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Orthodox rabbi marries gay couple in historic wedding in DC

For the first time in history, Steve Greenberg, an openly-gay American rabbi ordained by the Orthodox movement, has officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony.

On Thursday night at Washington DC’s “Historic 6th and I Synagogue,” Greenberg stood under the chupah, a traditional Jewish wedding canopy, as newlyweds Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan tied the knot before some two-hundred guests. Recognizing the unique – and controversial – moment, Greenberg’s voice notably cracked when near the end he stated, “By the power invested in me by the District of Columbia, I now pronounce you married.”

Greenberg gained notoriety following his role in the 2001 documentary by an American filmmaker, “Trembling Before G-d,” which portrayed the conflicts of gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews trying to reconcile their religious convictions and sexual orientations. After the films successful release, Greenberg traveled with director Sandi Simcha Dubowski, screening the film globally. He was approached by Bock and Kaplan about a year ago and was asked to perform the ceremony, to which he agreed.

Orthodox-ordained Rabbi Steve Greenberg presiding at same-sex wedding of Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan in Washington, DC synagogue, 10 November 2011 (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

The couple had dated since 2005. They agreed to get married in 2008 while on a bike ride, but wanted to wait until doing so was actually legal. A recent change in Washington DC’s laws paved the way for them to do just that.

We were encouraged by the legislation of same-sex marriage in our home ‘state’ of Washington, DC,” Bock and Kaplan noted in the evening’s program guide. “At the same time, both of us wanted a ceremony that would be meaningful halachically (in terms of religious Jewish law) and create a set of Jewish legal obligations between us.

While a number of same-sex couples – many of them Jewish – have now married in US areas that recently legalized gay and lesbian unions, none were officiated by a rabbi who holds Orthodox ordination. The movement maintains a strict interpretation of Jewish law, including the biblical verse found in Leviticus 18 which refers to a man lying with another man as an abomination.

Greenberg assisted Bock and Kaplan in creating a ceremonial text that reflected the uniqueness of the event while incorporating the traditional elements of a Jewish wedding. Those familiar with the latter would have noticed an alteration in many of the texts, including the changing of genders for several of the pronouns. “Harey at mekudeshet li,” or “Behold, you (female) are consecrated to me” thus became “Harey atah m’kudash li,” or “Behold, you (male) are consecrated to me.”

Elements of a traditional ceremony that, according to the couple and Greenberg, reflected gender inequality, were removed or subsisted with more egalitarian and gay-friendly versions. The traditional “ketubah,” or “marriage contract,” in which the bride is essentially purchased by the groom, was replaced with a “Shtar Shetufim,” or “partnership contract.”

Greenberg is no stranger to controversy. He publicly admitted his sexuality following his ordination from an Orthodox rabbinical school, making him the first openly gay practicing Orthodox rabbi. While he was warmly received by many, his book, “Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition,” led him to be shunned by some in the Orthodox community and even by some gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews who felt his views did not align with Orthodox readings of Jewish law. His participation in Thursday’s ceremony will be viewed by some as a step that crosses a line of no return.

While rabbis from the Reform, Reconstructionist and, more recently, Conservative movements of Judaism have presided over same-sex unions, even when the act did legally result in the State-recognized union of the couple, rabbis from the Orthodox movement have completely stayed away from such practice. And as the couple vowed to never forget Jerusalem, as is traditionally done before the breaking of the glass, some – critics and supporters – will never forget this occasion.

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To read about restrictions on rabbis performing Jewish weddings in Israel, read Ori J. Lenkinski’s account on +972

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Louis

      Meanwhile, back in the Dark Ages of Israel civic-minded-democratic conscious people are trying to resist the hegemony of religious Orthodoxy, from the type that tries to shut a women’s voice, segregate her on the bus or streets, preach racism and ethno-racial segregation and try to put God on the side of the Occupation…

      Reply to Comment
    2. barbara landau

      At least do tell that the synagogue where this marriage took place is also “unorthodox” as it is a “non-denominational” synagogue!

