Gay children are expendable in Melbourne’s Jewish community

And the homophobic hate just keeps pouring in from AJN Watch.

Of course, silence will reign in the Jewish community because there’s no anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism here.  Just some good old-fashioned homophobia, and we know that the leaders of the community don’t consider homophobia to be much of a problem because they won’t speak out against it.

Never mind if you’re a gay person being bashed by a homophobic thug in the street, as happened in Collingwood in October.  But that’s ok, because it wasn’t an anti-Semitic attack and it wasn’t an anti-Israel attack.  It was just a boring gay bashing.  Gay bashing.  Gay bashing.  Gay bashing.  Boring.  Everyday.  Gay.  Bashing.

When will the leaders speak out against this hatred?  Why are they so silent on the matter?  Perhaps gay children are expendable.


Their parents must be SO proud!

Sending kids to a Jewish youth group used to mean that you hoped they would spend their time there being imbued with Jewish and mentchlich values and ideals.Habonim, it seems, has decided to go in the opposite direction.

We wonder how happy the parents are about this.

(Also it’s quite obvious that the AJN can’t find anything else newsworthy to report about this group.)

at 8:00 PM Labels: habonim


  • Anonymous
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:46:00 PM
    How shameful of Habo management to allow this. And the AJN is continuing is promotion of gays and their issues
  • Anonymous
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 9:49:00 PM
    I feel neither way about this issue…
  • Adam Braitberg
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 10:07:00 PM
    To all those reading this thread, My Name is Adam Braitberg, and all though you may not be able to see it, that boy in the photo with the Habo Chultzah (shirt) is me.
    I have spent my life in the Melbourne Jewish Community, Been a chanich and now a Madrich (leader) at Habonim Dror, i have been involved in Jewish education since i was a child as well as constant hours volunteering for many for the Jewish charities in our community and Israel.
    And Guess What I am also Gay, Habonim Dror is a youth movement that is there for all chanichim (kids) regardless of sexual orientation, by attending a same-sex rally, we show that we support all people, regardless of difference. We educate our chanichim (kids) about respecting all individuals, a value that Judaism holds very highly, we also encourage them to see where there is something wrong in the world, and to actively make a change. And the lack of tolerance much of the world shows to same sex individuals is something that needs to change.
    There are many people around the world not given the same rights as us. It’s not just youth movements that should be trying to make a difference, it is us as a Jewish Nation that should be upholding our values as people, and trying to make that change.
  • Tyger-Lee Baise
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:02:00 PM
    I am featured in this photo and I am proud to say that my parents are extremely proud of me.

    Sending your child to a Jewish Youth Movement is not only about instilling Jewish values and ideals but educating youth on issues facing many people. This rally was an opportunity for us to show our support for the values of equality, civil rights and respect for all human beings.

    So yes my parents are proud of me and I am so proud to be a part of a youth movement that stands up for all people being intrinsically valuable and unique and is accepting of ALL human beings.
  • Shilloby Weezel
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:13:00 PM
    Tyger that’s really great for your parents. Now what about joining in a march with Muslims demanding teh right to polygamy? That too comes under civil rights and respect of humans who are also intrinsically valuable and unique
  • Bill K
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:18:00 PM
    Adam, you have all my sympathy for your sad predicament . But really, why the need to advertise your sexual proclivities?
    Do what you like, but don’t bore the world with your activities.

    Habo has always been for ‘normals’ and not an outlet for problematics with sexual issues.

    So I can’t see any reason why they now go marching with the perverts and abnormals of the Sex party.

    That was NOT the way it was when I was in Habo some years ago.

    Or should you change the name from Habo to Homo?
  • Anonymous
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:21:00 PM
    Well stated Shilloby. Why not go a step further? What if someone wishes to marry his dog, cat or even chimpanzee (remember that homo-pedophile Michael Jackson?)?

    Will Tyger and Adam and the Habonim crew be marching for that too?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer was “yes”.
  • Adam Braitberg
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:43:00 PM
    I will once again say that Habonim Dror is a youth movement with the intention of making their own chanichim feel as comfortable as possible, meanwhile instilling them with the Jewish education of respect and tolerance, which is why i would rather use education as a tool as opposed to personally attacking these points, this is not the first time i have had to use tolerance when facing these issues.
    I do not see a homosexual as a ‘problematic with sexual issues,’ because i do not think i have a problem. I am in fact very comfortable with who I am. In regards to what Bill said about Habonim being for normal people, i would like to know who classifies anyone as being normal. I have spent a lot of time studying homosexuality in Judaism, as a far as i can see it we don’t chose who is normal god does. and like all people out there I was made in his divine image. I am who I am, and my sexuality does not conflict with my Jewish Identity, and Habonim Dror has acted as a good example and shown people that there are those who care for them when others don’t.
    This Isn’t about the issue of homosexuality in our community, this is about a youth movement that decided that same-sex rights is a cause that they should be fighting for!
  • Anonymous
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:43:00 PM
    Firstly, I think it’s absurd that you are comparing same-sex marriage rights to marrying another species.

    Those posting negative comments in an attack on youth standing up for equality and what they believe is valuable need to stop being so ignorant on the topic of same-sex marriage and furthermore on the values of equality, acceptance and compassion and do some research.

    If you had any idea the repercussions of prejudice comments like this on youth and human beings struggling to be accepted and loved and treated with humility and respect I would hope that those ignorant and hurtful comments would be retracted.
  • Deb
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:55:00 PM
    I as a parent of a gay child am exceedingly proud!!
    Proud that in the face of this sort of obscene bigotry, he had the bravery and the strength to come out and tell us and his friends about his homosexuality.
    Tragically there are some people like yourselves who would still prefer that the gay community hide their sexuality.
    This is 2010, views like your own belong in the dark ages.
    Proud of my child? Absolutely!!!
  • Bill K
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:14:00 AM
    Adam, I repeat
    you have all my sympathy for your sad predicament . But really, why the need to advertise your sexual proclivities?
    Do what you like, but don’t bore the world with your activities.
  • normal
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:17:00 AM
    Adam writes:
    I have spent a lot of time studying homosexuality in Judaism, as a far as i can see it we don’t chose who is normal god does

    Where in Judaism have you been study homosexuality? The Torah and the Talmud ban it as they do with bestiality.

    In fact both are forbidden by all the major religions. AL!
  • Anonymous
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:19:00 AM
    Deb, don’t ask don’t tell.
    No one cares who or what your son sleeps with – whether normal or gay.

    He and the Jewish News shouldn’t be pushing the gay agenda down our throats. Thats all.
    Stop throwing in claims of bigotry.
  • Adam Braitberg
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:22:00 AM
    I do apologise Bill, if this bore’s you but unfortunately the jewish community is not just about you, there are people in our community who want to hear more about the things we do when fighting for people rights. I am not advertising my own sexual proclivities, this conversation started because someone said Habonim Dror is headed in the wrong direction, and i am making it clear that the direction they are making is one that will help those who need it, my own sexual orientation has nothing to do with how i feel about Homosexual rights, if i was straight i would be fighting just as loudly, for the people who are too scared based on homophobic remarks to fight for them self.
  • Deb
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:38:00 AM
    This parent for one, is exceedingly proud of her gay child!!!
    Especially so faced with the bigotry and hatred you show these young people.
    Proud of my gay child?
  • Youth
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 1:28:00 AM
    Wow, this will be my last post on this utterly shameful blog. This website and its views are an absolute disgrace. How can we expect to find peace in the world when we cannot even find peace among ourselves.

