July 13, 2001
Message to Reform Judaism:
Leviticus is Part of the Bible Too
Reform Opposition to Traditional Marriage Initiative
NEW YORK - The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism's heated
opposition to the proposed "Federal Marriage Amendment" to the U.S.
Constitution is "yet another sad example of how far the Reform movement
distanced itself from the faith of our fathers," a spokesman for Agudath
Israel of America noted.
The proposed constitutional amendment, offered as a reaction to the
militancy of "same-sex marriage" activists, would define marriage as the
union of a man and a woman. The Religious Action Center's Associate
Director, Mark J. Pelavin, in a statement released on July 12, asserted
the amendment "would defile the Constitution" and enshrine "homophobia
intolerance in a document which protects the rights of all Americans."
went on to wonder if "America's families and marriages and communities
so fragile and shallow that they are threatened by the love between two
adults of the same sex."
Mr. Pelavin dressed up his movement's views in religious rhetoric; "We
believe as a fundamental tenant [sic] of our faith that all human beings
created in the Divine image, as it says in Genesis 1:27, 'And God
humans in God's own image, in the image of God, God created them; male
female God created them'."
"That Biblical truth, however, is not at issue," countered David
Agudath Israel's executive vice president for government and public
"What is at issue is the definition of marriage and the morality of
unions - a subject on which the Jewish Bible is quite explicit, if one
proceeds to Leviticus.
"Therefore, if the Bible and Jewish tradition are to inform the reaction
Jewish groups here, they does so clearly and strongly in the direction
support for this proposal.
"The question here is not one of intolerance of any person," the Agudath
Israel leader added, "but rather of intolerance of the redefinition of
timeless moral truths. There are numerous 'love'-based relationships
even the Reform movement is presumably unwilling to legitimate at this
"Is it sad," he concluded, "that a group purporting to speak in the name
Judaism seems to be more concerned with what it imagines to defile the
Constitution than with what unarguably defiles the Torah."