Saturday, August 01, 2009

DCJCC and GLOE: alliance between Judaism and LGBT community in Washington DC

This particular Metro Weekly news story, back to April 2008, is a bit belated, but important to note: a certain alliance between Judaism and the LGBT community, whatever the interpretations of the Torah or some passages of the Old Testament. The article by Will O’Bryan is “A Warm GLOE: The J’ reaches out to the GLBT Jewish Community”. That’s the Stuart S. Kurlander Program for Gay & Lesbian Outreach and Engagement at the DCJCC, or District of Columbia Jewish Community Center at 16th & T sts. NW.

The link for the article is here. It discusses director Justin Lerner and committee member Yoni Block.

I grew up in the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, a few blocks down 16th St. in the direction of the White House, and in 1954-1955, while the “new” sanctuary was being built (under Dr. Edward Hughes Pruden), the congregation held worship services at the DCJCC.

Recenttly, a Sunday School lesson at FBCWDC did cover the Sodom and Gomorrah story. The "lesson" sidestepped the anti-gay interpretation and talked about hospitality -- itself an issue because the concept assumes there are limits to privacy and private property in a world filled with external threats and governed by an external diety. The story itself is bizarre, but the "Religious Tolerance" website has a pretty good summary here . Unfortunately, Judge Robert Bork titled one of his books in the 1990s "Slouching toward Gomorrah"! But from all the Old Testament "clobber passages" one gets the feeling that there is a strong component of loyalty to the "community" -- in this case, the Chosen People, which must express social solidarity (and obey Jehovah) to survive in a hostile world. Hendrik Van Loon's brief account in the 1920s "The Story of the Bible" doesn't go into the supposed gay angle at all, but makes a lot of Lot's wife and her turning into a pillar of salt for idle or voyeuristic curiosity (she was probably exposed to the blast of an explosion, perhaps nuclear).

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