The Ferguson Verdict





An Editorial by Peter Gimpel


            Our patrons may have heard that as a result of the shocking verdict in Ferguson vs. JONAH, Arthur Goldberg, author of Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change (Red Heifer Press, 2008), was recently forced to close down the organization he co-founded 17 years ago to help Jews who are unhappy with their homosexual tendencies. In advancing this noble goal, Arthur Goldberg was hardly alone. Indeed, there are many hundreds of counselors and therapists in the US whose practice is based on helping conflicted homosexuals lose their “homophobia” and learn to love the gay lifestyle.

             Goldberg, however, was different in one major aspect: he wanted to offer homosexuals the freedom of choice to change to heterosexual! In this, Goldberg was neither a pioneer nor a loner: gender-affirming therapy has been successfully practiced since Freud and Jung; many therapists have made it their specialty; the medical and psychological literature contains enough favorable reports to make the option meaningful and credible; and several organizations worldwide serve a similar purpose. In one respect, however, Goldberg’s organization was unique: JONAH was the first and only Jewish organization to champion this cause and serve the Jewish Community.

             JONAH was an internationally respected 501 (c)(3) non-profit ministry that offered counsel, encouragement, education and referrals to Jews and other religious faithful who choose to engage in gender-affirming therapy rather than struggle endlessly against homosexual inclinations that, if “outed” could cause such strugglers to be shunned by the very communities they call home. In fact, JONAH’s ministry was not limited to helping “strugglers” – people affected with unwanted same-sex attraction -- but also covered other types of unwanted sex-related issues, such as pornography and heterosexual infidelity, that are inconsistent with Jewish life and the life prescribed by many other religious traditions.

             The plaintiffs in Ferguson vs. Jonah were four young homosexual men who sued Mr. Goldberg and JONAH under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Statute claiming that JONAH’s “program” did not work and that they had been defrauded by Goldberg’s representations. JONAH neither solicited the four, nor treated them, but referred them to reputable, licensed therapists, and in some instances, life-coaches. It also referred them to confidence-building male retreats that were supervised by experienced, licensed counselors, and encouraged the four to participate. JONAH’s direct involvement in the process was limited to providing group support and mentoring sessions. These sessions were moderately priced and did not exceed the costs to JONAH. Indeed, as a non-profit religious organization, JONAH neither profited from its patrons, nor did its directors, including Mr. Goldberg, take a salary from JONAH. JONAH did not promise the plaintiffs – or any of its patrons -- that they would successfully change their sexual orientation, but provided  them with statistics from the scientific literature that indicated a probability of success commensurate with the client’s motivation and investment of time and effort. Any further statements made by Goldberg in consultation with the plaintiffs were based on his expert and personal opinion and Jewish faith, and hence protected under the First-Amendment freedoms of speech and religion. Thus, it is hard for me as a J.D. to understand how JONAH could have defrauded the plaintiffs or violated laws designed to protect purchasers of goods or services. Can a doctor, for example, be sued under consumer protection statutes by a patient alleging ineffective treatment? Can a rabbi or priest be sued under consumer protection laws for promoting traditional sexual morality? The fact that JONAH was indeed sued under such laws, plus the fact that no concomitant malpractice action was filed against the therapists or counselors directly involved, signal an underlying political animus behind the lawsuit. That signal was amplified many times over during the trial by a succession of egregiously unfair court rulings that effectively barred JONAH and its co-defendants from presenting evidence crucial to their defense. Particularly outrageous was the court’s adamant refusal to allow any evidence or witness testimony showing that gender-affirmative therapy was either scientific or effective. *

