Aleph Melbourne at In One Voice 2019

Photograph of the vibrant Aleph Melbourne and Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria stand at In One Voice 2019

Thanks to In One Voice for this excellent photo of the combined Aleph Melbourne and Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria stand at the In One Voice 2019 street fair on March 17 2019.  Original photo and full gallery here.

 

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L to R: JLGV: Stacey, Zena and Julie; Aleph Melbourne: Gregory Storer & Michael Barnett

Such a Queer In One Voice

Aleph Melbourne, together with the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, added a fantastic rainbow of diversity to the 2019 In One Voice carnival in Selwyn Street, Elsternwick.

View photos from the day on Facebook here.

Aleph Melbourne, together with the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, added a fantastic rainbow of diversity to the 2019 In One Voice carnival in Selwyn Street, Elsternwick.

Posted by Michael Barnett on Sunday, March 17, 2019

 

Standing in solidarity with the Muslim community in Christchurch

Aleph Melbourne stands in solidarity with the Muslim community after the Christchurch shooting.

Aleph Melbourne acknowledges the unthinkable act of hate perpetrated against the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand.  We offer our unconditional love and sympathy to the friends and families of those who lost their lives, and our deepest concerns and well-wishes to those injured.

Our communities have been inextricably united by crimes against our humanity, whether due to the religion we practice, our sexuality, our gender or gender identity, the colour of our skin, the language we speak, our country of birth, or the clothes we wear.

Orlando was an act of homophobia

Pittsburgh was an act of anti-Semitism.

Christchurch was an act of Islamophobia.

None of these make sense.

We must hold our governments to account.  They have used us as a political wedge to further their own agenda, creating division and fear in the broader community.

We must ensure that they collectively stand up and decry those who promote bigotry and intolerance, starting from within their own ranks.  They must also not abuse us by gaining political advantage from our pain and suffering.

Gun laws must be tightened everywhere.  Racism must be condemned.  Bigotry must be called out.

Our hearts have been broken.

Our humanity has been shattered.

Our communities have been fractured.

Please accept our hand of friendship and our love during this painful time and forever.

AJDS Motion to JCCV Plenum – March 2019

The following motion was put by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society to the Jewish Community Council of Victorian Plenum meeting on March 4 2019.  After significant debate at the meeting it was decided that the motion not be voted on, but rather, redrafted through a consultation between Aleph Melbourne, the AJDS and the JCCV.


Motion to JCCV Plenum – March 2019

To acknowledge the 20-year anniversary of Aleph Melbourne being denied membership of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria

Moved by AJDS:

1. On the occasion of 20 years since the failed attempt by Aleph Melbourne to join the JCCV, this Plenum places on record that:

  • Aleph Melbourne submitted an application for membership of the JCCV in January 1999 with the backing of the then President Phillip Bliss and the executive of the JCCV.
  • Aleph Melbourne met all requirements for membership of the JCCV.
  • Aleph Melbourne’s membership of JCCV would have given the Jewish LGBTIQ community visibility, within the Jewish community and provided them an important support base.
  • When the application was brought to the Plenum on 10 May 1999, much was said that was supportive and welcoming for Aleph Melbourne but much was remarkably hurtful, shameful and homophobic, including remarks from some leading Melbourne rabbis at that time.
  • When the Plenum voted on the application, the vote was 39 For and 49 Against, resulting in the application being denied.

2. Accordingly, this Plenum:

Apologises to Aleph Melbourne, its past committee and members, and to all LGBTIQ Jews for the denial of the safe space at the JCCV Plenum on the day of that vote as well as the subsequent distress, further marginalisation, and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of membership by the JCCV, and for the subsequent decade of inaction by the JCCV in terms of any outreach to LGBTIQ Jews.

Acknowledges Aleph Melbourne’s significant efforts to encourage us all to speak out against hate and intolerance of LGBTIQ people, and that as a direct result, and following the attack on the LGBT Youth Centre attack in Tel Aviv in 2009, the JCCV then undertook its first actions in support of LGBTIQ Jews.


Correction: the 1999 vote was actually 39 For and 46 Against


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Sorry seems to be the hardest word | Australian Jewish News

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

ajn-20190308 Michael Barnett and Shaun Miller
Michael Barnett (left) and Shaun Miller.

OLD wounds were scratched at the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) plenum on Monday when it failed to formally apologise for denying affiliation to gay advocacy and support group Aleph Melbourne 20 years ago.

On May 10, 1999, the JCCV plenum rejected 46-39 with three abstentions a proposal by its own executive to invite Aleph to affiliate. But 20 years on, a motion calling for today’s JCCV to apologise has been taken back to the drawing board, after it became clear the plenum would not pass it without modifications.

Sivan Barak of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) proposed the apology motion, on which the JCCV had first been approached late last year, condemning the roof body’s 1999 spurning of Aleph.

The motion described responses of some delegates at that time as “hurtful, shameful and homophobic, including remarks from some leading Melbourne rabbis”.

It proposed the JCCV “apologises to Aleph Melbourne … and to all LGBTIQ Jews for the denial of a safe space at the JCCV plenum on the day of that vote, as well as the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of membership of the JCCV and for the subsequent decade of inaction by the JCCV in terms of any outreach to LGBTIQ Jews”.

It also called on the JCCV to acknowledge it did not actively support LGBTIQ Jews until after a 2009 attack on an LGBTIQ youth centre in Tel Aviv.

Various views were aired, from supporting an apology to drafting a compromise deleting references to the JCCV’s “decade of inaction” and the role of the Tel Aviv attack, which some delegates said were factually incorrect, to simply acknowledging the damage caused in 1999 and belatedly inviting Aleph into the JCCV.

Some delegates spoke of the very different track record in the past decade, with the affiliation of LGBTIQ support group Keshet to the JCCV, and formation of the JCCV’s LGBTIQ reference group.

After that, the apology motion was withdrawn by Barak – and Aleph’s Michael Barnett and Shaun Miller declared that without an apology, mere acknowledgment would be pointless.

John Searle, a former JCCV president, who founded its LGBTIQ reference group, described the 1999 decision as “an absolute disgrace” and proposed a meeting to demonstrate that in 2019 “the doors here are open to everybody”.

The proposal was accepted and a meeting with Aleph and AJDS – to be spearheaded by Doron Abramovici, JCCV executive member for social inclusion and community engagement – hopes to formulate a revised motion for next month’s plenum, or in May, exactly 20 years after Aleph’s rejection.

After Monday’s plenum, JCCV president Jennifer Huppert told The AJN the session provided Aleph members and others “an opportunity to express how they feel”, and the process now underway is “a good outcome”.

The plenum was themed “A Decade of Advocacy” and guest Ro Allen, Victoria’s commissioner for gender and sexuality, detailed proposed reforms by the state government to simplify altering gender status in birth, death and marriage records, and plans to ban gay conversion therapy.

Jewish Care CEO Bill Appleby spoke about his organisation’s process towards achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation, which demonstrates LGBTIQ-inclusive practice and service delivery.

The LGBTIQ-themed plenum preceded the 25th Jewish LGBT+ World Congress, to be held in Sydney from March 21-24, and the Australian visit of Rabbi Abby Stein, an American Jewish educator, writer, speaker and activist, who attended yeshivah in the US, has a rabbinical degree, and came out three years ago as “a woman of trans experience”.

PETER KOHN


ajn-20190308 Sorry Seems to be the hardest word