      Reply to Comment
    3. David

      Ms. Landau, this is true but the synagogue is a community space in which ALL denominations hold events and meetings.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Moriel Rothman

      great news! Mazal tov to the couple, and to humanity.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Mazel Tov! This is a lovely description. I hope there are many more weddings like this to come.

      I think it should be clear that while this rabbi was ordained Orthodox and lives an observant lifestyle, calling him an Orthodox rabbi is a bit of a stretch as no Orthodox institutions will recognize this marriage and or him as a rabbi after doing this. (To their shame, not his).

      Also, I wonder would the same rabbi in a heterosexual wedding ceremony remove all non-egalitarian aspects and use “Haray Ata Mikudash Li” for the women to say? That would be more progressive than most Conservative rabbis. And if not why not?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Jonathan Goldstein

      All I can say to Ms Landau is why do you care that a gay couple was married by an Orthodox Rabbi? You are not a perfect Jew, none of us are. Look in the mirror and better yourself instead of focusing on what you think others are doing wrong.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Mark Gross

      I just want to clarify that this rabbi is not Orthodox any more. He was ordained Orthodox many years ago, but broke with the movement in his advocacy of full acceptance of homosexuality. There is not a single Orthodox synagogue or organization in the world which will recognize this marriage (in fact, most of them will probably condemn it).

      Reply to Comment
    8. Meredith

      MAZAL TOV YONI & RON!!!!!! ALL THE BEST FOR A LIFE FULL OF LOVE, HAPPINESS, & ADVENTURE!!!

      Reply to Comment
    9. Lisa

      Speaking as an Orthodox Jew who is also a lesbian and had a commitment ceremony with her partner over 13 years ago, I find it appalling that Steve did what he did. Kiddushin (marriage in Jewish law) is between a man and a woman. It always has been and always will be.

      I’ve met Steve, and he’s a nice guy. But regardless of his past ordination, he is *not* an Orthodox Jew. He represents no one but himself. I can’t condemn this enough.

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    10. Micha

      Mazal tov on this exciting milestone both for the couple and the community! Thank you for covering this.

      Just one word on the traditional ketubah: it is not the case that it “the bride is essentially purchased by the groom” via the ketubah, as you put it. Rather, the contents of the ketubah stipulate the obligations of the groom to provide for the bride (clothing, food and relations) as well as the money he will owe her in the event of divorce.
      There may be good reasons for editing, adpating or even not using the traditional ketubah, but the old “bride purchasing” story isn’t one of them!

      Reply to Comment
    11. joe lemm

      Kudos to Rabbi Greenberg and mazeltov to the groom and groom.
      I think we do a disservice to fresh thinking in Judaism by representing this as having anything to do with Orthodoxy. Jewish Orthodoxy continues to be the same stultified cult it’s been for the last century or so and as such it cannot accommodate anything like gay marriage.

      Reply to Comment
    12. J. Ariel

      Mazal Tov to all involved in this historic event! Please take Israel out of this conversation since all the people involve here live and chose to practice Judaism in America. Let’s not politicize a simcha. More of this weddings now!

      Reply to Comment
    13. Rob Montague

      Mazal tov to the happy couple, and to Rabbi Greenberg for his courage in performing this ceremony. While it will undoubtedly cause controversy in Orthodoxy, even the Orthodox world isn’t immutable and adopts changes. It’s a much slower process than in Conservatism or Reform, but Orthodox observance does evolve! As for saying whether this is Orthodox, or not, who decides? We don’t have an Orthodox Pope (thank G-d) to make such decrees! If the ceremony follows Orthodox precepts (with appropriate alterations to suit the circumstances) and the couple lead observant lives, I say it’s Orthodox! (I have as much authority to declare that as any other Jew!) May the newlywed couple have a long, happy and blessed marriage!

      Reply to Comment
    14. Lee R.

