Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

The Pope in Jerusalem III

Perhaps as an antidote to Jewish histrionics in the context of the Pope’s Jerusalem visit, the Jerusalem Post carries a refreshing interview with Rabbi Norman Lamm of Yeshiva University, a prominent personality in centrist Orthodoxy. Rabbi Lamm has always struck me as a model of dignity, moderation, and good sense. 

On the Pope:

“The pope is an intellectual and as such there is a subtext to his behavior,” he said. “His interests are primarily theological. Nothing of great consequence could come of the visit. He is not that kind of person.”


On interfaith cooperation, “as long as there is not an exchange of dogmas”:

“The people who have normally been speaking on behalf of Jewry have been secular and are not concerned with the Jewish religious point of view. It was a mistake for religious Jews to shy away. As a result, the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] and the American Jewish Committee, who don’t always have believing Jews on their staff, have dominated.”

On homosexuality:

Lamm said he drew a distinction between those who “kept it to themselves” and those who “proselytized.”


“Everyone should be made to feel comfortable [in synagogue life],” he said. “I would never exclude a person because his wife does not cover hair or because he does not adhere to the laws of Shabbat or because he is a homosexual.

“But I am opposed to saying publicly that homosexuals are welcome or accepting people who are openly gay and who campaign for a gay lifestyle, just as I would oppose someone who openly campaigns to desecrate Shabbat or to speak slanderously.”

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posted May 12, 2009 at 8:24 pm

“Lamm said he drew a distinction between those who “kept it to themselves” and those who ‘proselytized.'”
How does one “proselytize” homosexuality? Sorry, but I just get this picture in my head of two gay guys going door to door: “Hello, have you accepted homosexuality as your personal sexual orientation? Please accept a free copy of ‘the Book of More-Men’.”

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Thomas Beck

posted May 13, 2009 at 11:33 am

“Proselytize” in this case means, don’t hide it. Don’t tell, and we won’t ask. And we’ve seen how wonderfully perfectly that has worked out in all other areas. Don’t be how G-d made you, and we won’t stone you to death. Funny how Jews don’t like it when Christians tell us, it’s okay to be Jewish but not *too* Jewish.

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posted May 13, 2009 at 2:28 pm

And we must give some credit to the pope for his calls to take down the wall in the interest of peace.

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posted May 14, 2009 at 8:49 am

The proselytizing occurs in school when children are taught that homosexuality is an acceptable life style — without teaching the dangers. It occurs on television when homosexuals are presented in a favorable light while religious people are presesented unfavorably, and on it goes.
I believe God was very clear on the issue. Why cannot we be just as clear?

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