    Adam, I am so proud of who you are and dont let anyone tell you any different.

    Deb, every child in this world would be lucky to have a parent who accepts, supports and stands up for her child.

    To all the rest of these sad posts, ignorance is not bliss. Judgement is for the weak. You are all so absolutely stuck in a place of hatred, negativity and lack of any sense of goodness. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    No-one is “pushing the gay agenda down your throats”. The Jewish News is representative of all people within the Jewish Community including the gay community.

    Please, I urge you to find some integrity, compassion, acceptance, and authentic happiness and truth. It is a sad day when Jewish people attack the future of the Melbourne Jewish Community and think they are
    educating and doing the right thing”… a sad day indeed. It is no wonder that orthodoxy is dying out and the biggest epidemic is abandonment of religion. The Jewish religion and its traditions have stood the test of time because it has been able to adapt and evolve, you are threatening that. Disgraceful.
  • Anonymous
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 2:02:00 AM
    it seems that no one here is rejecting the basic human right to equality, but are merely asking adam and deb to stop ‘pushing the gay agenda’down their throats.

    however, it seems that the point of the rally wasnt about advertising sexual proclivities, it was about human beings asking for equality and decency in a respectful manner and proper forum.

    if everyone here really does believe in equality, then it should seem perfectly fine for adam and tyger to march for equal rights… and if not then admit that you dont value equality and stop hiding behind the pretense of homosexuals advertising their sexual proclivities.
  • totally secular ex-israeli
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:13:00 PM
    As an irreligous person I probably shouldn’t be responding on behalf of AJNWATCH which seems to be representing the Dati side of Melbourne, but…

    Maybe the comment that “their parents must be SO proud” refers to these Habo kids marching down the street with (and supporting) the hookers, pimps, smut dealers and pornographers of the Sex Party.

    Tell me Deb, you’re TRULY proud of that? Is that the sort of company you welcome into your home?

    Does any “normal” Jewish or even non-Jewish mother REALLY want their child associating with such dreck?

    And if your answer is “yes”, then maybe you should report yourself to the authorities for child sexual abuse.
  • Proud Gay Jewish Mother
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 4:19:00 PM
    I went to B’nei Akiva for 6 years before they asked me to leave because I wore shirts that didn’t cover my elbows and would be a ‘bad influence’ on new members. Oh the logic! The profound reasoning. Sheer brilliance.
    Thank you Habbo for laughing in the face of such stupidity and welcoming me into a group of intelligent, forward thinking, compassionate and fun leaders.
    I was always gay, they couldn’t really care.
    As long as I participated in the programs, washed my dishes at camp and schlepped with the rest of them, who cares?

    As a Melbourne University educated professional with an excellent career, assets, a wonderfully loving relationship, a wonderfully happy adult daughter, who’s to tell ME I’m any of the rediculous adjectives vomited up by the ‘secular ex-Israeli (who cares?) or cowardly ‘anonymous’s’ in previous comments.

    To Deb, what a wonderful Jewish mother you are!
    Proud Gay Mother
  • Anonymous
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 4:45:00 PM
    I still feel neither way about this issue…
  • LukeThursday, December 16, 2010 5:38:00 PM
    Dear Adam and Tyger-Lee…thank you for your kindness, courage and commitment to treating everyone with equality, courtesy, respect and fairness. It is people like the two of you who will make this world a much better place in generations to come.

    I’ve read the responses here and they disgust me…all the anonymous cowards spouting their hypocritical and ignorant hatred.

    There is nothing uncomplicated about the human species…NOTHING. Everything about us is complex and full of variables…sexual orientation is no different. Homosexuality is just one of many variations of HUMAN sexuality…just like everything else about us is full of variables. Homosexuality is NORMAL and occurs naturally in the human species and many other animal species.

    All of those here who are casting stones and choosing to hate…shame on you. Human sexuality is NOT a choice…discrimination and hatred IS !

    Luke Rogers
  • abc
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 6:25:00 PM
    On what basis is it “Jewish” to stand up for “equality” and not “Jewish” to stand up for the Torah?

    It makes sense to march for equality, or civil rights, or indeed anything else you want to march for, but don’t call it “Jewish” when actually it’s 100% contrary to what Judaism says.

    Or are you claiming that Judaism must be updated to say whatever you feel it should say? In which case to call your view “Jewish” is trivial and worthless.
  • George
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 11:17:00 PM
    I am Adam’s father. To those that see fit to judge someone you don’t know or have ever met, I ask you to explain what right you think you have to behave in this manner. As Jews we are well aware of the history of bigotry, slander and false accusation. To judge my son, without knowing him is perpetuate the belief that “difference” in itself is an excuse for hatred. How ashamed am I of Jews who show such intolerance. I love you Adam. Dad
  • bondi beach
    Friday, December 17, 2010 12:12:00 AM
    Who judged your son, George? Where?

    And did you also march with the prostitues and pimps from the Sex party?
  • Ilana
    Friday, December 17, 2010 10:06:00 AM
    B’H No one is judging. On a deeper level, we have to look at homosexuality as equated with bestiality and understand that both activities require the individual to submit to baser instinctive behaviours on one level that requires much effort to control. If we support marches for ‘gay rights’ and support a gay lifestyle, then why are we not marching to support child sex offenders because surely they are ‘just one of many variations of HUMAN sexuality’? Child sex offenders will use that argument to negate criticism of their behaviour to and say that they were merely ‘helping children to express their inner sexual desires’. I know that people like Mikeybear who runs Aleph have great issues with my views on the subject and I want to get away from the personal aspect of it, because there are many worthwhile and gentle sensitive gay people who contribute to society in many very worthwhile ways. However, I for one am not going to support a gay lifestyle and I certainly will not march in favour of sexual behaviour and lifestyle that I disagree with. If I had two people going for a job and both were equally qualified and one was gay, would I hesitate to hire a gay person, definitely not. Would I go to a gay nightclub (despite the fact that I do not hang out at night clubs and never have seen it as a desirable activity), definitely not, but would I stop a gay person coming to a function I (for arguments sake held) definitely not, but I would require a certain code of conduct. Am I in favour of sending my son to a Jewish Youth Group that supports same sex marriage – definitely not, because those sorts of values are not what I want for my son. I had a similar answer to someone who suggested that I remove my son from a school and send him the Caulfield Community School because they believe he has ‘behaviour issues. Now, the Caulfield Community School may be very worthwhile for the sons and daughters of XXXX (removed by blogmaster) and if I wanted my son to become like those poor little blighters and for him to get an education in the social mores of fringe dwellers, I certainly would see that as an option, but I do not. It would be the beginning of the end of him and corrupt him, Now when we choose a youth group, we want certain values to be supported and espoused. I have not come across anywhere in Jewish literature that homosexuality is a Jewish value, although people will argue that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. I believe that had a deep relationship that was purely spiritual in its essence and love. I think it is very hard for us in these days, when we are so connected to the material and physical world, to conceptualise a love or a relationship that is on a purely spiritual level without physical or sexual expression. I can understand how a mother’s love for her child may entitle her to go beyond condemnation of socially unacceptable sexual behaviour and she may endeavour to ask for acceptance of her child and indeed support from the wider community for her child’s sexuality. However, while the wider community can accept her child as who he or she is, we should avoid accepting his or her deviant sexual behaviour as the norm and indeed we should avoid supporting it as the norm.
  • Gimmel
    Friday, December 17, 2010 2:25:00 PM
    For those who unfortunately have homosexual tendencies and are seeking ways out of it here is a website that claims to have helped many do so.

