November 5, 2010

Opposed to Happiness?

It is one thing to oppose gay marriage, but it is quite another to oppose the happiness of gay people. Your article “N.J. Jewish Paper in Knots over Gay Nuptials,” in the October 15 issue, identified an incredibly disconcerting trend among those against marriage equality. Not only do some oppose gay marriage, but it seems apparent that they would like homosexual human beings to be as unhappy as possible with their lives. Publishing the engagement notice of two men in a New Jersey Jewish newspaper could do little harm in itself. Yet people reacted in a negative enough fashion that the paper was compelled to write an apology letter.

An apology? For publicizing the love of two people? I can scarcely imagine the sadness that those two men must have felt when their community’s Jewish newspaper felt the need to publicly revoke support they had given to the future happiness of two young men. The goal of Jewish newspapers is community support. Not hatred. I hope I live to see the day when such a goal is realized.

States of Being

Philologos’ column, “Oath of Loyalty to What?” in the October 29 issue, is correct as far as it goes, but it does not address another very important linguistic issue that seems to have been ignored entirely in this debate: Israel was established not as a medina yehudit (“a Jewish state”) as the oath would have it, but as medinat ha-yehudim (“the state of the Jews”).

Because the switch in wording is small, it may have passed below the radar. But in its meaning, it represents a complete and utter transformation of how the State of Israel defines itself.

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November 5, 2010

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