For Jews not to welcome LGBT people is bizarre. Bigots go for us both.
Being at the receiving end of bigotry all too often means that people are more, rather than less, likely to cling to their own bigotry. (As with bullying, where it’s often said that the worst bullies are those who have been at the receiving end of bullying themselves.)
Sadly, the Jewish community is increasingly preoccupied with what is known as the “vanishing diaspora”, the decreasing number of Jews worldwide due to intermarriage and people simply dropping their faith. If you’re LGBT, you’re usually perceived within the community as being unable to continue the Jewish line by having and bringing up children. I’m not sure how many communities reject this way of thinking – the Liberals certainly have more sense, and are aware of queer parenting – but it’s definitely widespread. If you’ve been brought up in a family that doesn’t even want you to date a member of the opposite sex if they’re not Jewish, imagine what it’s like if you want to date a member of your own sex.
I was raised Jewish and practised Judaism until my late twenties. When I was a student, the university Jewish Society had someone come in to give us a lecture on the vanishing diaspora, basically telling us that we should marry Jews and have Jewish children. It was horrible.
Incidentally, as far as I can tell there is a similar problem with other ethnic/cultural minorities. My friends from Indian families at school generally came under a lot more pressure than those of us who were Jewish, for instance. This may look as if it’s a religious issue, but actually it’s a cultural/ethnic one. I’ve never encountered a Jew who had Leviticus quoted at them when they came out to their parents. It’s always, “But what about grandchildren?”
Mr Greenbaum deserves our outstanding thanks for all he is doing for LGBT people – a true example of putting your money where your mouth is. I will never forget hearing Rabbi Lionel Blue giving his talk on what it meant growing up- not just as a Jewish man- but as a gay man as well. truly inspiring.