Victims of Tel Aviv Shooting Mourned in Washington


Published August 04, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

An Orthodox rabbi spoke out against anti-gay rhetoric in the Orthodox community at a Washington vigil mourning two Jews slain at a gay center in Tel Aviv.

“It’s time to do some internal accounting” as to whether such “rhetoric has created this climate” that allows for violence and “vilification” of gays and lesbians, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue said Monday night at the candlelight vigil.

More than 200 people attended the hourlong rally in which participants lit candles, held signs denouncing hatred of gays and lesbians, and sang songs. Six young Jewish adults organized the event, which was co-sponsored by a number of communal groups.

A similar community-sponsored candlelight vigil and march was held in San Francisco on Monday evening, with a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Jewish and LGBT leaders among the speakers.

In an attack Saturday night at the Tel Aviv community center, a masked gunman killed a 17-year-old and a 26-year-old. Ten others were 10 injured.

The motive remains unclear, but speculation has centered on it being a hate crime. The gunman is still at large.

At the Washington vigil, speakers included Rabbi Jack Moline of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, Mark Pelavin of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, an Israeli Embassy official and other Washington Jewish community leaders and activists.

Herzfeld called for the Orthodox community to create a “communal pledge” that “we will not create a climate of gay bashing” and “enforce it.”

In an interview after his speech, Herzfeld did note that homosexuality was “prohibited by the Torah,” but said at the same time that crimes like the murders Saturday evening in Israel were “a desecration of God’s name.”

Martin Peled-Flax, the Israeli Embassy minister-counselor for domestic political affairs, in his speech called the murders an attack not just on the LGBT community, “but on Israel’s civil society as a whole.” He also noted that Israel is the “only state in the Middle East where it could occur” because it is the only place where gays and lesbians can “gather together without a fear of violence.”

Meanwhile, the Progressive Jewish Alliance is sponsoring a “Virtual Summer Love-In” to repudiate the weekend violence and mark Tu B’Av, which starts Tuesday evening and is known as the “Jewish Valentine’s Day.”

The e-card campaign is designed to allow particpants to “spread the message that they welcome and love their LGBT friends, family and colleagues.”

Find us on Facebook!
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love.
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.