    JONAH’S E-Mail Discussion Group:
    (hosted by on world wide web)
    The E-Mail Discussion Group consists of Jewish men and women who wish to be free from unwanted same-sex attractions and/or behavior. Individuals post substantive E-mails discussing healing strategies while offering friendship and hope to those struggling with these issues.

    This E-mail Discussion Group was started in May of 2001 and includes participants from around the world.
    This support group is a List Server format, to be included please contact us or send an email to

    Men’s Support Groups:
    JONAH’s Men’s Support Groups meet several times a week at the JONAH Office in Jersey City and occasionally a group meets in Manhattan. Formed in October 2001, the groups offer emotional support, counseling, and activities focused on completing the participant’s growth into manhood while regaining their God-given, innate heterosexuality by sharing friendship and healing strategies with other Jewish and non-Jewish men with similar goals.

    JONAH coordinates with similar Men’s Support Groups around the world so if you would like to participate in a group, please contact us.

    Experiential Weekends: We encourage our men to participate in the following non-denominational weekends which expedite their journey out of homosexuality:
    Saturday, December 18, 2010 12:06:00 PM
    I regret to inform you, Ilana, that your child will one day be an outcast as a result of the illiberal, spiritually vacuous, unethical viewpoints you have taught him. On that day places like Habonim Dror will accept him and give him the opportunity to understand the beauty of love and compassion. I await your response of gratitude.
  • Anonymous
    Saturday, December 18, 2010 1:00:00 PM
    Wow!…But most of you are missing the point. The point is “Should “Habonim” march in the parade”- The point is NOT gay rights or Parental support of their gay children- The answer is emphatic No -Habonim should not march as a unified group !.
    Individuals are welcome to representing Them themselves and their opinions. They should not be wearing Movement clothing. I and 1000’s like me have being in Habonim as teenagers and still consider us as belonging to the Movement. We do not necessarily agree! The movement is much larger than the local leaders with their “MEGALOMANIAC” OPINON. They do NOT represent the Habo opinion. I feel that there are many controversial Judaism issues- the young Habo leaders can not negate or have the power to speak for all of us over such debatable controversial topics – or declare Habo views for a public protest.
  • Daniel LevySaturday, December 18, 2010 5:01:00 PM
    Already, most of society views the pathetic souls who have posted their diatribes against homosexuals as wrong. Polling done in most areas of the world show 50% or more supporting equal marriage, with upwards of 80% supporting equal rights for GLBT.

    Here’s the satisfying part for those of us frustrated by these idiots and their disgusting comments. In only a few decades time, you disgusting, vitriolic people will be viewed with the same disgust which we reserve for the proponents of slavery of centuries past. By the ENTIRE world.

    You will be held with the same disdain as racists, as weak-minded bigots. Remember that. Remember that the internet is forever-lasting and will keep all of these comments for historians to pore over.

    You will be used as examples in sociology essays about how humanity could descend to such awful levels of hatred.

    You are weak-minded fools who are so insecure of their own beliefs and value structure that they must attack and spew hatred at others to shore up their own shaky foundations.

    Truly shameful. You think that hiding behind god and religion to judge others makes you smart and superior. It doesn’t. We all know that it’s just your own ugly bigotry shining through and that you are using god and religion as devices to legitimise your hate. I have news for you. You are among the minority, and anybody with half a brain will tell you that you’re all idiots and morons for the simpleton views that you hold.

    Enjoy your ignorance and hatred – because that’s seemingly all you have in your pathetic, unfulfilled existences. Meanwhile, everyone else will be off enjoying life and not finding reasons to hate people based on their life choices. That’s what people who lead healthy, fulfilling lives do.

    *Skips off* 🙂
  • facts please
    Sunday, December 19, 2010 1:26:00 AM
    Daniel you are SO full of it!!
    “Polling done in most areas of the world show 50% or more supporting equal marriage, with upwards of 80% supporting equal rights for GLBT”

    Really where did this polling take place? In your mind or at the last mass rally of thousands organised by Aleph?

    Let’s get some of the facts out of the way.

    In the Muslim world gay lifestyle is banned and in many places actually punishable by death. In Africa gays are treated like vermin. In the Catholic church it is banned. The vast majority of Americans (despite the non-stop propaganda by left/liberals) are against.

    So please don’t present us with your BS as some genuine facts.
  • Daniel LevySunday, December 19, 2010 8:28:00 AM
    It’s disturbing, even creepy that you take pleasure in the fact that gays are treated like vermin in Africa. That is how the Jews were viewed prior to the Holocaust. They were then TREATED as vermin during the Holocaust. You are a truly morally defunct and hateful person to wish that sort of treatment on anybody, having only just survived it as a race.

    I should have said, in my original post, that these figures applied to most areas of the -western- world. Which we are firmly a part of. My apologies. You would like some statistics and figures? Have an armful 🙂


    “USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 63 percent of adults say same-sex marriage is “strictly a private decision” between two people.

    That the government has the right “to prohibit or allow” such marriages was stated by 33 percent, and 4 percent had no opinion.”

    That’s the USA covered. What about Australia?


    “Public opinion polls

    In October 2010, a Galaxy Poll commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality measured the opinions of 1,050 Australians aged 18 and over. [99]

    * 62% of respondents supported the recognition of same-sex marriage, with 33% opposed and 5% undecided. Support was highest amongst respondents who were intending to vote for the Australian Greens (81%), and who were aged 18-24 (80%). The majority of respondents from each state and each age bracket (except for the 50 and over category with 46% of respondents) were in support. [100]

    * 78% of respondents supported a conscience vote on the recognition of same-sex marriage, with 16% opposed and 6% undecided. Support was highest amongst those respondents aged 18-24 (84%), and who lived in South Australia (83%). The majority of respondents from each state and each age bracket were in support. [101]”

    And just for good measure, can I get a HOLLA from the UK?


