March 17, 2003

TRANS-RABBI: Further strengthening my long-held

TRANS-RABBI: Further strengthening my long-held theory that Reform Judaism is the most sexually permissive of all the major American religious sects, it was reported last week in The Forward (not online) that a female-to-male transsexual has been accepted to the rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College. The California native is believed to be the first transgendered individual to enter HUC; the Forward article did not mention his name or whether the 24-year-old is a pre- or post-op transsexual.
Now I'm not here to make a judgment over whether or not this person is fit to serve as a rabbi. I've come into contact with plenty of rabbis in my time who were clearly not up to the job while (most likely) continuing to possess their original genitals, and there's no reason to think that this person couldn't do as good a job in the rabbinate as anyone else. But this really does say something about how far outside the mainstream RJ is- after all, do a survey of average Americans and ask how they'd feel about their spiritual leader being a transsexual, and about 95% would probably say "hell no." Do the same survey of reform Jews, and 95% are likely to say "sure, why not?"

Posted by Stephen Silver at March 17, 2003 10:51 PM
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