Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew

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tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

Homosexuality, really?!

[Edit: welcome, Montreal weblog readers.]

So there I was, on Ste-Catherine, coffee in hand, waiting to jay walk, looking at the traffic somewhat annoyingly, as I was late for class. And I was getting more annoyed as I could have crossed if that red city of Montreal car, you know, the kind that traffic ticket writers drive, had sped up a little. But instead, he slowed down and then stopped right in front of me. Blocking his lane of traffic.

He rolled down the window and said, “Eh, juif!” (“Hey, Jew!”)

I looked into the car at him.

“Parles-tu français?” (Do you speak French?)

I said I did. Then, in French, we had the following conversation:

Him: “My buddy tells me that Jews can be homosexuals is that right?”
Me: “Sure.” (I thought this better be it; after all, I was late for class and growing increasingly annoyed.)
Him: “Rabbis can be homosexuals?”
Me: “In most denominations, yes. Your buddy must have seen this in the newspapers; it’s been in the news recently.”
Him: “No, no newspaper. … Wow, really? Rabbis really can be homosexuals?”
Me: “In Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative, yes. But not Orthodox.”
Him: “Bwah?!”
Me: “Different types of Judaism… Like… Catholics, Episcopalians, and Anglicans are all different types of Christians, but with different beliefs and practices. There are different types of Jews: different beliefs and practices.”
Him: “And they allow homosexuals to be rabbis?”
Me: “All do except Orthodox. Um… you know those guys in Outremont with the black hats and black coats, those are Orthodox. They do not allow homosexuals to be rabbis.”*
Him: “But the others do? They can be homosexuals before and during the seminary?”
Me: “Yes.”
Him: “Really? They can be homosexuals before and during the seminary? And still be homosexuals after the seminary?”
Me: “Yes, they can be gay before, during, and after the seminary. But not if they are going to an Orthodox seminary.”
Him: “Wow. Really? Wow.”

This went on for about five minutes, as he kept reiterating his disbelief that Jews could allow homosexuals to be rabbis. He then asked if the same thing was true in Israel, and I explained that it was mostly the same, but in Israel Orthodox nor Conservative allowed homosexual rabbis. He was still in disbelief and asked if I knew of a French website that could tell him about something to do wtih the small towns in Israel (I can’t remember what the “something” was). I said I couldn’t, and my classmate and I finally jay walked our way to class.

One the one hand, what the heck was that about?! On the other, I should be getting used to this sort of run in, what with the taxi driver and other such conversations. But on the other hand (yes, that’s three hands for those keeping score at home), I really wonder if other Jews have these sort of random run ins, and just never talk about it… Because I’m starting to think I have a giant sign, or a homing device, for these things. I mean, really, that was random. And I don’t mind the discussions; if it helps bring understanding, or bridge the (oh so wide) gaps between the different communities in Montreal, I’m all for it. I just wonder: why me?

*As I said, I was late for class, and wanted to keep this as quick, and simple, as possible. Also, no need to get into gay Orthodox rabbis like Steve Greenberg.

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Filed under: judaism, queers, random, wtf?

One Response

  1. […] (French, Catholic) side of town by a taxi driver in Montreal, questioned by a city of Montreal employee on homosexuality and Judaism while walking to school, and stopped while crossing a street in […]

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