    “Public opinion

    Another survey conducted in August 2009 by Angus Reid reported lower level of support than Populus although same-sex marriage remained the most popular option in the poll; 41% of respondents believed that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, 37% believed they should be allowed to form civil partnerships but not marry and 18% supported no legal recognition. 57% of those aged 18 to 34 supported same-sex marriage while 43% of those aged 35 to 54 and 26% of those over 55 did. Support for same-sex marriage was highest in Scotland (46%) and London (43%).[44][45]”

    So there you go, buddy. There’s your “facts please”. I had figured that you possessed the basic typographical and reading comprehension skills required to find this information for yourself. But I guess I severely overestimated your intellectual capabilities. In hindsight, all the warning signs are there. Generally, simple-minded opinions translate to a lack of intelligence. But I’ll spell out what I did so you can go and see for yourself because you obviously need all the help you can get! 🙂 All you have to do is google ” gay rights poll” and you find all these lovely stats!

    It is now only a matter of time for the western world to fully realise gay rights. Just as it was only a matter of time before MLK stormed the bastion of civil rights changed in the USA. And when all is said and done, you will go down in history as a spiteful bigot. And people will despise you for your actions. Just remember that.
  • grant
    Sunday, December 19, 2010 1:19:00 PM
    OK Daniel, seeing that you have now brought in the Nazis and the holocaust, it’s time to invoke Godwin’s Law
    “Godwin’s law “There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.”

    However seeing that you are the one who brought this on and are so impressed by polls – even if they included only .00001% of the population – let me tell you about a WESTERN country who had a REAL poll – where millions voted and they passed laws that all Jews, homosexuals, handicapped and other were to be murdered.

    Indded, anyone who tried to help any of these types to save their lives were LAWFULLY killed thyemselves.

    You still want to follow polls?
  • Anonymous
    Sunday, December 19, 2010 1:29:00 PM
    Statistics and lies.
    Here you are Daniel another set of statistics:

    Americans still opposed to gay marriage
    Most Americans still think same sex marriage should be illegal…but they think it will be legal within a generation.

    Our newest national survey finds 57% of Americans think it should be illegal while 33% think it should be legal and 11% have no opinion. Republicans are pretty universal in thinking it should be illegal, 81/12, while Democrats only narrowly favor it 47/40. Independents array slightly against it by a 48/41 margin.

    Americans within pretty much every demographic group continue to oppose gay marriage. Whites are against it 58/34, Hispanics 57/27, and African Americans 52/34. Women oppose it 55/35 and men do 59/31. Voters under 30 do 52/44, ones between 30 and 45 do 51/37, ones between 46 and 65 do 59/29 and those over 65 do 61/31.

    Not that any of this makes a difference to religious Jews and non-Jews who still follow the edicts and morals of the Torah and bible.

    Halacha and morals don’t change because people have become shameless in insisting on being allowed every perversion.

    And daniel, what is your view on bestiality? Are you for, against or neutral? What if polls will in 10 years time show that most are not againts it, will you approve humans marrying chimps?
    And will want Habonim to march in their favour?

    Just wondering
  • Daniel LevySunday, December 19, 2010 2:59:00 PM
    Dear Grant and “Anonyomus”,

    It is amusing but entirely unsurprising that I can address both of your absurd logical fallacies with the same argument. You see, when one lives their lives as dictated by a higher power, it erodes one’s abilities to critically analyse. When one abdicates all moral and intellectual judgment to a superior, it can become near impossible to foster analytical thinking. This does not happen in all cases, but sadly, it does so in the vast majority.

    Have you ever wondered why the secular Jewish schools of Bialik and Scopus continually outperform Yavneh who is more religious, and then Yavneh in turn continually outperforms Yeshivah who is even more religious? It’s the same socio-economic background, in the same area of Melbourne. The teaching quality is more or less the same. The only difference, really, is the level of religious observance.

    Would you argue that Bialik/Scopus students work any harder than a Yeshivah boy? You’d probably defiantly puff up and say the Yeshivah boy is FAR more disciplined and dedicated to his studies! Then you might say “Oh but they have different priorities, they are learning torah!” But in fact, religious studies are part of the VCE syllabus. And comically, every year, it is Bialik and Scopus who sit atop the Religion and Society high achievers list, above Yavneh, and above Yeshivah.

    So even in religious studies, and then in general, continually it’s Bialik and Scopus without fail above the rest. This is because many subjects in VCE require analytical thought, which has been beaten out of many young religious adherents through years of the answer “because God said so” to the question “Why?”. Without hearing a logical process other than “the man in the sky said so”, we intellectually abdicate from our responsibility to discern the truth through logical means.

    And you all snigger and laugh at those darned Habo students for being so stupid and shaming their parents. And yet they are statistically likely to achieve a higher admissions ranking and therefore land themselves better opportunities in life. I’m sure their parents are very proud, in this case 🙂

    And now it brings us to your arguments. You ask, would I be in favour of bestiality if it were to curry favour with the masses? Would I similarly support the extinction of a race of people if that is what the majority wanted?

    No, of course I would not. Because my support for a notion does not merely comprise popular support for it. My thought process, unlike yours, does not end with “because a higher power” (in this case, the masses) said so. And for you, this is unfathomable. At some point, you continually have to ask. What does god say? What does my rabbi say? And that is where your investigations stop.

    <— More to come in the 2nd part of the comment, which you’ll find below —>
  • Daniel LevySunday, December 19, 2010 2:59:00 PM
    <— Second part of the comment —>

    For those with the ability to discern logical reasons for actions, there is also something called human rights, and animal rights.

    An animal cannot consent to sex with a human. The human is taking advantage of that animal and that is a disgusting crime against the animal.

    And any good democracy has the arm of law to prevent the tyranny of the majority from hurting the minority. Thus that nullifies your point in that respect.

    Similarly, murdering people violates their most basic of human rights (right to life) and so it doesn’t matter a toss what opinion poll wants them dead. They have a right to live.

    BUT, and here’s the kicker… What two consenting adults choose to do (love each other, have sex with each other) DOES NOT INFRINGE ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS. And while that argument holds true, and so long as no rights are being infringed, then why can’t they do as they wish?

    The answer is because small-minded people such as yourselves are so insecure about their own beliefs, that they must force it on others in order to shore up their shaky foundations. Cowardly, moral abdication which hurts the lives of others. How disgusting.

    To Anonymous, I was hoping you’d link to that poll. That has already long been debunked as an exercise in poor polling practice. I will link you to analysis showing that the PPP poll was poorly conducted, poorly worded, had a terribly small sample size and worse – was conducted among registered voters which does not include the youth population which is the highest demographic in support of gay rights. So OOPS, you lose again.

    You took the *one* poll with all of its sampling biases and errors to use as your defense. I challenge you to find another (conducted in the last 5 years) because I can guarantee you that that would be the only one.

    So there you have it. Logic and reason obliterating your hyper-emotional, arms-flailing jibes. I dare you to debate me with logic and reason, because your assumptions and aspersions cast on my character are all you have in a battle that I am easily winning from an objective point of view.

