A response to Rabbi Daniel Rabin on marriage equality

September 6, 2017

Rabbi Daniel Rabin posted the following on Facebook:

Was a great experience to chat with some of the Year 12 students at Bialik College today and discuss homosexuality in Judaism and issues surrounding same-sex marriage and the upcoming postal vote.

Some of the things we talked about was the great sensitivity and emotion surrounding this topic and the need to be incredibly mindful that there are differences of opinion in this regard.

People on both sides need to respect the differing views.

It is totally unacceptable to denigrate, insult or hurt others because they don’t share your opinion.

I have seen signs of “Stop the Fags” posted around and I think that is disgraceful. I have written previously, in particular about the Jewish community, that we need to be accepting and inclusive of all Jews regardless of their sexual orientation. Signs like these can cause vulnerable people to take their lives.

At the same time, if someone does not support the marriage act changing, don’t immediately call them homophobic or assume they are being hateful or bigoted.

I encourage civilized conversation on both sides and hope we can live our lives with mutual respect, courtesy and care for one another.

Rabbi Rabin is president of The Rabbinic Council of Victoria.  On September 4 the RCV issued this statement (incorrectly dated September 9):

Sep 4 2017 - RCV statement supporting No vote on marriage equality postal survey

Daniel Rabin is also the rabbi at the North Eastern Jewish Centre (NEJC) in Doncaster.  I grew up in Doncaster and attended the synagogue there in the 1980s and 90s.  I went to Sunday school there and had my bar mitzvah there.  The religious community there was a big part of my life and that of my family for many years.

I also attended Bialik College in the early 1980s.

When I was at the NEJC and at Bialik I was struggling with my sexuality.  I had been struggling with it since around 1979, and the struggle continued for 16 years until 1996.  During this time I had no support, no positive role models and no one to tell me that I wasn’t broken, wasn’t an aberration, wasn’t an abomination and wasn’t abnormal.  I was also incessantly bullied on my perceived sexuality for most of my school years.

After I came to terms with my sexuality I stopped attending NEJC, withdrew my financial support and stopped active religious observance because I was repulsed that part of the Orthodox religious service was to read a passage from the Torah that said men who slept with men were an abomination and that the penalty for doing this was their life, or words much to that effect.

Words can hurt, even if they are token.

In 2017, the rabbi of my former synagogue has told students at my former school that people, people like him, who oppose equal treatment of all citizens under the law of Australia should not be considered homophobic, or assumed to be hateful or bigoted.

That’s fair enough.  He is perfectly entitled to express those views.  However simultaneously he should not be surprised when people, people like me, look at the words he uses and wonder how he could not possibly be seen to be homophobic, or assumed to be hateful or bigoted.

What Rabbi Rabin is doing is in effect asking for the law to treat people in a heterosexual relationship in a manner that advantages them over people who are in other types of legal, consensual relationships.  His arguments and his logic are spurious, drawing from speculation, fear-mongering and deliberate misinformation.

Rabbi Rabin is welcome to practice his faith and to express his religious obligations within the sphere of Halacha and the remit of his responsibilities as both a congregational rabbi and the president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria.  However he is not welcome to interfere in the lives of people who wish to enter into civil marriages, especially those people who are not doing so in an Orthodox Jewish context.

To my mind, it appears as bigotry when I see religious leaders using their faith to treat as lesser or deny certain people the same rights they enjoy under civil law.

To my mind, it does appear hateful, not to mention deceitful and disingenuous, when religious leaders imply or infer that children raised by both biological parents are more deserving of their parents than children of adoptive, same-sex, gender-diverse and other parenting configurations.

To my mind, it does appear homophobic when religious leaders use their authority to spread misinformation, lies and deceitful propaganda about homosexual people, the relationships we have, the indignities we endure, and the intolerance and discrimination we face.

Rabbi Rabin asks for respect.  He forgets that respect is earned, not demanded.  At present, while Rabbi Rabin asks for people, people like him, to deny me the right to marry the man I love, the man I want to have look after me in sickness and in health, the man who I would give my life for, I feel little respect for his views.

Rabbi Daniel Rabin could learn a few things from those who want to remove discrimination under the law, not enforce it.  He may be a teacher of Torah, but he is yet to become a teacher of humanity.

 
Postscript – September 7 2017

Rabbi Daniel Rabin has issued a personal apology on Facebook for the RCV statement:

I accept this apology and call for the RCV to withdraw their statement and issue a similar apology for the hurt and insensitivity of their actions.

