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Edgar Bronfman - Jewish values dictate the protection of gay marriage - 2013

Edgar Bronfman - Jewish values dictate the protection of gay marriage - 2013

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Published by romulus13
Valorile iudaice dicteaza apararea casatoriilor homosexuale. Bagati bine la capatana, frati romani. Scrisa de seful Congresului Mondial Evreiesc. Halal valori.
Valorile iudaice dicteaza apararea casatoriilor homosexuale. Bagati bine la capatana, frati romani. Scrisa de seful Congresului Mondial Evreiesc. Halal valori.

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Published by: romulus13 on Jul 12, 2013
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09/18/2014

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Op-Ed: Jewish values dictate protectinggay marriage
 
 June 26, 2013 4:14pmNEW YORK (JTA) — In the early 1970s, while I was CEO of the Seagram Company,public dialogue about gay rights was largely nonexistent in corporate America. Socialdiscourse had not yet even evolved into the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ethos that dominatedthe following decades. Homosexuality was simply not discussed and therefore, byimplication, was shameful.During that time, as the head of a company with thousands of employees, personnelissues often came across my desk. One day, the director of human resources came intomy office with a recommendation to terminate one of my brightest executives. I foundmyself puzzled that anyone would want to fire such a promising young man until thedirector leaned in and confided in a hushed tone, “Well, you know, he’s a homosexual.” The declaration did persuade me — but not in the way he had hoped. The promising young executive continued on to a distinguished career at Seagram, andthe HR director was soon let go. Although my choice was shocking to the director, thedecision was obvious to me: to fire a person because of their sexual orientation was notonly wrong, it was bad business. It was discrimination, plain and simple, and would notbe tolerated in the company I ran.More than 40 years later, I still feel such discrimination to be unequivocally wrong, butmy views on the subject of gay rights have evolved. Particularly today, as we celebratethe U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to recognize the legality of gay marriage, I now seemarriage equality as a moral imperative because of my Jewish roots. Just as the high court has shown moral bravery in its recognition of gay marriage, the Jewish community should follow its example in our myriad communities. As Jews, weshould remember that our tradition upholds the bond between two loving people and thefamilies they create as a source of strength and commitment to the betterment of theworld.Justiceis a word we are taught early in life, and we are reminded constantly that it is aprinciple we should uphold and promote. In Hebrew, the word tzedek is used to promoteacts of loving kindness and righteousness. Its diminutive, tzedakah, is translated ascharity, but it is much more. We are taught in the Torah, in the book of Deuteronomy16:20: “Justice, Justice shall you pursue.In Hebrew, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdorf.”It is a vital, active imperative for the Jewish people to be on the front lines of issuesprotecting and promoting the rights of any group being treated unfairly. To take
 
approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population and tell them they are second-classcitizens is clearly unjust. As Jews we are instructed to seek justice for the stranger, thewidow and the orphan because too often society discriminates against and takesadvantage of those without advocates.I have come to see the protection of gay marriage as a manifestation of the Jewishvalue of seeking justice for those who are enslaved. To those who cover their prejudicewith reference to biblical injunctions against homosexuality, I ask if they are willing tolive by every other law listed in the Torah. For such literalists, I submit that the very Torah portion of Leviticus that they so often quote also enjoins us to harbor no hatredagainst our brother and our neighbor. To freeze Judaism in time because of ancient biblical edicts is to deny that Judaism is amighty river that moves forward through time, a living entity that changes course andbecomes renewed through what it meets on the banks. Like a river, it retains itsessential character although it is constantly renewed and evolving. Today, the Jewish pursuit of justice must channel itself against the denial of marriageequality. For Jews, who have suffered so much throughout history at the hands of prejudice, to stand idly by while any group is treated so unfairly is unequivocally wrong.I have been inspired in my thinking on gay rights and marriage equality by a woman Ihave known since she was a teenager. She is now the leader of Keshet, a group thatpromotes equality for the LGBT community in the Jewish world.Idit Klein first came to my attention when she was in high school. She was a student ona program I founded called the Bronfman Youth Fellowship that targets Jewish teens of exceptional promise from an array of backgrounds. In my conversations with her overthe years, I have learned that the issues facing LGBT Jews are ones on which all Jewsneed to speak out.Within the Jewish community we must endeavor to include and celebrate the diversity of families and couples within all aspects of religious, communal and institutional life.When our communities continue to open their tents as our forefather Abraham did, toinclude all who wish to participate in Jewish life, our people’s possibilities expand andgain strength.
Edgar M. Bronfman, the former CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd., is president of theSamuel Bronfman Foundation, which seeks to inspire a renaissance of Jewish life. He isthe author of “The Bronfman Haggadah” (Rizzoli Press) created in conjunction with hiswife, artist Jan Aronson

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