Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Orthodox Cry Foul As British Chief Sephardic Rabbi Praises Acceptance Of Gays

(JTA) — The United Kingdom’s top Sephardic rabbi became the center of an international controversy after he praised societal acceptance of homosexuality as a “fantastic development.”

Rabbi Joseph Dweck came under fire after making the comment at a lecture last month. An Orthodox rabbi in London asked a rabbinic court to look into removing Dweck from his position, and a petition created by an American Orthodox rabbi calling Dweck a “heretic” had gained some 480 signatures, The Jewish News reported.

A letter from Israel’s chief Sephardic rabbi, Yitzchak Yosef, also condemned Dweck.

“I am amazed and angry at the words of nonsense and heresy that were said about the foundations of our faith in our Torah,” the letter said.

Dweck received rabbinic ordination from Yosef’s father, the late Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef.

Dweck has refused to back down, although he acknowledged that his use of the word “fantastic” was “exaggerated,” The Jewish News reported.

“I did not say that homosexual acts were fantastic. I said that the development in society had residual benefits much in the same way that Islam and Christianity did, as the Rambam pointed out,” he said.

“These residual effects in my opinion are that it has helped society be more open to the expression of love between men,” he added. “I was not asserting law, nor for that matter, demanding a particular way of thought. I was simply presenting a personal observation.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.