asher553: (asher63)
I recently ordered a new copy of the Chabad prayerbook and was surprised how nostalgic I felt for it. It was, after all, the first proper Orthodox siddur that I prayed from. My old copy was the bilingual edition, and it's still somewhere in my belongings, well-worn and with my notations in the margins - juvenilia that would now make me cringe if I had to look at them every day, but nevertheless the graffiti of my first, youthful encounter with the traditional Jewish liturgy.

Looking back now I think I can say with some satisfaction that we've made progress in all the important areas, socially speaking. I think the liberals and the traditionalists understand one another better now. There's an open, comfortable dialog between the orthodox world and feminists and gay activists. Everybody doesn't have to agree on everything and that's OK. We're talking to one another. And as a social liberal with a complicated but strong relationship with tradition, it pleases me to know that I am not alone.

Oh, and the Chabad siddur? The print is NICE. AND. BIG. So it's got that going for it, too.
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marks the end of DADT in its own inimitable fashion.

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via [ profile] jillbertini

Today my nephew attempted to deliver a letter to Sally Kern but was stopped
by a highway patrol man. With his permission I am distributing the letter to
all news stations and thought I would include it here.

Maybe we can all stand to learn a listen from this smart, loving, young man.
He more than most has reason to hate. He lost his mother, my sister, in the
Murrah Building bombing.

Rep Kern:
On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed
my mother and 167 others. 19 children died that day. Had I not had the
chicken pox that day, the body count would've likely have included one more.
Over 800 other Oklahomans were injured that day and many of those still
suffer through their permanent wounds.

That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. He was
an extremist Christian forcing his views through a body count. He held his
beliefs and made those who didn't live up to them pay with their lives.

As you were not a resident of Oklahoma on that day, it could be explained
why you so carelessly chose words saying that the homosexual agenda is worst
than terrorism. I can most certainly tell you through my own experience that
is not true. I am sure there are many people in your voting district that
laid a loved one to death after the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City. I
kind of doubt you'll find one of them that will agree with you.

I was five years old when my mother died. I remember what a beautiful, wise,
and remarkable woman she was. I miss her. Your harsh words and misguided
beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother's killer was
a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance
for themselves.

As someone left motherless and victimized by terrorists, I say to you very
clearly you are absolutely wrong.

You represent a district in Oklahoma City and you very coldly express a lack
of love, sympathy or understanding for what they've been through. Can I ask
if you might have chosen wiser words were you a real Oklahoman that was here
to share the suffering with Oklahoma City? Might your heart be a bit less
cold had you been around to see the small bodies of children being pulled
out of rubble and carried away by weeping firemen?

I've spent 12 years in Oklahoma public schools and never once have I had
anyone try to force a gay agenda on me. I have seen, however, many gay
students beat up and there's never a day in school that has went by when I
haven't heard the word **** slung at someone. I've been called gay slurs
many times and they hurt and I am not even gay so I can just imagine how a
real gay person feels. You were a school teacher and you have seen those
things too. How could you care so little about the suffering of some of your

Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and
suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for
protection. They looked scared. They've already experienced enough hate and
now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and
call them names. Afterall, you are a teacher and a lawmaker, many young
people have taken your words to heart. That happens when you assume a role
of responsibility in your community. I seriously think before this week ends
that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what
you said.

I wish you could've met my mom. Maybe she could've guided you in how a real
Christian should be acting and speaking.

I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were
fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their
hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from
high school this spring. Now she won't be there. So I'll be packing my
things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a
writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that
people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more
people again. I don't want to be here for that. I just can't go through that

You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old
saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt
you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom.
Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others.

I second the following:Log Cabin - Kern should resign.

(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin Republicans condemn a recent anti-gay tirade by Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City). Kern told a political group that “the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation” and poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism or Islam.

“These words are beyond the pale,” said Log Cabin president Patrick Sammon. “Rep. Kern has embarrassed the state of Oklahoma and the Republican Party with this hysterical non-sense. Given ample opportunity to simply apologize, Rep. Kern has refused. She is obviously not worthy of the public’s trust. Rep. Kern should resign,” said Sammon.
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The Steven Greenberg talk was great. I expected it to be good, but it really exceeded all expectations. I've got to assemble my notes, but I will write a full post on it soon.
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I'm going to attend a local appearance by Rabbi Steven Greenberg tomorrow. Greenberg is the only "out" gay orthodox rabbi. He will also be speaking at Portland State University later in the week (after a couple of reschedulings on account of weather); tomorrow's talk will be a private event hosted by the local gay-Jewish group. Hope to make it to the second event as well. Should be very interesting.
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"Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., began a long-shot bid for president on Saturday, hoping his reputation as a favorite son of the religious right can help him outdistance better known rivals.

