Friday, June 2, 2023
Friday, June 2, 2023
Get the Daily
Briefing by Email


No, the Jewish Tradition Does Not Support Transgenderism

Tal Fortgang
National Review, Mar. 22, 2023

“When did the Jewish tradition begin to embrace today’s notion of the “nonbinary,” and why is it news to the most devout Jews?”

Not content to enlist their twisted understandings of  to fight state laws protecting unborn children, progressive activists now have taken to claiming that Judaism’s “most sacred texts reflect a multiplicity of gender,” though such a finding had been “obscured by the modern binary world until very recently.” So contends Elliot Kukla, a self-described “transgender and nonbinary” rabbi of Reform Judaism, in a shockingly shoddy New York Times guest essay.

Kukla (for whom I will use masculine pronouns out of respect) reaches into the Talmud — the massive corpus of ancient Jewish law and wisdom that still forms the basis of Orthodox Jewish life today — and pulls out what he thinks is a “gotcha” concept that would show all those who devote their lives to Talmudic scholarship that they got Judaism’s teachings on gender all wrong. In doing so, he picks up a behavior popularized by Jew-haters of removing Talmudic teachings from any context to show that Judaism stands for something it very clearly does not. He also engages in a kind of appropriation that progressives would despise in other contexts: He draws on a tradition he does not consider binding (Reform Judaism rejects the applicability of Jewish law) and uses it to shout over those who do — observant Orthodox Jews, who for millennia have known well of Kukla’s “evidence” of Jewish gender ideology and have treated it in an entirely different manner.

Like an amateur archaeologist who mistakes a bottle cap for a shard of ancient pottery, Kukla has “discovered” that the Talmud does not categorize all people as typically male or female. “There are four genders beyond male or female,” he writes, “that appear in ancient Jewish holy texts hundreds of times.”  These are tumtum (one who genital are obscured), androgynos (intersex), aylonit (an atypically developed female), and saris (eunuch). The Talmud, rigidly legalistic as it tends to be, is frequently interested in how to categorize these rare individuals within ancient Judaism’s highly gendered structures of Temple service, ritual purity, and much more. (By reifying categories that are relevant only in a highly binary and gender-role-driven society, Kukla thus inadvertently makes the opposite point from what he intended.) 

… [To read the full article, click here]

Donate CIJR

Become a CIJR Supporting Member!

Most Recent Articles

Sukkah in the Skies with Diamonds

  Gershon Winkler, Oct. 14, 2022 “But my father, he was unconcerned that he and his sukkah could conceivably - at any moment - break loose...

Open Letter to the Students of Concordia re: CUTV

Abigail Hirsch AskAbigail Productions, Dec. 6, 2014 My name is Abigail Hirsch. I have been an active volunteer at CUTV (Concordia University Television) prior to its...

« Nous voulons faire de l’Ukraine un Israël européen »

12 juillet 2022 971 vues 3 La reconstruction de l’Ukraine doit également porter sur la numérisation des institutions étatiques. C’est ce qu’a déclaré le ministre...

Israël-Hezbollah – La réponse est brillante mais insuffisante

5 juillet 2022, Interception de drones du Hezbollah : « Les dilemmes posés aux décideurs » Samedi, nos forces, qui comprenaient des navires lance-missiles et un avion...

Subscribe Now!

Subscribe now to receive the
free Daily Briefing by email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

  • Subscribe to the Daily Briefing

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.