    To borrow a phrase and modify it a bit, I am essentially intellectually bullying you in a battle of wits for which you are quite clearly unarmed. But you both deserve it. Because your hatred for human beings who are gay is so detrimental to them that people like you are the reason that suicide rates are so high among them.

    So I’m going to make fools out of you here today, so that people reading it can see for themselves how utterly stupid and horrid it is to oppose gay rights. That those who oppress the gay community are often awful bigots who are so base in their animal instincts that their fear of the unknown rules them as primitives. You’re going to learn a lesson today. Mark my words 🙂

    With love,
    Danny 🙂
  • abc
    Sunday, December 19, 2010 5:04:00 PM

    Not that it will make much difference to you who, like most Bloggers, is not remotely interested in other people’s point of view, but for other readers who may be deluded by your “logic”:

    1. Religious Studies at Yeshiva College is not the same as “Religion and Scoiety in VCE”. For someone who runs a VCE-support website you are remarkably uninformed as to the curriculum at the local schools.

    2. Even within the terms of your own incorrect argument, you have conveniently omitted Beth Rifka – which is often with, or ahead of, Scopus and Bialik.

    3. You also omitted King David – a pluralist school which should be the best at analytical thinking but is not exactly at the top of the VCE tree.

    4. You also have no understanding of the analytical thinking that is Torah study. Asking “what God wants” when wading through the sea of Talmud and responsa is more analytical than, I suspect, much of what you’ve encountered (but, since I don’t know you as well as you claim to know every opposing poster, I accept that I may be wrong).

    5. Your point about humans not being allowed to exploit animals is well-taken (and I assume that you’re a vegan – having sex with an unwilling animal seems less of a denail of their rights than killing and eating them). But therefore consensual incest and consensul polygamy / ployandry should be all right?

    6. If you do choose to answer, can you please respect my human rights and  with dignity and respect, and refrain from the generalisations and gross insults that discredit your own otherwise well-reasoned responses.

    Thank you
  • Anonymous
    Sunday, December 19, 2010 11:14:00 PM
    I dont care who you are, but none of you have the right to put down those who have orientations different to you. Further, it is up to the youth movements to decide what they will march for, and each will have their own reasons for doing so. Habonim may march for a particular cause, even if it may seem slightly away from their usual stance.

    Who are you to judge? Surely it is against everything the Jewish people stand for to judge another. If religion is in this discussion then surely the judgment is up to God.

    Those criticizing need to get off your high horse, and learn to understand differences within the community, and not compare homosexuality to marriage to animals. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with religion…despite how much you may want it to be.
  • Daniel LevySunday, December 19, 2010 11:28:00 PM
    Dear abc,

    I am not, in fact, a blogger. I am commenting on this blog, but I do not have a blog. So now who’s making generalisations?

    Point by point and here we go!

    1) Even so, if the religious studies are so in-depth and comprehensive why are they unable to translate that to better R+S scores? Seriously, are you telling me that despite the many extra hours put into religious study over the years at Yeshiva, that none of it bleeds over into the study of Religion and Society? I would imagine much of it does. But correct me if I’m wrong 🙂 However for all the emphasis on religious learning, still, this does not translate to achievement in their own forte. How embarrassing.

    And just because I run a support website for VCE does not mean that I know every aspect of every school’s curricula. That is awfully fallacious. I know a decent chunk of the curricula of VCE subjects but to assert that I would then know what is taught at every individual school in their extra-curricular studies is absurd.

    2) I omitted Beth-Rivkah because it is an established fact that all-girls schools have more focussed learning environments and therefore achieve higher results compared with co-ed and all-boys schools, as evidenced by their domination of the VCE rankings. Due to this obfuscation from the gender consideration they are not an adequate comparison.

    3) King David in fact draws many of its students from the lower socio-economic areas of the Jewish community, and has the highest amount of subsidised places of any of the Jewish schools. As we have seen in the VCE system, the lower your socio-economic status, the more disadvantaged you are in the system. Sad but true. Hence, a similarly poor comparison.

    4) I admit that there must be some degree of analytical thinking in the torah. But there comes a point where, in that process, one says “and it is so because God says it”. Sure, there are complex problems in Judaism which require several layers of thought. But at least one of those layers is “because God says so”. So at some point, every religious adherent of Judaism is committing that intellectual abdication of responsibility to a higher authority.

    5) I am not a vegan. I do not believe that the humane killing of non self-aware animals is wrong. This, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish (pardon the pun).

    6) I have made one generalisation, which I backed up with reason and logic. I have stressed numerous times that my generalisation does not apply to all the people it addresses, however, following my logical train of thought – it does apply to most. It is certainly absolutely evident in the compromised “arguments” of the two (or more?) idiots I have replied to thus far.

    My insults were necessary because vitriol is the only language those idiots who pedalled their hatred seemed to speak. Logic and reason clearly does not get through to them, so I made myself understood in their terms.

    If you notice, I haven’t insulted you once because your post was civilised and respectful, and I will of course do you the same courtesy.

    But to those disgusting people who seek to dehumanise homosexuals… I have nothing but disdain for them, and I am not afraid to show it.

  • Daniel LevySunday, December 19, 2010 11:45:00 PM
    Oh also.

    Addendum to 5) because I replied to the first part but didn’t see the second part.

    Incest and polygamy/polyandry are different issues altogether. Incest is illegal and should remain illegal for very good reasons. Chief among them is the abuse of powerful trusting relationships (in the same way it is illegal for teachers to have sex with adult, consenting students as it takes advantage of a trusting relationship). But compared with a student-teacher relationship, this trust factor is magnified to the nth degree in the familial setting. Thus, the law is sound in order to protect the innocent from being abused.

    Re: polygamy, you’re not going to like this but I similarly believe that it shouldn’t be illegal. It’s not the lifestyle I’d pursue, but at the same time, why would it bother me if multiple women or multiple men wanted to be bound together?

    I offer you this argument from

    “After all, what’s the difference between an adulterer and a polygamist? And if it’s not illegal for a married man to support a girlfriend or two and father children out of wedlock with them, how can it be illegal for him to bind himself to them?”

    Provided that all those adults participating in the relationship provided adequate care for their children, I see no reason not to allow it. Can you? (Without resorting to “IT’S UNGODLY AND THE CHILDREN WILL GROW UP AS FREAKS!” because all of the scientific data has come in that children of homosexual couples are no worse off than those born to heterosexual couples, with some studies showing slight improvement on the status quo).

    So yeah… As long as nobody else’s human rights are being infringed, why should it be illegal?
  • Anonymous
    Monday, December 20, 2010 12:06:00 AM
    Daniel, are you saying that if that poll of 1026 or whatever number had resulted in 95% being against homosexuality etc, then homophobia would be OK?

    Morals and ethics depend on poll results!!?
  • totally secular ex-israeli
    Monday, December 20, 2010 12:09:00 AM
    To anon of 5.04 –
    You really approve for our youth groups to encourage or even allow their young members to associate with pimps, smut peddlers and whores?
  • Daniel LevyMonday, December 20, 2010 12:27:00 AM
    To anon of 12:06 AM

    You clearly have not read the rest of my posts at all. I advise you to reread my comments (all of them), and then realise that the opinion polls are merely to refute those who say that the majority agree with them. They do not.

