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May 06, 2007



Now, being a charitable sort of fellow, I won`t comment that I pointed out the Shaigetz blog to you some 3 weeks ago, in an e-mail :-)


Dave Hill

Sorry Glyn. I really am quite embarrassed. Fine blog isn't it?


A pretty marvellous insight into a community which is not very open to outsiders. The Shaigetz himself - a remarkable bloke, who I often disagree with, but who has such a keen sense of humanity and reality.


Sorry, I can't agree. The man is a homophobe and a bigot. Check out his attitude towards gay people who wanted to celebrate Pride in Israel's capital city. Not superb and not a lot of humanity.


Dave Hill

Ah-ha. Over to you, The Shaigetz...?


Well, the Shaigetz` humanity seems to have slipped on that occasion. A shame. As I`m an openly gay man, I can`t say that I am happy about his comments. Nevertheless, his blog still contains lots of interesting insights to a largely closed society. Even if I don`t like all that he has to say.


I agree that the Shaigetz blog contains lots of interesting insights to a largely closed society (which I am peripheral to). And I am grateful to you, Glyn and Dave Hill (in the right order, yes?) for the heads up. Life online would be very dull (nay, barren) if I read only the blogs with which I fully agreed.

I just find it bizarre that someone who lives in such an obviously vulnerable glass house is so vociferously throwing stones at an underdog.

the shaigetz

I am pained that my criticism of the organisors of that event should cause me to come across as homophobic.

I am adamantly not!

I do realise that the gay community and I do not see eye to eye on the subject of the venue for that march, but that is reflection of our differing perceptions of the status of Jerusalem.

I am in no way anti-gay any more than I am anti pork-eaters, nor do I presume to be a messenger from God to force His word down everybody's throat.

If my irritation with those who decided to bring the march in the Holy city reads as a condemnation of the lifestyle of the marchers than I am less articulate than I thought I was. As I wrote in the comments on the piece; I believe most (true) orthodox practitioners, would be just as vociforous in their condemnation of a hetero love parade in their backyard.


Shaigetz - as a gay man, and a regular reader of your blog, I can say that although I don`t agree with all you have to say, I thoroughly enjoy your insights, and your innate humanity. I was very saddened by some of the wording you used, though, which did make me rethink how I viewed you :

"Instead they prance along semi-naked, flashing references to every kind of depravity they can think of in a demonstration that tries to force their hedonistic lifestyle down the throats of everybody watching.."

That, with respect, is very insulting.

I took part in London Pride last Saturday. I was dressed in a black kagoul, and wearing jeans. I held a banner that said "Some people are gay". I was conducting what I believe to have been an affirmation of my civil rights, and reminding the world (a day after two car bombs were found on the route), that I was not going to go away, and that the secular society, which allows gay people, atheists, Muslims, Hindu`s, evangelical Christians and frum people to co-exist peacefully in the same borough that we all call home (Hackney) is something to be protected.

It`s easy to fixate on the fetishists, and outrageousness of some marchers. I have no problem with their participation - they are as part of the gay community as boring farts like me (not all gay people are excitingly exotic, you know!). However, it`s important to remember why these marches happen. It`s to tell the world that we ARE here. Jewish people were decimated by fascism during WWII, as were gay people, and I am acutely aware that the same mindset who would have participated enthusiastically in exterminating BOTH of us would still be quite happy doing so now, in 2007.

The Shaigetz

Yes I can see that Glyn. It was certainly not my intention to bash gays. My tongue does seem to have run away with me on that occasion and I will be careful in the future to direct my criticism clearly against those who deserve it.
Incidentally, I am acutely aware of the feeling of alienation that gay people in our community can feel, and the hostility (and worse) they could expect if they were to reveal their inclination, even if it is only that.
I do feel strongly that by insisting on holding the march in Jeruslem their cause, for the recognition at least that they cannot help it, has been set back by years. Precisely because the wrong facet of homosexulity is emphasised. The organisors I was criticising should know that.
A march of people dressed like you and carrying placards like yours I probably would have supported.


Shaigetz - thanks for the message. I`m conscious that we shouldn`t monopolise Dave`s blog with too many comments (I seem to have gone rather comment-crazy this last weekend).

I do accept your apology - thank you. I appreciate that your faith means that you will have an inherent "problem" with gay people, and you know, that`s *okay*. I work closely with a hijab-wearing Muslim woman, whom I have a similar understanding with. I know that she disapproves of my "lifestyle", but she respects my viewpoint, and, indeed, recently sponsored me for a sponsored walk I did for HIV research. I may not agree with aspects of her lifestyle, but I do very much respect her. I think we have a good understanding of one another. That`s the essence of toleration. I do feel that marches in Jerusalem should go ahead, and yes, if that includes 6 foot 6 drag queens dressed as Diana Ross, then so be it. In an ideal world, such a march could perhaps have been done though more secular areas of Jerusalem, and not close to any specifically frum areas. Many may not like it, but there *is* a gay community in Jerusalem (Jewish, Muslim and Christian), and their rights are also enshrined within Israeli law.

Have you watched "Trembling Before G*d"? An excellent documentary by the Canadian Sandi Simcha Gilzer, on the issue of frum gay people - men and women. I felt so touched watching it, and how these people struggled with their sexuality for many years. In some cases, becoming married in order to follow tradition. In others, being cast out of their families. Yet, through all this trauma, they remained true to Judaism. You recently, on your blog, wrote eloquently on "Mendy", a film that reflected problems within a frum community. Perhaps another review, of "Trembling Before G*d" would be an idea....

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