The Jewish Week
August 15, 2012


A few months ago, a young Orthodox rabbi decided to “come out of the closet,” in a sense, when he publicly identified himself as an “LGBT ally,” referring to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. 
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder of Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice group, and a director of the UCLA Hillel, explained that he felt he had been quiet for too long and wanted to say what he felt was the truth. 
Not much was made of the rabbi’s statement, most likely because two years ago Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgott and others drafted the “Statement on Homosexuality,” now signed by over 200 Orthodox rabbis and educators, which calls for dignity and respect for gay and lesbian Jews. The statement has shifted thinking in many quarters by making an argument for compassion for LGBT people a non-negotiable starting place.