Earlier today, I was pleased and humbled to receive the following comment on my blog, condemning Resnick’s behavior and expressing concern about gay suicide:
“We as shluchos [emissaries of the Rebbe] are the face of Lubavitch. And our speakers, the men and ladies who we bring out to lecture and speak to our communities, are also the face of Lubavitch. If we put someone up to speak to our community, that means that we endorse this person in every way. Would any one of us knowingly have a TERRIFIC speaker who was known to be a dishonest person?? Of course not! And think of our lady speakers. Would any of us bring out even the best speaker if she wasn't dressed properly? Of course not.
I just witnessed something last week that I cannot be quiet about. One of our very public speakers behaved publicly in a way that was beyond any limit of decency. And, I feel strongly that we cannot ignore it.
I and other members of my family on shlichus [as emissaries of the Rebbe] had Molly Resnick come speak for my community. She's a terrific speaker, and she tells a great story. She can be charming and friendly. (She was, after all, as she says in her own speech, a TV personality and spent years with TV personalities, and we all know just how 'real' they all are!) Yes, she is generally charming and 'nice.' But most of us who have worked with her know another side to her. She is rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate and just plain mean. She is all of this, she says, because she knows what's right and she has no trouble telling you, straight out and without holding back at all, and she's hurt many a person.
Last week she went too far, and this is why I am writing this. (In fact, the reason I am not putting my name to this is because I am a coward — I fear her vicious retaliation.)
Let me say this outright: Molly considers me and her to be friends. She and I worked together, and she has spoken for the various shluchim in my family. But she will not speak for me again, ever, in my Chabad house.
Last Friday morning Molly was at a bris at the JCM. There she encountered Chaim Levin. You may have read about or heard of Chaim, he is a Chabad boy who came out recently as gay. He writes about his growing up gay in a frum [Orthodox] community and the torture he underwent. Now let me be clear right here: I do not condone Chaim. I do not condone everything he says or writes. In fact, I disagree with alot of his statements.
I wanted to make that clear. And, now I'll continue about what happened.
Molly encountered Chaim. And she attacked him viciously. In public, at a simcha of his family, in front of lots of people. She called him names, said he was disgusting, said he was a disgrace to the Jewish people and that he was harming the Jewish people. Said to his mother — HIS MOTHER!! — "I can't believe you're proud of your son, would you be proud if he was a murderer?" She said this IN PUBLIC. Molly's outburst (and we all know she has outbursts!) was pure hatred. She compared him to a murderer and to HITLER!!! If she read his articles she knows what he suffered and that he is fragile emotionally. Yet, she still felt it 'right' to vomit this hatred onto him IN PUBLIC! I would like to ask her, what if he went home after his attack and succeeded in another suicide attempt?
Yes, we are facing great challenges from outside and from inside, and the new gay laws are just making things much worse. But, Molly Resnick's attack on Chaim Levin was pure hatred, and she is no better than the hooligans in leather jackets and on motorcycles who beat up boys and cut them up because they're gay. She is no better than these lowlifes.
If all of this was in private, then I would have my own private feelings and thoughts about this 'fantastic speaker'. But it's not in private. It's all in public and we cannot, any more, use her to represent us in any way as shluchos”.
This is one the first times where someone that holds a prominent role within the Chabad movement has written something positive in my defense. While some of this Shlucha’s sentiments regarding homosexuality might not seem progressive, I’m absolutely thrilled that she has taken an interest, that a conversation is starting here in Lubavitch and that people I had lost much faith in are standing up for what’s right.
I understand this Shlucha’s desire to remain anonymous. While a name under such a powerful statement would be really great, I’m thankful for just the comment alone because it highlights the progress that people within my home community are making towards understanding the “gay issue” and why actions like Molly Resnick’s need to condemned.
I invite this brave woman to contact me via email or to call me directly. I’d very much like to hear what she thinks about issues facing many Chabad LGBT people and what she disagrees with me on. Even if we respectfully disagree on most issues, at least we would be trying to understand each others’ positions. She has obviously made efforts to consider mine. I think that is progress. Given the sensitive nature of this matter, her identity would remain anonymous per her request.
I hope one day that people within Chabad will be able to stand up for what’s right without having to be anonymous for fear of retaliation.