Quotes of the Day

Justin Rosen and Avi Smolen

The New Jersey Jewish Standard recently published a simcha engagement announcement for Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen, a same-sex couple (who are adorable, might I point out). This was a first for the paper.

The following week, the paper’s editorial staff published a statement apologizing for the “pain and consternation” the announcement had caused readers who are members of the traditional/Orthodox community. The editors stated that they will not publish such announcements in the future.

The comments about the editorial were unanimous in their condemnation of the paper’s decision to embrace bigotry and censorship. And, in what to my eyes is a first for the internet, every single comment is well-reasoned, thoughtful and on-topic – not to mention, free of swears, CAPS LOCK, ad-hominem attacks, conspiracy theories or any of the rest of the typical commentary one sees in online publications.

Take a few minutes to read through them. They are an impressive lot. I did have to include this one though – a reader who took the time to share a lovely Passover tradition in his family.

Your wrong-headed apology reminded me of our Seder plate, which for many years has included an orange next to the shank bone and bitter herbs. Someone reads a short paragraph about prejudice against gay people, then urges everyone to eat a slice of orange and “spit out the seeds of homophobia.”

What’s significant is that this custom wasn’t started by a gay person, but by an older straight couple. It has now been passed on to their many children and grandchildren. Perhaps you and your rabbis with “deep sensitivities” should consider an addition to your Passover rituals next year.

Mazal tov Justin and Avi.

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