In Jewish tradition marriage and children were considered the fulfillment of basic religious obligations. A well-matched couple was considered to he the work of God Himself and the Torah and Talmud praise the pleasures of married life. Unmarried men and women did not garner a lot of respect. What’s more homosexual relations had been condemned since biblical times. In late antiquity rabbis protested relationships between people of the same gender, trying to defend the basic rules of Judaism in the clash with Greco-Roman morals. In the Middle Ages and later the incidences of “sodomy” where a serious internal issue of the Jewish community functioning in the difficult conditions of a diaspora. Only the 20th century brought significant changes in the approach of different branches of Judaism to homosexuality, thanks to which same-sex couples are now accepted in many communities. At the same time, the views on he rules of married life and the roles of the spouses have changed.
Modern Judaism is characterized by a wide variety of interpretations of religious law and attitudes towards social customs; it offers its followers many different paths to God and personal happiness. This is due to the conviction that the essence of humanity is free will, so each human being has the right to make choices according to their nature.
Dr Bożena Umińska-Keff and dr Paweł Fijałkowski will talk about past and present views on love in the Jewish community and the rabbis’ changing attitudes towards sexuality.