Sunday, December 02, 2012

Rabbinical Council of America Withdraws Support for Reparative Therapy

In related news to the immediately prior post, the Rabbinical Council of America announced last week that it would no longer support the referral of individuals for reparative therapy in general and to JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality) in particular.  As readers may recall, JONAH was founded by and is operated by Arthur Goldberg, a former felon who served time in prison for a massive securities fraud involving municipal bonds.  In my view, Goldberg switch from defrauding investors to defrauding tortured gays and their wing nut parents.  Here are excerpts from the Council's press release:

November 29, 2012

Dear Chaverim,
The following will be released to the press later today.

Rabbinical Council of America's Statement Regarding JONAH (Jews Offering New
Alternatives to Homosexuality)

In the years since the Rabbinical Council of America's first comment about JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), "the only Jewish based organization dedicated to assisting individuals with unwanted same sex attractions move from gay to straight" in January, 2004, in which we suggested that rabbis might refer congregants to them for reparative therapy, many concerns about JONAH and reparative therapy have been raised.

As rabbis trained in Jewish law and values, we base our religious positions regarding medical matters on the best research and advice of experts and scholars in those areas, along with concern for the religious, emotional, and physical welfare of those impacted by our decisions. Our responsibility is to apply halakhic (Jewish legal) values to those opinions.

Based on consultation with a wide range of mental health experts and therapists who informed us of the lack of scientifically rigorous studies that support the effectiveness of therapies to change sexual orientation, a review of literature written by experts and major medical and mental health organizations, and based upon reports of the negative and, at times, deleterious consequences to clients of some of the interventions endorsed by JONAH, the Rabbinical Council of America decided in 2011, as part of an overall statement on the Jewish attitude towards homosexuality, to withdraw its original letter referencing JONAH. Despite numerous attempts by the RCA to have mention of that original letter removed from the JONAH website, our calls, letters, and emails remain unanswered. As Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA, stated in 2011, "We want it taken down. JONAH said it was a letter of support, but if you read the letter it is not. They took an informational statement and reprinted it, and the use of that as an endorsement is an error."

We believe that properly trained mental health professionals who abide by the values and ethics of their professions can and do make a difference in the lives of their patients and clients. The RCA believes that responsible therapists, in partnership with amenable clients, should be able to work on whatever issues those clients voluntarily bring to their session. Allegations made against JONAH lead us to question whether JONAH meets those standards.

I find it interesting that the Council stated that "we base our religious positions regarding medical matters on the best research and advice of experts and scholars in those areas" - what a difference from the Christian Taliban in America which rejects anything and everything that challenges their ignorance embracing house of cards religious belief system.

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