Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We're Inclusive, Just Not to Everyone...

The Jewish Standard is the oldest Jewish weekly in New Jersey, providing news and information to Northern New Jersey since 1931. The Standard's mission statement contains the following:

"The Jewish Standard is not affiliated with any program, organization, movement, or point of view, but is dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life."

On September 24, the Standard published a notice announcing the upcoming marriage of same-sex Jewish couple Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen, who are to be married at a Long Island synagogue by a rabbi. According to a statement from Editor Rebecca Boroson, publication of the announcement "caused pain and consternation," especially among a group of Orthodox/Traditional rabbis that complained to the publication.

Boroson said, "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."

Can someone explain how a publication that strives to draw the Jewish community together feels that refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriage announcements promotes inclusion? Clearly, Justin and Avi were being married in an affiliated synagogue by an ordained rabbi. But because a group of Orthodox and Traditional rabbis complained, their voices should be heard above the fray?

For a community that has historically been discriminated against and met with prejudice, this prejudice within its own community seems unfathomable. But it serves as an important lesson to teach people it is not just the "religious right" refusing to believe all people should have equal right to love whomever they choose.

Love is inclusive, not exclusive. Religion should be, too.

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