Wednesday, September 28, 2005



Root & Branch Information Service

Root & Branch: The first Jewish outreach organization geared to assist homosexual men and women seeking to change their sexual orientation has been established in New Jersey.

Calling itself JONAH, the group intends to deal with homosexual issues in a manner consistent with Jewish principles as set forth in the Torah.

According to the group's director, Rabbi Samuel Rosenberg, the name was chosen for the Biblical prophet who warned the people of Ninevah to return to G-d in an act of teshuva, and as an acronym for "Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality".

Desiring to be inclusive, the non-profit group will embrace any Jew regardless of religious commitment or lack thereof. Its goal is to educate Jews about the causes of same-sex attraction and the possibility of change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. "We believe this is achievable if the homosexual struggler lives by Torah values, heals his or her unresolved issues, and fulfills unmet emotional needs," says Rabbi Rosenberg.

"Many former homosexuals are now married with children and lead more contented and spiritual lives." JONAH is also available as a resource for parents and friends of those who struggle with homosexuality. It hopes to provide support groups, a speaker's bureau for Jewish groups, seminars for interested parties, and referrals to appropriate counselors.


He points out that the Torah strongly forbids the act of homosexuality precisely because it recognizes the capacity of anyone to commit such an act. Although the Toranic prohibition relates to actions, not thoughts, JONAH recognizes the need to work also with individuals who struggle with homosexual thoughts and impulses but do not act out their homosexual fantasies or identify with the gay lifestyle. "Jewish ethics require us to offer assistance to those who struggle with homosexuality and to understand how to help men and women with same-sex attractions. In today's society, it is important to offer solutions to problems; otherwise, one becomes part of the problem," he says.

"We must repeatedly remind ourselves that, in the Torah, it is not the person, but the act that is abhorred. Moreover, even after the act, we have the obligation to promote teshuva and not censure by the family, leaders, and community."

The spiritual leader of the Elmora Hebrew Center, Rabbi Rosenberg has smicha from Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn. He is a licensed social worker and psychotherapist who was trained at the Family Institute of New Jersey. He received his Master's degree in social work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University, and is currently an advanced-degree candidate at the Contemporary Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies.


Over the past 20 years, several Christian-based support groups have been formed to assist those seeking to change from homosexuality.

Although some have been formed by individual Christian ministers or by ex-homosexuals, many of the major Christian denominations sponsor groups.

Before JONAH, Jews seeking to leave homosexuality had nowhere to turn within their own religion. Some, therefore, sought refuge in Christianity, and more than a few converted. The resources for a Jew seeking help and spirituality simply were not present.

Even in Israel, the only group currently assisting those seeking to leave the gay lifestyle is a Christian-supported Jewish-Christian ("Messianic Jewish") group based in Jerusalem, directed by Izhar Vardinon. "JONAH intends to fill that void," says Rabbi Rosenberg.


He points out that even though it is well established that homosexuality exists in the Torah-observant ("orthodox") community (The World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jews has 48 organizational members and over 30 homosexual congregations; there are underground frum gay and lesbian support groups in the religious community and on the internet), most religious, social, and medical institutions "have failed these men and women."

JONAH, he says, has broken through the religious community's "response of silence, cloaked in the pretext of modesty."

"The Orthodox community bought the mythical notion of the genetic propagandist that homosexuality is inevitable for some people. The afflicted individuals feel shunned, isolated, confused, and ashamed, with nowhere to turn for support, understanding, or assistance. Some of our brethren responded with a self-righteous or noble fire-and-brimstone reference of abomination without compassion or a helping hand or even a shoulder to cry on," he says.

While JONAH does insist that homosexuality is a treatable condition, Rabbi Rosenberg stresses that the group should in no way be seen as license for persecuting anyone. "Let it be clearly stated, without condescension, there is no room in this or any other society for witch hunts directed at homosexuals or for the denial of their fundamental freedoms simply because their nature differs from the norm," he says, adding that the "gay rights movement" has done a great service simply by bringing the issue out of the closet.


However, he continues, that does not mean that, in the name of tolerance, society should "succumb to acceptance." He maintains that accepting homosexuality as normal and healthy is to doom the afflicted individuals to a life in which "their potential for wholeness will remain dormant beneath their emotional wounds."

"The homosexual lifestyle, with all its social and cultural nuances, is also a matter of choice. It is a learned behavior which can be unlearned," he says.

For those with a proclivity towards homosexuality, choosing to abandon the gay lifestyle will probably be more difficult than simply learning to observe the Sabbath or the dietary laws, or even abstaining from premarital sex, he admits.

"However, our responsibility for outreach does not preclude us from reaching out to these individuals and to understand their struggles," says Rabbi Rosenberg.


He is especially concerned about the "depressed, despondent, and tormented souls who struggle with their homosexuality."

