Justice Harvey Brownstone

Justice Harvey Brownstone

I get the Reform Judaism magazine every month and religiously put it in the recycle bin. I just don’t have time to read it and frankly, I’m usually not interested in the articles. Except for this month.

The cover story this month is about the judge in Toronto who married Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the case that brought down most of DOMA, and her wife Thea Spyer. He was raised a Reform Jew. I was raised in a Conservative Temple. We never talked about homosexuality and I never knew any gay people until high school – that is, except my uncles but we talked about them or “that.”

When Judge Brownstone came out, his parents initially rejected him. During the AIDS epidemic, the support group he was a part of struggled for official Jewish support. They had difficulty finding a rabbi to conduct a funeral for a young man whose family had disowned him. When he called the JCC, a social worker said, “That’s a shanda (disgrace). There are no Jewish homosexuals.” Can you imagine?

And how times have changed! Today, I couldn’t be prouder to be Jewish and be a part of the Reform Jewish movement who openly and actively supports the civil rights of the LGBT community.

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