Within the framework of the discussion about healthy sexuality, Machon Be'er Emunah recently held a workshop entitled: "Homosexuality within the Religious community".
Following are excerpts from the report.
“Religion alone and a religious response is simply not enough. When a person with a different sexual orientation, who is in a state of inner turmoil, reaches out to the community, he or she needs the emotional support of a professional therapist.”
About 100 therapists and mental health workers gathered recently at Machon Be’er Emunah for a full day seminar on “The Pain of Being Alone”, a professional conference designed to promote awareness and tools for supporting gays and lesbians within the religious society, and within the family framework.
Tami Samet, Director of Machon Be’er Emunah, opened the day’s events by explaining that initiating this seminar was not only our social responsibility, as well as a tremendous opportunity to broach an issue that we are challenged by as a community. She noted that “our primary goal is to generate discussion that is both professionally sound and responsible, not only in a therapeutic sense but also from our distinct perspective as a religious community.”
Emunah Chairwoman Liora Minka addressed the audience and said that this day marked an important step, similar to a step that the community took fifteen years ago, in shirking the stigma associated with divorce. She said: “This seminar is not necessarily about providing answers. We don’t always have answers to every single question and conflict. At times though, it is important to raise the issues, even in the absence of an answer.”
Lecturers included Rabbi Yuval Cherlow who spoke about the relationship between rabbinic figures and therapists and the many important issues relating to Homosexuality, Ariel Cohen Erkin, MSW,
Orit Grossman, MSW, Ariella Perry, MSW, works as a sex therapist.
The day ended with the strong sense that the topic discussed need to be continued to be addressed in a professional atmosphere and that there is a great need for additional seminars to deal with the range of issues that came up over the course of the day.