By 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.”
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LETTER.
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