      It is great to see another same sex couple wed under the huppah. It is wonderful that a gay orthodox rabbi officiated. I look forward to the day when this becomes mainstreamed in the orthodox community. Not likely but possible. In the meantime, let the debate within orthodoxy continue ablaze so that the long process of opening minds and hearts continues.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Mitchell Cohen

      @Lisa, thanks for your honesty. As you can see, your post is as invisible as air. If a same sex couple wants to get married, that is what the non-Orthodox movements are for.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Maria Daniel

      I will need to go back and read the old testament, because I vaguely recall there being a law by Hashem that the marriage is between a man and a woman, and if that is the case, why are people here on earth changing what Hashem has stated?

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    17. AYLA

      @Lisa (cc Mitchell)–that’s nice that it worked for you to have a commitment ceremony. However, some people are gay and orthodox, and it’s as important to them to get married in an orthodox ceremony as it is for straight, orthodox people. I can understand why some people would take issue with this, but you can’t just write off the fact that some people are deeply observant and also gay (some of my best friends, as they say). I like Jay Michaelson’s writings on this.

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    18. Greg Parker

      A wise old Rabbi once said, “you can not break the law, you can only break yourself against the law”. A fragile glass is shattered against a stone tablet. So what did they serve at the reception, raw pork?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Mitchell Cohen

      @Ayla, is it fair to expect Orthodox Rabbis to officiate in something that is against their core beliefs? Gay Jews are welcomed to daven in Orthodox shuls as are Jews who openly violate Shabbat. However, coercing an Orthodox Rabbi to officiate in a same sex marriage ceremony is no more fair (IMO it is outright arrogant) then coercing him to hold an event in a hall that serves non-kosher food.

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    20. Henry Weinstein

      More generally, around the western world gay activists & intellectuals who fought for the right to be DIFFERENT, Gay Pride, to be recognized by (heterosexual) society, fight nowadays for the right to be EQUAL stating sexual difference between men and women is something cultural which should be re-write & re-formulate, in the name of Holy Gender.
      As a consequence, at a time where society recognizes civil union & commitment ceremony, gay wedding in short, granting to gay couples the right to live openly their difference, gay activists & intellectuals decided to target marriage, which is not only the (heterosexual) union between a woman and a man to form a family, but the foundation of any human society and the most important sacrament in any religion.
      Why this aggressive insistence & lobbying to mimic marriage between a woman and a man, when western society and most western religions recognize your difference, when the law protects your right to live openly with your partner? Why gays who fought to be recognized as different, Gay Pride, who fought for the right to live openly their difference, want now to impose their difference, their norms & values, to the heterosexual majority? Isn’t paradoxical, to say the least?
      Aren’t heterosexuals entitled to defend THEIR DIFFERENCE, their marriage, and reply to gay activists & intellectuals: “Hey, we are not like you sorry, we are different, please respect OUR DIFFERENCE”!!

      Reply to Comment
    21. Fantastic news !!

      Reply to Comment
    22. Steven

      @Lisa-You obviously didn’t read the article, due to your blinding anger you have against Rabbi Greenberg. I’ve seen you respond bitterly to other articles about him. It wasn’t kiddushin nor was there a ketubah. It was a commitment cermony with a shtar shetufut. A “marriage” in the eyes of the city government, but kiddushin. And of course he represents himself, as you only represent yourself. Thank G-d, we don’t have a pope. But Lisa, if you really have a problem with Rabbi Greenberg, you should solve it personally and not in the comments sections of various web postings.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Yaakov

      Lisa,

      I would imagine that this wedding didn’t use lashon kiddushin, and that the term “marriage” was used in the English sense, not to denote halakhic kiddushin.

      Roee,

      This is not the first Orthodox gay wedding.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Steven

      My comment should have read: “A ‘marriage’ in the eyes of the city government but NOT kiddushin”. Sorry for the typo.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Kimbell

      Mazel tov to the happy couple. Steve Greenberg has given this couple what they dreamed of, a truly Orthodox Jewish wedding. Things will change. Just remember it was said that the Conservative movement would never marry gay or lesbian couples. Congratulations on your marriage and your Jewish lives together from a lesbian bride married in Massachusetts this summer in a Renewal congregation.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Susan

      I do think it is unfair of the article to refer to the officiant as “ordained by the Orthodox movement”; it is clearly an attempt to hide the fact that he is no longer an Orthodox Rabbi – *as the title of the article says he is.*

      Reply to Comment
    27. Shel Bassel

      1) Correction: A ketuba is *not* a document with which a groom ‘essentially purchases the bride’–rather, it is a financial obligation undertaken by the groom to make sure the bride receives support in the event of the dissolution of the marriage either by divorce or death of the husband.

