Do not press me to abandon you,

To turn back from following you.

Wherever you go, I shall go.

And wherever you find rest, so shall I.

Your people shall be my people,

And your G-d shall be my G-d.

Where you die, I shall die,

And there I shall be buried.

Thus may Adonai do to me,

And thus may Adonai add

If even death will separate me from you.

(Ruth 1:16-17)

      There are those that would use a religious argument against Proposition 8, but right above you, you have an example directly from the Book of Ruth (English translation of course) where Ruth pledges a lifelong commitment to Naomi.  Lesbian midrash views Ruth’s declaration as the love of two women who overcome differing faiths and differing generations to spend their lives together.

“A Jewish lesbian midrash on Ruth requires that we read between the lines of the text and imagine Ruth’s words as a manifestation of her sexual desire for Naomi.” (Alpert, Like Bread on the Seder Plate)

     While many people view religious texts as written in stone, they forget that for centuries, Rabbis and scholars have interpreted the intent of the words in those religious texts and have certainly not agreed on everything.  Many words are open to interpretation, and sadly, many of those interpretations have been used to fuel hate against gays and lesbians.  Many of these interpretations have also been used to hold back women from becoming Rabbis…when the very first female “Rabbi” has been viewed to be Sarah, Abraham’s wife, or Miriam, Moses’ sister.

      Rebecca Alpert, a lesbian Rabbi, does a fine job of explaining the lesbian midrash, especially of the so-called “troubling texts” in the Torah in her book, “Like Bread on the Seder Plate.”  To give a taste of what is in her book– as I believe that it is worthwhile reading for everyone, not just Jews, who have concerns about “the Old Testament” or the Torah’s views on homosexuality–she goes into detail on the prohibition read on Yom Kippur from Leviticus, which has been interpreted from the Hebrew by many to state, “Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination” Leviticus 18:22.

“Perhaps the text is suggesting that any heterosexual man who wants to experiment sexually with ‘lying with a man’ should consider that such a ‘fling’ might be hurtful to his current partner and should therefore refrain from this action.  Another contemporary commentator, Yehuda ben Ari, focuses his comments on the phrase “as with a woman” suggesting that the text is only trying to tell us not to make love to a male as if he were a female-that is to say, gay love and straight love are indeed different.  One should not be confused with the other, because the acts do not evoke the same feelings or fulfill the same commandments.”

      She goes into depth about the interpretation of the word ‘to’evah’ which has been interpreted to mean ‘abomination’.  Again, I have provided only a snippet:

“Biblical criticism can explain why homosexual acts were considered to’evah (abomination) from a different perspective, by examining parallel linguistic uses of the word.  ‘To’evah’ may be a technical term used to refer to a forbidden idolatrous act.  From this linguistic understanding it is possible to conclude that the references in Leviticus are specific to cultic practices of homosexuality and not to sexual relationships as we know them today.  This explanation is supported by reference to the other uses of the term ‘to’evah’, which often refers to ritual violations.”

      I am very thankful to be a member of a Reconstructionist synagogue, which prefers the interpretation that monogamy is far more important and sacred than heterosexuality.  Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism both will perform same sex marriages for just this reason.

      Last I checked, America is about separation of church and state, which is something Proposition 8 violates.

      For those who are interested in this amazing book,