Judaism and Homosexuality Orthodox, Conservative and Reform sources

(כב) וְאֶ֨ת־זָכָ֔ר לֹ֥א תִשְׁכַּ֖ב מִשְׁכְּבֵ֣י אִשָּׁ֑ה תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה הִֽוא׃

(22) [God says:] And with a male you shall not lie the lyings of a woman, it is a to'evah (abomination)


(יח) וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ ה' אֱ' לֹא־ט֛וֹב הֱי֥וֹת הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְבַדּ֑וֹ אֶֽעֱשֶׂהּ־לּ֥וֹ עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃

(18) And the LORD God said: ‘It is not good that Adam should be alone; I will make the human a help meet / partner.’


Rabbi Norman Lamm (former Chancellor of [Orthodox] Yeshiva University)

All laws are repressive to some extent -they repress illegal activities- and all morality is concerned with changing man and improving him and his society.

Homosexuality imposes on one an intolerable burden of differentness, of absurdity, and of loneliness, but the Biblical commandment cannot be put aside solely on the basis of sympathy for the victim of these feelings.


Rabbi Steve Greenberg - An Openly Gay Orthodox Rabbi

“The verse (in Leviticus) prohibits the kind of sex between men that is designed to effect the power and mastery of the penetrator. Sex for the conquest, for shoring up the ego, for self-aggrandizement, or worse, for the perverse pleasure of demeaning another man is prohibited.

This leaves open the possibility that sex not for power and mastery may not be prohibited.


ת"ש גדול כבוד הבריות שדוחה [את] לא תעשה שבתורה

Come and learn: So great is human dignity that it supersedes a negative commandment of the Torah.


Conservative Movement's Responsa on Homosexuality (Dorff, Nevins, Reisner)

Dor dor v’doroshav—each generation demands its own interpretations of Jewish law. As the Torah says, “When a matter shall arise that confounds you…you shall go and inquire of the judge who shall be in that day, and they will tell you the law.”

(Deut. 17:9) For the CJLS to avoid this issue or to declare that nothing can be done for homosexuals... would be a terrible defeat for our religious mission.


Conservative Movement's Responsa on Homosexuality Conclusions:

1. The explicit biblical ban on anal sex between men remains in effect. Gay men are instructed to refrain from anal sex.

2. gay and lesbian Jews are to be welcomed into our synagogues and other institutions as full members with no restrictions... and those who desire to serve as rabbis, cantors and educators shall be welcomed to apply to our professional schools and associations.


The Canaanites used homosexual acts as part of their pagan rituals. Therefore the Israelites were prohibited from doing this, not because it was an act between two men but because it was symbolic of pagan ritual. In today's world this prohibition now has no meaning [and homosexual sex is permitted]. - Rabbi Michele Brand Medwin