      2) Whether or not something is labeled as ‘Orthodox’ is obviously somewhat arbitrary as witnessed by the wide variety of halachic opinion and Orthodox practice. Perhaps what binds these varying practices and viewpoints more than anything else is a commitment to work within the bounds of a halachic system. Yes, Steve has pushed the bounds of that system but he is sincere in his commitment to it. It is not for others to define him or those who participated in this ceremony as being ‘in or out’ of Orthodoxy. Let’s leave it to each of us to define ourselves as we like. It is up to other individuals or communities to accept or reject our definitions.

      I think it is deeply admirable on the part of all participants to make these efforts to keep, as much as possible, a commitment to a halachic system. Time will tell whether or not such efforts will be recognized by a wider community.

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    28. Batsheva

      I am very happy for this couple, but am I the only person who watched the third video and found the loud singing of the word, “kallah,” meaning “bride,” to be rather incongruous?

      Reply to Comment
    29. robert cohen

      Rabbi Greenberg is not longer Orthodox
      there for you must not missleed the public

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    30. AYLA

      @Mitchell–of course no rabbi should do anything they aren’t comfortable with. I’m guessing, though, that there are some orthodox rabbis who wrestle with this issue, however small a percentage. I certainly understand that this is a very complicated issue if you fall into the tiny percentage of people who are BOTH orthodox AND wishing to find a way to accept the lives of people who are both gay and practice orthodox judaism. IF you are among this tiny percentage, it is a very challenging issue at this time, even for the gay people themselves. If you’re interested, I recommend Jay Michaelson’s writings on the subject. I’m not suggesting that I know the answers; only that just because a commitment service works for Lisa, that doesn’t mean that orthodox practicing couples who are also gay would feel comfortable having a non-orthodox service. There is a world that exists that we’re calling Renewal Judaism, which is kind of neo-chassidic, to which people come from both ends of the observancy spectrum (people raised with little who want more connection; people raised orthodox who want more progressive possibilities, etc.) and in that world, you can be very halechechly (sp???) observant and gay–no no one has to call it “orthodox” and everyone gets to live their lives. Anyway, just saying, you can’t judge other people’s choices by your own.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Larry

      Non-Orthodox Jews seem to place a great deal of emphasis on the definition of their denomination and where their rabbis were ordained.

      In Orthodoxy, the institution of the rabbi’s ordination matters little if the rabbi himself decides to publicly defy any major segment of Jewish law. By coming out of the closet, Steve Greenberg took an awesome leap of courage; however by doing so he can no longer legitimately be called an “orthodox rabbi” no matter where his smicha (ordination) took place, since he has embraced and encouraged a lifestyle choice (no, “being gay” is not a choice, but having sex is a choice) that the Torah forbids. (I can hear the orthogays sniveling that the Torah forbids only anal sex between men and that other types of contact are not forbidden, blah blah blah… if you believe that then your Dox isn’t very “ortho” either, since Orthodox Judaism defines Torah to include legitimate legal (Talmud and poskim) tradition as well as the Bible as binding)

      Similarly, many Conservative rabbis have smicha from Yeshiva University or other orthodox institutions but since they have become rabbis in Conservative temples, they are no longer Orthodox, even if they remain personally observant (since they publicly identify themselves with what Orthodoxy considers heretical movements.)

      I met Steve Greenberg once and he is an amazingly nice guy; however, it has always bothered me somewhat that he sort of bills himself as “the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi” as if playing this up for profit. He isn’t Orthodox and it in fact surprises me that he does not have the integrity to state that publicly.

