If you’re not new to the LGBTQ Jewish events and retreats in New York, then you’ve probably met Justin Rosen and his partner Avi Smolen. Justin is one of those guys who couldn’t help but devote his life to Judaism.
So what wonderful news it was when these two announced that they were getting married. And, as a good Jewish couple, they were doing it young so they can undoubtedly start a family. Pure speculation. But the point is, if you’re looking for model Jewish families, this is one that if they were straight more of the Jewish world would celebrate.
Even more exciting was that their announcement was carried in The New Jersey Jewish Standard. One of the fun things about being a young LGBTQ Jew is that a lot of what we do gets to be the first or among the first of its kind. In this case, the first announcement of a same-sex couple in that paper.
Long story short, some Orthodox leaders objected, the paper said it would no longer publish such announcements of same-sex couples, and then they reconsidered and said they would continue to publish same-sex marriage announcements.
There is plenty of coverage but I think the initial response, even though it has since been retracted, is worth looking at:
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.
I’ll simply say this, is it not astounding that anyone, even for a moment, in this day and age, in this area, could think that the way to draw the community together is to exclude part of it?
JTA has good coverage, with a video of the couple: