A controversial New York rabbi has reacted to an article by Chaim Levin detailing his experience of reparative therapy by saying that homosexuality could be tackled with chemical castration.
Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who is not related to Chaim Levin, was reacting to the latter’s experience of reparative therapy for same sex attractions, which was republished on PinkNews.co.uk last week.
The New York rabbi wrote to the Jewish Press: “Chaim Levin’s recent article and appearances on video and Jewish radio provide ample evidence of an agenda far more wide-ranging than merely opposing bullying and reparative therapy.
“It’s an exact duplication of the militant homosexual activist playbook: Desensitize society through constant discussion of homosexuality, urges, etc. Create feelings of guilt in others by exaggerated, unsubstantiated claims of Jewish homosexual suicides due to “bullying,” discrimination, etc. Gain public sympathy by using the media, and then solidify gains by forming organizations like Jewish Queer Youth.”
He said Jewish philosophers had described Amalek, enemies of the Jews, as “practitioners of homosexuality”.
He wrote: “Rambam rules that one who is tempted to sin disguise himself, sin secretly and act the hypocrite in public so as not to desensitize society to sin. Urging youth to join in a group that identifies itself with Amalek-type behavior reinforces negative self-identification and more often than not results in sinful misbehavior.”
The rabbi questions whether a group could be formed in an Orthodox synagogue of adulterers or the incestuous.
He says such groups would be “spiritual oxymorons and would constitute a fifth column in the Torah community”.
Rabbi Levin concludes: “I have tremendous sympathy for those challenged by temptations and unkosher desires. As you do with cancer, you never stop trying to find a better treatment to cure yourself. If all therapies fail, as a last resort you use chemicals to stop the urge to act in a forbidden manner. (This resolution is ordered by European courts for offenders and it works.) Unpleasant, surely; but better than committing adultery, homosexuality or incest.”
Chaim Levin told PinkNews.co.uk today: “Many people have told me we should ignore people like Rabbi Levin, but this time he shot at me personally by responding to my article. This time I said I’m sick and tired of these people. The public may not be listening to Rabbi Levin, but they are hearing him.
“It’s enough for one gay teen to hear what he says and consider committing suicide. I find it deplorable that people would call him a rabbi. He’s a bigot, he’s extremely dangerous, hurtful and reckless and it’s about time the public started telling him this is not OK.”
Rabbi Levin is well-known for his anti-gay views; his blog describes Mitt Romney as a “dangerous homosexualist”.
Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, co-convenor of the Jewish LGBT forum Keshet UK, told PinkNews.co.uk: “The Torah tells us that every human being is made in the image of God. Homosexuality is not a disease, it is how God made me. There are Jewish communities, rabbis and groups who behave in the image of God in that they love and respect every human being. This is not a disease or any kind of illness, this is part of human nature.”
Rabbi Levin’s attack comes during ongoing debate about so-called ‘gay cures’. The chief rabbi of Amsterdam’s Orthodox Jewish community was recently reinstated after accepting he should not have signed a ‘gay cure’ declaration with his official title. A north London Jewish School, JFS, was criticised for showing students a slide about ‘gay cure’ organisation Jonah in a lesson about homosexuality. In response, ex-students, including PinkNews.co.uk founder and Channel 4 News correspondent Benjamin Cohen recorded ‘It Gets Better’ videos about being Jewish and LGBT.
In her column in the Daily Express last week, Ann Widdecombe questioned the lack of availability of therapy for “gays who do not want to be gay”.