Torat Chayim rabbis voice support for LGBTQ students at Yeshiva University
We, the undersigned Modern Orthodox rabbis and clergy, write to express our disappointment with Yeshiva University (YU) for its refusal to support the Pride Alliance, an LGBTQ club for its undergraduates.
Religious liberties are a tremendous gift and they are worth fighting for zealously. But we feel that this is the wrong cause upon which to foist that important fight.
LGBTQ people, particularly young people, face immense challenges in the Orthodox world. When they make the choice to enroll in YU, they express a profound loyalty to the Orthodox community and an inspiring preference to spend their formative college years in a Torah environment. There is an obvious need for these students to find each other, support each other, and work together in navigating the spiritual and social challenges that they unfortunately face. Indeed, we wish that YU would consider it essential to its religious mandate to provide such resources for its students.
YU is a flagship institution whose policies have an impact far beyond its campuses. YU’s decision will likely hinder efforts at other Modern Orthodox educational institutions to address the needs of LGBTQ students. We are broadly concerned that this highly public campaign signals to all observers, Jewish and non-Jewish, that Modern Orthodoxy considers any efforts to ensure the wellbeing of its LGBTQ members to be a threat to its core religious principles. We feel differently.
No matter how the civil liberty questions are resolved, and even if the court decides to expand religious freedom for universities like YU, we feel that supporting the Pride Alliance is a profound religious duty and a rich opportunity for making real Yeshiva University’s stated animating values which are “truth, life, the infinite worth of every human being, compassion and redemption.” ( https://www.yu.edu/about/values )
We the undersigned, support the Pride Alliance and wholeheartedly affirm that LGBTQ people are members of our Modern Orthodox communities, and that it is our desire to include, recognize, and support them in their pursuit of Torah and Mitzvot.
1. Rabbi Ben Greenfield 2. Rabbi Yitzhak Ajzner 3. Rabbah Mira Neshama Weil 4. Rabbi Gabriel Kretzmer-Seed 5. Rabbi Tyson Herberger 6. Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz 7. Rabbi Asher Lopatin 8. Rabbi Ariel Goldberg 9. Rabbi Mikey Stein 10. Rav Hayim Leiter 11. Rabbi Avram Mlotek 12. Rabbi Avidan Freedman 13. Rabbi Marianne Novak 14. Rabbi Yitz Greenberg 15. Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller 16. Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson 17. Rabbi Shimon Brand 18. Rabbi Steve Greenberg 19. Rabbi David Jaffe 20. Rabbi Michael Chernick 21. Rabbi Jonah Winer 22. Rabbi Aaron Portman 23. Rabbi Shayna Abramson 24. Rabbi Mel Gottlieb 25. Rabbi Isaac Sassoon 26. Rabbi Jeff Fox 27. Rabbi Barry Dolinger 28. Rabba Sara Hurwitz 29. Rabbi Dr. David Bauman 30. Rabbi Loren Berman 31. Rabbi Michael Langer 32. Rabbi Dina Najman 33. Rabbi Eitan Cooper 34. Rabbi Emily Goldberg Winer 35. Rabbi Barry Gelman 36. Rabbi David Fain 37. Rabbi Aaron Levy 38. Rabbi Jason Mark 39. Rabbi Shamir Caplan 40. Rabbi Phoebe Ana Rabinowitsch 41. Rabbanit Tali Schaum Broder 42. Rabbanit Bracha Jaffe 43. Rabbi Dr. Zev Farber 44. Rabba Aliza Libman Baronofsky 45. Rabbi David Kalb 46. Rabbi Max Davis 47. Rabbi Dr. Jeremiah Unterman 48. Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Giller 49. Rabbi Ezra Seligsohn 50. Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham 51. Rabbi Avi Weiss