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Rainbow flag flies over Beth Moshe Congregation, the Conservative synagogue in North Miami

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

The rainbow flag is flying over Beth Moshe Congregation in North Miami, reports Jessica Wolland.

"The rabbi for years has been saying we need to reach out to the gay community to let them know we're here and that they are welcome here," said Wolland, who teaches Hebrew and preschool at the synagogue.

"Our synagogue is open to everybody," said Rabbi Jory Lang, spiritual leader at Beth Moshe for 25 years.

The synagogue has a web page dedicated to LGBT youth and families.

Lang said it was his idea to permanently fly the rainbow flag, along with flags of the United States and Israel.

"It is not so much a symbol the gay community is welcome as much as it is to criticize the homophobes. It is a statement against ignorance and prejudice," Lang said. "I cannot tolerate intolerance."

Lang said sexual orientation is not a choice.

"No one chooses to be gay. No one makes a conscious decision to be gay. And no one has a right to question," he said. "Most importantly, God does not make mistakes."

Lang said there is a substantial LGBT membership at Beth Moshe and that he would happily marry same-sex couples. "If two people love each other, that's it. Period."

His response to anyone who objects: "It's very simple. If someone doesn't like it, don't come here. Everyone is welcome, except those who want to exclude."

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