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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
3

on 15 November 2017
Authoritative work, considerate and compassionate book about a difficult subject within orthodox Judaism.
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on 23 May 2011
Rabbi Chaim Rapoport's book: Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View(2004) is written from the viewpoint of mainstream modern Jewish Orthodoxy. Rapoport, a rabbi to a congregation in Ilford, London and a member of the chief rabbi's cabinet, also has experience counselling Jewish homosexual students, in the course of which he says he 'listened, researched, discussed, consulted expert religious and psychological authority, advised and tried to help' (p. xv). The framework Rapoport espouses recognises only one context for sexual activity: heterosexual marriage. It is only there that sexual activity 'may become a desirable, sacred and Godly act, one in which there is a manifestation of the Divine Presence' (p. 2). Accordingly any kind of sexual activity outside of that context is unacceptable. In his account, the biblical texts of Lev. 18.22 and Lev. 20.13 are the basis for the biblical prohibition of male homosexual acts. Both male and female homosexual acts are additionally prohibited in rabbinic writings. The prohibition on male acts extends to mankind in general through the Noahide laws. The prohibition refers to acts not disposition. The only lifestyle entirely consistent with observance is celibacy. Rapoport deals sensitively and realistically with the demands of such a position, does not recommend heterosexual marriage as a solution, and is clear that the Orthodox community needs to be welcoming to and supportive of homosexual people. In essence, this book is clear about the halakhic prohibition of homosexual acts, while affirmative of the person with the disposition and assertive about his or her right to a place in the Orthodox community where they should expect to be fully participant as congregants, and receive understanding and support. Moreover Rapoport's support does not rely on any kind of demeaning characterisation of the homosexual disposition as, for example, a psychological disorder. Effectively, then, Rapoport offers a challenge to everyone concerned: to observant gays and lesbians to live by Torah, and to other Orthodox people to examine and overcome their ignorance and prejudices. This book is written clearly and succinctly, and could be used as a basis for discussion of the issues, especially if read alongside Steven Greenberg's Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality and the Jewish Tradition(2004), also written from within Jewish Orthodoxy but from a more challenging and inclusive viewpoint.
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on 30 May 2017
Outstanding clarity and compassion
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