Review of “Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View” By Rabbi Chaim Rapoport

June 13, 2008 at 8:38 am 4 comments

When he published his book Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View in 2004, Rabbi Chaim Rapoport was one of the first Orthodox Rabbis to speak seriously about the Halachic and Social issues facing lesbians. Since then, he has spoken to Orthodox communities, counseled many people privately, and met with Orthodox gays and lesbians. His understanding of medical ethics and of halacha has led him to counsel against unproven and potentially harmful forms of therapy. He has emphasized the importance of an inclusive Jewish community, and challenged gay and straight Orthodox Jews alike to view themselves and those in their communities as works in progress, to be encouraged in their path to greater observance of Halacha.

Rabbi Rapoport counsels queer people to remain single, rather than entering into a heterosexual marriage. He does not outline how a gay couple could function within Halacha in great detail, which is a shortcoming of the book for those of us who are seeking to form committed frum relationships. He has spoken publicly, since, of his support for those gay people who decide to find frum partners to live a halachic life with, as well as his feeling that promiscuity is far more unhealthy and problematic than a committed relationship.

While he devotes most of his book to a discussion of gays and lesbians as a unit, he devotes parts of his book specifically to the subject of lesbians, and to our status in Halacha. It’s an important read for anyone who wants to engage seriously with the halachic dimensions of the lesbian orthodox experience.

Posted by: queeryeshivameidel.


Entry filed under: Halacha, Living in the Orthodox World, Reviews, Uncategorized.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Corinne Blackmer  |  February 20, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Excuse me. Where am I? Maybe I should throw a wet cold schmatta on my face? From where does this Rabbi Chaim Rapoport, with his presumed “authentic orthodox view” of “judaism and homosexuality” fetch these messugah ideas? Whose texts, traditions, and halachah is he referring to? What! Where is he justifying this wholly anti-Jewish, anti-tradition view that Jews ought not have children? What? How exactly are lesbians exceptions to that? UNBELIEVABLE. Truly an unfortunate piece of mental aberration that has nothing to do with Judaism!

  • 2. queeryeshivameidel  |  February 22, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Rabbi Rapoport has written an entire book on the subject, where he carefully outlines the traditional halachic Jewish basis of his argument. Far from being “meshugga” or “mental aberration” , it is a carefully reasoned and authentic attempt to understand the ways in which a homosexual jew can live a fulfilling life in keeping with the Jewish tradition. He cites all his sources in his book, which is quite extensive.
    The above is a book review and is not meant to represent his entire argument. I hope you will take the time to read what he has written. You may not find that you agree with all of it, or even some of it, but I imagine that you will not fail to be impressed with the thoughtfulness and sensitivity Rapoport employs in exploring the subject of Judaism and Homosexuality from within the Jewish tradition.

  • 3. Raf  |  June 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I think the idea behind not marrying is that it’s better to be single than marry someone you don’t love, it is a very difficult subject and those who often get the most distraught about other peoples sexuality are the ones who are the most insecure themselves, see Carl Jung on Transference 🙂

  • 4. queeryeshivameidel  |  June 18, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Rabbi Rappoport discusses in depth the obligations that a married couple has in a heterosexual relationship. He argues that for a gay/lesbian person in a heterosexual relationship it can be very difficult and perhaps even impossible to fulfill those obligations. So it’s not a matter of doing away with a Torah obligation (procreation-at least for men) but of figuring out how a Torah observant gay/lesbian person can make the most halachic choice. I reccomend reading his book carefully (including the footnotes).


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About Tirtzah

We are a community of frum queer women who gather to celebrate and study our yiddishkeit. We are committed to the value of shleimut (wholeness) and to supporting one another in observing a meaningful, integrated, honest and joyful Jewish life.


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