Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
June 02, 2003
Welcome the dawn?

We saw Trembling before G-d at the Cambridge Arts Cinema yesterday. Sexuality and religion are uncomfortable bedfellows – this film documentary was compellingly humanistic viewing.

I’ve wanted the shadows,
I don’t anymore.
No matter what happens,
I won't anymore
I've run from the sunlight-
Afraid it saw too much.
The moon had the one light
I bathed in-
I walked in.

I held in my feelings
And closed every door.
No matter what happen.
I can't anymore.
There's someone who must hear
The words I've never spoken.
Tonight if he were here
My silence would be broken.

I need him to touch me-
To know the love that's in my heart-
The same heart that tells me
To see myself-
To free myself-
To be myself at last!

For too many mornings
The curtains were drawn.
It's time they were opened
To welcome the dawn.
A voice deep inside
Is getting stronger,
I can't keep it quiet any longer.
No matter what happens,
It can't be the same anymore...
I promise it won't be the same

Barbra Streisand: Yentl (why do so many gay people see Yentl as such an important film?)

How can orthodox faith be reconciled with homosexuality and twenty-first century living? Why do these people try to effect such an impossible combination – clinging to their beliefs in the face of the bible’s teachings, bigotry, rejection (even excommunication) and lack of humanity from other Jews?

The most heartening aspect of this understated film is its role in provoking debate in the Jewish community. Screenings have been organised in orthodox shuls and for Israeli headmasters. But will the kafuffle change anything? Those of a conservative disposition will retreat to their view, and the liberals will continue to beat their heads against the wall of bigotry and lack of understanding. “Piety, paternity and family” sees homosexuality as an evil sickness, treatable only by abstinence and prayer.

Of particular note was the Lubavitch Rabbi who had counseled a young man from Los Angeles whilst failing to understand that homosexuality is about far more than anal sex. He persuaded the youngster to enter into therapy for several years in an attempt to find a cure. Meeting again after twenty years, the Lubavitcher could only scratch his head in puzzlement about the problem that hadn’t gone away.

The theme was limited to that of orthodox Jews and their struggle. This was rather unbalanced for the Christains and Moslems who may miss the universality of the insoluble dilemma of gay people who want to stay true to themselves and to their religion.

Most worrying was that one of the gay men interviewed was terrified of being persecuted by his religious collegaues once the film was screened. The non-judgemental, documentary style contained an implicit plea for understanding and change. But I don’t see it happening whilst people remain prepared to cast aside theior human understanding in favour of mistaken religious beliefs.

Posted by nathan at June 2, 2003 10:52 PM

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