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Salvation Army = HATE

April 13, 2017

Star Observer: SALVOS COLLEGE ALLEGEDLY STILL ‘BULLYING’ LGBTI STUDENT

Salvos = HATE


More homophobic abuse by Paul Winter tolerated by J-Wire publisher Henry Benjamin

September 29, 2016

On an J-Wire article about the offensive Bill Leak “Waffen-SSM” cartoon, Paul Winter again pours more fuel on the fire of bigotry and intolerance:

20160924-paul-winter-jwire-homophobic-abuse

How much more of Paul Winter’s hate is J-Wire going to permit?

Would it permit anti-Semitic vilification?  Holocaust denial?  Anti-Zionist sentiment?

All comments are moderated by publisher Henry Benjamin, so he knows exactly what is appearing on his site.

Not good enough.


STOP THE HATE NOW!

March 6, 2016

From: Michael Barnett
Date: 6 March 2016 at 23:23
Subject: Extreme homophobia in the Jewish community in Australia
To: Robert Goot <president@ecaj.org.au>
Cc: ….

Dear Robert,

I wish to remind the ECAJ that there is an extreme homophobia that exists in the Australian Jewish Community.

It’s name is Paul Winter and it’s name is Robert Weil.  These are the names of it’s public face.  There are many more names that do not dare show their face.

These people are vile humans and they claim their superior perspective.

I am sick of reading their filth and hatred toward people like me. Every time I read one of their posts I feel like vomiting.

Tonight Paul Winter has just spewed this bile:


Paul Winter says:

March 6, 2016 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm

Comparing the Nazi persecution of homosexuals to that of their persecution of Jews is false and hysterical. Homosexuals, communists and various other groups were discriminated against and were even killed. But the Nazis selected only two groups for extermination: the Jews and the Gypsies. The extermination of the Gypsies was nowhere near as thorough or as sadistic as the extermination program that Jews were subjected to.

Nobody wishes to persecute people because of their sexuality. Nobody in their right mind would want a regime to drive a person to suicide as that genius Alan Turing was. But nobody in their right mind either would acquiesce to same sex marriage or for same sex couples to raise children. That is not being homophobic, but simply recognising that we do not need to change the marriage laws in Australia where homosexuals have equal rights and that no man can be a mother nor a woman a father, role models children need to develop in a healthy way.

Complaining about a persecution that does not exist – unlike in mohammedan realms where homosexuals are publicly hanged or thrown off tall buildings – is merely a ploy to gain social goals that the LGBTIQ cohort does not need or deserve. We do not need to change to make Trotskyites deriding society as heteronormative feel comfortable. We do not need rainbow or colour me purple days at schools where students fling their difference in the face of their heterosexual peers, who then, like true cry-bullies, complain about objectors denying them a safe space. Mutual acceptance and all round respect is called for.


I have been reading Paul Winter and Robert Weil’s filth in the pages of the Australian Jewish News and on J-Wire for years and IT IS ENOUGH.

You are the head of the ECAJ and I am wondering what the fuck your responsibility is if it’s not to feed your ego and that of the other jellyfish that cannot muster up the courage to denounce extreme homophobia in the Jewish community.

Now you may guess I am angry.  Yes, I am fucking outraged.  I have been a victim of this shit for decades.

But let me go back to 1999.  That was the year that Rabbi Emeritus Ronald Lubofsky ripped me a new arsehole in the JCCV Plenum.

Let me tell you about Rabbi Emeritus Ronald Lubofsky AM.  In the 1970s this “man” used to teach bar mitzvah students at St Kilda Synagogue.  With two of his students he used to masturbate in front of them during their lessons.  These were 12 or 13 year old boys.  There may well have been more.  He took that secret to his grave.  Is he a hero of the Jewish community, this man who left me distressed in 1999 because he abused the trust I gave him and destroyed me in the most inhumane manner possible at the JCCV Plenum.

I am sick of the filth that people like Lubofsky, Weil and Winter dish up on gay people.  SICK OF THE SHIT.

Now you can delete this email, you can take legal action against me, or you can fucking show some spine.

I am over wankers like you doing sweet FA.  FUCK THE LOT OF YOU.

Speak out on those orthodox rabbis in the ORA, RCNSW and RCV who hate homosexuality and who want to deny Australians civil marriage.  Speak out on arsewipes like Winter, Weil and “Lubofsky the paedophile”.  Speak out on the bigotry, the intolerance, the hatred, the homophobia and the transphobia in the Jewish community.

STOP THE HATE NOW.

Michael Barnett.


Robert Weil on hate speech spree while Jewish community leaders remain silent

July 22, 2015

Jewish community “comic“, outgoing president of Caulfield Hebrew Congregation and serial homophobe Robert Weil today took yet another swipe at same-sex attracted and gender diverse members of the Jewish community by accusing them of unsubstantiated “bullying tactics” in a comment posted on J-Wire article Gay and Lesbian support group apply for JCCV affiliation:

Robert Weil alleging

Increasingly people who are intolerant of homosexuality are finding fewer platforms to spruik their outdated attitudes. The tragic part of what his intolerance does is promote higher self-esteem and anxiety issues in same-sex attracted and gender diverse youth, feeding into harmful behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse, self harm and suicide.

