Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett said: “White supremacy of this nature led to the persecution and murder of millions of Jews, LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities in World War II. There is no room for this ugly behaviour in Melbourne, or anywhere else. Transgender, gender diverse and all LGBTIQ+ people have a right to live in peace and safety, without fear of bigotry, transphobia or intolerance.”
Daniel Aghion KC, President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) said: “Vilification, in any form, has no place in Victoria.”, while Michael Barnett, Aleph Melbournesaid: “White supremacy of this nature lead to the persecution and murder of millions of Jews, LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities in World War 2. There is no room for this ugly behaviour in Melbourne, or anywhere else. Transgender, gender diverse and all LGBTIQ+ people have a right to live in peace and safety, without fear of bigotry, transphobia or intolerance.
Taking aim at what he called Deeming’s “extremist views and values on the issues of human sexuality and gender identity”, Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett said, “When politicians like Moira Deeming align themselves with people like Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull who affiliate with neo-Nazi extremists they cross a line of no return.
“I cannot see how there is room for people like that in a political party that values human decency. Her expulsion from the party cannot come soon enough,” he said.
Other recipients whose work might go under the national radar, but were transformative, include Michael Barnett for service to the LGBTQ+ community, the palaeontologist Lesley Kool, and Leanne Miller for “significant service to women’s affairs, and to the Indigenous community”.
Barnett, a co-convener of Aleph Melbourne, said he worried about suicide rates and mental health issues in vulnerable young people, because of “relentless and pointless homophobic and transphobic intolerance”.
He worked hard to turn things around in one specific community.
“Over the years of my advocacy and activism I have seen Melbourne’s Jewish community become a beacon of LGBTIQ+ inclusion,” he said.
ALEPH Melbourne has hit back at Caulfield Chabad Lamplighter editor Mendy Rimler after he recycled what Aleph convenor Michael Barnett called “homophobic drivel”.
Late last week Aleph Melbourne, a support and advocacy group for Jewish people who identify as same-sex attracted, trans, gender diverse, and intersex (LGBTIQ+), published an article on their website denouncing Rimler and Caulfield Chabad.
The article explained that both Rimler and Caulfield Chabad should “take a more responsible approach to the content they run in their Lamplighter and avoid stigmatising vulnerable minorities”.
“Doing so feeds into the alarming rates of self-harm and suicide for people who are forced to hide or feel bad about same-sex attraction.”
The criticism is due to the use of a 15-year-old piece written by Yossy Goldman that Rimler repurposed for the cover of the September 30, 2022, Yom Kippur edition of Lamplighter.
Rabbi Mike Moskowitz is the Scholar-in-Residence for Trans and Queer Jewish Studies at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBT synagogue. He is a deeply traditional and radically progressive advocate for trans rights and a vocal ally for LGBTQ inclusivity. Rabbi Moskowitz received three Ultra-Orthodox ordinations while learning in the Mir in Jerusalem and in Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ.
STATEMENT: A diverse coalition of residents’ associations, LGBTIQA+ advocacy groups, and faith groups have joined in a united call for Port Phillip to reconsider its stance on LGBTIQA+ inclusion. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3aq1Jd4
“Aleph Melbourne offers support to and advocates for the well-being of LGBTIQ Jews and their families, many of whom live in the City of Port Phillip. It is vital that they understand their city council fully values and includes them, and understands their needs,” said Aleph Melbourne Co-Convenor, Michael Barnett.
MEDIA RELEASE Aleph Melbourne commends Caulfield Hebrew Congregation on significant LGBTIQ+ diversity reform July 12 2020
Aleph Melbourne commends the board of Caulfield Hebrew Congregation (CHC) for taking an unequivocal stance against all intolerance of LGBTIQ+ people, and accepts a sincere apology from the board for recent comments made on social media by a CHC Vice President.*
By committing to undertake diversity training, and by accepting that intolerance and vilification directed at LGBTIQ+ people is unacceptable, the CHC board sends a strong message to trans and gender diverse, same-sex attracted, and intersex people in the Jewish community that they are valued, important and worthy.
We acknowledge CHC Rabbi Ralph Genende for his decade-plus leadership in being a proponent for the acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people.
Now with Caulfield Hebrew Congregation sending a clear message that Orthodox Judaism can embrace LGBTIQ+ diversity, Aleph Melbourne calls on all Orthodox synagogues in Melbourne and across Australia to stand in solidarity on this important stance.