    In my other posts I explain from logic and reason why homosexuality should be legal and accepted in the community. I’m not going to rewrite them for you simply because you haven’t read them either through inability or laziness.
  • Moshe
    Monday, December 20, 2010 1:26:00 AM
    Daniel Levy should raslise that novel-length responses are not what most blog-readers are interested in.

    I too only quickly scanned his many and lengthy posts.

    His views perfectly reflect those who have no belief in God and His Torah.

    But for us religious people – the words of God are there to be obeyed and followed whether or not it is currently in fashion or politically correct.

    The reason that there are still Jews in the world – 2000 years after being driven out of our land – is because we followed God and the Torah “blindly”. The Daniel Levys of Jewry have long been lost on the scrapheat of Galus.
  • abc
    Monday, December 20, 2010 8:37:00 AM

    Thank you for your courteous response to my comments. I recommend you stick to that style because it makes your postings more readable and may persuade more readers to your point of view.

    Yeshiva College’s religious studies does not translate into high Religion and Society VCE scores because, as I have said, a) there is no comparison between the two, except for the name and b) er… they don’t take that subject, so it’s quite understandable that they don’t get high scores.

    You discount King David’s relatively poor results despite the fact that, as the only pluralist school, they should be best at “analytical thinking” because of their low socio-economic background of their students.

    But let’s examine this further. Why does that not account for the relatively low scores at Yeshiva College, which, incidently, has far, far, more subsidised places than at KDS, without even accounting for their far lower fees to start with?

    Why does that not, in reverse, account for the success of Scopus and Bialik, whose students come from a far higher socio-economic background?

    You reject the evidence of Beth Rifka’s success on the basis that it’s a girls’ school and hence cannot be compared to the other Jewish schools. But surely it can be compared to the other top independent girls’ schools – Laureston, Korowa, Ruyton, Ivanhoe, etc – and, on your reasoning we would expect a very religious school, with many students from low socio-economic background and with subsidised places, to fare poorly compared to those secular schools which must be paragons of analytical thinking. Let’s check the results and see if your thesis be confirmed.

    Daniel, for someone who is so excited about using his intellect to “make fools” of those with whom he disagrees, I suggest that you check that your arguments are rigorous. They are not.

    I don’t disagree with you about the logic of your polygamy position(you didn’t refer to ployandry but I presume you approve of that too). I think that if the gay rights issue is framed as “let anyone marry anyone else” then it should mean exactly that – including triple- or multiple-person arrangements. But I also think that logically it should include consensual incest (you probably failed to read the word “Consensual” in my earlier post because your response completely ignored it) i.e. between siblings.

    The problem that I have with the “let anyone marry” argument is that it usually means nothing of the sort. It usually means “let anyone that I think should marry, marry, but not unions that I don’t like”. In other words, the “analytical thinking” actually consists of “it’s all right if I like it, but not if I don’t” and, let’s be honest, is rarely based on a thorough reading of Hobbes, and Kant, and Locke etc.

    If you claim that that’s more “analytical” than studying and analysing texts for years, raising and resolving contradictions, in order to find out “what God wants” then, you haven’t convinced me yet.

    But, by all means, keep trying.

    Best wishes

  • Eliyohu
    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 2:46:00 AM

    Whilst I may sympathize with gays, do those who organize such marches not realize that they are making a freak show of themselves?

    Look, what you do in the bedroom is your private life. I understand that you don’t want to have to keep it a big secret – but neither do you have to flaunt it. Do you want to be seen as part of some weird subculture? Or do you want to be seen as someone whom (absent their choice of partner) is “normal” in every way?

    There’s no crime in parading in bizarre costumes (or dressing in drag) but gay people should realize they aren’t doing themselves any favours with these “gay pride” marches.

    As a second issue, Adam and Tyger, you are human beings and deserve to be treated as such – however the fact that someone find halacha difficult is not an exemption. Your feelings and attractions are valid, but *sexual intercourse* between males is clearly forbidden by halacha. May g-d grant you the strength to face this struggle, difficult as it is. Remember, we face an eternity in shamayim. People who struggle with such urges but still keep the halacha should be considered heroes, not villans.

Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish child abusers


AJN Watch is spewing out more anti-gay sentiment by allowing the following comment to be posted on their blog:

Anonymous said…

How shameful of Habo management to allow this. And the AJN is continuing is promotion of gays and their issues 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:46:00 PM

Our issues?  So when a young same-sex attracted person attempts suicide because they feel worthless and are full of self-loathing due to being told they are abnormal, it’s a gay person’s issue?  What about the family and community of the young person?  This intolerance amounts to psychological child abuse.

These fanatical Orthodox Jewish haters need to understand that intolerance of homosexuality is cruel, abusive and dangerous.

The leaders of the Jewish community must wake up quickly to the reality of the situation, stop feeding their egos and actually do something useful for a change.  A good start would be to state that intolerance of homosexuality is harmful and then actively educate the community about it.  They have been very active in doing this about alcohol abuse, but it seems child abuse is not enough of a concern.

It’s exactly one year since the Jewish Community Council of Victoria formed their GLBT Reference Group and to date exactly nothing has come out of it.  At this rate they’re well on track to double their efforts in 2011.

Dr Helen Szoke’s address to the JCCV AGM

Dr Helen Szoke, Commissioner of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, was guest speaker at the AGM of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) on November 22, 2010.

The address that Dr Szoke delivered at the meeting, entitled “Protection against hate crimes in Victoria”, is on the JCCV site here, or alternatively, here.

I have highlighted below the sections of the address that refer to same-sex attracted people, sexual orientation and gender identity.

In your case, you have a specific community of interest. In my case, our community of interest is all Victorians, whether they be people with a disability, people with different religious beliefs, people who are same sex attracted, people who are old or young.


I would also say that race and religion is a particular area of focus. But our own work shows that all areas of discrimination can be the basis of prejudice motivated reaction, and to this end, we try as a Commission to keep a broad focus, looking at the work of people with a disability, age discrimination, the prejudice experienced by people who are same sex attracted, which forms the focus of our work in the sport area.


In our view, this would mean strengthening civil and criminal provisions protecting people from hate conduct. Such remedies are necessary because hate crime and hate conduct have a disproportionate impact on particular groups – groups characterized by race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, impairment or homelessness – and their ability to realise other human rights. Call it the domino effect of discrimination.


In short, we have recommended that this model include: … A provision in the Equal Opportunity Act prohibiting offensive, insulting, humiliating or intimidating conduct against people, or a group of people, not just based on race or religion, but also sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, impairment and homelessness …

My hope, as I’m sure is also Dr Szoke’s, is that the leaders of the Jewish community, including those present at the AGM, will want to work to remove all hate crimes and intolerance of difference in their Jewish community.  It is going to be a gargantuan effort to see it realized in the short-term, but with the right message coming from the top, the way forward will be significantly easier.

