New Israel Fund comes to Australia

May 11, 2011

[SOURCE 1] [SOURCE 2] [SOURCE 3]

NIF is coming to Australia and I have a feeling this new player in the Australian Jewish scene is going to usher in a breath of fresh air.

From a GLBT perspective this is very exciting, simply by looking at their list of Civil and Human Rights Grantees:

Al-Qaws – for Sexual and Gender Diversity in the Palestinian Society

Promotes the development and rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community within Palestinian society.

and

Assiwat (through Kayan)

Provides a safe and anonymous space for gay Palestinian women; pursues recognition for their sexual and gender identity and promotes their rights through personal empowerment, raising awareness and public education.

Further, their Shatil program advocates for issues such as Freedom of Choice in Marriage (video) and to give voice to Orthodox lesbian women in Israel.

NIF Australia are on Facebook.  That seems to be the best place to connect with them currently.  Also check out We Are NIF.

I sincerely hope they engage with the local GLBT community, both Jewish and wider, and build some strong bridges.

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JCCV grovels to Orthodox on gay inclusion

February 16, 2011

[SOURCE]

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has today released details of ‘ground breaking’ work that they’ve undertaken, to try to work out some way to remove the hate and intolerance in the Jewish community that ostracises and marginalises people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  There is incredible stigma in the Jewish community around these areas of human sexuality and gender identity, especially amongst those who subscribe to a fundamentalist interpretation of Jewish teachings.

Compounding this issue is the reluctance of the Jewish community, at best, to engage in the topic of discussions around the area of suicide, especially youth suicide.  I mention this as there is an especially high and alarming rate of suicide amongst GLBT youth.

It is with highly cautious optimism that I am pleased to see discussions on this issue going on.  Some talk is better than no talk.  However I am extremely disturbed that the JCCV are undertaking this in the context of the Orthodox interpretation of homosexuality.  This issue is so serious that any religious parameters placed around the discussions will effectively render the entire process a complete waste of time.  It is the fundamentalist religious attitudes that have created this dire situation and while there is any respect given to them, there can be no credibility placed on what the JCCV are doing.  In fact these intolerant religious attitudes much be challenged, even if this is not popular.

From the media release:

Searle says that although the JCCV leaves questions of Halacha to the Rabbonim, the JCCV remains guided by principles of inclusion and support for Jewish people to live meaningful lives. “The JCCV was set up as an umbrella organisation to protect the needs of all Jews in the Victorian Jewish community and is hence obliged to investigate areas of concern and provide support structures as necessary.”

The JCCV is a secular organisation representing a highly diverse Jewish community. It is imperative that it respect the complete religious diversity of the community they claim to represent.  From a religious perspective, there is a significant percentage of members who are Progressive and Conservative, in addition to those who identify as Orthodox or similar.  There are also members of the Jewish community who are secular and who do not subscribe to any religious teachings.  This reference group must not operate within a religious context, as the JCCV is not a religious organisation and does not operative within any specific religious context.

The highly partisan stance the JCCV has taken on this matter betrays the impartiality of the JCCV, if it ever had any.  I would strongly encourage the JCCV to include representation from the Progressive community on this reference group, along with community members who do not have an Orthodox allegiance.

Given the extreme lack of transparency the JCCV has fostered with their GLBT Reference Group, one can only conclude that it consists of people stacked from the Orthodox community, people sympathetic to the Orthodox community and people who simply don’t understand the dynamics of the diverse nature of the Jewish community.

Until the JCCV acknowledges that the Progressive and Conservative Jewish communities have a diametrically opposed, inclusive and accepting understanding and interpretation of homosexuality to that of the fundamentalist Orthodox community, they will be doing the entire Jewish community a serious disservice.

Lastly, the JCCV continues to sideline people, such as me, who have the credentials to competently address many of their concerns.  It begs the question why this is the case.


Thank you Mr Braitberg

December 17, 2010

Adam Braitberg was part of the Equal Love Rally in Melbourne on November 20, 2010.  I took a photo of him and a friend Tyger-Lee Baise, both proudly displaying their blue Habonim Dror shirts, and showing their support for equal human rights for all Australians.

From 20101120 Equal Love Rally

Because they participated in this rally, as part of a Jewish organisation, they came under attack on the AJN Watch web site.  You can read all about it in my previous blog.  Keep an eye on the comments on the AJN Watch site though, as the conversation continues (to dismay).

Yesterday Adam’s father, George, made a profound statement, and in doing so has moved me deeply.

George said…
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
Thursday, December 16, 2010 11:17:00 PM

Adam’s father is a wonderful role model for showing unconditional love and acceptance of his son Adam.  He is an example to every member of the Melbourne Jewish community and the wider Australian society on how we must bring up our children.  It is only with this positive and supportive attitude that we can start to overcome the horrifying level of suicide, self-harm and mental health issues that (religious) intolerance afflicts on Australia’s same-sex attracted youth.

Thank you Mr Braitberg.  You and Adam have demonstrated far greater leadership ability and are infinitely better role models than those who currently claim to speak on behalf of the Jewish community.  They don’t need a ‘GLBT Reference Group’ to arrogantly identify and address “our issues”.  They need intelligent and compassionate leaders like you.


Gay children are expendable in Melbourne’s Jewish community

December 15, 2010

[SOURCE 1] [SOURCE 2]

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

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.)

Labels:

7 comments:

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
Anonymous said…
I feel neither way about this issue…
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 9:49:00 PM
Adam Braitberg said…
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.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 10:07:00 PM
Tyger-Lee Baise said…
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.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:02:00 PM
Shilloby Weezel said…
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
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:13:00 PM
Bill K said…
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?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:18:00 PM
Anonymous said…
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”.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:21:00 PM

It gets better for Gay Orthodox Jews

December 2, 2010

Last month Joe. My. God. posted the “Gay Orthodox Jews” video from the It Gets Better Project.

Please click here and watch it.


Mark Baker: a Jewish perspective on gay equality

July 12, 2010

Mark Baker has written a particularly poignant piece for Galus Australis challenging discrimination against same-sex attracted people, from his Jewish perspective:

When a Kiss Means Death

We need more intelligent, compassionate and articulate people like Mark fighting for the dignity and equality of same-sex attracted people in the Jewish and wider community; people who are not scared of religious bigots.

On the contrary, John Searle, JCCV President, could learn a lesson from Mark Baker.  Searle should be ashamed of himself.  He claims to be looking after the best interests of the members of the Jewish community yet he is too spineless to speak out on this critical issue, preferring to pander to the traditonal intolerant and antiquated orthodox bloc.  Just what sort of a leader and man is he?

Thank you very much Mark.

Michael.


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