Jewish radio station J-AIR, dedicated to combating hate, broadcasts an interview that vilifies gay men.
On Monday March 30 2020 Melbourne’s Jewish radio station J-AIR 87.8FM broadcast their regular syndication of the Tamar Yonah Show, which included an interview with Rabbi Mendel Kessin.
The full episode of the March 30 Tamar Yonah Show was first posted here* but has since been taken down. An archive of the podcast is here and a backup copy of the podcast can be heard here.
The description of this episode of the Tamar Yonah Show states (in part):
Internationally known lecturer on current events and the Bible, Rabbi Mendel Kessin, joins Tamar Yonah and talks about the meaning behind this worldwide pandemic, what we are supposed to learn, and DO, in order to merit seeing the coming of the Messiah. He talks about the fear of death, atonement, suffering, and the world-wide economic collapse, and tells us how we can protect ourselves, as we enter into the Messianic era.
Aleph Melbourne has transcribed Rabbi Kessin’s interview commentary from time point 12:46 to time point 14:06:
And basically he’s 98% finished, that’s how close we are to the redemption. Therefore what god wants to do is bring the redemption. However, there are certain problems that must be addressed by god in order for the redemption to actually happen. And what we begin to see is that the pandemic is an exact designer drug, if you want to use that expression, that will remove these problems. Ah, in other words the plague itself is a vehicle, is an instrument, to accelerate the messianic process by removing these major problems. What are they? You see. So therefore what we see is the following. The first major problem is that man has corrupted his nature. There is a tremendous amount of, ah, what’s called immorality in the world today. It’s widespread. There’s, in Hebrew it’s called “prichus” (פְּרִיצוּת). We want, we could say it’s also in the form of homosexuality, and gays and so on and so forth, where all of a sudden the gender differentiation is, is tremendously blurred. So that is an incredible corruption of man’s nature.
Listen to the relevant audio here:
Rabbi Kessin is saying that his god is using the coronavirus pandemic to bring on the coming of the messiah by cleansing society of immorality caused in part by the scourge of homosexual sex between gay men.
This amounts to hate speech that vilifies gay (and also bisexual) men. It squarely lays blame for the coronavirus pandemic at the feet of sexually active gay men.
Broadcasting this language could be problematic for J-AIR as it may fall foul of at least the narrowcasting Codes of Practice, which states:
1.3 Narrowcasters will not broadcast programs which are likely to incite or perpetuate hatred against or vilify any person or group on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual preference, religion, age, colour, physical or mental disability, transgender status or HIV/AIDS status…
Significantly for J-AIR, who are currently seeking a community broadcasting licence, this shocking lapse of editorial judgement reflects terribly on the integrity and good character of the station.
In Parliament on March 2 2020, Tim Wilson MP described J-AIR as “an outstanding broadcasting service …” that “… has begun working closely with the Community Security Group (CSG) to combat the rise of anti-Semitism and ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community in Victoria…”.
It’s entirely disappointing to see a radio station so dedicated to being both an outstanding broadcasting service and wanting to combat hate, find itself in a position where it is fuelling the fires of hate.
Next time J-AIR supporter Tim Wilson is mid-shtup he might want to take a moment to reflect on how he is, according to Rabbi Kessin, contributing to the kind of immorality that is causing the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time he might also want to reflect on how his praise for an “outstanding broadcasting service” dedicated to combating hate accurately describes a radio station that allows vilification of gay men like himself to go to air.
J-AIR must offer an unqualified and sincere apology, both on air and in writing, for this grave mistake and also provide air time for an in-depth interview covering the harms of intolerance of LGBTIQ+ people.
More importantly, while it still has a licence, J-AIR must comply with broadcasting standards, set the highest standard, and never again broadcast hate speech.
An exploration of the transformation of attitudes toward LGBTIQ people within Melbourne’s Jewish community from the 1990s to current day. This session includes the screening of a 10 minute documentary “Aleph Melbourne – Celebrating 20 Years – 1995-2015”. It also includes an exploration of how the 2009 shooting at the Tel Aviv LGBT Youth Centre was the catalyst for a series of events that shattered the decade-long silence since the Victorian Jewish community leadership rejected the membership application of a gay men’s group to them endorsing marriage equality 8 years later.
Learning objectives/outcomes:A greater understanding and appreciation of the issues, sensitivities and nuances around LGBTIQ inclusion in Melbourne’s Jewish community.