Today, blood was shed. Shed in the name of the Torah and in the name of God. A Torah and a God who are besmirched by the actions of a Hareidi fanatic. A Torah and a God who are befouled by his murderous actions. And there are those in the Hareidi community who want to distance themselves from this act and from the man who perpetrated it.
Ronit Peskin wrote a lovely piece in this paper entitled “I condemn the attempted murder at the Gay Pride Parade“. She deserves credit for her immediate condemnation of this abominable act of hatred and terror.
But it’s not enough. Not nearly enough.
The Yeshiva World site reported the attack as “Charedi Man Stabs 6 in Jerusalem Toeiva Parade“, and goes on to use the term toeiva, or abomination, over and over again. I don’t think I can count the number of times I’ve heard gay people being referred to by that term. And let us be clear. There is zero justification for labeling people as abominations. No matter what they do — no matter what dirty-minded gossips may assume that they do — they are not called abominations by the Torah. Nor by the rabbis. Excepting, of course, some of the small rabbis in the Hareidi community today.
Make no mistake. If you have heard someone refer to a gay person as a toeiva and have not objected to that person’s face, if you have heard a Pride parade being referred to as a Toeiva Parade, or Abomination Parade, and not slapped the speaker down for it, this blood is on your hands. The blood of every Jew who has been thrown out of his or her home for being gay, or subjected to filthy and demeaning quackery in the name of “curing” them of being gay, the blood of every teenager who has taken his or her own life in despair after being ostracized by their own community for something they have no choice in, covers your hands. You are drenched in it. You stink of it.
You are entitled to object to any actions that the Torah forbids. But when you use the actions the Torah forbids as a fig leaf for your hatred — your murderous, xenophobic viciousness — you stand against the Torah. You stand against God. You shame the entire Jewish People, but most of all, you shame your community.
What I have to say members of the Hareidi community is, you have a responsibility to demand an end to this hatred in your own community. Not just when something of this enormity happens, but every single time you hear or read of people being treated as garbage within your community for being gay. Only then will you have the right to say, “My hands have not shed this blood.”