      To his credit, the cerremony performed here is completely different from the traditional wedding liturgy in which the groom states to the bride “you are sanctified unto me according to the law of Moses and of Israel”. Were this formula used in a gay wedding, it would simply be ludicrous.

      All of the above said – I think genuine Orthodox rabbis and congregants are beginning more and more to recognize that their community includes gay and lesbian (and even in a few cases transgendered) people and more and more people, GLBT as well as heterosexuals, are beginning to realize that Orthodox Judaism is not a monolithic medieval misogynistic cult and that everyone should feel welcome in the traditional synagogue.

      And finally Mazal Tov to the couple and may God grant you every happiness as you build a life together.

      oh and P.S., I am a formerly orthodox, gay Jew. I attend an orthodox synagogue where all of the adults know that I am gay, and if they have a problem with it, they =- congregants and rabbi alike- certainly have never shown me any disrespect whatsoever.

      Reply to Comment
    32. AYLA

      @Mitchell–p.s. You know, also… do you know anyone who perfectly keeps halekha? It’s kind of impossible. And we don’t go around questioning people’s orthodoxy based on many other transgressions. hosted an othrodox couple this past shabbat who live in Tekoa (that’s right: settlers in the house. and not Rebbe Froman followers, either) and they are unmarried. one had a previous divorce and didn’t want to be married again. They’ve been together over a decade and are committed for life, but they are living together in an orthodox community, unmarried. People in their community may have a lot to say about this, but I doubt that anyone is saying they actually aren’t orthodox, or that an orthodox rabbi would refuse to marry them now based on all these years of non-marital sex. Plus, we’ve managed to do away with polygamy and slavery–our interpretation of the torah DOES evolve to suit our perceived needs. The focus in the torah is procreation, yet today we have a population control issue (not that gay people cant and don’t have kids–just saying, in terms of the torah saying that man should not lie with man, but Avraham should lie with Hagar and then also marry Keturah). The only line in the Torah addressing homosexuality is about sodomy. only. it doesn’t pertain to lesbians, and it only pertains to a particular sexual act, not to whom we love. (and I’m helplessly straight, btw). so really, there *is* room for challenging debate on this matter; it’s not cut and dried. and ALL I’m saying is that @Lisa has to understand that to some people who are gay, practicing orthodox judaism is as important as it is to straight people who are committed to practicing orthodox judaism.

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    33. AYLA

      @Mitchell–lastly, and also in terms of the Torah’s focus, the line about man not lying with man as he lies with a woman goes hand-in-hand with the liturgy about not spilling seed. Any orthodox jewish men out there masturbating? Are they still orthodox? Should an orthodox rabbi marry them?

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    34. AYLA

      @Larry–I presume you never spill seed either, then. Kol ha kavod.

      Reply to Comment
    35. AYLA

      @Larry–sorry! only read the beginning of your post! just try not to spend my whole day here…. I apologize. That comment should be directed at someone else, not you. it’s an important point though. Take care!

      Reply to Comment
    36. Jenny

      It must be very painful for those who, like Lisa, have embraced inequality and discrimination in order to reconcile their private and religious lives. especially when they see such examples of stunning bravery! Mazal Tov to the happy couple, and so many mazels to the Rabbi – Orthodoxy *will* change – it will have to, or become entirely populated by social pariahs and bigots – and this is how the change will begin.

      There are many more orthodox, observant Jews out there who wholeheartedly agree with this move. and they’re not going to stop their orthodox affiliation.

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    37. kelly

      LOL, Greenberg is not Orthodox.
      Sorry, no matter how you try to ignore or explain it away, thee Torah forbids gay male sex.
      If you want to promote or excuse it, gay gezundeheit, but why make your believe your Orthodox.
      Reminds me of Jews for Jesus.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Mitchell Cohen

      “@Mitchell–p.s. You know, also… do you know anyone who perfectly keeps halekha?” [End of Ayla]

      If I knew anyone who kept halacha perfectly, then they wouldn’t be human, they would be a deity. However, there is a difference between a MOVEMENT openly endorsing something that goes against their basic beliefs versus an individual who is not perfect and floundering here and there with “messing up” with mitzvot.

