Aleph Melbourne commends the Victorian Government, under the leadership of Premier Daniel Andrews, for its ongoing commitment to protecting all Victorians from hate, and for standing steadfastly strong with Jewish and LGBTIQ+ Victorians.
Along with making the public display of Nazi symbols illegal, we welcome the government’s commitment to extending anti-vilification protections to cover sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and HIV/AIDS status.
All too often homophobia is juxtaposed with antisemitism in wanton acts of hate, as evidenced by the attack on Cranbourne Golf Club last year and the attack on the Gardiner’s Creek Trail in July this year.
It was with sadness that Aleph Melbourne’s submission to the Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections highlighted a litany of anti-LGBTIQ+ vilification emanating from within the Jewish community. We hope that these reforms will see the end of such intolerance, and allow those in our community who have been forced to live in the shadows to feel sufficiently empowered to come forward and live a more authentic life.
We are also grateful to David Southwick MP for inviting Aleph Melbourne to lodge a submission to the Inquiry, which the committee found most compelling.
Jackie Brygel talks to Tammi Faraday about how she reconciles her religious beliefs with her work on the Victorian AIDS Council.
AS A YOUNG Orthodox Jew working in a voluntary capacity for the Victorian AIDS Council, Tammi Faraday has often been forced to defend her job.
For the 20-year-old Leibler-Yavneh graduate, however, there is no conflict between her religion and her work.
“I have been asked how, as a religious Jew, I can work for an organisation that is condoning homosexuality,” she said, in an interview with the Australian Jewish News. “First of all, my position on homosexuality is absolutely inconsequential to the cause; Regardless of what I feel, it is not for me to judge.
“We talk of God and we talk of mercy and compassion and all these other things that people very easily forget. Ritualism is very important, but I think the essence of religion often gets lost.”
Ms Faraday said that homosexuality was “problematic” within the Torah. But by the same token, she added, the saving of a life is a fundamental precept in the Jewish religion.
“We should perpetuate that by helping people and by educating people. And it is not just gays who are affected (by AIDS).
“I think there is a syndrome in the Jewish community of being very judgmental. People should be embraced. Thank God, the incidence of AIDS is not huge within the Jewish community, but I don’t think that anybody has the right to disenfranchise a person or to make a person feel remote or ostracised. It is an issue that has to be dealt with.”’
Ms Faraday, who is currently studying law/arts at Monash University, has also been asked why she has not channelled her energies into Jewish causes. It is a question to which she has taken umbrage.
“To me, AIDS is a human cause,” she said. “It is a Jewish cause as much as any other cause. I am a very proud Jew who wears Judaism on my sleeve. But we are human and we are not immune to this disease.”
Ms Faraday first developed an interest in AIDS at the age of 14 when she read a book on a haemophiliac who had contracted the HIV infection through a blood transfusion. After spending eight months studying at the Hebrew University in Israel, she approached the Victorian AIDS Council in April this year.
Ms Faraday is now public relations officer for the Council’s Red Ribbon Project. Red ribbons, the international symbol for AIDS awareness, will be sold by shops, businesses and street sellers for World AIDS Day on December 1. All proceeds from the red ribbons go towards the support of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.
“I was very nervous to come back to Australia after living in Israel,” Ms Faraday said. “I had been very fulfilled there and all my senses had been on overload every minute of the day.
“When I came back, I wanted to throw myself into an organisation where I felt I could provide some expertise and do something positive to help others.”
Ms Faraday also believed there were many misconceptions about AIDS with many Australians still referring to it as the ‘gay plague’.
“That is not the case,” she said. “It’s a universal disease and it doesn’t discriminate. I felt that as someone who was Jewish and a woman and a minority in this organisation, I would be able to help universalise the issue.
“Now the figures show that AIDS is decreasing slowly in the gay population, but increasing substantially in the heterosexual population… Twenty million people have been infected with the (HIV) virus thus far around the world. It is the highest killer of 22 to 44-year old Americans. It is an epidemic we are facing.”
Ms Faraday conceded she initially felt like the “odd one out” at the Council, but quickly found her niche.
“The environment here is so warm, friendly, loving and supportive. It’s a wonderful environment to work in.
“I wanted to ensure I confronted the disease head-on and be knowledgeable about it so I was not prejudiced in any way, shape or form. Knowledge is the key.”
