Steven Greenberg Biography
Steven Greenberg is American rabbi born on 19th June 1956 in U.S. He has a rabbinic ordination from the Orthodox rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (RIETS) and is the first openly gay Orthodox Jewish rabbi. He is a Senior Teaching Fellow and Director of Diversity Project at CLAL – the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
Steven Greenberg Age
Steven was born on 19th June 1956 in U.S (62 years as of 2018)
Steven Greenberg Family | Steven Greenberg Partner
In 2012 Steven married Steven Goldstein, an actor and opera singer, in a civil ceremony in New York. They share a daughter Amalia who was born in 2011.
Steven Greenberg Education
Steven studied rabii at the Yeshiva University in New York, he later joined Yeshivat Har Etzion, a hesder yeshiva in Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion near Jerusalem at the age of 20. In 1983 he received his BA in philosophy from Yeshiva University and received his rabbinic ordination from the rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (RIETS).
Steven Greenberg Career
Steve held an Orthodox pulpit on Roosevelt Island in New York City. He has been a Senior Teaching Fellow and Director of the Diversity Project at CLAL since 1985. Steve is the co-founder and director of Eshel, a support, education and advocacy organization for orthodox LGBT Jews that saves lives and families.
In 1996 he became a Jerusalem Fellow with the Mandel Institute for two years studying educational policy issues and researching rabbinic attitudes toward homosexuality.
Steven Greenberg Sexuality
While at Yeshivat Har Etzion Steven was attracted to a fellow student which prompted him to consult with rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, a rabbi in Jerusalem. He told the rabbi “Master, I am attracted to both men and women. What shall I do?” and the rabbi told him “My dear one, my friend, then you have twice the power of love. Use it carefully.”
In 1993 Steve wrote an article “Gayness and God”, under the pseudonym “Yaakov Levado” (meaning Jacob alone), in Tikkun magazine. He dated women until he came out on 5th March 1999 in an article titled “In the name of partnership” published in the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv.
In 2001 he participated in the documentary film Trembling Before G-d, featured at the Sundance Festival. The film was bout gay men and women raised in the orthodox Jewish world and helped break the silence around homosexuality in religious Jewish circles.
Steven officiated at the the first same-sex marriage in the United States performed by an ordained orthodox rabbi on 10th November 2011. He married two Jewish men in a civil marriage according to the laws of the District of Columbia at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C.
Steve in an article in the Jewish Week wrote, “I did not conduct a ‘gay Orthodox wedding’. I officiated at a ceremony that celebrated the decision of two men to commit to each other in love and to do so in binding fashion before family and friends. Though it was a legal marriage according to the laws of the District of Columbia, as far as Orthodox Jewish law (halacha) is concerned, there was no kiddushin (Jewish wedding ceremony) performed.”
The wedding attracted controversy and was misunderstood and rejected by many within the orthodox Jewish community. Rabbi Josh Yuter, an orthodox New York rabbi published a response to the ceremony in his blog stating “the formal recognition of a homosexual marriage – male or female – would, in fact, be condoning a halakhicaly prohibited union, regardless of the private behaviors of the individuals. It would, therefore, follow that Rabbis who are committed to halakha should therefore not officiate or participate in these ceremonies, nor should halakhic communities formally recognize the couple as such, as they would with any other union prohibited by Jewish law.”
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky also posted on the Morethodoxy-blog stating “This wedding ceremony raises a serious question for the part of the Modern Orthodox community in which I live. The question is not about whether we should recognize the ceremony as being religiously significant. We obviously do not and cannot. The formal religious partnering of two men or two women is unalterably contrary to both the law and the spirit of the Torah and the Halacha, and an Orthodox gay marriage ceremony is as hopeless a misnomer as an Orthodox intermarriage is.”
In response to the ceremony more than 100 Orthodox rabbis signed a statement saying: “We, as rabbis from a broad spectrum of the Orthodox community around the world, wish to correct the false impression that an Orthodox-approved same-gender wedding took place. By definition, a union that is not sanctioned by Torah law is not an Orthodox wedding, and by definition a person who conducts such a ceremony is not an Orthodox rabbi.”
Steven Greenberg Book
In 2014 Steve published his book ‘Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition’. The book addressed permitted and forbidden sexual behavior.
“While the common understanding of the verse ‘Thou shall not lie with a male as one lies with a woman’ [Leviticus 18:22] has been taken to refer to both active and passive partners … it would appear that the verse directly refers only to the active partner engulfing his penis in the body of another man. According to this analysis the verse prohibits one, and only one, sexual practice between men, namely, anal intercourse, and speaks specifically to the active partner. There is no mention of any other behavior that this verse would prohibit.” In Greenberg’s reading “the verse prohibits the kind of sex between men that is designed to effect the power and mastery of the penetrator. Sex for the conquest, for shoring up the ego, for self aggrandizement, or worse, for the perverse pleasure of demeaning another man is prohibited,” and he adds that reading Leviticus 18:22 “as a law against sexual domination and appropriation … offers gay people a way to reconnect to God, Torah, and the Jewish people”. Greenberg says that he interprets the passage in this way “because it offers me a way of coming back to Judaism. It’s a radical reading, but if you believe that God hates what you are, why would you go to such a temple?”
The book received Koret Jewish Book Award for Philosophy and Thought, which is the highest honors for authors writing prose on Jewish themes.