London – Rabbi’s Remarks On Same Sex Relationships Generate A Storm Of Controversy

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    FILE - Rabbi Joseph Dweck speaks at a Lights Out WWI Remembrance Ceremony at the Bevis Marks Synagogue on August 4, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.(Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)London – The senior rabbi of a Sephardic synagogue in London has found himself at the center of a raging firestorm after labeling the acceptance of same sex relationships as a “fantastic development for humanity.”

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    Rabbi Joseph Dweck, head of the 360 year old S&P Sephardi Community in the United Kingdom, gave a lecture earlier this month where he spoke openly about homosexuality, saying that same sex relationships allows people to express love for others without being viewed as “deviant or problematic” reported Britain’s Jewish News (http://bit.ly/2qwUjLj).

    “The act remains an issue, but if we can deal with the peripheral issues, it changes how we address these things,” said Rabbi Dweck. “That’s good for society. If we do not hang our prejudices at the door, we will be on the outside. Society will move forward and the world is moving towards love.”

    Rabbi Dweck received his semicha from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and is married to Rabbi Yosef’s granddaughter. He earned a degree in liberal studies from Santa Monica College in California where he studied psychology and philosophy.

    Before officially stepping in as the senior rabbi at S&P Sephardi community in 2014, Rabbi Dweck served as former rabbi of the Syrian Congregation Shaare Shalom and headmaster of the Barkai Yeshiva, both in Brooklyn.

    Rabbi Dweck said that it is people, not Jewish law, who oppose the same sex revolution.

    “Whatever hang ups you have are yours,” said Rabbi Dweck,. “Don’t blame them on the Torah.”

    London’s Jewish Chronicle (http://bit.ly/2qx2VkX), whose viewpoint on religious matters ranges from the secular to the Orthodox, described Rabbi Dweck’s 97 minute lecture as “courageous” and “nuanced” calling it “a sophisticated attempt to offer a view which is both faith to an Orthodox understanding of the Torah and at the same time open to new ways of thinking.”

    But others had a far less positive reaction to Rabbi Dweck’s controversial statements.

    Rabbi Aaron Bassous, a well known Sephardic rabbi in Golders Green, spared no criticism of Rabbi Dweck, calling his lecture “twisted, misguided and mistaken.” Rabbi Bassous issued a statement with Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel saying that Rabbi Dweck’s words lacked halachic grounding.

    “We have found it our obligation to warn the masses that his words are nothing and can only be defined as damaging.”

    Rabbonim in London criticized Rabbi Dweck for comparing feminism to homosexuality, calling both wonderful developments in society. They also took him to task for saying that as times change, what was once considered unacceptable might become possibly permissible today.

    A meeting between Rabbi Bassous, a group of London dayanim and Rabbi Dweck resulted in audio of the lecture being removed from the S&P Community website.

    Rabbi Dweck noted that the lecture had been taken down only to avoid controversy and that he was not distancing himself from his remarks.

    “Nothing was said contrary to Jewish law, nor was it a political statement of any kind,” said Rabbi Dweck. It has only been removed from our website because the study of Torah should not cause needless arguments.”

    In an interview with Israeli news site Kikar Hashabat (http://bit.ly/2qwXouM), Rabbi Dweck defended his remarks, stressing the importance of an open minded approach to societal tends.

    “We are losing our youth because if they have to choose between including different types of people in our community and Torah, they will choose inclusion,” said Rabbi Dweck. “This is a big problem and in my opinion, it is forbidden for rabbonim to ignore it.”

    Now that his remarks are no longer available online, Rabbi Dweck said that he believes that Rabbi Bassous is alone in his opposition to the statements on homosexuality. Rabbi Bassous will be giving a shiur on Monday night at Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel in Golders Green addressing Rabbi Dweck’s remarks.

    “It’s hard to believe that these words came out of the mouth of someone who describes himself as an Orthodox rabbi,” said Rabbi Bassous.


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    31 Comments
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    Curiosity
    Curiosity
    7 years ago

    Sounds like this Rabbi lost his foundations.

    happypappy
    happypappy
    7 years ago

    According ro LGBT, they consider themselves an ” alternative lifestyle”.
    Alternative means, for example, different routes that u can take to get feom where i live, miami, to disney. You van take a highway, toll road or avoid all highways with state roads. But all roads lead to disney.

    Forget aboit referring to religion. The purpose of life according to basic science, is the ability to procreate and perpetuate your species. LGBT lifestyle can never achieve this if this were the accepted norm.