The community leadership (eg JCCV, Caulfield Shule, ADC) needs to speak out against hate speech such as this.  They won’t accept hate speech against Jews, yet it seems hate speech by prominent Jews against gays is not noteworthy.

The standard the community walks past is the standard the community accepts.


Paul Winter vilifies homosexual people (again)

July 15, 2015

J-wirePaul Winter’s intolerance of homosexuality resurfaces in the comments under the J-Wire article Progressive rabbis reaffirm their support for marriage equality.  In a repeat of his 2011 performance on J-Wire he uses the same offensive and intellectually bankrupt arguments to vilify, degrade and demean homosexual people:

20150713 J-Wire Paul Winter comment

North Shore Temple EmanuelPaul Winter claims long-standing membership of the Progressive Jewish community North Shore Temple Emanuel.  NSTE is a member of the Union for Progressive Judaism, a body whose constituent organisations collectively support marriage equality and have done so for some years now.  I know NSTE have a firm stance on treating all people equally and with dignity.  They have demonstrated this with their solid support for LGBTIQ people for many years.  I look forward to hearing them reiterate their position on this and also hope they emphasise there is no room in their community for members who actively degrade fellow humans.


Caulfield Synagogue President Robert Weil smears gay people following his transphobic attack

June 5, 2015

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has brought to light a litany of hideous sexual abuse against children.  Consistent with past behaviour, Robert Weil has again tried to smear homosexual people, this time by labelling paedophiles exposed in this Royal Commission as “gay”, evidenced in a comment posted on J-Wire story “Transgender wedding in New Zealand“:

Robert Weil says:

I’ll grant you it wasn’t well handled at the Yeshivah Michael, but it wasn’t Rabbi’s who “caused the mess”. The mess was caused by sexual predators who delighted in sodomizing little boys. The Rabbis you refer to were not the perpetrators, unlike the gay Catholic priests at Ballarat and the gay teachers at Knox Grammar.

Robert Weil

Robert Weil

The sexual orientation of paedophiles is irrelevant and does not contribute in any way to the abuse.  Further, the victims of some of these male paedophiles were girls as well as boys.

The following comment by Robert Weil compounds the bigotry demonstrated in his attack, this time on transgender people.  He diminishes the merit of the relationship reported in the story by labelling it as a “dysfunctional situation” and presenting it as shameworthy:

Robert Weil says:

Ben, don’t be so dismissive of Rabbis. They understand far more than you, as they are generally the ones that have to be called in eventually to try and clean up the mess caused by dysfunctional situations such as this. Have some sympathy for the parents too.

Neither the wedding nor the relationship are dysfunctional.  The couple are normal, happy people in love with each other.  That they lack the support of family members is unfortunate and not their fault.

Ordinarily I’d be less alarmed by this type of transphobic and homophobic attack, putting it down to ignorance of the harm caused by such attitudes.  However what disturbs me most is that the author of these comments is the President of the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation, and as such holds a position of influence in the Jewish community in Melbourne:

Robert Weil - President - CHCThe prejudice on display here demonstrates a considerable disregard for a vulnerable and marginalised segment of society.  Physical attacks on homosexual and transgender people are not uncommon, are frequently brutal and may even result in permanent disfigurement, disability or death.  More common though are the self-loathing, helplessness and isolation that same-sex attracted and gender diverse people feel due to intolerance and bigotry, leading to poorer mental health outcomes, self harm and possible suicidal behaviour.

It would be helpful for Robert Weil and those who align with his intolerant perspective on sexual orientation and gender diversity to become more informed about the harms their attitudes can cause to the members of their community.

In 2015 there is no excuse for ignorance of these issues.  Over two years ago the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) began promoting the No To Homophobia campaign.  Robert Weil’s synagogue, Caulfield Hebrew Congregation (CHC), belongs to the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria, a JCCV Affiliate.  It is incomprehensible that CHC would have been oblivious to the JCCV’s push for its affiliates to join in the No To Homophobia campaign, given that the JCCV recruited at least 25 other affiliates accordingly.

It is my hope that the board of the CHC, together with their spiritual leadership, are able to formulate a way forward that includes education on sexual orientation and gender identity, whereby they can proudly put their name to saying No To Homophobia, and stamp out the small-minded and harmful attitudes demonstrated here by their President.  Doing so will strengthen their community, build social cohesiveness and hopefully save lives.  Failing to grow in this way can only do irreparable harm.


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