Celebrate Israel Parade 2013: Too Unorthodox to Attend?


celebrate-israel-paradeBy Alan Betsalel Friedlander

The Celebrate Israel Parade is an event attended heavily by Modern Orthodox Jewish attendees. A group listed only by its initials as a participant in this year’s parade participants list (http://celebrateisraelny.org/parade/parade-day/marching-groups/) actually has a hidden agenda.  In a brazen attempt to force Orthodox Jews to accept their way of life at the Torah’s expense, the understanding that was maintained for two decades has been overturned, without asking for Rabbinic authorization.

In the 1990s, Rabbi Aharon Soloveichik zt”l protested against showing tolerance toward homosexuals as a public marching group at the Celebrate Israel Parade.  Up until last year, his advice had been heeded.  Avi Goldstein brought this to the attention of the community this year and many leading rabbonim have signed a letter that proclaims:

“Any participation in any event that includes so called ‘Orthodox’ groups, who in any way condone or support toevah (abomination), or a deviant way of life, is asur (forbidden). Whoever is a participant or spectator is an assistant to a sinful matter.  Such a brazen public chilul HaShem (desecration of the Divine Name) needs to be denounced.”


Co-Signatory Rabbi Yehuda Sheinkopf said the following: “We could not let this group march under a banner of Orthodoxy without a response that this is not Orthodoxy, is it contrary to the Torah. These rabbis feel that it must be known that to join with such a group is assisting their agenda which is contrary to the Torah.”

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky gave a heter (leniency) if due to the short notice for someone who feels committed to the event what should they do so they can still attend without violating halacha.  The answer was on condition that they protest the participation of the forbidden group(s).

If you wish to protest this event, the 2013 Parade will take place today, Sunday, June 2, from 11 AM to 4PM in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 74th.

This list of signatories (in alphabetical order) is still being populated:

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky

Rabbi Eliezer Ginsburg

Rabbi Yosef Rabinowitz

Rabbi Aharon Moshe Schechter

Rabbi Moshe Scheinerman

Rabbi Avrohom Schorr

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. especially now when most of these people are looking to shut down yeshivos, it would be a good idea to stay away

  2. Agree with Avi Goldstein. Also, the behavior of leadership against chareidim and religious, in general, in EY today is very disturbing. Jews should attend the ‘concert’, as they have always been separate from the parade and is for a Jewish EY.

  3. So if I go to a Jewish Concert and the drummer is known to live a devient life-style,, by attending the concert, I support his actions???

    Should we be taking into consideration, how it will look if the numbers at the Parade is down and support for Israel pluments? The media will then agree that even the JEWS of NY are no longer interested/concerned/supportive and it effects security funding, military assistance, etc,?

    How does “NOT SHOWING UP” show this group that we are protesting their horrible life style? Do they know that I am at home and not participating because of their ‘toeva’?

  4. #8,

    So then find a diferent venue, a kosher way, to show your support for Israel. If the organizers opted to include this group, then that’s their folly.

  5. @ truth be told. That’s what rabbonim are for to tell us what they believe is the right thing to do in every and any situation and we follow it because that’s das Torah


    Sheldon i have some news for you the STATE of israrel is toeiva too

  7. As a frum rebbe from Lakewood working in a modern orthodox school I would like to express my dissatisfaction with the procrastination involved in issuing this psak. My colleagues and I could have in a much more reasonable position to back out had we more time to allow the institutions that employ us to make alternate plans.
    There was than ample time to issue a psak on this matter as everyone has been taking about it fit some time now.
    We feel abandoned and were left in a really awkward position.

  8. Dear Greg,
    For you to make such a statement means that you are a. ignorant
    b. an anti semite
    c. a self hating Jew
    d. confused
    e. all of the above.
    I’ll let you decide for yourself. I, however will assume that you are all of the above.