Proud of the Federation
I want to respond to my friend Julian Elbling who wrote a letter to the editor on June 25 about synagogue life in Pittsburgh and the Federation’s role in supporting it (“Step up to the plate to save Jewish Pittsburgh”). Like Julian, I am also a past president of Congregation Beth Shalom. In addition, I am a board member of our Federation. I know that several of our local synagogues are struggling financially, and that is due, in part, to some decline in membership. This is not only a regional trend, it is a national trend. The cause for that membership decline is due to many different factors.
As a Federation fundraiser and donor, I’m proud that our Federation provides hundreds of thousands of dollars to our synagogues through religious school, preschool and youth-group funding as well as through the supportive services that the Agency for Jewish Learning has been offering for many years.
Standing up for gay marriage
In the The Chronicle’s July 2 story, “Jewish advocates react as SCOTUS makes gay marriage law of the land,” the Orthodox Union predictably proclaims its opposition to the decision, releasing the following statement: “Our religion is emphatic in defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.”
The assertion is incorrect. Today, “our religion” does not stand in the way of equal marital rights for gay men and women. Orthodox Jewry, one segment of “our religion,” continues to define marriage in the traditional way. The Reform and Conservative movements have recognized that just as other barriers to equal rights have fallen throughout our history, so too has marriage been redefined so that all may avail themselves of it, no longer to be ostracized because of who one is or who one loves. I applaud my synagogue for having been out front on this issue long before the Supreme Court delivered equal marital rights throughout our nation.
Upper Saint Clair