THE JEWISH NEWTS
3 SIVAN 5754/MAY 13, 1994
Rabbis Respond To Sex Study Dr. Jeffries
LESLEY PEARL STAFF WRITER
Zedek Rabbi William
Gershon was livid when
he opened his April 29
edition of the Forward,
a national Jewish news-
paper published in New
like "NAACP Faces
Decline, Jewish Allies
Warning," and "Afternoon in Gaza
Uncovers A Deadly PLO-llamas Pact,"
were the words "All You Ever Wanted
to Know About Sex — But Were Afraid
To Ask Your Rabbi."
The article included a photograph of
a kiss from the movie A Place in the
Sun as well as "four sexy excerpts from
a saucy study" about modesty, marital
and pre-marital sex, masturbation and
"The article did not portray accu-
rately what has taken place. There has
been no official ruling on any of these
issues," Rabbi Gershon said.
A 12-member commission of Rabbi Berman of Beth Achim.
Conservative rabbis studied the vari-
ous issues of sexuality within the con-
also continue to encourage procreation
text of the movement and presented "A and relationship standards of fidelity and
Jewish Pastoral Letter on Human respect.
Sexuality" to 1,400 colleagues at an an-
The report and letter also advocates
nual meeting earlier this month.
acceptance of gay and lesbian Jews in
`This letter was an internal statement synagogues. However, the Conservative
o help rabbis consider these issues. If movement still rejects rabbis performing
udaism doesn't have something to say commitment ceremonies or gay weddings
about basic components of human life, we and does not permit open homosexuals
rabbis) don't have anything to say at all. into its rabbinical and cantorial schools.
o we're going to great lengths to weigh
Rabbi Arnold Goodman, senior rabbi
he ethical and moral imperatives in- of Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Atlanta
olved in sex and sexuality," Rabbi and chairman of the sexuality commis-
Gershon said. "I really can't comment sion, said, "People are setting up joint
eyond that until a final statement is households. Do we simply say it doesn't
exist? The question that we asked our-
The commission on human sexuality selves was, 'Did rabbis have anything to
tudy suggests acceptance of non-mari- say to this generation?"
tal sexual relationships, but still views
marriage as the ideal union. The rabbis SEX page 10
The Political Animal
We know what Michigan's
Jewish lawmakers say,
but who are they?
JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER
Story on page 62
ALAN HITSKY ASSOCIATE EDITOR
r. Leonard Jeffries, the
chairman of black studies at
City College of New York
who has been accused of be-
ing anti-Semitic, justified
his record in advance of his
Thursday appearance at the Detroit
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Dr.
Jeffries defended his professional work
and denied charges of anti-Semitism. He
said those charges have been trumped
up since the late 1980s to block revision
of the public-school curriculum in the
state of New York. Dr. Jeffries served on
a panel which advocated the inclusion
of African-centered education in the
Dr. Leonard Jeffries
"There is a strategy to create a fer-
vor around me," Dr. Jeffries said. "But
my Jewish fraternity brothers have sup-
ported me. My Jewish students have
supported me. My Jewish dean, who I
helped put in place, would not lie in court
and he supported me.
"Not one of these people who know
me has come forward and charged me
with anti-Semitism...Not one scholar
has come forward to say what I've said
is untrue. Yet many Jewish scholars
have come forward to provide me with
material on Jewish involvement in the
Dr. Jeffries did not say that Jews con-
trolled the slave trade, a falsehood re-
peated by the followers of the Rev. Louis
Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. He
has pointed out the involvement of Jews
and others in the slave trade.
"Of course, people don't want to hear
that. They don't want to hear that
Washington and Jefferson were slave-
holders. We didn't single out Jews. It's
not in our interest to do that."
He said he has emphasized African-
centered education "because you can't
understand the world without Africa.
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