             As an American Jew and founder and director of Red Heifer Press, I take great pride in having published Arthur Goldberg’s Light in the Closet, because the Judeo-Christian ethic in which both I and my country were raised is everywhere under attack by the Radical Left, assisted by a biased and not very well-informed media. Television, paper and online news media have been subjected for nearly three decades to an unprecedented barrage of propaganda that was meticulously orchestrated by a 1988 Gay and Lesbian Activist “War Conference” (see http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/HRC/exhibition/stage/stage_41.html ) whose agenda expressly included “vilifying those who victimize gays”.** The phrase “those who victimize gays” has been applied loosely enough to cover observant Jews, Christians and Muslims who honor the sexual restrictions listed in Leviticus 18, as well as compassionate, humane, non-violent and anti-violence, gay-friendly people who, like Mr. Goldberg, support traditional marriage and the right of homosexuals to choose the kind of therapy they want. It took tremendous courage on Mr. Goldberg’s part to speak his mind against the overwhelming current of purportedly “mainstream” public and media opinion; and yes, he has indeed been vilified, ridiculed defamed and harmed, not only in the press, but now, more pertinently, in a court of law in his own home-state of New Jersey.

             As much as I admire Arthur Goldberg, I am nevertheless left to deal with the unpleasant reality of an unjust (in fact, unconstitutional) verdict against my esteemed author-client, a result that seriously misrepresents—indeed, defames—his work, character and opinions. Therefore, in order to protect myself from similarly motivated and baseless attacks on my own First-Amendment Freedoms (the same First-Amendment that the judge in Ferguson repeatedly forbade Goldberg to raise in his defense!), I feel obliged expressly to disclaim any intent on my part, in continuing to offer Light in the Closet for sale, other than to sell it to those who wish to purchase it.

            Mr. Goldberg’s book contains many facts, ideas, theories and discussions that have been largely suppressed by the media, including but not limited to the etiology of homosexual tendencies and the physical and psychological risks attendant on homosexual promiscuity and transgender surgery. Much of that information would not be readily available for public education and debate if not for Mr. Goldberg’s book. His readers and critics have responded with an avalanche of gratitude and praise (see our Catalog, this site). Please be advised, however, that some of these frank discussions may be very disturbing to those who read them with a more than dispassionate interest. Many books have been published and are available on these sensitive and controversial subjects.  If you order Light in the Closet, read it carefully and critically and decide for yourself.               


*The trial transcripts of Ferguson vs. Jonah and the various briefs filed in that case are available at:




** M. Kirk & H. Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear & Loathing of Gays in the Nineties, New York, Doubleday (1989), p. 189.


TanaisTANAIS: Kyklonio & Tanaïs. Two Poem Cycles Commemorating the Holocaust of the Jewish Community of Crete

First Bilingual Edition: Modern Greek & English

By Iossif Ventura.


      Just over 70 years ago, on June 9, 1944, the German merchant vessel Tanaïs was torpedoed by a British submarine off the coast of the Greek Island of Crete.  The freighter was carrying 900 prisoners of war destined for the slave camps and crematoria of mainland Europe. All prisoners perished in the attack—among them, 299 Jews (men, women and children) comprising virtually the entire Jewish Community of Crete. 

      Among the handful of Jews who evaded capture was the family of a small child named Iossif Ventura. Iossif survived to become a nationally renowned poet.  Red Heifer Press is very honored to present the English-speaking world with the first bilingual edition of Tanaïs & Kyklonio, in which the original Modern Greek is accompanied by a powerful English translation that is the collaborative effort of several distinguished poets, scholars and critics.

      Iossif Ventura lives the echoing void left by friends, playmates, cousins, uncles and aunts, in a small town haunted by his uprooted Jewish Heritage. These poems stand out among all the poetry of the Holocaust for their eloquent tone, tempered grief, and surrealistic imagery. They are beautifully moving poems, a worthy memorial to the small but ancient Community that for at least 2300 years played an integral role in the economic and cultural life of the Island—a Community that was wiped out in one fatal hour that must never be forgotten.


“Transcendent revelation traverses the poetry of Iossif Ventura, a feeling of everyday sacredness, the sacredness of life, transcendent revelation. This sense of the sacre of the historical moment extends throughout Ventura’s poetry, giving it a certain rhythm, a musical movement interwoven with biblical rhetoric  not that far from the solemn dithyrambs of [legendary Greek poet] Andreas Kalvos.”
—Alexis Ziras, Founding Member and past Vice-Chairman and  President of the Hellenic Authors Society.



Photo by Mikhail Bargman

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