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Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing

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JONAH logo

JONAH or Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing was an American anti-homosexual organisation which attempts to re-orientate gay Jews. It actively promoted the idea that homosexuality can be "mitigated and potentially eliminated" and encourages participation in retreats such as "Journey into Manhood."

Light in the Closet cover

The co-directors of JONAH are Arthur Goldberg and Elaine Silodor Berk. Goldberg's 600-page book Light in the Closet[1] is distributed on JONAH's website. The book is described thus:[2]

Can homosexuals transform their sexuality? Torah, Talmud and time-tested advances in gender psychology answer YES! The Co-Director of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality) tells how. This groundbreaking book explodes the "gay gene" mystique, offering hope, compassion, direction and vitally needed information to gay strugglers, their families, friends, and surrounding community.


In a lawsuit brought by four former attendees of JONAH, a variety of pseudoscientific and abusive methods are described as being used by JONAH:

  • beating up a pillow that is supposed to represent the man's mother with a tennis racket—an approach pioneered by Richard Cohen
  • cuddling the older male counselors (because that isn't gay at all)
  • being required to strip naked in front of older men (nope, totally straight guys)
  • a mock locker room situation where attendees were mocked and abused, being called "homos" and "faggots"[3]

Arthur Goldberg from JONAH claimed that "There are thousands of people who have shed their unwanted same-sex attractions, not only through our programs, but also through other similar programs."[4] Such brilliant claims landed them on the losing side of a $70,000 consumer fraud verdict in New Jersey[5] and in fact got the organization ordered shut down at the end of 2015 by the court.[6]

External links[edit]


  1. Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change by Arthur Goldberg (2009) Red Heifer Press. ISBN 0963147897.
  2. Light in the Closet Red Heifer Press (archived from July 15, 2011).
  3. Gay Men, Moms Sue NJ Jewish Gay Conversion Therapists, ABC News
  4. Conversion therapist: Lawsuit won't stop us, CNN
  6. Court Shutters Orthodox Jewish Gay Conversion Therapy Agency, Forward