24 Aug 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition
Jewish lesbian group educates the masses
IN celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria (JLGV) is creating a documentary about the life and times of the lesbian Jewish community.
The film will elucidate the group’s groundbreaking achievements in raising awareness for Jewish lesbians in Victoria.
A five-minute trailer – called It’s Who We Are – was put together by the production company Making of Movies, and has been posted online, to fundraise for the making of the documentary in full.
The trailer has already been added to the teaching resources at Deakin University’s School of Health and Social Development, where it will educate students about Jewish culture and cultural diversity.
Hinde Ena Burstin, a founding member of the JLGV, told The AJN that the group offered a “safe, respectful Jewish environment” for Jews struggling with the scourge of marginalisation and stigma, and she hopes the documentary will encourage tolerance.
“This has enabled disenfranchised Jewish women to reconnect with their heritage. At the same time, we insisted that the mainstream Jewish community becomes more inclusive of lesbians and gays. We have been extremely successful in this aim.
“Our achievements are many, but so too is the work that lies ahead. Our film can play a huge role in opening the closet doors wider.”
To make a donation to the documentary, visit: www.pozible.com/itswhoweare.
GLBTI parent support network established
KESHET Australia, a rights group recently formed to protect Jewish children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (GLBTI), is forming a parent support network.
Jonathan Barnett, Keshet’s president, said parents are a critical factor in the wellbeing of children, not least when they are becoming aware of their sexuality.
“Parents are a big issue. How parents respond to their kids coming out – whether it’s a 14-year-old or a 24-year-old – really can make a big difference to how the kid feels and how they feel connected to family and the community. It’s part of our bigger mission,” he told The AJN.
“It’s not just the child that has to come out but the parent, and they come out to their friends and family,” he added.
Barnett said the three sets of parents founding the network have all gone to Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG), a mainstream support group.
“But what they all observed was that nobody else was Jewish and they wanted to be with other Jews who understand the Jewish community.”
The group is being formed as an addition or alternative to PFLAG. “We’ll have kosher cake, for example, and that’s one of the little differences,” he said.
Barnett reflected that perhaps Orthodox families need the service more than Progressives, “but everybody needs it”.
In a letter to The AJN, Barnett stated: “In our community, where success is often defined in terms of heterosexual relationships, marriage and grandchildren, there are many parents of GLBTI children who experience feelings of despair and even isolation. Keshet parents believe that there is a need to reach out and talk about these common concerns.”
Keshet Australia was formed earlier this year as an advocacy group for the Jewish GLBTI community, based on the Keshet organisation in the United States. The local group has strong informal ties with Progressive Judaism Victoria.
Download a Keshet information flyer here.
In this episode, Geraldine Doogue speaks to ABC Religion and Ethics Editor Scott Stephens, NSW Community Services Minister Pru Goward and Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins from Sydney’s Emanuel Synagogue.
[ Note: sessions dates/times are available on the ticket purchase page and the official programme ]
MELTING AWAY| Namess Ba’Geshem (18+)
Participating Cinemas: Palace Nova Eastend, Palace Centro, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Verona, Palace Brighton Bay
Drama, Israel/Canada 2011 (86 mins)
Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Doron Eran
Starring: Chen Yanni, Limor Goldstein, Ami Weinberg
Festivals: Tel Aviv, Montpelier, Nouveau Cinema Canada, Boston
Awards: Breakthrough Performance (Tel Aviv): Festival Award (IMAJ Festival, Belgium): Audience Award (Athens OutView)
The discovery of women’s clothing in his son’s bedroom is too much for Shlomo. With the silent consent of wife Gallia, Assaf is banished from the family home.
Four years later, with no word from Assaf since that fateful night, Gallia hires a private detective to find their son – Shlomo is dying from cancer. But instead of Assaf living somewhere in Australia, the detective finds Anna, the beautiful transgendered singer at a Tel Aviv nightclub.
Just a few days later, a private nurse paid for by the health insurance company arrives at the hospital bedside of Shlomo. Nurse Anna soon conquers the heart of her patient with her charming personality and attitude.
Melting Awayis the first Israeli film to deal with transgender. Conceived in reaction to the deadly attack on the Tel Aviv LGBT Youth Centre and shock of parents refusing to visit their injured children at the hospital, Melting Away is a heartfelt and moving drama of family, love and understanding.
“The must-see feature film.”
Philadelphia City Paper
“A surprising and moving drama of love, tolerance, family and forgiveness.’
Couch Assassin (Canada)
“Scientific knowledge of the mind is expanding all the time. In the past, psychiatry viewed homosexuality as a mental illness. Knowledge of sexuality has improved markedly and we now recognise that homosexuality is not an illness to be cured. Moreover, there is a growing body of research suggesting that gay and lesbian people can experience benefits to their mental health and well-being if their relationships are given the same social and legal recognition as heterosexual relationships. From a mental health standpoint, the benefits of marriage should be made available to all couples regardless of the gender of the partners.” (Aug 2011)
Research into the health and well-being consequences of denying same-sex attracted people the right to marry can be found at the Doctors for Marriage Equality web site.