October 11, 2010

(Reb Yudel)

Iconia: Is God blood thirsty, genocidal and green-skinned?

Menachem Wecker reviews the Comic Torah at his Iconia blog. Bottom line:

Anyone who has spent time cutting their teeth on the original Hebrew will soon recognize that beneath the surface of the irreverence, informality and seemingly random interpretations lies a serious, personal and very contemporary struggle with the meaning of the texts.

It is my hunch that anyone who takes a copy of Comic Torah to synagogue as a companion to the bible for following along during the weekly Sabbath Torah readings will not only not be disappointed, but might just also end up having some rare insights to share with their colleagues after the service.

Be sure to look at the full review, if only to read the responses from readers of the Houston Chronicle, where Menachem's blog appears.

October 5, 2010

(Reb Yudel)

Reaction to the Jewish Standard ban on same-sex marriage announcements

The New Jersey Jewish Standard published an announcement that the son of a prominent community member was marrying another man. My reaction: Mazal Tov! But an unnamed delegation of Orthodox rabbis expressed their "pain and consternation" to the newspaper, which promised to never again announce a same-sex simcha.

Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor of another North Jersey Jewish paper, has a good analysis of the pros and cons -- mostly cons -- of the Jewish Standard's approach.

I think that if the Jewish Standard respects the liberal Jewish community, it must stop printing wedding announcements that give non-Orthodox Jews "pain and consternation."

In particular:

* Weddings where women are acquired like chattel
* Weddings where women are not allowed to speak
* Weddings where husbands and wives are separated
* Weddings that create marriages that can only be ended by the husband
* Weddings where the woman will end up a unmarriagable because she doesn't want to live with her abusive husband and the abusive husband doesn't want to give her a divorce
* Weddings where divorce matters will be decided by corrupt, misogynist rabbinic courts
* Weddings where the marriages will end because one of the partners belatedly discovers their gay identity that had been buried under years of yeshiva repression.

I understand that some non-Orthodox practices may be deeply offensive to Orthodox Jews. But let's be clear: The reverse is true too. That, after all, is why we choose not to be Orthodox.