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‘Standard’ Publisher Clarifies Same-Sex Stance

Reports of financial threats from Orthodox community

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The publisher of the New Jersey Jewish Standard has clarified the paper’s position on its prior apology for running a same-sex engagement announcement and vow not to do so again. “We did not expect the heated response we got, and—in truth—we believe now that we may have acted too quickly in issuing the follow-up statement, responding only to one segment of the community,” wrote James Janoff. “We are now having meetings with local rabbis and community leaders.” No word from editor Rebecca Boroson, who signed the editorial that alluded to “the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community.” One report, which we can’t substantiate, has it that she was forced to back it against her will.

Meanwhile, Internet comments—which obviously we also can’t substantiate—have blamed financial pressures or even threats for being behind this. “It is my understanding that the Jewish Standard was basically being blackmailed,” a commenter on our site said. “The RCBC, the Orthodox Rabbinate threatened to take away the hechsher, the certificate of kashrut, from any restaurant that continued to advertise in the Jewish Standard if they did not announce that they would never publish another gay wedding announcement.” Andrew Silow-Carroll found something similar elsewhere.

Other commenters have reported that the Standard’s Website is not publishing certain comments; another Tablet Magazine commenter guesses that this is due to computer glitch, not human censoring.

We’ll update you as more information arrives. The story likely won’t go away: Silow-Carroll hears that the paper of record itself is preparing something.

Publisher’s Note on the Wedding Announcement Controversy [Facebook]
NJ Jewish Paper Threatened by Orthodox Thugs [Jewish Daily Report]
Earlier: All The Happy Couples

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Once again proving that people in committed relationships control the media.

Hershl says:

Avi Smolen, one of the two men who placed the announcement in the NJ Jewish Standard, has now come out with an interview.

He is very calm and sincere in his answers to the questions posed.

If he is upset or angry you wouldn’t know it from the interview.

He and Justin Rosen, his husband to be, met as counsellors at a Jewish camp and have been dating for four years. They did not want to rush things but have now decided that they truly want to commit to each other in a meaningful Jewish way.

Hence, the same-sex union announcement.

They will be married in two ceremonies; one by a Reform rabbi and the other by a Conservative rabbi. I guess it’s a mixed marriage.

The State of NJ endorses their union, too.

Many of their friends who will be attending their simcha are orthodox Jews from the community. There are gay and lesbian orthodox Jews openly living as such in Teaneck, NJ. Needless to say, the couple feels very secure and happy in a way that I find inspiring.

We need more light and love in this world of ours.

This is the most beautiful and human part of this story for me.

Here is the interview:

Shmuel says:

It has, in fact, hit the paper of record:

Michael says:

The RCBC and its member rabbis have publicly stated that this accusation is absolutely false (and the link to another site, quoting a blog comment on yet another site, makes no mention of the accusation against the RCBC). Publishing this makes you a party to motzei shem ra. I am not an insider with the RCBC so do not know what they have or have not said, but I think this is highly unlikely. But repeating a serious accusation like this from an anonymous and presumably biased comment on a blog without any fact checking is very irresponsible. If this is the new Jewish journalism you represent, it is unethical.

“They did not want to rush things but have now decided that they truly want to commit to each other in a meaningful Jewish way.”
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‘Standard’ Publisher Clarifies Same-Sex Stance

Reports of financial threats from Orthodox community

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