"What about those who have tried to explore an 'alternate lifestyle,' only to experience frustration, loneliness, and isolation? To whom do they turn? To whom do their parents turn for help, guidance, and support? To whom do they dare expose their sense of shame, failure, and humiliation? How many suicides must we cover up, how often must we turn a blind-eye before we hear the desperate calls for help? When do we act on the Biblical injunction not to stand idly by our brothers' blood?" he says.

Well-intentioned, but untrained rabbis do more harm than good when they tell homosexuals and their parents simply to accept their condition and abstain from the behavior, he says.

"They don't even know that help is available," he says.

Other rabbis tell homosexuals to extend the prohibition of yichud, being alone in the same room, to members of the same sex.

"What pain, what isolation, what damage. Especially when they need the closeness of their gender peers for non-erotic love, support, and acceptance. Learning how to achieve this can be most effective and therapeutic," says Rabbi Rosenberg.


He and JONAH dismiss the secular community's insistence that homosexuality is predetermined and, therefore, legitimate and natural.

That concept, he says, is based on a politicized 1973 vote by the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, following intense pressure from the homosexual lobby.

Four years later, 69 percent of the 2,500 psychiatrists who responded to a survey by the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality disagreed with the vote and opposed removing homosexuality from the list of disorders.

"This political controversy within the psychiatric community continues today," says Rabbi Rosenberg. The formation of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), composed of more than 200 psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists, testifies to the ongoing divergence of views.

Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka, author of "One Man, One Woman, One Lifetime - An Argument for Moral Tradition", is on NARTH's advisory board.

Rabbi Bulka maintains that Jews who struggle with homosexuality have a mandate "to improve on who you are through the exercise of free will and with the help of mental-health professionals and spiritual advisors." "Despite great pressure from the gay lobby, NARTH continues to uphold the view that homosexuality is a developmental disorder and often a treatable condition," says Rabbi Rosenberg.

In fact, he says, the "misinformation that homosexuality is untreatable by the mental-health profession does incalculable harm to the homosexual struggler and to society at large." "Many ex-gays who have broken out of homosexuality say the biggest cause for their depression was the enormous pressure to accept their feelings as inborn and unchangeable. That way of thinking made them feel trapped," he says.


He cites authorities who maintain that homosexuality is almost always associated with a faulty family constellation, particularly between a distant father and son and an overly intrusive mother, whether real or simply perceived.

"Other factors may exacerbate the problem, such as poor peer group relationships and sexual molestation," he says.

In his scenario, the boy strives and longs to achieve the relationship he never experienced, but in an eroticized manner.

For a woman, he says, there is a corresponding inability to identify with what is viewed by the girl as a malevolent and malicious mother, and a father who does not respect the femininity of his wife and daughter. She seeks femininity in the body and personality of her female partner. Here, too, sexual violation may have occurred.

"Therapy can be effective in promoting awareness of the faulty family dynamics and the misdirected strivings for affection," says Rabbi Rosenberg, adding that no therapy "works" if it is imposed on the individual.


The most significant component of the homosexual's healing process may be found in a same-gender support group, he says, and this is a service JONAH hopes to provide.

"The aim of the support group is to re-establish healthy male-male or female-female bonding and to provide peer support and mentoring to rediscover their authentic gender and to better understand the expression of their legitimate love needs for attention, affection, and approval from gender peers which were unmet in their childhoods. In such a peer group, individuals learn that such needs can be satisfied without eroticism," says Rabbi Rosenberg.

To reach Rabbi Rosenberg, write to JONAH, POB 313, Jersey City, NJ 07303, or call (201) 433-3444. All inquiries, he says, will be handled "sensitively and discreetly."

Reprinted from the Root & Branch Information Services
http://www.rb.org.il rb@rb.org.il


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 7:42:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I will delete all outright vulgarities!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 8:08:00 PM  
Blogger Acher said...

Excellent Article. I never bought that Genetics hocus pocus. The Psychiatric World like alot of institutions caved in to alot of boycotts and threats by the left in power who continue their attempts to social engineer society.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people of Sodom were socially engineered, too, I guess.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:39:00 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

This is all too complicated. We should just stone them, like we did in old times.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 3:00:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

The people of Sodom were evil, they acted out on ALL their inclinations not only mishkav zachar.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 8:16:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

The Left's agenda includes do anything you want to do, no restrictions.
This is one of them.
I watched Alec Baldwin on O'Reilly one night; he said that if he wanted to screw his dog it's no ones business.
The slippery slope is getting real slippery.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 8:20:00 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Alec Baldwin and Bill O'Reilly should be stoned too. But we should let Baldwin's dog watch.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 8:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even JONAH's leader admitted publicly before Chaim Rappoport in a forum on Judaism and homosexuality that most of the people who go to JONAH don't change.

