A week ago, the panel was organized by a group of students and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. One week later there have already been a number of protests and condemnations from the Roshei Yeshiva to the administration and down to the talmidim.
A few hours before the event a kol korei was quickly put together and signed by six of the Roshei Yeshiva who were around the Yeshiva at the time. The letter strongly condemned the upcoming event and what it represented. The text of the kol korei can be found below.
A few days later a statement was put out by President Richard Joel and Menahel Rav Yona Reiss also speaking of their strong disapproval of the nature of the event.
These events culminated in two mussar shmuessen delivered in the Beis Medrash on Monday, addressing the Chillul Hashem. In the afternoon, Rosh Yeshiva Rav Mayer Twersky, grandson of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l, spoke to a packed Beis Medrash of over 500 people, including Rabbeim, talmidim and administrators. Following the psak of Rosh Kollel Rav Hershel Schachter, the shmuess was given in the middle of 2nd seder in the Yeshiva. Rav Twersky passionately spoke of the unimaginable Chillul Hashem caused by the event and the mistaken hashkafa that led to it.
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At night, Menahel Rav Yona Reiss spoke to the same full Beis Medrash. He stressed that while sensitivity is required for those who struggle with these issues b’tzina, the panel was a breach of tzniyus and kedushah. Rav Reiss charged the talmidei haYeshiva to increase their own personal levels of kedusha to ensure that such an event never occur again.
Text of Kol Korei
The Torah requires that we relate with sensitivity to a discreet individual who feels that he/she has a homosexual orientation, but abstains from any and all homosexual activity. Such sensitivity, however, can not be allowed to erode the Torah’s unequivocal condemnation of homosexual activity. The Torah’s mitzvos and judgments are eternally true and binding. Homosexual activity constitutes an abomination. As such, publicizing or seeking legitimization even for the homosexual orientation one feels runs contrary to Torah. In any forum or on an occasion when appropriate sympathy for such discreet individuals is being discussed, these basic truths regarding homosexual feelings and activity must be emphatically re-affirmed.
Meir Eliyahu Twersky
Baruch Chaim Simon