Aired Jan. 21, 2012 on Dave’s Gone By.
Youtube clip: Gay Tel Aviv
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of January 22nd, 2012.
It is rare for the traditionally downtrodden and fearful Jewish people to have a gay old time. But if they want an old gay time, guess where they should go? Not Christopher Street, not Miami, not Madrid – believe it or not the answer is Tel Aviv.
In a worldwide survey by GayCities.com, Tel Aviv, Israel, was voted the best gay travel destination of 2011. Unfortunately, 2011 is over, so…they kind of missed the boat on promoting it, but still – what a feather in the beret for Israel as a place of tolerance, empathy and, one imagines, musical theater.
Now, I’m sure not all Jews are thrilled about this. The Orthodox Rabbinate is probably wringing their beards over the moral destruction of the holy land whenever two men wanna hold hands and cross pukels. But the rest of us know: live and let live. Just like New York, Tel Aviv has a giant annual Pride Parade, where, just like New York, all the Jews on the sidewalk are too short and can’t see anything. 61 percent – higher than anywhere else in the world – 61 percent of the Israeli population supports gay marriage. As the joke goes, why should straight people be the only ones allowed to be miserable? Gay people even serve openly in the Israeli armed forces. This is not surprising, since a soldier never leaves his buddies’ behind.
But seriously, Israel takes a lot of lumps from Palestinian apologists, self-hating Jewish liberals, anti-Semites and people who look for any excuse to question why America supports Yisroel with money and military hardware. Here is your partial answer: Do you think Syria would make the gay cities list? How about Lebanon? Saudi Arabia? Iran? The so-called new Egypt?
Try being a homosexual in any one of these places and see where it gets you. I’ll tell you where it gets you: pummeled with stones and hanging from a tent with your shmekel cut off. Granted, some homosexuals may enjoy this, but most would not. Most would prefer the freedom to be what they wanna be in Tel Aviv.
Now, I myself am not gay, but some of my best friends take it up the Hitler hole. And just as Israel itself is a sanctuary for Jews just in case, someday, nowhere else in the world will accept and protect them. Perhaps Tel Aviv can stand as th at place for people of the GLBTQAFRZN13Y persuasion. And maybe Haifa will one day be a refuge for the retarded, and quadriplegics will romp in Ramat Gan, and stutterers will hold conventions in Petach Tikvah. Let Israel be the foreign legion: the place where good people with the odds against them can thrive and be winners.
May Tel Aviv stand as a lesson, a goal, a model of how life could be for all of us. Open, free, supportive, and decorated fabulously.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches.
(c) 2012 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.