Friday, February 01, 2008

Modern Orthodox Highschool Prohibits Gay Partners from Reunion

Forward:
Alumni of a prominent Modern Orthodox yeshiva in Brooklyn were prohibited from bringing same-sex partners to a class reunion last month, causing an uproar among some former students.

The high-school division of Yeshivah of Flatbush, one of the most prestigious Modern Orthodox schools in New York City, held a reunion in late December for members of the class of 1997. While most alumni were invited to bring guests, a few were explicitly forbidden to do so. According to sources, graduates thought by yeshiva personnel to have same-sex significant others were sent an e-mail that barred them from bringing their partners.

“As previously stated to you, we welcome your attendance and look forward to your participation,” read the letter, which appeared on the blog JVoices. “However, your partner cannot attend.”

There are also reports by alumni that the Flatbush administration "selectively edited alumni biographies compiled at the reunion to weed out information they found undesirable."

Nothing too surprising here, unfortunately. Just another example of the casual discrimination against gays that goes on in the Orthodox community.

Via On Her Own.

15 comments:

G said...

Ho hum.

Just copy and paste the comments from the Feldman issue (w/ some minor tweaking)

Jewish Atheist said...

Ho hum.

That's kind of my point. No surprise. The modern Orthodox think this is perfectly OK.

Skcorefil said...

10 or 15 years ago, it would have seemed pretty progressive for gay couples to go to any event. Why is it so horrible that some places still prohibit them when it is so recent that it has been accepted at all?

Tigerboy said...

Does respect and fair treatment of your fellow human beings follow a timetable?

I guess 10 to 15 years after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, it should have been just fine to demand that blacks sit in the back of the bus, right?

Skcorefil said...

This isn't a legal thing, it is a social acceptance thing. And social acceptance things do tend to take time to catch on.

You don't force people what they will accept socially.

Tigerboy said...

You make it sound like gays were just invented. People have been gay, and have been mistreated for being gay, for as long as there have been people.

10 to 15 years ago, interracial couples were considered socially unacceptable by backward people. Would you ask "why" it would be "horrible if some places still prohibit them when it is so recent that it has been accepted at all?"

Actually, I cannot imagine that anyone would still prohibit an interracial couple from attending any type of function, but if anyone might, it would be the ultra-religious. Hateful and foolish.

And another wonderful example of how religion perpetuates divisiveness.

Comrade Kevin said...

Thanks for bringing this to my eyes. The larger community often fails to see this perspective.

Foilwoman said...

I'm just trying to figure out what the yeshiva is trying to prevent. If the alumni are 1997 graduates, they are mostly 28-29 year olds or thereabouts, but all over 21. Who there is thinking that an over-twenty-one year old in New York City has never met a gay person, or been in the presence of a committed gay couple? What benefit do they get by being what can only be called mean?

This is like the disowning your kids because they marry the wrong person. In the end, you lose your kids. Why a school would want to lose its alumni is beyond me. I'm trying to see what positive benefit there could be? Why not just post a sign above the reunion: "We really aren't that inclusive or tolerant. Go away now. We don't like you." That would be about as effective a public relations and fundraising tool.

Orthoprax said...

"I'm just trying to figure out what the yeshiva is trying to prevent."

Very likely trying to prevent losing a donation base that has a sizeable anti-gay contingent - as well as standing in the general Jewish world that Flatbush is a genuinely Orthodox school (which is sometimes questioned because of its modern approach to so many other issues).

This strong stance also, which I understand is actually new, is likely related to the whole Stadtmauer thing (head principal who outed himself and left the school in 2005).

Foilwoman said...

Orthoman (sorry, I can't help it, I make up nicknames for everyone): Clearly an ingroup thing, then. Maybe you could provide a translation service for the non-Frum or goy community? It would really help with unintentional misinterpretation?

Do you think this is okay? If this were a racially segregated school after Brown v. Board of Education, would you think it okay for the school to forbid alumni to bring interracial partners to a school dance? If not, and you do think the school's behavior is okay (I'm not clear on that), what's the difference? Thanks.

Orthoprax said...

FW,

"Maybe you could provide a translation service for the non-Frum or goy community? It would really help with unintentional misinterpretation?"

What's unclear?

"Do you think this is okay? If this were a racially segregated school after Brown v. Board of Education, would you think it okay for the school to forbid alumni to bring interracial partners to a school dance? If not, and you do think the school's behavior is okay (I'm not clear on that), what's the difference? Thanks."

I think homosexual relationships are rather different from interracial ones, but the point is that I do not believe it is the school's right to in any way enforce on alumni the religious views that it may promote - especially since it's so selective in the laws it chooses to enforce.

With that said though, I can understand why they acted as they did.

Miss Welby said...

if any consolation, the situation for gay couples is even worse here in Roman Catholic Italy.

I'd love to exchange links with the peculiar breed of a "Jewish Atheist" - visit my blog and let me know.

shalom and ciao!

ADDeRabbi said...

didn't the principal of flatbush come out of the closet a few years ago?

anonybear said...

What is the problem? Whether we agree or not, homosexuality is prohibited by orthodox law. Would we be surprised or upset if a couple wearing signs "We eat pork!" were denied admission to the function?

Orthoprax said...

Anonybear,

Flatbush specifically singled out gay couples. They didn't send out emails to those who married non-Jews.