      Again, an openly gay Jew can daven in an Orthodox synagogue (at least according to halacha), as can a Jew who openly desecrates Shabbat, openly eats non-kosher food, is a compulsive liar, is intermarried, etc. etc. However, an Orthodox Rabbi (not one who was ordained as an Orthodox Rabbi and became a chozer be’ she’eila) will not marry a same sex couple or a heterosexual couple consisting of a Jew/ess and non-Jew/ess nor condone breaking Shabbat (except to save a life), nor condone eating treif, etc. etc. And before everyone jumps on me about all the “religious” hypocrites who lie and cheat on people (financially and otherwise) or worse, I know!!!! This doesn’t make everything else ok because some hypocrites do so and so (you know, kind of like the “they do it too” response to the “price tag” attacks).

      I want to ask you a ? Ayla because (disagree as we might, most of the time, you seem like a rational poster). If two people are committed to each other(heterosexual or otherwise), isn’t the life they are going to spend together what matters? What is so important about having what seems to me, at least, a photo-op “Orthodox” wedding ceremony? Aren’t the years they are going to be there for each other through thick and thin what really matters? Why coerce Orthodox Rabbis into endorsing something that they just can’t?

      Reply to Comment
    39. Shel Bassel

      I will just point out that barely over a century ago it was forbidden by halacha as brought down in the Shulchan Aruch and myriad poskim to teach women Torah. While that is a long discussion and perhaps not best carried out here, it does point to a reality that halacha does change, albeit slowly, even in the face of Talmudic dicta and more than a thousand years of halachic discussion. In the case of women being taught Torah, yes, it initially enjoyed a kind of “b’diavad” support by the Chafetz Chaim which lent it some credence. But it took generations for it to become not only accepted but de rigeur as it is now. Like all halacha, it became standard at the point that it achieved wide acceptance in the Orthodox community at large. At the time, though, the establishment of the first Beis Yaakov was decried by many who viewed it no differently than ‘eating pork.’ This does not mean the same will happen vis a vis homosexual issues, but neither does it mean it will not.

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    40. Jenny

      @Kelly believe what you choose, but don’t use inane arguments. I know plenty of Orthodox Jews who wear linen and wool or simply don’t bother purchasing only “shatnez-free clothes”, which Lev 19 is pretty clear on, so don’t pretend that you’re the arbiter of which rule-breaking renders you “not Orthodox” and which don’t.

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    41. meir

      I notice that almost everyone here has posted on shabbos. I dont consider this to be such an earth shattering event that chillul shabbos is called for.

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    42. Toby Tova

      Mazel Tov to the couple. Yasher Koach to Steve Greenberg. You may not be related to Yitz Greenberg genetically, but you are certainly connected to him through integrity, compassion, and courage.

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    43. AYLA

      @Mitchell–kodem kol, disagree though we usually do, I consider you a rational and sincere poster, too. Secondly, absolutely, it’s the life people spend together that matters. Look–I’m not orthodox, and I pretty much take what’s meaningful to me on any given day or week from jewish tradition and leave what isn”t, so it’s very easy for me to say who needs the orthodox ceremony, as it’s easy for me to say lots of things (such as I can’t believe my friends’ friends used plasticware and brought all their own food last weekend rather than eat off my vegetarian-only plates and eat food cooked out of my veggie only pots that that I keep just for those who keep kosher, for example :) ). And I’m really not saying that I don’t understand why this is challenging for orthodox people/rabbis, not why most are currently against it. And of course rabbis shouldn’t be coerced; that shouldn’t even be possible, from the rabbi’s perspective. I’m just saying that with time, rabbinical interpretation of torah could make orthodox gay marriage possible,and I”m also saying that I can understand why gay, orthodox people would want to be married in an orthodox ceremony just as much as straight, orthodox people. I’m also saying that the rabbinate may give disproportionate weight to that one law (against sodomy…) in the torah vs. others that should be of equal weight. that’s all. I’d like to see gay orthodox marriage rabbinically condoned eventually, and I can understand lots of very sound arguments for an against it in terms of the way that religious law evolves and is made. I really do recommend Jay Michaelson on the subject.

