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You are here News Human Rights Amsterdam's chief rabbi zigzags on homophobic views, causing outrage among liberal Jews

Amsterdam's chief rabbi zigzags on homophobic views, causing outrage among liberal Jews

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Chief Rabbi of AmsterdamA week after apologizing for signing a controversial document describing homosexuality as "an illness" that can be "healed," Amsterdam's chief rabbi seems to have retracted his apology.

U.S.-born Aryeh Ralbag was suspended - and then reinstated by Amsterdam's Jewish community - after he apologized for signing the document. Some 180 Orthodox rabbis, educators and therapists signed the declaration, which characterizes homosexuality as an "unacceptable lifestyle choice."

The document caused outrage among liberal Jews on both sides of the Atlantic, due to its assertion that "the only viable course of action that is consistent with the Torah is therapy and teshuvah [repentance]. The therapy consists of reinforcing the natural gender-identity ... by helping [people] understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its disorientation."

The Amsterdam Jewish community is officially Orthodox, but includes liberal Jews as well, and there has been concern that this scandal might cause a split between them.

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