LGBT community response to Masorti same sex ceremonies

LGBT community response to Masorti same sex ceremonies

GaymarriageFollowing the Masorti community’s decision to permit same-sex ceremonies, the Jewish News has received many letters of support for the decision.

Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah of Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue said:

“I want to say a huge Mazzal Tov to the Masorti Movement for the efforts made in recent years to support lesbian and gay individuals and couples – and now for the proposal to endorse same-sex marriages. The Masorti Movement has demonstrated Blu Greenberg’s dictum that ‘where there’s a Rabbinic will, there is a Halakhic way.’
When Liberal Judaism began to create the conditions for the equal treatment of lesbian and gay couples and families in 2000, discrimination was the order of the day. Today, following the Civil Partnership Act in 2005, and then The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, equal treatment is now the law of the land. The Masorti movement is right in seeking to ensure that the new era of equality is reflected in its rites and practices. Hopefully, before too long, the United Synagogue will take the same steps in support of its lesbian and gay members, and the lesbian and gay children of its members.”
– –
Peggy Sherwood, President of the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group ( )

“I was delighted to read that the Masorti Movement has now joined with the Liberal and Reform Movements in allowing their Rabbis to conduct same-sex marriages in the UK.  This is excellent news and a welcome addition.  

Hopefully now that three of the mainstream synagogue movements within the UK support same-sex marriage, LGBT Jews will no longer feel marginalised from Judaism.  We can only hope that the United movement will quickly follow Masorti’s example and ensure that equality for all Jews, regardless of who they love, will be a reality.

In the week when the Jewish community is mourning the loss of Rabbi Sheila Shulman z’’l, one of the first two out lesbian rabbis to be ordained, it is particularly poignant that another major strand in British Jewry has shown how far the community has come in terms of inclusivity and celebration of diversity in the last 25 years since Sheila’s ordination.”

Monica Rabinowitz wrote to us, saying:

“Dear Sir,

I’m writing to you today to tell you of my magnanimous support of the Masorti Movement’s recent decision to recognise marriage equality.

My name is Monica Rabinowitz and I grew up within the Conservative Movement in the United States.  Although I’ve affiliated with the Liberal and Reform Movements since I originally moved to this country over twenty years ago, it was the Conservative US sister movement to Masorti that formed my Jewish identity. It was within this movement that I was educated and Bat Mitzvah’d and that I learned what it was to be a Jew.

Growing up in my synagogue in the 1970’s and 80’s, though, was not always easy, as I knew that I was different from the other girls I went to Hebrew school with.  Nowhere in my Jewish education was I shown that anything different from the norm of heterosexual union in my future was acceptable.  There were no other possibilities or role models I could look to when recognising that some of my feelings weren’t quite the same as other girls around me.  When I fully came to terms with my sexuality at the age of 21, I decided to take a hiatus from Judaism.  Irealised that there was no place for me within the Jewish community as I knew it and that it was better for me to independently navigate my way in the world.

I eventually found my way back to the Jewish community through a group called Hineinu, which was formed in the late 1980’s in London.  Here, young Jewish lesbians, gay men and bisexuals came together in a weekly meeting where we would socialise and share our ‘coming out’ stories and what it was like for us in our respective communities.  I found love, acceptance and friendship amongst my peers and a common history of childhood and adolescence that we all more or less shared – one of pain, shame and isolation in our families and communities of origin. Our Judaism was so vital to our identities but it was in that same world that we were all taught that our feelings were invisible and that there was no acceptable future for those of us who were attracted to and loved others of the same gender.

I congratulate the Masorti Movement for its brave decision to accept marriage equality.  Young people growing up in that movement will learn that there are other possibilities for their futures if they are not heterosexual.  That they can have happy, fulfilling lives with a spouse, regardless of their gender.  That they will not have to abandon their values, faith or community because they will still be respected, wanted and embraced, regardless of their love or attractions.  By  accepting marriage equality, the Masorti Movement are making a commitment to their community and to their children – that they will accept and respect all their congregants, their future congregants and spouses of congregants based on who they are, not who they love.  They will recognise and celebrate marital unions of all Jews in their community, not just the formerly privileged heterosexual majority.

It is my hope that no Jewish child will ever again have to choose whether or not to pursue their sexuality or their Judaism.  No Jew should ever need to make that choice again.

Thank you very much”

 Keshet UK Director, Benjamin Ellis: 

“It’s wonderful that LGBT people in these communities now know that they can fall in love and stay in those communities, and that their relationships will count.”

Lesley Urbach said: 

“Dear Mr. Mendel (Online editor of the Jewish News),

I am writing to welcome the Masorti Movement’s decision to conduct Same Sex Marriages. It is sad that those people raising their voices against this decision cannot find more important issues to protest about. There are very many terrible things happening in this world and this country which should be taking up their concern and anger. If people don’t agree with Same Sex Marriages, they need not accept invitations to attend, should they receive one. I very much hope the Masorti Movement will not give in to such ridiculous prejudice.