Rav Osher Chaim Lieberman Shlita And Others Protest To’eiva Marriage

R' Oshe Lieberman anti To'eiva meeting(The AP meets local Rabbonim). The leaders in the local large Orthodox Jewish community go to great lengths to keep out the outside world, discouraging nonbusiness use of the Internet and encouraging strict filters to keep the ungodly out when members must use the Web. But last month, several rabbis and other elders did something astounding for them: They took a public stand on a political issue, declaring their opposition to To’eiva marriage in the state. “This really hurts us,” said Rabbi Osher Lieberman, a key figure in the community in the suburbs about 30 miles east of Trenton. “To say (it’s) immoral is not enough.”

He said community members are being encouraged to do whatever they can to make sure lawmakers don’t vote to recognize To’eiva marriage.

In a state that leans a bit left, the conservative rabbis are one of a handful of groups taking a passionate — and maybe surprising — role in a debate that’s likely to be decided by January. The newly political rabbis have joined a coalition including Roman Catholic bishops, evangelicals and some black and Latino leaders.

ap rabbonim 2The other side of the debate, anchored by a well-organized, well-connected To’eiva rights group, is getting a boost from non To’eiva liberals.

When Republican Chris Christie unseated Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in the gubernatorial election last month, it gave To’eiva-rights activists more urgency to try to achieve their long-held goal of getting a To’eiva marriage bill through the Legislature before Christie takes office Jan. 19.

The reason is simple: Corzine supports the bill. Christie says he would veto it.

If it’s not passed by the end of the legislative session, that means the window will close for now on New Jersey joining Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut as the only states to recognize To’eiva marriage.

Democratic lawmakers have been wrangling over whether the matter will get a debate in the Legislature. Most party leaders say they won’t bring it up unless it looks as though it will pass.

To’eiva-rights supporters and social conservatives alike have been lobbying lawmakers, though it’s a debate that doesn’t seem to be enrapturing the state as a whole. Two polls last month found the public is divided over the issue. One found narrow support, the other narrow opposition.

But the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, which found support, also showed that most residents think the issue is not a big deal.

It is a big deal to Betty Wyka, a museum employee from Parsippany who has long supported To’eiva marriage. In February, she started volunteering for Garden State Equality, the state’s main To’eiva-rights group. Steven Goldstein, the chairman of the group, says that as a straight woman Wyka is typical of a new volunteer.

Wyka said she joined partly to counter a claim that To’eiva-marriage opponents often make: that allowing To’eiva couples to wed will make society value traditional marriages less.

ap rabbonim 3“I got sick of hearing that To’eiva marriage is going to impact my marriage. That’s a bunch of hooey,” she said. “It’s a civil rights issue.”

Lakewood’s Orthodox community is mostly isolated from the rest of society. The men wear long beards, white shirts, black suits and black hats, and women are not nearly as visible as men. The community was founded in 1942 by a rabbinic leader who fled Poland and the Holocaust. It’s now home to some 10,000 Orthodox families and the rabbinical school, which has more than 5,000 students.

Before last month’s election, rabbis allowed distribution of a voting guide from the socially conservative New Jersey Family Policy Council. While religious institutions would not be required to marry gay couples, some say their religious freedom could be squeezed by permitting something they say runs against their beliefs.

Orthodox Jews, like many Christians, look to the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which many interpret as saying that To’eiva is immoral.

A group of Lakewood community leaders granted an interview with an Associated Press reporter — a rarity and part of the effort to become involved in the push against To’eiva marriage. The leaders said they’re taking their position public because in the Internet age more information about the broader world is flowing into their community.

The large Orthodox community is not the first to speak out against the prospect of To’eiva marriage. Last year, the New York-based Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America made a public statement in favor of California’s Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage there months after a court allowed it.

And leaders in Lakewood say they received political guidance from some in the Orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, N.Y. In New York, the state Assembly already has passed a law to allow To’eiva marriage, and the Senate is considering whether to follow.

Orthodox Jews traditionally have been regular voters who oppose candidates who support abortion rights and To’eiva rights, said Yaakov S. Ariel, a professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The visible part is what’s new,” Ariel said. “The opinions and the support of candidates is not new.”

What’s especially troubling to some in Lakewood is not just that New Jersey might recognize To’eiva marriages but that Orthodox Jews would be more likely now than in the past to know about it — and think that it’s OK to be To’eiva.

“These type of laws bring an exposure to our community,” Rabbi Aaron Sarscher said.

And that’s why there’s a new voice in the debate.

“I really don’t believe in getting involved in government,” said another community leader, David Sofer. “But when an issue is so dangerous, you have to stop it.” AP

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Kol Hakovod to the Real Leaders of Lakewood in speaking up for the Torah Voice of Klal Yisroel. May Hashem give them koach to continue and be successful in all their endeavours.

  2. “If it’s not passed by the end of the legislative session, that means the window will close for now on New Jersey joining Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut as the only states to recognize gay marriage.”

    You forgot to replace the word “***” with the word To’eiva in the above paragraph. Oy vey.

