UPDATE: United Black Ellument presents interfaith panel discussion postponed

UPDATE: Because of the weather, the event has been postponed. We’ll let you know when it’s been rescheduled.


This evening, I’ll be part of an interfaith panel sponsored by United Black Ellument. Everyone’s welcome to join us.

The event will be held at the SGI-USA Cultural Center at 13608 Midway Road just north of Alpha Road. Soka Gakkai International–USA (SGI) is a Buddhist association for peace, culture, and education. Members seek, through their practice of Buddhism, to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstance and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family and community.

The Buddhist faith is among the five that will be represented. I’ll be doing the Jews, and God only knows what will come out of my mouth. Hopefully, no one will ask me about Hannukah. I can’t stand Hannukah. Lots of other things to talk about us quirky, loudmouth left-wing Jews.

Islam, Christianity and Atheism will also be presented by members of those faiths and traditions.

United Black Ellument, a program of Resource Center, is dedicated to building Dallas’ young black gay and bisexual men’s community. By creating new ways for young men to come together, meet, socialize and support each other, U-BE provides alternative social events and opportunities for gay and bisexual men to promote their diversity, well-being and strength as individuals and as a community.

This evening’s event should be a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing a nice crowd.

—  David Taffet

Jewish Community Provides Strong Faith-Based Response to LGBTQ Bullying

Back in October I featured an Op-Ed by Orthodox Rabbi Steven Burg titled “There’s no place for bullying in God’s world”.  As the international director of NCSY, the youth program of the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Burg’s Op-Ed provides an important counter-balance to the public anti-LGBT voices of other clergy in his sect.  I have since learned that the Rabbi’s very meaningful contribution is only one of many efforts by diverse Jewish faith communities to speak as people of faith in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) youth and in opposition to bullying.

Last month Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Keshet and Nehirim joined together to launch the “Strength Through Community” project, a Jewish response to LGBTQ youth in crisis. The project brings together the many ways these Jewish organizations have begun to respond to the bullying faced by many LGBTQ teens.

“The energy in the Jewish community around this issue is inspiring – rabbis giving sermons, queer Jews sharing their stories for the fist time, synagogues posting GLBT Safe Zone stickers – and a clear rebuke to the idea that the religious community does not support GLBT members,” said Bonnie Rosenbaum, Deputy Director of Communications and Planning at Keshet.

At the project’s center is an online video campaign highlighting stories by members and leaders of Jewish organizations to provide messages of support grounded in faith. The messages are guided by principles developed with the support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and have received over 9,000 views since their launch.

The project is also promoting “Do Not Stand Idly By“, a Jewish community pledge launched by Keshet stating that bullying of our LGBTQ youth will not be tolerated.  Over 9,200 individuals and organizations have already signed the pledge.

Do Not Stand Idly By: A Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives

As members of a tradition that sees each person as created in the divine image, we respond with anguish and outrage at the spate of suicides brought on by homophobic bullying and intolerance. We hereby commit to ending homophobic bullying or harassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations, and communities. As a signatory, I pledge to speak out when I witness anyone being demeaned for their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. I commit myself to do whatever I can to ensure that each and every person in my community is treated with dignity and respect.


* Happy Hannukah from Heschel GSA!

* Shattering the silence surrounding anti-LGBTQ violence

* Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Steven Burg says “There’s no place for bullying in God’s world”
From the websites of participating organizations:

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is one of the oldest and largest faith based LGBTQ action and community organizations in the country. Serving as New York’s synagogue for the LGBTQ Jewish community, and with an active social justice and educational program, CBST is a renowned leader of progressive religion and LGBTQ Jewish issues.

Keshet is a national grassroots organization dedicated to creating full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life. We offer resources, training, and technical assistance for creating change in Jewish communities nationwide.

Nehirim (“Lights”) is the leading national provider of programs for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews, partners, and allies.  Our retreats and other programs transform lives, and inspire GLBT Jews to be agents for change in their home communities. Nehirim is an independent, nonprofit, and nondenominational organization which celebrates the gifts of Judaism and sexual & gender diversity.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

LGBT Jewish congregation may have been target of Yemen terror package

Chicago Tribune:

One of the packages containing explosive devices may have been meant for a North Side Jewish gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender congregation.

The packages, which originated in Yemen, were intercepted late Thursday night aboard a cargo plane in Dubai, and the other in England.

The Chicago Tribune spoke with the Rabbi Michael Zedek of Edgewater’s Emanuel Congregation, which shares space with Or Chadash, a GLBT congregation. Zedel says he received a call from an official in the Jewish community Friday.

“(The official) said, ‘I’ve got some good news and some bad news,'” Zedek said. “‘The good news is that your congregation was not one (of the targets); the bad news is that Or Chadash was.'”


