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April 24, 2009

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Rabbi Jon -- Wonderfully written and well stated! I agree with you 100% and applaud you for taking this position so openly. My own life has been so enriched through my interaction with people who think differently than I think, live differently than live, and worship differently than I worship. In my belief that we are ALL made in God's image, I look for opportunities to know more about "others" because in so doing, I believe that I come to understand a little bit more about God. As for Torah -- just this general observation -- it seems to me that Torah continues to "live and breathe" today because we DO NOT simply let Torah tell us what to think, but because Torah requires us to read, search, explore and interpret it's verses over and over again. I would imagine that if Torah was simply something we all had to read, once read, it would sit on a shelf and collect dust next to War and Peace. We are challenged to keep Torah alive through our endless attempts to find meaning in this life via discussions, interpretations and reading beyond the simple meaning we might find as we read. For me, the subject of GLBT will never be "neatly defined" by two verses in Torah.

Thank you for the opportunity to read your thoughts on this subject and enabling me to share my thoughts. I have only one question from above -- you wrote:
If two Jews who are the same sex approach me with that kind of love and commitment, I will talk with them about their relationship the same way I would with two people of the opposite sex. If they are suited to be married, I will perform a religious ceremony under a chuppah that incorporates elements of the traditional Jewish ceremony of kiddushin and nissuin and that would be recognized as a marriage in those states that recognize same-sex marriage.

I am curious to know "If they are suited to be married," how you determine whether the couple is suited to be married or not? Thanks.

When a couple comes to speak with me, there are a couple sets of things that I do before I agree to officiate at a wedding. One is to make sure that they are both Jewish and that they are not related to each other. That's pretty straightforward. The other -- it takes more than one meeting -- is to explore their relationship. Sometimes it's clear that a couple is not ready to be married, or is not a healthy match. Then the most valuable thing a clergyperson can do is to give the difficult advice that the marriage is not a good idea. I would not perform a wedding if it became apparent to me that the marriage is likely to fail.

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