Daily Archives: May 20, 2005

Nu?

Oh look it’s another gay story

Time was the Matachine Society assigned teams of members to scour newspapers hither and yon in search of anything that might be even so much as remotely interpreted as touching on gay and lesbian lives. Nowdays gay and lesbian news is on tap from everywhere imaginable, 24/7. This one from Buffalo New York is fairly typical.

Temple Beth Zion has decided to withdraw all its advertising from the Buffalo Jewish Review because the weekly refused to print an advertisement about the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus.
The chorus performed Jan. 22 in the sanctuary of the synagogue at 803 Delaware Ave. with the synagogue’s cantor, David Goldstein.
Three months later, on April 24, the chorus performed at Blessed Trinity Church and was picketed by representatives of the Buffalo Regional Right to Life Committee, citing the Catholic Church’s position against the homosexual lifestyle.

Say, isn’t there a new made-for-tv movie about the church’s, uh . . .position ?

The ensuing debate has sparked a flurry of letters, pro and con, to The Buffalo News.
Temple Beth Zion Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld and Stuart G. Lerman, president of the board, sent a letter to members on May 10, outlining their discussions with the Jewish Review since the ad was rejected in January.
“The reason given was that the paper did not want to condone homosexual behavior,” they wrote. “The editor made it clear that, in her opinion, publishing the ad would offend subscribers.”

Just how would a choral group, be offensive? What were they going to sing anyway? Richard Strauss? Wagner? Cat Stevens?

Rosenfeld and Lerman also said that “to exclude or oppress members of our community because of their sexual orientation would be denying their humanity.”

Not to mention cast aspersions on their musical ability.

Rita Weiss, editor of the Jewish Review, said, “Fervently Orthodox rabbis exhort all of us to deepest compassion for those who cannot seek opposite-gender partners. But we are a family newspaper and don’t refer to sex at all or identify anyone as homosexual or heterosexual.”
Weiss said she and her husband, Arnold, who own the newspaper,

Thus referring precisely to that which she claims not to refer!

declined to publish the ad on grounds that it might influence young people to experiment with a sexual lifestyle that could be harmful to their health.

Since when is choral singing harmful to one’s health?

Weiss and her husband are Orthodox, but she limited her arguments to social issues.
“On a very practical basis,” she said, “there is the possibility of influencing some young people whose sexual development is not yet complete. They could get AIDS. They could try out a lifestyle that is life-threatening.”

They could turn into (muffled gasp) Rufus Wainright ! Oh, the humanity!

In addition to AIDS, Weiss said, she is also concerned about “the perpetuation of the Jewish people” in the face of demographic trends, including young Jews who stay in the gay lifestyle.
“They can’t produce children,” she said. “And you can’t build a people with adoption.”

Naturally. They’ll be too busy staging revivals of She Loves Me.

Weiss said Jews everywhere are concerned about assimilation and the demographic numbers that show a decline in the growth of the Jewish community outside Israel.
“All of the Jewish organizations are concerned,” she said, “because we’re going to need support in the future for all of the needs of our aging population. There are so many ramifications – there won’t be support for old people or for our institutions or for the State of Israel.

Really now? There was quite a good film made about this very subject a few years ago. Does Weiss know it? Maybe a screening could be arranged. But if she’s terrified of a gay men’s chorus, a movie about gay orthodox Jews is probably even more frightening to her, poor dear.

Rosenfeld and Lerman said they respected the Weisses for their views as Jews but felt that tolerance is also important to Jews. Their letter concluded: “As a community, we value each of our members for the unique light that she/he brings into the world. The situation is, indeed, unfortunate, yet we are proud to stand for what we believe is right.”
The Weisses said they have received some angry phone calls but also some positive calls from members of Temple Beth Zion

Let’s hope the next call they get is from my favorite rabbi.

And should all go well, may Mrs. Weiss will find herself in a “specialguest star” spot when the choruse tackles this number:

MAYORESS CORA HOOVER HOOPER:
Everyone hates me-yes, yes-
Being the Mayoress, yes.
All of the peasants
Throw rocks in my presence,
Which causes me nervous distress, yes.
OOOH, OOOOOOOOOH, OOOH, OOH, OOOOOOOOOH.

Me and my town, battered about,
Everyone in it would like to get out.
But me and my town,
We just wanna be loved!

Stores are for rent, theatres are dark,
Grass on the sidewalks, but not in the park,
Me and my town,
We just wanna be loved!

The people are starving,
So they sleep the day through.
My poor little people,
What can they do?

TOWNSPEOPLE:
Boo!

CORA:
Who asked you?

Come on the train, come on the bus,
Somebody please buy a ticket to us.
Hurry on down-
We need a little renown.
Love me,
Love my
Town!

OOOHHHH OOOOOHHHHH OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!

BOYS:
Hi there, Cora. What’s new?

CORA:
The bank went bust and I’m feeling blue.

BOYS:
And who took over the bankruptcy?

CORA:
Me, boys, me!

BOYS:
Si, si!

CORA:
Me, boys, me!

BOYS:
Tell us, Cora, how you are.

CORA:
I just got back from the reservoir.

BOYS:
And what’s the state of the water supply?

CORA:
Dry, boys, dry!

BOYS:
My, my!

CORA:
Dry, boys, dry!

BOYS:
Ay, ay!

CORA:
A lady has responsibilities…

BOYS:
Responsibilities…

CORA:
And civic pride!

BOYS:
Civic pride!

CORA:
Well, I look around and what do I see? I see no crops.

BOYS:
No crops.

CORA:
I see no business.

BOYS:
No business

CORA:
To the North, to the South,
Only hoof-and-mouth!

BOYS:
To the East, to the West,
No community chest

CORA:
I see a terrible depression all over the town-

BOYS:
Oh, a terrible depression,
Yes, a terrible depression.

CORA:
What a terrible depression
And I’m so depressed
I can hardly talk on the phone.
I feel all alone.

CORA AND BOYS:
But a lady has responsibilities-

BOYS:
Responsibilities-

CORA:
To all my poor! Starving! Cold! Miserable!
Dirty! Dreary! Depressing! Peasants!

ALL:
Peasants! Ick!

CORA:
A lady has responsibilities-

BOYS:
Responsibilities-

CORA:
To try to be
Popular with the populace.

BOYS:
She’s unpopular with the populace!

ALL:
Unpopular with the populace,
Unpopular with the populace,
Unpopular with the populace…

CORA:
Everyone here hates me at length,
Probably lynch me if they had the strength.
But me and my town,
Me and my town,
We just wanna be loved!

BOYS:
We just want to be loved!
We just want to be loved!

CORA:
Just loved!

BOYS:
A friendship is lovely
And a courtship sublime,
But give her a township-

CORA:
Township!
Every time!

ALL:
What’ll we do, me and my town?
Gotta do something or we’re gonna drown!
Give me my coat,
Give me my crown,
Gimme, gimme your vote
And hurry on down!

CORA:
Show how much you think

BOYS:
Yeah!

CORA:
Of me!

ALL:
Love me,
Love my
Town!

Perfect for Buffalo, don’t you think?