A fundraiser for a gay rabbinical student who was refused his ordination from a liberal Orthodox rabbinical seminary has raised over £6,000.
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York City denied Daniel Atwood his ordination because of his sexuality.
Despite the school knowing he is gay it only recently came to a decision.
“He came out to us in the end of his first year and we were fully prepared to give him semicha until certain circumstances arose over a few months ago,” the school’s president Rabbi Dov Linzer told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency using the Jewish term for ordination.
Fundraiser raises over £2,000 in first hour
The fundraiser by Jewish LGBT+ group Jewish Queer Youth, which launched on Thursday, raised the funds so Atwood can travel to Israel for his ordination instead.
The charity hoped to raise just under £4,000 meaning but they surpassed their target. Within its first hour of launching the fundraiser had already garnered over half of its goal sum.
“Daniel deserves a Semikha celebration, like the rest of his YCT classmates.”
— Jewish Queer Youth
“Funds raised in this campaign will help pay for a dignified Semikha ceremony that reflects Daniel’s hard work, dedication, and commitment to our community,” the description for the fundraiser states on Facebook. “Daniel deserves a Semikha celebration, like the rest of his YCT classmates.”
daniel atwood says he has always been clear about being gay
In a statement Atwood says he has always been open about his sexuality.
“I have always been fully committed to living my life according to Orthodox halacha [Jewish law]. At the same time, I refuse to live anything but a dignified life,” he said.
Atwood added that he has always been prepared for the challenges he would face for being gay.
Atwood and his fiancé got engaged onstage at a Troye Sivan concert last year.
Sivan is a South African pop star who is also both Jewish and gay.