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Two Apologies (One Recanted) Do Not Repentance Make
by Deborah Levinson

Laura Schlessinger apologizes again --- and doesn't appear to mean it any more this time than she did last time.

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"Seems to me she's only sorry she called homosexuals "DEVIANTS" and derivatives of "BIOLOGICAL ERRORS" because it has hurt HER and her in-the toilet- ratings so much." AZOAMAZO

Laura Schlessinger took out an ad in the entertainment trade magazine Daily Variety on Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays.

The full-page ad was a "letter" from Ms. Laura (funny how "they" didn't "silence" her letter --- perhaps the difference is that this letter actually existed?) headlined, "A heartfelt message from Dr. Laura Schlessinger."

Additional text expressed her [cue violins] heartfelt repentance:

While I express my opinions from the perspective of an Orthodox Jew and a staunch defender of the traditional family, in talking about gays and lesbians, some of my words were poorly chosen ...

Many people perceive them as hate speech. This fact has been personally and professionally devastating to me as well as to many others. Ugly words have been relentlessly repeated and distorted for far too long ...

On the Day of Atonement, Jews are commanded to seek forgiveness from people we may have hurt. I deeply regret the hurt this situation has caused the gay and lesbian community.


This is no apology.

This is merely an "I've-been-misunderstood-but-I'm-just-being-religious-anyway-so-won't-you-please-stop-picking-on-me-you're-not-only-hurting-my-feelings-but-you're-hurting-my-ratings" whine.

Remember the last time Ms. Laura "apologized?" It didn't take long for that apology to be recanted. As described on our Laura Schlessinger Watch:

On March 15th, Laura Schlessinger recanted a recently issued public apology to people hurt by her comments regarding the lesbian and gay community. In a column by Don Feder appearing in The Boston Herald, Schlessinger said her statement released March 10th was a "clarification" and was "not an apology." Her March 10th statement had read: "Regrettably, some of the words I've used have hurt some people, and I am sorry for that."

This time she starts with the recantation.

She's been misunderstood.

She's just trying to be a good Orthodox Jew.

Speaking of which, would somebody please ask her if she's so observant what she's doing out of the house without covering her hair? ... I'm normally not one to question the religious observance of another, but if she wants to call herself Orthodox she's missing a few pages in the rule book.

Hmmm, I can't expect y'all to know that rule book, let me be more specific about Laura's hair:

"There are no laws prohibiting a Jewish woman from cutting her hair in the Hebrew Bible. However, there is an assumption that woman should keep their hair covered as a sign of modesty, whether long or not. Having exposed uncovered hair was considered lascivious and provocative for a woman, both in Biblical and Talmudic times." Source "Ask a Rabbi" - Answer by Rabbi Daniel Kohn who is a Conservative Rabbi, which would normally mean less stringent observance than Laura's claimed Orthodoxy.

An Orthodox Rabbi, Rabbi Shraga Simmons, from the same source is more concise:

"HEAD COVERING The Torah requires all married women to cover their hair in public. Hair covering may be done with a hat, scarf, or even a wig that is more beautiful than the person's real hair!"

Note: "Requires." Not, "If the woman feels like it" but rather "requires."

Please understand, I don't care whether Laura covers her head or not. I don't. But I don't claim to be Orthodox. Conversely, Laura bases her homophobic rantings on an orthodoxy she does not herself follow.

Oh, and and here's another little tidbit --- the Jewish religion is not inherently homophobic, nor have I heard the type of ignorant babble from any respected Jewish religious leaders as I hear from Ms. Laura. In fact, most of what I hear from the religious Jewish community, including Orthodox Rabbis, is a message of acceptance, tolerance and inclusion.

Here's a snippet from one of my favorite discussions on this topic, by Rabbi Dr. Michael Samuel, a Traditional Rabbi:

I will conclude with a light story that every Torah observant Jew should remember. Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine was once asked, 'Why do you show so much kindness towards those Jews who are truly hateful of their religion?" He answered, 'I would much rather be guilty of the sin of "causeless love" than be guilty of the sin of "causeless hatred."

So, in addition to playing the entertainment world for fools by expecting them to pretend that her "excuse" is actually an apology, she insults Jews world-wide, and continues to mischaracterize Jews and Judaism to a public which may not know any better.

It appears that Laura needs to learn a few things.

Not the least of which are how to really apologize and just as importantly if she is going to grasp for the far right ring of any religion (which takes a long grasp in Judaism) she'd better learn to walk all the walk, 'cause those of us who know better can only laugh at her when she does otherwise.

And make sure that the folks who don't know how far from accurate she is ... again ... are given the entire story.

Perhaps it is best to summarize it in a way that Ms. Laura should be able to understand:

My Message to Laura: Enough already. Now go do the right thing.

In Pride,


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Drop a note to Deborah at gaylesissues@rslevinson.com

copyright 1986-2010 Deborah Levinson