Culture, Justice, Sex & Gender

Hold them to a Higher Standard

This morning, I saw a post on my friend Darya’s Facebook page:

ugh. Not that I expect a whole lot from local Jewish newspapers, but seriously?

I’ll save you the click. The link is to a statement signed by the paper’s editor, Rebecca Kaplan Boroson, saying the following:

We set off a firestorm last week by publishing a same-sex couple’s announcement of their intent to marry. Given the tenor of the times, we did not expect the volume of comments we have received, many of them against our decision to run the announcement, but many supportive as well.
A group of rabbis has reached out to us and conveyed the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community to this issue. Our subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused.
The Jewish Standard has always striven to draw the community together, rather than drive its many segments apart. We have decided, therefore, since this is such a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future.
The views in opinion pieces and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Standard. The comments posted on this Website are solely the opinions of the posters. Libelous or obscene comments will be removed.

This is outrageous on many levels, and I’m sure I don’t need to go into them in detail here. But seriously? The decision is bad enough, but to apologize to “members of the traditional/Orthodox community” for “any pain we may have caused”? (And to implicate the entire “traditional/Orthodox community” in this decision is unfair and damaging to many people in that community as well.)
Did they miss the memo about all the gay kids committing suicide because of the way society shits on them? Including one right in their backyard? These things don’t happen in a vacuum.
But if there is a happy ending (or, hopefully, a happy middle) to this story, it’s the inspiring way GLBT Jews and allies sprang into action across the internet today. My Facebook feed was overwhelmed with people posting outraged comments and committing to write to the paper. I posted a message about my outrage on the paper’s Facebook page, and dozens of others followed suit. Disappointed messages have been tweeted at the paper’s Twitter account all day. And although you wouldn’t know it, because no one has been approving comments on the original article’s webpage all day, I know dozens of people have been leaving messages there.
If you share my outrage, I encourage you to let the paper know. You can find all their contact information online, or leave a message for them on Facebook or Twitter. If you need a sample letter, check out this short and to-the-point example by Rabbi Menachem Creditor.
And if you need a little more motivation, here’s Sarah Silverman’s addition to the It Gets Better campaign:

10 thoughts on “Hold them to a Higher Standard

  1. While this issue resurfacing again. Are there any stats available to show how many commitment ceremonies have been performed by Conservative clergy since the Nevins (and other CJLS members) teshuva was passed almost 4 years ago now? And are there any stats available to show how many of those who have been committed to each other needed to be -for lack of better words- annulled? I wouldn’t use the word divorced because the Nevins teshuva never allowed for gay marriages or gay divorces.

  2. You know, the more I thought about it, and the more I fumed, even after I wrote my note to the publisher, I thought about the future implications. What happens when a gay couple adopts a baby, or a lesbian couple has one with a donor, will the paper not publish birth/adoption announcements? Is this current (in my opinion, wrong) decision going to be the domino start of a lot of future bad decisions on the part of the paper?

  3. What is amazing to me (and I said this in the comment I made on the site, which has not yet appeared on the screen) is how few comments they’ve received supporting their position. I sent my blog piece on this to the Reform Judaism blog (, where hopefully it will appear tomorrow. Given that all media are in trouble these days, I headed it, Another New Jersey Suicide?

  4. While I am sure there will be many suicides over the fact that a Jewish newspaper in NJ may no longer be making same-sex wedding announcements, wouldn’t your time be better spent working on a suicide prevention hotline, or contributing in some way to one?

  5. Why is it that the orthodox minority is who they feel the need to apologize to and not the rest of us who find the lack of inclusion just as offensive?

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