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    44. AYLA

      should have read NOR why most are against it, not NOT why. Dust in my keyboard… geographical hazard.

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    45. Toby Tova

      Mazel Tov to the couple. Yasher Koach to Steve. You may not be related to Yitz Greenberg genetically, but you are connected through your integrity, compassion, and courage. Keep up your good works.

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    46. Sarah

      So many problems, where to start? I suppose the dishonesty of the article is a good place. This man is obviously not an “Orthodox Rabbi” as the title says – even the article, sly as it is, does not say this, even if it implies it “Orthodox ordained” does NOT necessarily mean “still Orthodox”, even if it *usually* does – this case is obviously one where it doesn’t. Which brings me to the next problem: the conflation of separate issues. No one says “sinning makes you not [insert denomination here].” So sniping about what anyone here does/not do in defense of this indefensible article is a strawman. But openly stating that you no longer believe what [insert denomination here] says is valid, *certainly* makes you NOT [insert denomination here]. Jewish law has always been that marriage is between a man & a woman (& yes, I am well aware that Judaism has – & in certain places still does – encompass polygyny; that doesn’t change what I am saying). & this has always been for the protection of the sanctity of Jewish women. We dont have the concept of bastardy the way the goyim do – we don”t need to adapt our marriage laws to their customs -in fact, we’re conjoined from doing so! Gay couples do NOT NEED TO BE MARRIED in terms of Jewish law. There are no rights they are missing, as with civil law. If people stopped thinking of Jewish law in terms of goyish traditions, we might not need to have any more of these arguments (& before anyone starts screaming, of course I know there is nothing inherently wrong in being gay (just as there is nothing inherently wrong in being heterosexual), & of course all congregations should welcome people of any orientation – that is NOT the point here, no matter how hard anyone tries to make it that).

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    47. Jay B

      He’s more closely related to Yitz-er Hora.
      How in heaven’s honor can you say mikudeshes, when this is anything but holy.
      How can you say k’das Moshe V’Yisroel, when Moshe and the Rabbanan who set the standard for kiddushin never condoned an open violation of G-d’s law, the Torah.
      Stultified practice? You mean following G-d’s word is a stultifying practive because it limits you in what you can and can not do?
      Is anything that G-d tells you to be prohibited stultifying because you did not make the decision yourself?
      Is religion only worth something to you if you can bend it to suit your whims and desires?
      Anyone who disagrees with you by following the law as observed for thousands of years is merely a chicken?
      The majority of the commenters on this website must be proud of how they stroke each others ego by supporting the premise that this Rabbi is brave and bold and good and observant. Pointing out that this is only one of the sins of the Torah, and that surely everyone has some sin when they are married misses the point entirely. It is the same as lauding a Rabbi who exhorts his listeners to observe Shabbat but he himself does not. The Kedusha of Kiddushin is between a man and a woman – so says the Torah. “Rabbi” Greenberg’s views be damned.

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    48. Jo Alex SG

      Mazel tov ! Baruch HaShem !

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    49. sara

      I am laughing at all this controversy over a simple act of two people coming together for a lifetime commitment because they love each other.

      I am married, straight, Orthodox, with kids, over the Green Line in Jerusalem.

      These two men are how HaShem made them…who are ANY of us to sit in judgment on them or the rabbi who officiated?

      Mazal tov! Ad meah v’esrim! May you live long, committed, happy, loving, Jewish lives together.

      Reply to Comment
    50. menachem

      Although my heart is happy for this couple, nevertheleass as an orthodox Jew, I must say that this is against Jewish Law and considering Rabbi Greenberg orthodox is a misnomer. Im not speaking against Rabbi Greenberg, but you cannot consider a man who openly flaunts a halacha as orthodox but a mumar.

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© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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Illustrations: Eran Mendel