Reflection-Have we gay men co-opted the #metoo movement from women?

"I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard.....we cannot succeed when half of us are held back."-Malala Yousafzi

Lately an issue has been on my heart that I feel is happening among us in the gay male community that I think is worthy of discussion just a month and  a half ago many of us were lifting up the voices of women in standing up to sexual assault and then it seemed as if the discussion shifted away from women with the reports of sexual assault by male actors such as Kevin Spacey and George Takei towards younger male actors.What happened?Did we as gay men co-opt the movement from women in discussing sexual assault?It did seem as for a moment during that time eyes were opening and as men we were actually owning up to the fact that some of us had committed horrible things now it seems to have become all about which male actor has committed sexual assault towards other men?Pondering this I wonder if this is an expression of both…

Leaves of Grass -A Letter to my fellow men over our responses to #metoo

Dear my fellow men and brothers in humanity,

It is the time we strike our hearts to our chests because the harsh reality we have catcalled, we have degraded women and we have treated women like sexual tools.We have done these things out of our own selfish pursuits and we need to live up to the fact.This is no new thing to us for we have dominated the lives of women for awhile the signs of our very bad patriarchal authority are everywhere such as this tower  in my very own Chicago:

As our towers, stop signs, and military ranks continue to subvert women we should own up to the fact of what we have done as men.We should not try to co-opt the #metoo movement for ourselves but understand as we see the posts that remind us of how horrible the patriarchy we are a part of is maybe it should drive us to action not just through Facebook posts of ways we can admit how our patriarchal privilege and misogyny brought such poison into our society that we have turned women into tools not giving them…

D'var Torah Noach-Perverse Presentism and Ham,Son of Noah

"And Ham,the father of Canaan,saw his father's nakedness"-Bereshit(Genesis) 9:22a

"The bible is only as good and decent as the person reading it"-Dan Savage,LGBTQAI Journalist and Author

This Fall semester I am taking Intro To LGBTQAI Studies .Through this course I have learned a lot about myself one of the things that I have found out about myself is that I have committed Perverse Presentism .Perverse Presentism is the act of applying my own modern views of being a member of the LGBTQAI person to the actions of those in the past when such modern concepts were not present during such times.One of the ways I have did this is with the story of Ham seeing his father Noah naked in this week's parshah and I am not the only one the rabbis themselves in the Gemara say this:

"And the One says that he sodomized Noah learned from a verbal analogy between the words " and he Saw" -Sanhedrin 70a,Babylonian Talmud

The Talmud itself was written many many cen…

D'var Torah Eikev- Israel is our land now but have we read the fine print?

"For the Eternal, your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams  and springs and fountains issuing forth from plain and hill"-Devarim(Deuteronomy) 8:7

"The big print giveth and the fine print taketh away"-Fulton J.Sheen, Catholic Bishop, and Theologian

In this week's parashah we are reminded by Moses that we are about to enter the Promised Land of what will become Eretz Israel(The Land of Israel) under our rule but at the same time as being reminded we are about to enter we also are reminded that we did not gain this land because we were righteous much more so the opposite of such Moses even goes as far to say we only gained it through the merits of our ancestors and that we are a people that make God angry.I see within this parashah many parallels to the debate over Modern Israel and its existence.As a Zionist myself I do believe in a Jewish State but I feel other Zionists including those who lead the present Coalition Government leave out the …

D'var Torah Mattot-Massei- Drive-By Progressivism :Recognizing it and combating it in our day

"Moses said did you allow the women to live."-Bamidbar 31:15

"A neo-liberal disaster is one generates a mass incarceration regime, who deregulates banks and markets, who promotes chaos of regime change in Libya, supports military coups in Honduras undermines some of the magnificent efforts of Haiti of working people, and so forth."-Cornel West 

In last week's Parshah Pinchas we read from the Torah regarding the daughters of Zelophehad that they as women were able to inherit a portion from their father after he died(Bamidbar 27:1-8).In reading this last week it seems like a very early win for Women's Rights that these women inherited their father's land yet as much as last week's Parshah gave women the right to inherit property in this week's Parshah we read something quite different in regards to the Midianite women:

"(Moses)So now kill every male child intimately and every woman who can lie intimately with a man you shall kill.And all the you…

D'var Torah Pinchas-An Offering of Gratitude on Shabbat

"On the Sabbath day: two yearling lambs without blemish, together with two-tenths of a measure of choice flour with oil mixed in a meal offering, and with the proper libation-a burnt offering for every Sabbath, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its libation."-Bamidbar(Numbers) 28:9-10

"Acknowledging the good you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."-Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to your life's purpose

 In this week's parashah Pinchas we read once again about offerings except for this time it is a recitation of the communal offerings. Out of these communal offerings, we read about the Musaf offering or the additional offerings that are made by the community on Shabbat (See above-Bamidbar 28:9-10).Today the Musaf constitutes an additional prayer service usually said after Shacharit(Morning Prayers)  . Reading this though I was not so reminded of the practice of Musaf but something I find equally profound.That being…

And There was Silence Once Again-A Statement on the treatment of gay men in Chechnya

"Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"-George Santayana, Novelist

Once again society as in many times past has chosen to turn a blind eye to another Holocaust happening right in front of them.My own humanity calls me to scream that out that something is wrong and something must be done.As of the last count twenty-five, gay men have died in Chechnya that we know of much more are confined to concentration camps.As a Jew, a gay man myself and a member of our shared humanity I must loudly proclaim something must be done.

Elie Wiesel once said "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation ........ Silence encourages the Tormenter, never the tormented". I am noting that as in the time Elie Wiesel endured the Shoah mostly only the Jewish News agencies were reporting on what Hitler was doing.Now in our time over Chechnya, it seems only our queer news agencies are reporting this atrocity.There is sile…