—  admin

Gays in Updated Jewish Prayer Book

Rabbi Edward Feld X390 (RFHR) | ADVOCATE.COMA new book for the High Holy Days will modernize prayers and will for the first time include one for Jewish gays.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Modernized Jewish Prayer Book Includes Kaddish For Dead Gay Partners

God is no longer "awesome" — he is "awe-inspiring." That's according to the Hebrew speakers behind Lev Shalem, the new prayer book (or mahzor, for those in the know) for conservative Jews during the High Holy Days, which span Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It's "the Conservative movement’s first updating in nearly 40 years," the Times says, and is so modern and hip it even takes you queers into account.


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—  John Wright

Saudi diplomat seeks political asylum from Obama administration for being gay and having a Jewish friend

Sounds like a two-fer. The gays and the Jews are involved. The Saudis want the man back, probably so they can hang him or cut off certain body parts. It will be interesting to see if the administration sides with the homophobes and the anti-Semites. From MSNBC:

The diplomat, Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, has informed U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials that Saudi officials have refused to renew his diplomatic passport and effectively terminated his job after discovering he was gay and was close friends with a Jewish woman.


—  John Wright

Jewish groups urge Congress to repeal DADT

A coalition of 10 Jewish groups sent a letter to members of Congress supporting repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Among the groups are three of the four major branches of Judaism in the United States — Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist.

Dallas’ LGBT synagogue, Congregation Beth El Binah, is a member of the Reform movement.

The support is not at all surprising. Israel used to allow military deferments for gays, lesbians and transgenders. But in 1993, as the U.S. debated “don’t ask don’t tell,” Israel watched the debate closely, realized the arguments were stupid and did away with military exemption for their LGBT citizens.

What is surprising about the list, however, is that additional Jewish groups did not sign the letter. For example, the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods began welcoming openly lesbian members in the 1960s.

Text of the full Jewish community letter to Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives appears after the jump:

—  David Taffet

'God hates Jews' is the new theme for 'America's most hated family'

God Hates Jews

Has God Hates Fags run its course? Fred Phelps seems to have a new target. Or maybe just an additional target.

This week Congregation Beth El Binah, Dallas’ LGBT Jewish congregation, received a package labeled “Obama Hates Israel.” The return address was simply “WBC” with a Topeka, Kan., address. “WBC” is Westboro Baptist Church.

The DVD inside the package is labeled “Jews Killed Jesus.”

—  David Taffet

Author to discuss Jewish Nazi soldiers, some 'gayewish,' on Sunday in Dallas


On Sunday, SMU history professor Bryan Rigg will speak on Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers:  Questions of Identity & Morality during the Third Reich at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas. His research uncovered that as many as 150,000 Jews and partial Jews served, often with distinction, in the German military during World War II.

His interviews revealed the nature and extent of the dilemma faced by the Mischlinge (the legal test under Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws that was applied to determine whether a person was considered a “Jew”) who served: divided loyalties and states of constant tension.

His presentation will include discussion of Hitler’s gay soldiers who were half or quarter Jews.

Rigg is the author of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military.

The Dallas Jewish Historical Society is presenting the free event on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 11 a.m. The Jewish Community Center is at 7900 Northaven Road.angry racerраскрутка интернет магазина украине

—  David Taffet

On the fourth day of Channukah … more reasons to hate the holiday


After reposting my first (C)han(n)uk(k)a(h) article on Facebook and elsewhere, I got (mostly) positive reactions from my Jewish and Christian friends who know when not to take me too seriously and negative, horrified reactions from non-Jewish readers who called me everything from a self-hating Jew (because religiously, I prefer Yom Kippur and Passover to Hannukah) to simply a jerk. So with a reaction like that, you know I HAD to come up with MORE reasons I HATE HANUKKAH and would like to see it removed from the Jewish calendar.

1. Apparently the early rabbis hated this holiday too

According to Congregation Beth El Binah’s Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor, in the early rabbinic period of Judaism, the rabbis tried to eliminate this holiday too. (Early rabbinic Judaism dates from the expulsion from Jerusalem in 68 until about 600). They eliminated two other holidays — the New Year of Kings (secular New Year) and the New Year for Animal Tithes (tax day).

The New Year for Kings took place on the first day of the year. So now we celebrate the New Year on Rosh Hashanah (the religious new year), which takes place on the first day of the seventh month. You gotta love a calendar that does that. It would be as if New Years was still on January 1, but we didn’t change the year number until July 1. This is going to the top of my list of why I love Rosh Hashanah. But I digress.

Apparently, the rabbis tried to get rid of Hannukah also, because of its glorification of war. But it was so popular at the time, their efforts failed. That was when they came up with the myth of the oil to de-emphasize the military component.

2. The Hasmoneans took the throne

I know! I’m usually a very tolerant person, but I can’t stand Hasmoneans either. As a result of the guerrilla war that defeated the Greeks, the Jews established a Jewish state (Judea, which was located in what is now the West Bank) that lasted for 90 years — the last independent Jewish state until Israel in 1948.

Judea was a good thing. But run by the Hasmoneans? Please. They weren’t even from the Davidic line and within a generation they were inept and corrupt and unpopular. And who would vote for a non-Davidic king? (What? They didn’t vote…?)

—  David Taffet