It really isn’t difficult to understand that intolerance contributes to unhappiness, which in turn contributes to self-harm.  Conversely, acceptance and inclusion leads to happiness and an increased feeling of self-worth and belonging.

I ask those people who decry homosexual behaviour because “it is forbidden by the Torah”, if they really care about the people in their community and ask them to consider whose best interests they have at heart.

A dead child is dead for a long time.

Anton Block silent on his one-time support for gay Jews

[SOURCE (refer agenda item 10.1)]

Almost twelve years ago, in 1999, Anton Block seconded the motion for the gay Jewish social and support group Aleph Melbourne to become an affiliate member of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV).

Motion for affiliate membership status of Aleph Melbourne
Motion for affiliate membership status of Aleph Melbourne

As history dictated in May 1999, this motion, put a second time after the first was deemed void due to a technicality at the March plenum meeting, failed to pass and the application by Aleph Melbourne was rejected by the JCCV.  No further application for membership by Aleph Melbourne has been made since and, particularly during the term that Block was president, no invitation to reapply for membership was extended by the JCCV.

Having since served a three-year term as President of the JCCV (2006-08), and now appointed to the position of Chairman of the JCCV’s Anti-Defamation Commission, there has been nothing but silence from Block on his one-time support for gay Jews.

But why did Block go silent on this matter?  Is he fearful that if he openly supports visibility and inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people in the Jewish community he might face a backlash from the Orthodox sector of the Jewish community?  He will only stand to gain support and adulation from the large Progressive, Conservative, secular and other sectors of the community that express their unconditional support for GLBT Jews.

I understand that Block is on the mysterious “GLBT Reference Group” that the JCCV formed in December 2009.  However his inclusion in this group has not been made public, as the JCCV has refused to disclose its membership.  If Block is on this reference group, as I believe he is, then he must speak up about it, and he must speak up as to why he sits on it.  I hope it’s for a more altruistic reason than kudos.

I put it to Block that maintaining this silence is harming the entire community, along with his credibility.  The alarming rate of suicide amongst same-sex attracted youth does not bypass Jews.  It is imperative that Block takes an active and vocal stance on fighting all intolerance of and working toward unconditional acceptance, visibility and inclusion of GLBT people in the Jewish community.  Only then will he show he is capable of being a genuine leader in his community.

Conjugating Jew


Best check with the Jewish grammaticists over at Galus Australis.  They seem to be authorities on the use of the English language when it comes to sexual orientation.

Malki Rose:

The UN do not use the Torah to discriminate against GLBTs Gregory.
The UN have no belief in the Torah whatsoever, so please stop using the Torah and religion as your scapegoat for discrimination against GLBTs, it is inaccurate.


Malki, please refer to GLBT people as ‘GLBT people’ in future and not as ‘GLBTs’. We are people, just like you.

Anthony Frosh:


Despite your protest to Malki, I’ll still not mind if you call me a “Jew” rather than a “Jewish person”.



The word ‘Jew’ is a noun. The acronym ‘GLBT’ is commonly used as an adjective.

It would be a start if the people who defined themselves by excluding everyone else would accept some responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in.


Malki Rose:

You know many GLBT’s refer to themselves as ‘GLBT’s’. It just means gayS, lesbianS, bi-sexualS and transgenderS.
It something we do in English. Its called using a word in plural form.
Its quite silly that some people find plural forms to be so offensive.


Anti-Defamation Commission – an organisation in conflict with itself

In October I wrote to the Anti-Defamation Commission in relation to the issues I addressed in my previous blog, calling for them to take action.

I received this initial response to my message:

From: ADC Reception <>
Date: 14 October 2010 10:48
Subject: RE: Call for Anti-Defamation Commission to echo ADL’s Denouncement of Carl Paladino’s Comments Denigrating Homosexuality
To: Michael Barnett <>

Dear Michael,

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.  We are taking this matter seriously; the ADC Board will consider it at its next meeting on Wednesday 20th October.    We will let you know the outcome of our discussion shortly after.

Kind Regards
Alain Grossbard
Acting Chairman ADC

I followed up with the ADC after their board meeting and received the following response:

From: ADC Reception <>
Date: 25 October 2010 09:55
Subject: RE: Call for Anti-Defamation Commission to echo ADL’s Denouncement of Carl Paladino’s Comments Denigrating Homosexuality
To: Michael Barnett <>

Dear Michael,

The Board has declined to comment.

Curiously, the matter goes from genuine concern to silence.  But really, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, because we know the ADC won’t comment on anti-gay hate in the Jewish community.

With the immediate past JCCV President Anton Block being appointed to chair of the ADC, I don’t expect this situation to change.  The ADC’s parent organisation is the JCCV (not B’nai B’rith as the Jewish News continues to misinform all).  The ADC tows the JCCV’s “let’s not upset the Orthodox” stance and remains muzzled by them.

Deborah Stone, Research Director at the ADC says on Galus Australis:

But I’m quite clear on my Jewish identity and my rights as a Jew to be free from hate speech. I’m also clear on my responsibility, as a Jew and as a human being, to advocate for respectful pluralism in Australia. So when an opportunity to use my media and research background came up at the Anti-Defamation Commission, it seemed a good fit.

Of course, but don’t let a little hate toward gay people get in the way of you doing your job.  We all know anti-gay hate isn’t nearly as harmful as anti-Jew hate.  Jewish Gays can cop it, can’t we?  We don’t really matter all that much.  A little suicide or self-mutilation here and there won’t matter to the families of the young kids who feel they can’t cope with the anti-gay hate that the ADC won’t address.  But god help those who throw anti-Jew shit at Jews.  Lord knows the ADC and it’s overlords at the JCCV will turn heaven and earth to seek adequate redress.

The ADC needs to take a good look at itself.  The JCCV needs to take a good look at itself.  The Jewish community needs to ask itself if they want to be represented by these self-serving, gutless organisations that elect egotistical leaders in acts of nepotic arrogance.

They don’t give a fuck about the welfare of your kids.  Only their egos and political careers.

Malki Rose on John Searle’s patronising response to a bogus issue


On Galus Australis Malki Rose talks about the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Reference Group.  I have written about this ‘reference group’ a number of times.

I refer to a section of Malki’s article on Galus, followed here by some correspondence between Geoffrey Zygier of the JCCV and myself, and finally ask a question of Malki.

Mr Searle said that the GLBT reference group, comprising of a mix of individuals who had approached him with their concerns, also seeks to gauge the mental health concerns and risks, which young GLBT Jews may be facing.

Thus far, the reference group, which includes a qualified psychologist, has noted that there are relatively few instances of discrimination or vilification being perpetrated against GLBT Jews by ‘straight’ Jews.

Perhaps it is possible that smaller numbers of openly gay Jews equates to less instances of vilification or discrimination?

In speaking with Mr Searle, I suggested that some of the discrimination and exclusionary behaviour may also be too subtle to measure and also far more prevalent in the Orthodox community where the Halachic concerns play a stronger role in the community’s treatment or subtle exclusion of GLBT Jews.

