like this one may very well have saved a Jewish life.

“Pretending that there are no frum Jews with homosexual inclinations won’t make the truth go away. It won’t make the internal conflicts they fight with their yetzer hara (evil inclination) disappear,” the paper wrote. “The Torah itself is very clear on where it stands on homosexual acts. But the Torah is also very clear on how one should treat one’s fellow Jew, and certainly one who tries to be religious — whether he or she succeeds or not — should not be driven by fellow Jews to contemplate suicide.”

The controversy has also spilled out beyond the confines of the Jewish world. Nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition launched this week on progressive web site Change.org urging thanks to “the Jewish Press for standing up to anti-gay bullies.” The petition was created by TruthWinsOut, a nonprofit that “counters right-wing misinformation campaigns, debunks the ex-gay myth and provides accurate information about the lives of LGBT people.”

“Please thank the Jewish Press for standing up to homophobic bullies who want to intimidate the newspaper into omitting any positive portrayal of gay Orthodox Jews,” the petition reads. “They have stood firm and I hope the LGBT community will express its gratitude.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: LGBT, Gay, Change.org, Chaim Levin, Bullying, TruthWinsOut

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.