  3. its a chilul hashe-m if we don’t protest. The Catholics have made their voice heard we must get involved. We protested by not voting in Corzine and now its turn to make out voices loud and clear.PS to those who vote YES to immorality YOUR CAREERS ARE OVER! Ps sometimes the lines get busy, you can fax them at night over and over again(they love it)

  4. this supject of to’eiva (moderated) marrige is written in the torah. why is it any diferent then say eating pork. both are wrong . how can we say that we getting exposure when we clearly read this in chumash as toeva. please shed light on this

  5. I never got what you guys were talking about until now. How can someone deny a person that is one of gods creatures. God made us that way and you want to deny us the same rights as you. Are we supposed to just crawl under a rock in shame for what we are?

  6. Township employee: As a corollary, we don’t believe that anyone’s essential nature is that way. (That is, the concept of personal ****al orientation.)
    We do recognize that people may desire it, otherwise there would be no need to say that it was forbidden.

  7. To # 6
    God made as the way we are with some imprefections, so we can work on ourselves and fix those imprefections not to make them legitimate.

  8. “we don’t believe that anyone’s essential nature is that way. (That is, the concept of personal orientation.)”

    You may not believe it, but that doesn’t make your belief true. your belief contradicts the vast majority of scientific opinion and fact.

    For 1900 years, many people believed that Jews were devils, child murderers and a threat to all that is holy. That’s why 6mill were murdered at the last go around on this issue.

    What is so difficult for you to understand? Do you think you finally have it right about who it is that G wants you to hate… excuse me, disapprove of?

  9. I’m in total agrement with you “mother of teen”, there has to be some form of morality left in us. I dont support it (To’eiva marriage). Lets make our voices heard.

  10. “we don’t believe that anyone’s essential nature is that way. (That is, the concept of personal orientation.)”

    Well just about all the scientific data we have points to the fact that some people ARE created that way. Do you have any reason for assuming they arn’t?

    For all of you who say “its just not natrual” this kind of behavior has been observed in many diffrent animal species

  11. Please cite the relevant scientific data. Its a pile of self serving bunk. There is at least as much scientific conjecture to deny the “natural” proclivity theory as there is to support it. Having said that, what one does in private is none of anyone’s business. Now that that community has achieved all the rights they were once denied, they suddenly need the added legitimacy of hijacking the concept of marriage. Can nothing of purity and specific ancient value stand in the way of their overbearing need to “stick it in our face”? That’s why there’s a backlash, not because of any ****phobia. (TLS editor, I decided to save you the edit)

  12. KMITT,

    Before i start debating the validity of the science that points twards the fact that this is natrual behavior,

    Can you bring any scientific data or logical reason supporting the notion that some people are NOT naturally this way?

    We see it in the animal world so it obviosly isnt “unnatrual” behavior.

    Unless you can bring me some logical reason why you assume it isnt
    natrual I dont really see any point in debating the issue with you

  13. While it is true that this type of activity is seen in the animal kingdom in many speciaes, it is equally true that in species which live in packs, herds or other communal structures, animals engaging in this behavior are almost universally shunned by the collective. It seems that even the animal kingdom finds this an abhorrant behavior.

  14. There is much debate and absolutely no consensus in the scientific community whether this is a learned behavior or in-born proclivity.

    Interestingly, until 1975 it was classified in diagnostic manuals as a mental illness and was only removed in response to extensive lobbying efforts on behalf of that community that these were issues of personal choice rather than natural inclination. Suddenly, 35 years later, they again want to claim that adherants are simply “born this way”. Perhaps we should agree with them and return it to it’s reightful place in the diagnostic manuals as a mental disorder!

  15. “Well just about all the scientific data we have points to the fact that some people ARE created that way”

    the scientific community and the liberals had everyone convinced that global warming is a fact, and look what is happening to that theory now! the whole thing is falling apart. So -called Scientific research is unfortunately slanted by liberal thought and media portrayal thereof so cannot be trusted implicitly.

    True what # 18 says about the mental disorder…

  16. Well, I guess ignorance and bigotry are ignorance and bigotry wherever you can find a fundamenatlist to espouse them.

    It was removed as a mental disorder becuase there was no evidence to indicate that it was, just the usual bigotry.

    It always amazes me when people jump on the homophobia bandwagon with their own special brand of ignorance. Liberal media, indeed.

    I won’t be wasting my time here, and more than i would try to discuss things rationally with Christian fundamentalists. Just read my previous comments.

  17. Lakewood Township Employee and Ben Jenkins,

    Most people here are simply unequipped to answer your question properly.
    Please do not tar all of us Orthodox Jews due to the ignorance, not bigotry, of these commenters.
    There are proper answers to your legitimate question. If you are really interested, seek out a true Orthodox Rabbi, not bored ignorant people over here.
    Then, and only then, will you hear the true Orthodox perspective in its entirety; forceful yet loving. Principled yet compassionate.

    Be well.

  18. Why is my comment not going through?
    I am stating a simple, well-known fact. Hence, no Loshan Harah. (Besides, my Rav explicitly stated that anyone who supports Toaivah marriages is not considered Amisecha, and there is no prohibition of Loshan Harah).

Comments are closed.