Many GLBT Jews, having been excluded by the Jewish community as deviant or ‘people best avoided’, become disenfranchised and abandon the Jewish Community, seeking solace in the potentially more accepting embrace of the non-Jewish GLBT community, whose inclusiveness seems much more all encompassing.

On the surface this sounds really good, but there’s a very big trick being played by John Searle.  The JCCV released a statement for Mental Health Week on October 4 2010.   As I did in 2009, I asked the JCCV to make mention in this statement of the mental health issues that same-sex attracted Jews face.  Of course, the JCCV obliged in making some mention of the issue, but also as in 2009, this year they again deflected the problem from the real issue affecting closeted same-sex attracted people in the Jewish community to the diversionary issue of Jews in the GLBT community.

I wrote to Geoffrey Zygier about this, as he was the contact for the media release, expressing my concern over the language used:

From: Michael Barnett
Sent: Tuesday, 5 October 2010 1:37 PM
To: Geoffrey Zygier
Subject: In response to the JCCV Media Release: Assistance for those in Need

Hi Geoffrey,

I refer to the JCCV media release “Assistance for those in Need” issued yesterday.

You state “There are also particular concerns about mental health issues faced by members of the GLBT communities.”

As I have previously advised the JCCV, and as Professor Anne Mitchell would have advised the JCCV GLBT Reference Group earlier this year, the problems that same-sex attracted people experience that lead or contribute to mental health issues, self harm and suicide are frequently happening to people who do not identify with the GLBT community. To state otherwise is misleading.

Urgent attention needs to be paid to people in the Jewish community who are struggling with their sexuality or who are in the closet. It is the intolerance of homosexuality that is the problem, not because people are same-sex attracted.

I strongly urge the JCCV to acknowledge this situation, and stop inferring the problem is only or mainly with people in the GLBT community.

I would appreciate a response on this matter and would be happy to have a discussion with you if you require further clarification.


I received this response:

From: Geoffrey Zygier
Date: 8 October 2010 14:53
Subject: RE: In response to the JCCV Media Release: Assistance for those in Need
To: Michael Barnett

Hello Michael

I accept what you say and the statement was not meant to infer otherwise. On reflection it could have been phrased more clearly.

Good Shabbos


Geoffrey Zygier I Executive Director I Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV)
The Voice of Victorian Jewry
306 Hawthorn Road South Caulfield VIC AUST 3162
03 9272 5579 I 0413 731545

I then sent the following email, which currently remains unanswered:

From: Michael Barnett
Date: 8 October 2010 15:24
Subject: Re: In response to the JCCV Media Release: Assistance for those in Need
To: Geoffrey Zygier

Thank you for this Geoffrey. Would you consider issuing an amended media release, with an appropriate revision of this statement?

Perhaps: “There are also particular concerns about mental health issues faced by members of the Jewish community who are same-sex attracted or who have a gender identity disorder.”

I believe it would be a really positive way to move forward, especially considering the serious nature of the issue.


Yet as Malki writes above, John Searle is talking about GLBT people being excluded or ill-treated by others in the Jewish community.  This is not the real problem, if it is even a problem.  If the truth be known, it is actually a diversion, set up to show the JCCV’s funding source that it is doing something to include GLBT people in the community.

Searle refuses to engage on the topic that is the most serious, the one where people who are same-sex attracted, who do not identify as GLBT, are not even able to talk about their situation and live in fear of expressing their true sexual orientation.

I ask Malki to explain why she is supporting this action to address a ‘bogus’ issue and is not challenging the JCCV on why they are side-stepping the real issue?  I understand that “something is better than nothing”, but this “something” is extremely patronising.

The Potential Wedding Album

In Australia it is currently illegal for two men, two women, or two people who just don’t identify as a male-female couple to get married.

There is no logical or valid explanation for this discrimination.  The legislation was put in place in 2004 under the Howard Government and remained in place under the Rudd Government and the current Gillard Government.  None of these “leaders” can justify this decision aside from a woeful “because”.  We all know they did it so they didn’t lose the vote of the hateful and bigoted Christian lobby.

Let’s pretend for a moment, however, that instead of legislating hate, the government decided to legislate love.  What might this love look like?  The Potential Wedding Album is a beautiful glimpse into this dream of what could be, and dare I say it, what will soon be.

Take a wander through the pages of this magnificent piece of work.  Journey through the lives of the photos you see, and the happy people in them.  There is a lot of love and joy there.  If marriage was permitted to be between any two consenting adults, just think what a better society we would have.

The world will still go on when same-sex couples can marry.  The sky won’t fall in.  There won’t be a cataclysm or a rapture, but there will certainly be enrapture.  What there will be is an abundance of love, happiness, acceptance, inclusion, and so much more.

Religious fundamentalists, whether they be Jewish, Muslim, Christian or whatever, will increasingly be shown to be the intolerant, narrow-minded bigots and haters that they are.   Their beliefs, or more accurately, their make-beliefs, which are based on antiquated, irrelevant nonsense, have no place in the 21st century.  These ideologies and dogmas need to be expunged from humanity because of their destructive and hurtful capacity.

Sooner than later our society will accept and nurture the relationships between homosexual couples, bi-sexual couples and couples that simply don’t conform to the stereotypical male/female gender binary.

Love is, by far, the best option.

Challenging mainstream parochiality in the Jewish community

This letter appeared in the October 15, 2010 (Melbourne) edition of the Australian Jewish News:

AJDS deserves a slap on the wrist

KUDOS to the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) for passing a resolution unanimously condemning in the strongest possible terms the left-wing Australian Jewish Democratic Society’s (AJDS) support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign. It is about time the JCCV made it clear that the AJDS’ extreme views on Israeli-Arab-Palestinian conflict are not in sync with the mainstream Jewish community.

Toorak, Vic

The argument that Michael Burd puts forward here is extremely troubling.  He asserts that because a view held by an organisation is “not in sync with the mainstream Jewish community” it must therefore be worthy of condemnation.  What utter nonsense.  A minority view, as unacceptable or extreme as many may find it, does not by default equate to a wrong or unworthy view.

The “mainstream Jewish community” has trouble coping with or discussing a lot of concepts, amongst which the AJDS’ view on BDS is not in isolation.  One could start with issues such as indifference or opposition to Zionism, intermarriage, Orthodox vs Reform, secular humanism, child abuse, suicide, homosexuality, etcetera, etcetera.

It is imperative that the views and attitudes of the “mainstream Jewish community” be challenged and debated more frequently, in an intellectual and respectful manner.  Any community will contain a diversity of opinions on most issues, of which more than one may be valid.  Respect for this diversity is crucial for the health of the community.  Minorities being shouted down in a parochial and bullying fashion by organisations such as the JCCV is far from respectful or healthy.

The JCCV promotes itself as “the voice of Victorian Jewry“.  How remiss of me for taking an inclusive and plural interpretation of their motto.  It’s time the JCCV stopped pushing its single agenda view of how they want their community to be.  It will never work.