    Was LGBT ever accepted as norm?One needs to read about ancjent Greece and Rome, where homksexualkty was acrually the preferred lifestyle as umwanted female babies were left for dead in wells or stuffed in jars. Their Empires imploded and disappeared with the drastic decline of population, as well as culture and values.

    That is why, on a secular, non religious perspective, the nations with the most babies survive and make the rules.
    LGBT only promotes a historically failed lifestyle that has proved unsustainable.

    7 years ago

    “The Bevis Shul”. Bevis and Dreck head.

    7 years ago

    The people who get worked up about this issue are usually the ones who are leading double lives and have issues with lust. Most recent case is Daniel Greer. Was against gay marriage in public and having relations with boys in private.

    7 years ago

    two men are permitted to be friends, hug each other, be naked together, share a bed, live together. the one thing they can’t do is a very specific act (note that the torah does not use the same language as with incest where [in english for our readers] “you shall not uncover the nakedness of….”). straight men who are married also know that there are limits to what they can do with their wife and obey it; gay men can too. a man has a mitzvah to get married and have children. it’s also a mitzvah to fast on yom kippur and eat matzah and pesach. some men simply can’t function intimately with a woman, some people are diabetic and can’t fast, and some have intestinal disease and can’t eat matzah. in all three cases, the person who doesn’t do the mitzvah is exempt; they are not sinners. all three can do other mitzvas and be full members of the community. it’s not a sin for a man to be in love with another man and want to share a life. why cause needless suffering when these guys can’t marry women anyway, and why assume they’re doing the sin? we don’t assume that straight couples are having nidda relations. it’s apicorus to say that Hashem made mistakes in creating gay people.

    7 years ago

    This is the key to this story: “He earned a degree in liberal studies from Santa Monica College in California where he studied psychology and philosophy”.

    In those few words, there is so much antithetical to, liHavdil, the holy Torah.

    qazxc
    qazxc
    7 years ago

    Instead of mocking people predisposed to this desire we should thank HKBH every day that we don’t face such a difficult nisayon.

    Normal
    Normal
    7 years ago

    #6 thank you

    chezkyh
    chezkyh
    7 years ago

    the English people are very gullible a rabbi coming from New York is instantly put on a pedestal and at that point he could say anything and they will accept it they don’t know how to decipher the New York sharpness and wittiness

    Archie
    Archie
    7 years ago

    #7 The Rebbe RaShab didn’t seem to have a problem with these things. he sought treatment from Sigmund Freud in 1903, who referred the Rashab to another Viennese psychoanalyst , his close disciple Wilhelm Stekel. the hasidim said it was for neurological problems, but Stekel himself had a very different summary of his problem.

    #10 Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky shlit”a (the dean of the Talmudical Yeshiva of
    Philadelphia) shares these views. You might disagree with them, but they are legitimate opinions on an issue that is not black and white.

    Do they screen for sexual orientation at the mens Mikveh? Are there signs that say “no homosexuals allowed?” I’ve seen lots of very religious men hanging around stark naked together at the mikvehs of boro park and seagate. Please show us where the exact prohibition is against a man giving a full body massage to another man (or the prohibition against men wrestling or doing other contact things that could result in arousal), and while you’re doing that, please show us what the proscribed punishment is for it. We were all taught that when you add you take away. Attitudes toward gay people is a great example of this.

    Archie
    Archie
    7 years ago

    #22 …some studies show that as much as 10% of the population is homosexual and that’s it’s innate and not learned. Have no fear…it isn’t contagious.

    #20….You misquote #6 . #6 didn’t say we assume they’re celibate. He said we assume that they’re not practicing anal intercourse.

    Recent studies show that homosexuality is not a choice. There isn’t a “gene” for it, but there is a lot more to body chemistry than genetics.

    Anyone who has studied the most basic things about homosexuality knows that the gay man’s urge is to “receive”. The act of performing sodomy is a heterosexual act (because homosexual men lack the penetrative urge).

    In fact, the Red Cross used to have a policy of not accepted blood from gay men (for fear of AIDS) due to the risks of anal intercourse, and then changed their policy after learning that the wives of straight men are more than twice as likely to have had anal intercourse than a gay man is. I assume the Red Cross had good science behind their decision.

    Chochmas_Israel
    Chochmas_Israel
    7 years ago

    Not clear to me what Dweck is saying. Sounds like he is trying to sound OK with it, and that gay rights is something of a chiddush that we can benefit from. Which , of course is nonsense. Human rights, yes. But since when has friendship been taboo?
    Also not sure what A.B is saying? What makes Dweck worse than Loui Jacobs, who was koifer on Torah from Sinai?