Global, Israel, Justice, Religion, Sex & Gender

Blogging the Omer, Day 12: Jerusalem Religious Homosexuals meeting: huzzah!

Week Two, Day five
Hod of Gevurah
In February, a group of religious gay and lesbian Jews calling themselves HOD ( äåîåàéí ãúééí ), set up a website. According to ynet, the group wanted to set up the website to reach out to their community and show that they exist and that they do not wish to flout halakha.
Yneted reported:

Recognition and acceptance are therefore foremost on the site operators’ agenda, “We want to embrace both identities, gay and religious,” explained Itay, noting that “we (religious gays) can be found everywhere in the religious world, and simply want to eliminate the stigma, disgrace and sometimes outright violence that has been leveled against us within the religious community.”
“We are your beloved sons,” site operators made an impassioned plea to the religious community, its rabbis and public leaders, also quoting Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook who stated that he would “rather transgress with reckless love to fellow Jews than unwarranted hatred.”

Just about a week later, because of the huge response to the new site, the organizers of the site
sent out a letter to Orthodox community leaders in which the leader of HOD asked their community to recognize them as “a living, viable part of its rank and file.”

The letter was sent to rabbis, religious Knesset members, mayors, community leaders, and organization heads, including Conversion Authority head Rabbi Haim Druckman and Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, and notes that it is only ignorance and lack of awareness that lead to the senseless hatred against homosexuals within the Orthodox community.

Now, the faces behind HOD have met: Last week, 70 people met for the first face to face meeting of HOD. It was attended by representatives from all over (including non-hareidi movement groups, such as Chavruta – the religious section of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance).
The purpose of the meeting was to “receiv[e] legitimization to operate on the religious homosexuals’ behalf and lead the campaign aimed at gaining the religious leaders’ support” and to review a final version of the letter originally sent out in February. It had been amended according to recommendations of various rabbis, professionals and group members. Now they will ask for signatories in the religious community.

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