It hasn’t been an easy year for JONAH. First, their co-founder Arthur “Abba” Goldberg was outed as a convicted felon. Then, a scandal broke about how two young Orthodox Jewish men were engaged in bizarre, naked therapy wherein it was reported a much older man, Alan Downing, instructed them to touch their genitals in front of a mirror while he watched. This scandal led to an awkward (though ironically more accurate) name change, “Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing.”
Now a statement has been signed by many Orthodox rabbis confirming their support for gay people, including their “religious right to reject” ex-gay therapy. But their hastily applied band-aid hardly covers a thing. As was noted in a previous article, JONAH’s web page title still reads “Homosexuality” instead of “Healing.” And the dozens of references to the old name have yet to be edited in the articles on the site. But the biggest proof that JONAH hasn’t even changed superficially is the continued support for the bizarre therapy that led to the Downing scandal in the first place.
According to JONAH’s website, “Many who struggle with SSA experience touch deprivation, an issue often overlooked in therapy.” That’s why point number 10 of their FAQ endorses the practice that other ex-gay organizations have long shunned. At the Exodus and NARTH websites, damning references will disappear within hours of exposure on a gay-supportive blog. In the case of disgraced “sexual reorientation life coach” Richard Cohen, statements may even appear opposing the use of “touch therapy.” But JONAH is obviously not on the ball, and they clearly lack the self-awareness to recoop their image, even superficially.
JONAH can’t even prove “change is possible” in their own website content.