The N.J. Jewish Standard, the newspaper at the center of a firestorm over printing a gay wedding announcement, met Thursday with a diverse group of about 35 local rabbis and secular community leaders, North Jersey.com reported.
While it does not appear that the controversy was resolved — and it’s still not clear what the Standard’s policy is on printing gay wedding annoucements — the meeting appears to have been cathartic for many of the participants:
Conservative Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner of Temple Emanu-El in Closter organized Thursday’s meeting along with Rabbi Randall Mark of Wayne, president of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis. The gathering brought the paper’s leadership together with rabbis from the four main branches of Judaism – Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Orthodox. While the Orthodox generally oppose to same-sex marriage, some rabbis from the other branches are supportive.
“It was a good first step,” Kirshner said of the closed, off-the-record meeting. “No one was coming in with an ultimatum that it had to be a certain way. It was about compassion and understanding and tolerance and about listening.”
“We definitely had a lot of emotion, but also reason and compassion,” Kirshner added. “It’s as if a married couple had a big fight. You need to get your pent-up emotions out there, and find out where you’re on the same page. To extend the analogy, we were not necessarily hugging, kissing and making love again when the meeting ended.”
Kirshner said the group plans more meetings to continue the discussion, whether or not the newspaper’s leadership decides to attend.
“This is a bigger issue than just the paper and the marriage notices,” Kirshner said. He said the various branches of Judaism need to find a way to celebrate all they have in common and discuss their differences in a constructive way.
Full story here.
UPDATE: It appears the local Orthodox rabbis are preparing their own response to the controversy.