Many same-sex attracted and gender diverse Jews have been victims of disreputable people and organisations within and beyond the Jewish community who have performed destructive conversion practices, often with long-lasting negative or even fatal consequences.
This legislation sends a clear message that no longer is it acceptable or legal to tell someone they are broken because of their gender identity or sexual orientation and then attempt to make the person conform to an unnatural identity.
Knowing our state government, under the capable leadership of Premier Daniel Andrews, has taken this issue seriously proves it cares about the well-being of people with diverse sexual and gender identities.
Victoria has set a high bar on this important issue, and we hope that other states around Australia are motivated to tighten their laws similarly.
We acknowledge the tireless dedication of the Brave Network, SOGICE Survivors, Jewish Care, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Just Equal and Equality Australia, together with the many individuals and networks who have helped in bringing about this visionary change.
CONTACT Michael Barnett – Co-convenor 0417-595-541 email@example.com
Forum: Change and Suppression Practices in the Jewish Community
A forum for our community to learn about the LGBTQA+ Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Bill that is before Victorian parliament. Date And Time:Wed, 20 January 2021 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM AEDT
About this Event
Jewish Care invites you to a unique community forum to discuss LGBTQA+ conversion practices (sometimes called ‘conversion therapy’) and the current Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill.
The forum is being co-hosted with the Brave Network, a survivor support and advocacy group, and SOGICE Survivors, a national advocacy and research group, and supported by Courage to Care, a national upstander education initiative of B’nai B’rith. The forum will provide our community an opportunity to learn about conversion practices, hear global and local research about prevalence and harm, and the journey that led to the development of the Victorian bill. It will outline the contents of the bill, but more importantly how the community can show support to both survivors of conversion practices and this bill being passed into law.
The event’s panel will include:
Rabbi Gersh Lazarow (he/him), Temple Beth Israel
Samuel Murray (he/they), Jewish Care Executive and LGBTI+ Liaison Officer
Patrick McIvor (he/him), Brave Network
Nathan Despott (he/they), Brave Network and SOGICE Survivors
Nicola Kolb (she/her), community member and survivor ally
Jarod Rhine-Davis (he/him), 2020 B’nai B’rith Changemaker Leadership Award recipient
Leah Boulton (she/her), Founder and Executive Officer, Pathways Melbourne. www.pathwaysmelbourne.org
Dr Gávi Ansara (he/him), Clinical Psychotherapist, Clinical Family Therapist, and founder of Rosh Pinah, An Affirming Orthodox Jewish Network
Various multi-faith, multicultural LGBTQ+ and allied voices have written an open letter in support of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 currently before the Victorian Parliament.
The letter is signed by:
Ghassan Kassisieh, Legal Director, Equality Australia and author of the ‘We’re Family Too’ report
Dr Judy Tang, Victorian Multicultural Commissioner and ex-President of Australian LGBTIQ+ Multicultural Council
Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Research lead and founding member of Australian LGBTIQ+ Multicultural Council (AGMC); Gender & Sexuality Studies, Deakin University
Cedric Yin-Cheng, Chief Executive Officer, Australia & New Zealand Tongzhi Rainbow Alliance Inc (ANTRA)
Abanob Saad, Conversion Practice Survivor and Founder, Queer Middle-Eastern and African Christians in Australia (QMEACA)
Benjamin Oh and Molina Asthana, Co-Convenors, Asian Australian Alliance (AAA)
Budi Sudarto, Director, Ananda Training & Consultancy and Member of Queer Muslims in Australia
Ken Dumandan, President, Acceptance Melbourne LGBTIQ+ Catholics
Dr Reem Sweid, Founder and former President of Muslim Collective; Faculty Member, Alfred Deakin Research Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University
Nathan Despott, Brave Network
Michael Barnett, Co-convenor, Aleph Melbourne
Bhante Akāliko Bhikkhu, Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community
Individuals and families can find themselves in housing distress for many reasons. Sometimes what is required is assistance to navigate the housing system, financial assistance, an understanding of pathways to more affordable housing or housing itself. Jewish Care’s Housing Support team alongside other community services works with all members of the Jewish Community in the endeavour to find and sustain secure and affordable accommodation. Please contact Jewish Care’s Front Door on 8517 5999 if you are in need of support pertaining to housing distress or contact via firstname.lastname@example.org