JONAH asks people to go to Sexaholics Anonymous, thus confusing sexual addiction with sexual orientation and then go to their psychotherapist, and he a'int cheap neither and there's no insurance that will cover it...and there's no guarantee for change but the blame for any failure is put squarely on the poor soul who happens to wander into that trap. If you didn't change, then it's your fault.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JONAH, far from being the non-profit it claims to be, is playing on the fears of parents who don't want their children to be gay really forces and makes good money off it.

It preys on the hopes of sincere parents and gay people who want to change homosexuality to heterosexuality. But success is usually found in people who already had some attraction to the opposite sex anyway.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth is, we don't know what causes homosexuality. That's the most honest answer that anyone can give.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

If SOME of the people do change, I have proven my point!

Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but what about the others, the vast majority, who don't?

Do you care about them and the damage JONAH causes to their lives?

Does it bother you that after paying a huge amount of money for "change therapy" and after investing a large amount of time and energy that their results are fruitless and they are told that they are to blame? Does that really sound just to you?

Do you care about the lives of their loved ones whose hopes are dashed with JONAH's false promises?

Are you there to pick up the pieces of their shattered dreams when JONAH does not follow through because it's founded on prejudices and pseudo-science to begin with?

Or, tell me, is it that you care only to prove your point?

Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


He wins, He won, He will win!

(A good one).

and that's all that really matters.

onto the next blog.


what were we talking about? Oh yes, Nineveh and the situation in Iraq.

I've heard complaints about growing numbers of MO kids self identifying as gay. These allegations are unproven, but if it's so, it's sad that we live in such an open society.

There were always child molesters in Borough Park. I heard about them (but not about someone else) at Camp Agudah, horror stories told from going to Mincha on Shabbos. Nobody did anything to stop them and they are tolerated because their numbers are small. They are scorned to be sure. Everyone hopes they will simply go away. Not in my neighborhood, my block, my school, etc.

I suspect the orthodox gays who gather for support wherever and whenever they do, the conservo/reform happy synagogues, too, are meat markets. This is why our tradition insists that if you want to do an aveirah you should be malbish shechorim.

Some misguided Jewish parents, faced with homosexual children, somehow approve more if the lovers are Jewish.
In God's eyes, none of this is good, but to promote the orthogay agenda, to create meeting places outside of established communities is to promote homosexual promiscuity.

tell me if i'm wrong.

(i would love to let you look at my thousands of lionel toys but, I must hurry off to my very important day job and give a shiur I never have to prepare for).

phineas blog

Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Please read the anonymous last comments on the "tragedy in our midst"blog.
There NEVER is an answer that will suit all, that does NOT mean you do not try!
You are looking for guarantees in life?????!!!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay. fair is fair. you win.

UOJ wins.

I guarantee it.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

homosexual does not equal pedophile.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least you are trying to be constructive.

But, maybe not realistic.

Years ago I met a spiritual authority (not with your credentials, of course, but who knew how much less he than you) who knew someone nameless who has written a book, or two, on this topic. He had known the boy as a youth leader and the boy confided his inner doubts. The rabbi was disturbed by the revelations and didn't want to believe the worst, so he helped him. To the rabbi's credit, he would not reveal the historic author's identity.

He knew and the author knew that this person didn't fit in. If we'd ask that author why he didn't go to Nineveh instead of writing books would he agree he's a mezid when he believes he's a shogeg?

There was a statistic in the Times that 45% of the women in a study admitted to experimentation. Sexual attraction in all forms, outside of reproduction, is irrational. I can't imagine how straight people could be "reoriented" to become gay. I think we have to take at their word those who say they have no choice and encourage them to remain celibate.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:58:00 PM  
Anonymous itzik said...

What language are you speaking above ?
In other words ,what the fuck are you talking about?

Friday, September 30, 2005 1:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what means this "what the fuck?"

Friday, September 30, 2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

pshuto kimashmuo!

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Friday, October 07, 2005 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger banner ads said...

There is alot of Blogs, I never guessed I'd find some usefull information.

I'll be back later to see if anymore good updates are available.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger Car Insurance uk said...

Good Blog, you have lots of good content. Keep up the good work.

I have a blog too it is aboutcar insurance uk.

Friday, October 28, 2005 9:01:00 AM  
Blogger cheap car insurance said...

Just do it! and Getter Done!

Friday, October 28, 2005 9:01:00 AM  
Blogger Car Insurance said...

Nice blog very informative.

I have a blog too. It is about car insurance

Thanks for the information.

Friday, October 28, 2005 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger 性爱 said...

I am totally nude come see me. Take a bit for all pics and movies to load.

Why do I do this I like to make men blow their jiz in their pants.

Visit me.裸体

Sunday, October 30, 2005 5:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, great website, I don't know how I didn't come across it sooner. Please do stop by my jewish reference website and let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 30, 2005 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Car Insurance Center said...

Hi, Thanks for your interesting blog. Keep up the great work! I also have a site & blog about auto insurance quote, please feel free to visit.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 10:15:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home