REFORM JEWISH MOVEMENT ENDORSES JERUSALEM WORLDPRIDE 2005, URGES ISRAELI GOVERNMENT TO ENABLE ITS GOING FORWARD
April 15, 2005 -- Today, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Paul Menitoff, Executive Vice-President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, released the following statement in support of Jerusalem WorldPride 2005:
The Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass more than 1.5 million Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the organized rabbinate of Reform Judaism, are proud to endorse Jerusalem WorldPride 2005 an international celebration of diversity, tolerance, and human dignity. The Reform Jewish Movement, the largest synagogue movement in North America, unequivocally supports equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. We welcome this events expressions of pride and love, and we are especially pleased that WorldPride will take place in Jerusalem, the spiritual and historical center of Jewish life. The Torah teaches that all human beings are created Btzelem Elohim, in the Divine image. Certainly, there is no more fitting place to celebrate the holiness and diversity of the Eternal One than in the holy city of Jerusalem.
We are saddened by the reaction of some religious leaders who are using this opportunity to disseminate fear, hatred, and homophobia. Jewish tradition teaches that the Second Temple, the holiest site in all of Judaism, was destroyed and Jews were thus expelled from Jerusalem because of sinat chinam, baseless hatred. It deeply disturbs us to think that after 2000 years of exile and miraculous return, such senseless hatred is again promulgated within the walls of Jerusalem. The attempt to exclude gays and lesbians from the holy city of Jerusalem offends us as Jews, just as the use of religion to demonize gays and lesbians should offend all people of faith. We call on the government of Israel to take all steps to allow WorldPride 2005 to occur safely and peacefully.
The Union for Reform Judaism is the synagogue arm of the Reform Movement in North America, and represents 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 congregations in the United States and Canada. The Union services include youth camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, adult education programs, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C..