"My family and I are taking the first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House," Brownback said ..."
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Sunday night I went to a Hanukkah get-together with Keshet, the gay-Jewish group in Portland. I was one of the original members (those who signed the clipboard some six years ago when "Trembling Before G-d" opened in Portland, but I hadn't been to the group's social gatherings in a few months, so it was good to schmooze, renew acquaintances, and meet new people.

BTW, Keshet will be hosting Rabbi Steven Greenberg (the only "out" gay Orthodox rabbi) when he comes to Portland in January.

Monday morning I made it my business to get back on my running program and went out at 8am in twenty-seven-degrees-Fahrenheit weather. [ profile] kitiara, I'm right there with you!

Michael just got back from the Middle East (again). Hoping I can catch him for a beer before I head down to San Francisco next month for a visit with TNG.

Just down the street from where I live, the First Presbyterian Church has recently built a lovely park. The area used to be the Danmore, a venerable red brick building largely dedicated to housing for people in recovery. The recovery facility relocated and the Danmore was torn down last year, and a lot of us on Morrison Street were sorry to see it go, but the new garden is wonderful to look at. And the church's stained-glass window - long obscured by the Danmore - is now illuminated at night.

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Baptist Press, via Timbre of a Timefree Mind:
Conservative Christians are upset over comments made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a State Department ceremony to install Mark Dybul, an open homosexual, as the nation’s new global AIDS coordinator.

With first lady Laura Bush standing with her Oct. 10, Rice welcomed Dybul’s family -- which she introduced as his “partner,” Jason Claire, and his “mother-in-law,” Claire’s mother. As Dybul was sworn in, Claire held the Bible.

Several conservatives spoke against the appointment of a homosexual man to an ambassador-level role of stopping the spread of AIDS, and many objected to the “mother-in-law” reference.

“That’s astonishing that that fact would be underscored, highlighted by the Secretary of State,” Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family Action said. “This is very provocative and very disappointing.”

Rice’s chief of staff called to tell Minnery it was a mix-up and someone was supposed to check on the mother-in-law status but didn’t.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, doesn’t believe it was a mistake because “the U.S. State Department is in the business of diplomacy and avoiding faux pas.” He added in his Oct. 16 Washington Update e-mail that in the “world of protocol, verbal miscues are anathema.”

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at FRC, said Rice’s comments were “profoundly offensive,” especially considering the Bush administration’s support of a federal marriage amendment to protect traditional marriage. He also objected to having a homosexual implement Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

“We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the hen house,” Sprigg said.... If we are not willing to say that men should not engage in sex with other men, then we are really not willing to tackle the root causes of the AIDS problem.”

Golly, I'm telling you, this guy's call on "profoundly offensive" carries a LOT of weight with me ........
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We had a fantastic night Tuesday at Basic Rights Oregon! I just got a card from the volunteer I canvassed with, and we got some 77 - that's seventy-seven - postcards signed in support of equality legislation in Oregon. The postcards will be sent to the Governor and the State Legislature.

I was really pleased at the positive response we got from the people we canvassed. Also I "came out" as a Republican to the other volunteers, and put out feelers about possible Log Cabin contacts in the area. Last September we had around 30 people at what was supposed to be a kickoff for a state chapter of LCR, but I think some of the organizers have dropped the ball. I'd like to see the dialog on gay rights bridge the partisan gap, and I know that it can.
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Just a Saturday night post to say I'm still breathing. Went to the Basic Rights Oregon event marking the second anniversary of our ultimately unsuccessful attempt to defeat Measure 36. Mayor Tom Potter was there, along with Commissioner Sam Adams, Senator Kate Brown and Representative Jeff Merkley. I signed up for phone banking and (tentatively) for canvassing, in the hopes of helping to defeat our old pal Karen Minnis in the next election.

Off to bed. If I complete one lesson a day, I can finish the Ultimate Arabic course by the end of the week. I'm also studying verb patterns from a grammar reference book, just for fun.
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A friend telephoned to let me know the Westboro Baptist goons are going to be protesting at a soldier's funeral tomorrow. The Patriot Guard folks are going to be there to prevent the grieving family from being harrassed. I'm going with some friends.

The soldier is Robert Jones of Milwaukie; he was assigned to the the 40th Engineer Battalion, Baumholder, Germany. He was 22. He was killed on June 17 when his vehicle was hit by an IED.

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