An Orthodox rabbi has unleashed an extraordinary public attack against the head of the Spanish and Portuguese community for claiming “the homosexual revolution is a fantastic development for humanity”.
Rabbi Aaron Bassous has openly criticised a lecture given earlier this month by Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community as “twisted, misguided and mistaken” in a public notice posted in Golders Green.
The statement from Bassous and Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel, added: “It is our firm opinion that there is no validity in his words whatsoever… We have found it our obligation to warn the masses that his words are nothing and can only be defined as damaging.”
The lecture was shared on social media last Friday, but Dweck was asked to remove the audio file from the S&P Sephardi Community website.
However, in a recording heard by Jewish News, the lecture explains the religious prohibition on homosexuality and presents an enlightened Orthodox view on the issue.
In the discussion, Dweck can be heard to say: “Whatever hang-ups you have are yours, don’t hang them on the Torah.”
He added: “Homosexuality in society has forced us to look at how we deal with love between people of the same sex and it has reduced the taboo of me, my children and my grandchildren being able to love another human being of the same sex genuinely, to show them affection, to express love without the worry of being seen as deviant and problematic.
“The act remains an issue, but if we can deal with the peripheral issues, it changes how we address these things. That’s good for society.
“If we do not hang our prejudices at the door, we will be on the outside. Society will move forward – and the world is moving towards love.”
When asked about the reaction of Bassous to his views on homosexuality, Dweck responded: “This class was part of a weekly Perspectives Series in which I give Torah perspectives based on traditional and widely accepted Torah and Talmudic
“Nothing was said contrary to Jewish Law, nor was it a political statement of any kind It has only been removed from our website because the study of Torah should not cause needless arguments.”
Bassous now plans to address his community with a response to Dweck’s lecture on Monday night.
He could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.