I condemn the attempted murder at the Gay Pride Parade

I am an Orthodox Jew.

My compass of morality is God’s Torah. Not Western values.

The Torah’s position on gay people is pretty clear.

It says in Vayikra (Leviticus) “You shall not lie with a man as in lying with a woman. It is an abomination” The de-Oraisa prohibition — the prohibition written in the Torah — specifically calls male gay sex “an abomination.” The Oral Torah expands on this and considers lesbian sex, as well as marriage contracts between the same sexes, rabbinic prohibitions.

All too often, though, I hear of people hating gay people just for existing, discriminating against them, mocking them, treating them horribly, not for anything they do or did, but just the essence that they are gay, or even worse, suspected of being gay. I read of a person who, as a teenager, hadn’t even come out of the closet to himself, hadn’t even realized he was gay, let alone did anything that was against the Torah, whether a biblical prohibition or a rabbinic prohibition, who was bullied mercilessly for “being gay”.

That is wrong.

If an Orthodox Jewish person is attracted exclusively to the same sex, it is not easy. It is not easy to know that you can’t have a “normal life”. And it is not easy knowing that the Torah forbids you from doing what your heart desires.

People don’t need to make it worse for them by assuming the worst about gay people, assuming just from a manner of speaking or manner of dress that anyone is doing sins worthy of condemnation. The Torah says that one should pray for sins to be removed from the land, not for sinners to be removed. Or as Ghandi said “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

It is not an abomination to be gay. The Torah only says that specific acts are abominations.

When I hear people state that the Torah calls gay people an abomination, I correct them. Being gay is not an abomination. Acting on it in specific ways is called that. Hatred, discrimination, and nastiness is not called for.

Does that mean that I support the Gay Pride Parade?

No, I do not. I support people in their challenge to fight against their yetzer hara, whether or not it is an easy fight, and whether or not they succeed. My heart goes out to people like David Benkof, who have chosen to follow the Torah, no matter how hard it is for them. And when people realize that they can’t fight this yetzer hara, I try empathizing, realizing that I don’t understand what a struggle it is to reconcile such strong feelings and what God expects of you.

I don’t support glorifying a sin instead of struggling, successfully or not, to do what the Torah asks of you.

But whether or not I support the Gay Pride Parade that happened in Jerusalem today is besides the point.

When I heard that 6 were stabbed at the parade today in Jerusalem, one seriously wounded, my heart dropped. 

“Oh no, not another terrorist attack! We have had far too many terror attacks recently” I thought to myself. Those who got injured should have a refuah shlema, a complete healing.

And then when I saw that it was a chareidi man who attempted to murder these 6 people, my heart dropped even further!

Bad enough that 6 people are injured, one seriously. Now I know that it is inevitable that I, and my chareidi brethren, will be blamed for this.

Even though it is bigotry to lump all chareidi people together, and blame them for the sins of a few rotten apples, the same way it is racism and bigotry to lump all black people together and blame them for the sins of a few rotten apples, it is inevitable. It will happen.

Because people want to assume the worst about chareidim. They believe that chareidim condone such actions, even if they wouldn’t necessarily do it themselves.

But I am coming straight out, and saying that I, a chareidi woman, strongly condemn this heinous attempted murder today. I absolutely do not support such actions, and am appalled by such despicable behavior, and am disgusted that this man who attempted to murder those at the Gay Pride Parade claims to have God and the Torah on his side.

He does not.

He does not have the Torah on his side. The Torah does not support vigilante “justice”. The Torah does not support murder. Even murder of “sinners”. Which, as I explained beforehand, merely being gay does not make you a sinner.

He does not have the chareidi community on his side.

Speaking for the chareidi community, speaking for every chareidi person I know, I am saying loud and clear that the Chareidi community does NOT stand behind this man. He does not represent us. We are as appalled as everyone else is.

Honestly, there is no reason this post should have to be written. It should be obvious that the Torah community does not support it.

But I know after what happened in Beit Shemesh, that it doesn’t matter whether you support despicable actions or not, and it doesn’t matter if someone acts against the Torah, if he does so while wearing chareidi garb, the entire community will be blamed, and there will be backlash.

And so, I am doing what I can. To publicly condemn what he did. And even though I’m not someone “big” or “special”, and I’m not a leader or a politician, maybe someone will take my words to heart and realize that you can’t blame the masses for the actions of a deranged nutter.

About the Author
Adara Peskin is a non conformist chareidi feminist single mother of 4 living in Kochav Yaakov, activist for mental health awareness, blogger at about living a life with mindful spending, and foraging instructor, attempting to make a kiddush Hashem every day via her interactions with others.