Jewish LGBT community can count on us

Let’s set a positive, progressive example for Jews across the nation.

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and its LGBT Alliance are asking the public to sign an online commitment to end homophobic bullying, harassment and intolerance.

While our Jewish communal and political leaders, many of whom are gay or lesbian, fight for the rights of the LGBT community, that’s not the case elsewhere.

In Teaneck, N.J., just across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan, the Jewish Standard newspaper is perplexed on whether it should apologize for running a same-sex wedding announcement or stand its ground and publish more of them. We’re waiting to hear our colleagues’ decision.

And in New York, GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino told a gathering of Orthodox Jews he doesn’t want children “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality” is acceptable and “that’s not how God created us.”

Let’s hope a significant majority of people find his remarks offensive rather than praiseworthy.

As Gary Rosenblatt, editor of the New York Jewish Week, points out in the op-ed on the facing page, that is not the way many Orthodox rabbis feel today. Despite Leviticus’ admonition against a man lying with another man, Rosenblatt notes that the same Torah commands us to treat “the other” with compassion.

In that vein, many Orthodox rabbis have signed a statement urging that LGBT Jews be welcomed into Jewish life and shown respect. Now it’s time for the rest of the Jewish community to show their support.

Our S.F.-based federation — a longtime leader for rights of the Jewish LGBT community — is asking us to sign a pledge at

Near the top of the pledge, it reads, “We will not stand by in the face of suffering and injustice.” It goes on to say, “We hereby commit to ending homophobic bullying or harassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations and communities.”

Keshet, the national LGBT organization that is organizing the pledge, is looking for 18,000 signatures before the end of the year. That sounds like too low of a number. The Bay Area alone, with more than 300,000 Jews, can supply far more than 18,000 signatures.

Let’s show the rest of the country what we stand for. San Francisco and its environs have long been a model for tolerance and inclusiveness. Jews, above all others, must disparage prejudice and fight against injustice.

We urge you to go to the website above or and join the campaign. Let’s show our local LGBT community and those throughout the world that we support them.