Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is “Being Orthodox” the same thing as “Being Gay”?

Guest Post by Adam
In the age old debate of nature vs. nurture, no facet of this argument is more heated than when it comes to homosexuals.  Is their attraction inborn, or is it an acquired orientation?  It is a choice?  What about finding ones way to halachic observance?  Nature or nurture?  Inborn or chosen?  I started to think about this after an Internet chat I had with a friend.  This friend describes himself as a Radical Reform Jew. 
We got into a discussion on the idea that one may receive more than one gives, when giving tzedakah.  The following is the transcript, edited for clarity, grammar, and anonymity (RF stands for Reform Friend).  
me: I've seen it many many times, my expenses are somehow lower when I give more tzedakah.
RF: ok
me: there is a cap, 20%, and I don't get anywhere near that yet
RF: mine tend to be much more because I have to pay the donation too
me: just saying, this is the one place where we're told in the Torah to test it out.  So next time you give money, look around your life and see if you either received an unexpected cash increase and/or lower expenses soon after
RF: i will; and then if i do, i will believe
me: lol no you won't :)
RF: ok you are right!
me: even when I had my "wow" moment 12 years ago at the kotel, it still took me another 2 years until I really started keeping Shabbat.  I never expect or even want a Jew to totally flip around based on one good vibe
RF: well i am pretty secure in my belief.  I don't think a single moment at a place that doesn't accept my religious practices is going to change anything.
me: it didn't bother me back then
RF: what didn't bother you?  
me: standing there, as an actively Reform Jew, at the Kotel.  It didn't bother me that men and women had to pray separately
RF: you were never a Reform Jew
me: I wasn't?
RF: you were on your path to where you are.  Perhaps you were practicing as a RJ but you weren't part of the movement like say you are part of the MO movement.
me: I wasn't a twice-a-year RJ, I went to all of the Hebrew school, Sunday schools, Reform and nom-denom youth groups and summer camps
RF: but "something was missing", right?
me: not until high school, but yeah
RF: so once you could start thinking for yourself, when you could actually become a Reform Jews, you did not - that is what i am getting at.
It was the “something was missing” line that really got me thinking.  Something WAS missing in my life.  I really didn’t feel fulfilled there.  It was a relief to find out that there were others like me.  These are all statements that the gay kid makes on the after school special after coming out of the closet.
Which gets back to my opening question:   Is “Being Orthodox” like “Being Gay”?  
What do you say?