How newsy is something if everyone knows about it and agrees with it?
That's the unasked, unanswered question in a breaking story in the Washington Post, in which a leading D.C.-area rabbi announces -- drum roll -- that he's gay.
These days, coming-out stories are about as unusual as entering-rehab stories. But here goes the Post:
The leader of one of the Washington region’s most prominent synagogues on Monday came out as gay, telling his thousands of congregants in a brutally personal e-mail that a lifelong effort to deny his sexuality was over and that he and his wife of 20 years would be divorcing.
“With much pain and tears, together with my beloved wife, I have come to understand that I could walk my path with the greatest strength, with the greatest peace in my heart, with the greatest healing and wholeness, when I finally acknowledged that I am a gay man,” Rabbi Gil Steinlauf wrote to members of Adas Israel Congregation, in Northwest Washington.
The announcement follows activities by Steinlauf including the first gay wedding in that synagogue and an article in a Jewish newspaper called "The queerness of love: A Jewish case for same-sex marriage." The 800+ -word Post story reports also that Steinlauf has been nudging his movement, Conservative Judaism, to embrace same-sex couples. And the rabbi's coming-out gets a nod from two top officials of the synagogue.
So, um, where is the news? Apparently it's the e-mail that the rabbi sent to all 1,420 households in his congregation. The e-mail tells of a struggle with homosexuality going back to childhood.
He married his wife, Batya, "out of a belief that this was the right thing for me," Steinlauf says in the email. He doesn't say how long she's known, or whether they discussed the effect of his double life on their three teenage children. He just calls her a "wonderful woman" who has "supported me through this very personal inner struggle that she knew to be the source of great pain and confusion in my life over decades."