Monday Media: Jay Michaelson’s God vs. Gay

Hot on the heels of the recent decision of the Conservative Rabbinic Assembly’s decision to allow its rabbis to officiate over same-sex marriages, we bring you a podcast from the Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival featuring Jay Michaelson speaking on his book God vs. Gay: The Religious Case for Equality.

This program was presented in partnership with the DCJCC’s GLOE: Kurlander Program for GLBT Outreach & Engagement. In his book, which recently came out in paperback, Jay tackles the contentious “God vs. gay” divide, arguing that religious communities should favor gay rights because of religion, not in spite of it.

As both a gay rights activist and religion scholar, he explores the moral principles that favor acceptance of GLBT people, contending that these values outweigh the ambiguous verses so often cited by conservatives.

Right click and “save link as” to download as an MP3
Or listen online here

Plus One?

According to USA Today:

The end-of-the-year list season is upon us: Most this/biggest that, etc.

But for 2008, The Forward, the weekly magazine which keeps an eye on Jewish American life, has bumped up its annual FORWARD 50 list of the names behind the Jewish stories of the year to a “symbolic” #51 by adding Postville, Iowa, Catholic Priest Paul Ouderkirk, for his tireless efforts to “feed, clothe and house dozens of immigrant detainees fired from the Agriprocessors Kosher slaughterhouse.”

Forward editor Jane Eisner explains:
Father Ouderkirk displayed unusual leadership and compassion by helping displaced workers and their families survive. At times it has seemed as if Father Ouderkirk and the good members of St. Bridget’s were among the few in this sad story willing to do the right thing.

I had two thoughts when reading this article: “yay Iowa” (hey, you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl) and do we really need the plus one? Why can’t a priest—or anyone else for that matter—be part of the regular 50 contributors to American Jewish Life? Do you have to be Jewish to make a difference to Jews? Clearly not, as our Gallery points out in its current Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in WWII exhibition…or this year’s Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts Benefit performer Rita Moreno, who—though not Jewish—put on a spectacularly energetic, highly successful show in support of a “Jewish” Center for the Arts.

And I know, FORWARD’s list is meant to highlight American Jews after all, but it’s still worth a few thoughts about “our” community vs. “our community”.

All debates aside…who’s on this year’s list? Sarah Silverman is in the top five; and former 16th Street J guests Ilan Stavans and Ilana Trachtman made the list too. Also high five to DC’s own Esther Safran Foer, executive director of 6th & I.

Who would you add?

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