Thursday, December 29, 2011

Orthodox Rabbinic Group Won’t Take Position On Reparative Therapy For Gays

The Rabbinical Council of America said it will not take a position on so-called reparative therapy for gays.

In a statement released Monday, the RCA, the main umbrella group of centrist Orthodox rabbis, said it will neither “endorse nor reject any therapy or method that is intended to assist those ... struggling with same-sex attraction.” It further affirms that any therapy should be performed only by licensed practitioners.

RCA President Rabbi Schmuel Goldin told JTA that the statement did not represent a shift in the group's position.


  1. Vague headline designed to sell papers.

    The RCA believes that a person with such desires would be better off eliminating them. There is no religious component to this lack of position. What they refuse to take a stand on is whether or not such therapy works, and works in a way that doesn't impact things like increasing the suicide rate...

  2. No, "no shift" in position. Rabbi Goldin doesn't bother to tell you he is significantly more to the Left than his predecessor Rabbi Herring.

    Goldin even signed the pro-gay "Statement of Principals" started by the non-orthodox Avi Weiss crowd which is why Goldin wants to allow rabbis ordained by Avi Weiss despite vociferous protests by Rabbi Schechter.

    The OU and it's RCA arm are going to pot!

  3. Other than saying it does not violate Jewish Law, what's the hava amina that a Rabbinnic group should take a position regarding a type of therapy?

    What does it matter whether they do or do not?

  4. I wonder about the statistical success of these therapies. While I doubt a genetic cause of homosexuality, everyone knows that some homosexuals can be seen for that from youth (even when not of the "flaming" type)and it seems clear it's inborn. Your thoughts?

  5. Since other rabbinic groups, ones based on 20-th century notions of "das Teireh" (spelled so as to disambiguate from the idea I think this blog is named for), did take such a stance, the real message of the RCA's proclamation is "Hi, we're still Mod-O, we still believe that secular knowledge and professionalism has value."

  6. Being inborn doesn't rule out the viability of therapy. Someone who displays a low frustration threshold and a bad temper even since infancy can help themselves. Similarly, being acquired doesn't always mean effective therapy is possible. Besides, the usual result in "nature vs nurture" studies is finding how the two interact, not finding that the cause is exclusively one or the other. I expect the same will turn out to be true here.

    From a religious perspective, the whole concept of demanding treatment is no less problematic than saying it's innate. There is no theological problem saying that Hashem gave someone a stronger desire for one kind of sin than another, as long as we also believe that He then judges them accordingly.

    However, to say this is an issue for therapy rather than usual free-will choosing does put this sin in a different category than others.

  7. Micha, always quick to jump to the defense of the YU ordained rabbis.

    The RCA "believes" my foot. The RCA's leader has publicly gone on record that two mishkavei zachur lo aleinu are to be welcomed with open arms into shuls with kibudim. And that any children adopted by such a perverse & degenerate "household" are to be accepted into yeshivas with no questions asked.

    Read the document that Shmuel Goldin signed. It's in there.

  8. Well of course I leap to YU's defense -- I owe them! Admittedly, the rabbeim who most influenced me have been in the olam ha'emes for a long while (R' Nissan Alpert, and my rebbe, R' Dovid Lifshitz), but I owe the institution my loyalty.

    That said, it also means I know YU well enough to separate real criticism from slander from the right. What loyalty does mean is that I wouldn't participate in a thread that discussed real problems. Leaving a lopsided impression of what I think of YU.

    Frankly, a discussion of YU's problems on this forum won't lead to YU fixing any of them anyway. There are fora where such change is a possibility.

    As for my defense, I was paraphrasing the proclamation: 1. The Torah and Jewish tradition, in the clearest of terms, prohibit the practice of homosexuality. Same-sex unions are against both the letter and the spirit of Jewish law...

    2. Attempts to ritualize or celebrate same-sex unions are antithetical to Jewish law....

    3. While homosexual behavior is prohibited, individuals with homosexual inclinations should be treated with the care and concern appropriate to all human beings.... We urge those Orthodox Jews with homosexual tendencies to seek counsel from their Rabbis...

    4. On the subject of reparative therapy, it is our view that, as Rabbis, we can neither endorse nor reject any therapy or method that is intended to assist those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. We insist, however, that therapy of any type be performed only by licensed, trained practitioners....

    It's pretty clear, despite this blog-owner's willingness to allow slander and name-calling pass through his moderation.

  9. YU - Torah Madua?:

    The Statement you linked to does not say
    "that two mishkavei zachur lo aleinu are to be welcomed with open arms into shuls with kibudim. And that any children adopted by such a perverse & degenerate "household" are to be accepted into yeshivas with no questions asked."

    In fact, it says the opposite, that the school and shul has the right to refuse them.

    "We do not here address what synagogues should do about accepting members
    who are openly practicing homosexuals and/or living with a same-sex partner.
    Each synagogue together with its rabbi must establish its own standard with
    regard to membership for open violators of halakha.
    Those standards should be applied fairly and objectively."

  10. “Homosexuality does not become heterosexuality.”

    SOURCE: What you can change and what you can’t (chapter 1, page 5) by Martin E. P. Seligman PhD, Vintage Books, a division of Random House, New York

    NOTE: The author spent 30 years researching what can be changed and what can’t.

  11. Shevet Mussar, chapter 4, paragraphs 11 and 12 gives tactics for combating the temptation to commit homosexuality.

  12. Let's see how many more YU apologists crawl out of their holes.

    Can you read perhaps "principal" #8:

    "Jews with homosexual orientations or same sex-attractions SHOULD BE WELCOMED as full members of the synagogue and school community"

    And don't pretend you don't know that the many YU signatures here are belev echad with the YCT chayos that make a walking chilul Hashem & abomination like Steve Greenberg feel right at home.

    Yes, Steve Greenberg, a YU musmach who YU is too chicken livered to revoke his semicha. Then when Greenberg performed a gay "orthodox wedding", the YU rank & file panicked and issued a silly proclamation that is akin to saying it is forbidden for orthodox Jews to eat a cheeseburger.

  13. To YU - Torah Madua?:

    Seems to me that the declaration is distinguishing between those who are openly living with a homosexual partner and those who are not.

    It also distinguishes between students who are themselves homosexual and those whose parents are (and are also living together).

  14. "Yes, Steve Greenberg, a YU musmach who YU is too chicken livered to revoke his semicha."

    Can smicha be revoked? How? Please cite all relevant sources. In any case, Greenberg has been condemned publicly (and repeatedly) by his own rebbi. Don't make accusations you can't back up.

  15. Rav Bloch revoked the semicha of a Telzer in Cleveland who was no longer behaving like a ben Torah.

    YU musmachim have asked Rav Charlop and others to revoke Steve Greenberg's semicha but got nowhere. The YU hierarchy has said quietly that they are afraid of being sued if they do so.

    I heard this from a rosh yeshiva who graduated YU in the old days.


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