CONGREGATION CONTROVERSY - Sinai Temple is a Conservative Jewish congregation perched on a hill in Westwood, famous for its wealth, its sizable population of Persians, many of whom fled Iran after the fall of the shah, and a well-known and outspoken rabbi who has at times pushed his congregation on ideologically adventurous paths.
So it was that three weeks before the Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California, the rabbi, David Wolpe, announced in a letter to the synagogue that gay marriages would be performed in this 107-year-old congregation, as soon as the court ruling he anticipated was handed down.
Celebrating same-sex marriages is hardly a new stand for Conservative Jewish congregations. But the decision in this distinctive synagogue has set off a storm of protests in recent days, particularly from Persian Jews, reflecting not only the unusual makeup of the congregation but also the generational and cultural divisions among some Jews over how to respond to changing civil views of homosexuality.
“To officiate a union that is expressly not for the same godly purpose of procreation and to call such a relationship ‘sanctified’ is unacceptable to a sound mind,” M. Michael Naim, an architect, said in an open letter to other Iranian members of the congregation. “Homosexuality is explicitly condemned in Scripture and has been categorically and passionately rejected by all classical Jewish legal and ethical thinkers as a cardinal vice in the same category as incest, murder and idolatry.” (Read the rest … including what happened when Rabbi Wolpe expressed doubt about the Jews exodus from Egypt … here)
Vol 11 Issue 55
Pub: July 9, 2013