Committee for the
Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality
December 26, 2011
For Immediate Release
Therapy to Help Homosexuals Change Orientation:
Hundreds of Rabbis Say It’s the Only Torah-Approved Way
A coalition of more than 150 Orthodox rabbis,
community organizers and leaders, and respected mental-health professionals have
released a statement declaring that, political correctness notwithstanding, the
only Torah-approved course of action with regard to homosexuality is
psychological therapy coupled with teshuva, or repentance.
The document, entitled “Declaration on the Torah
Approach to Homosexuality,” seeks to clarify the theological understanding of
the Biblically mandated prohibition. It also presents what the authors and
signators see as a practical and achievable solution for those faced with
same-sex attractions. Its position is that same-sex attractions can be modified
“The concept that G-d created a human being who
is unable to find happiness in a loving relationship unless he violates a
biblical prohibition is neither plausible nor acceptable,” says the Declaration,
which views same-sex attractions as any other behavior that can be controlled
and altered, such as addictions or weight control.
The signators represent the broad spectrum of the
Torah-observant world, including Modern Orthodox rabbis, ultra-Orthodox roshei
yeshivas as well as some from
University, pulpit rabbis, yeshivish and chassidish
rabbis, organizational rabbis, Sephardic rabbis, rebbetzins, community
organizers, and mental-health professionals.
The timing of the Declaration to coincide with
Chanukah, which celebrates the Jews’ resistance to forced Hellenization, was not
coincidental. Homosexuality was one of the hallmarks of ancient Greek culture.
The timeless and immutable Torah-based conviction
regarding the unacceptability of homosexual behavior motivated the authors and
signators of the Declaration.
Dismissing the modern trend, even in some
religious circles, to view homosexuality as a permanent, unchangeable
characteristic or trait, the statement “emphatically rejects the notion that a
homosexually inclined person cannot overcome his or her inclination and desire.”
“Behaviors are changeable. The Torah does not
forbid something which is impossible to avoid,” says the statement.
The Declaration, which was written by a 25-member
committee consisting of rabbis, parents, “strugglers” (those still undergoing
therapy), and “success stories” (those who underwent therapy and today are
living heterosexual lives, many with spouses and children), rejects efforts by
secularists and some in the religious community to downplay or deny totally the
possibility of change. Further, the Declaration recognizes that those who
dismiss the possibility of change are forcing individuals with same-sex
attractions to live their lives as either homosexuals or celibates.
people to lifelong loneliness and despair by denying all hope of overcoming and
healing their same-sex attraction is heartlessly cruel,” says the statement.
The treatment recommended in the statement is
reparative or gender-affirming therapy, which the Declaration defines as
“reinforcing the natural gender-identity of the individual by helping him or her
understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its disorientation and
weakening, thus enabling the resumption and completion of the individual’s
Teshuva, which the statement sees as a necessary
component, is the Torah-mandated “self-motivated process of turning away from
any transgression or sin and returning to G-d and one’s spiritual essence.”
“These processes are typically facilitated and
coordinated with the help of a specially trained counselor or therapist working
in conjunction with a qualified spiritual teacher or guide. There is no other
practical, Torah-sanctioned solution for this issue,” says the statement.
The statement goes out of its way to caution
against castigation of the individual suffering from an unwanted same-sex
attraction. “The key point to remember is that these individuals are primarily
innocent victims of childhood emotional wounds. They deserve our full love,
support, and encouragement in their striving towards healing,” says the
Because so many of the committee’s members have
either formerly dealt with the issue or are still undergoing therapy, the entire
committee decided to keep its membership anonymous.
“Our identity isn’t important; our message is,”
said one of the members.
According to the member, the purpose of the Torah
Declaration is to help Jews who “have become confused on this issue and have
become accepting of some false notions,” including the concept “that a person
cannot control his ‘nature’ and, therefore, should accept his prohibited
inclination as something natural and normal that does not need to be worked on
The member said that many of the committee’s
“success stories” are now married to women who are fully aware of their
husbands’ backgrounds and are living family-oriented lives in the mainstream
While the members of the committee have requested
anonymity, the signators, many of them world-renowned, have gone public with the
Declaration. Their names and affiliations, as well as the full Declaration on
the Torah Approach to Homosexuality and other pertinent information, can be
accessed at www.TorahDec.org.
For more information, members of the press can contact our
press representative, who has agreed to
field questions from the press, act as a liaison between members of the
committee and the press, and, when possible, facilitate interviews with
signators. Our press representative can be reached at Press@torahdec.org.