Homophobia is alive and well in the Buffalo, New York, Jewish community, as evidenced by a local Jewish newspaper’s refusal to run an ad for a Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus performance at Temple Beth Zion in January. As a result, the synagogue has withdrawn its weekly advertising from the “Buffalo Jewish Review.”
Months of discussions between the temple and the newspaper resulted in Temple Beth Zion Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld and board president Stuart G. Lerman sending a letter of explanation to members May 10:
“The reason given was that the paper did not want to condone homosexual behavior,” they wrote. “The editor made it clear that, in her opinion, publishing the ad would offend subscribers.”
Rosenfeld and Lerman also said that “to exclude or oppress members of our community because of their sexual orientation would be denying their humanity.”
But the really interesting stuff comes from the owners of the newspaper, Rita and Arnold Weiss.
The Weisses said they chose not to publish the ad because it might encourage young people to experiment with a sexual lifestyle that could be harmful to their health.
“On a very practical basis,” [Rita Weiss] said, “there is the possibility of influencing some young people whose sexual development is not yet complete. They could get AIDS. They could try out a lifestyle that is life-threatening.”
In addition to AIDS, Weiss said, she is also concerned about “the perpetuation of the Jewish people” in the face of demographic trends, including young Jews who stay in the gay lifestyle.
“They can’t produce children,” she said. “And you can’t build a people with adoption.”
Weiss said Jews everywhere are concerned about assimilation and the demographic numbers that show a decline in the growth of the Jewish community outside Israel.
“All of the Jewish organizations are concerned,” she said, “because we’re going to need support in the future for all of the needs of our aging population. There are so many ramifications — there won’t be support for old people or for our institutions or for the State of Israel.”
Message: Intolerance is okay if it’s for a higher purpose, like supporting old Jewish people or the Israeli police state.