New Light for New Menorah; Polyamory

Joseph R. Kenwolf

New Light for New Menorah; Polyamory

To the Editor:

I am very thankful that ALEPH has taken such a principled and bold stand towards the needs of a sexual minority in its Spring 2000 journal, No. 59. The call for justice to be applied in our attitudes and behaviors toward same-sex marriage is beautifully made.

I would like to respond, though, to Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff's article, "Learning about Homosexuality and Taking a New Stand." As a bisexual Jew, who has never considered anything less than a "legally recognized polycentric marriage," I am concerned that he missed the point on his stand for monogamy. And, as such, failed to recognize the marital needs of bisexuals.

The key to controlling the medical dangers of promiscuous sex and of adultery is not rooted in "monogamous" marriages — but, rather, is rooted in the keeping of our marital obligations that are binding upon us as covenanted partners. This is true, whether it is a multiple-partner "marriage" or a two-partner marriage (monogamy).

What must be emphasized is the obligations of marriage. Rather than emphasize monogamous marriage, we should instead strongly emphasize fidelitous marriage — regardless of the number of humans partnered together in this covenant of marriage.

Dear editor, it concerns me that not one article mentions the word "bisexual." Nor, does one article even hint towards the equally important issues that we as bisexuals are facing. We want legal and holy marriages, too! And, as Rabbi Rebecca Alpert points out in her article "Same-sex Marriage and the Law,", polycentric marriage also promotes '"family values" — through pronatalism, communal involvement,' and polyamory.

Further, let us not forget that the ancient Jewish marriage contract did allow for multiple partners to be married to one individual. In fact, I suggest that it was deliberately designed for this purpose. In that ancient time, it was in the form of polygamy. In our time, among bisexual Jews and non-Jews, it is now in the form of polyamory (more than one love).

Those of us who affirm the binding obligations of marriage refer to this as a fidelitous polycentric relationship. Our unrecognized needs are different from those who are monogamously oriented. And, sadly, our voice is not being heard within the community — though, we are out here and speaking.

I am aware that change occurs slowly in society And, I am aware that the needs of bisexuals will be recognized by society only when the needs of homosexuals have been justly addressed. But, I would like for our community to, at least, "hear" my opinion and my needs to be heard, whether they are accepted or not.

Todah u'v'shalom,

Joseph R. Kenwolf
23 Nisan 5760
Iaea, Hawaii