Teacher loses job at Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne after revealing she is transgender

Livia Albeck-Ripka from The New York Times reported in her October 18 2018 article “In Some Australian Schools, Teachers Can Be Fired for Being Gay”:

In Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community, a teacher reported losing her job after revealing she was transgender.

It is alarming to read that a teacher has lost her job because she revealed her gender identity and not for any failure to perform her duties as a teacher.

This sends a message that transgender people cannot freely express their gender in a workplace that is exempt from adequate anti-discrimination protections, thereby making their workplace unsafe for them.

Transgender people experience significant levels of discrimination in society due to intolerance, which feeds into elevated levels of suicidal ideation.  Schools should be places of learning and knowledge, not intolerance.

If a teacher was sacked for revealing a Jewish identity this would be seen as anti-Semitism, yet it seems there’s another standard for Jewish schools when the act of revealing a gender can lead to termination of employment.

This is a clear case of double standards and is entirely unacceptable.

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Wentworth 2018: Candidate responses to ECAJ “Religious Freedom” question

[ The information below is drawn from the four linked J-Wire pages.  We have ordered the candidates alphabetically by surname. ]

In the interests of ensuring that our community is properly informed and engaged in the political process The Executive Council of Australian Jewry asked the four candidates currently polling at over 10% of the primary vote (as per the Reachtel poll published on 17 September), to state their positions on matters of special concern to Jewish Australians.

Religious Freedom

The same-sex marriage survey last year has led to claims that religious freedom is not adequately protected in Australia, and that religious institutions and organisations should have enhanced rights to discriminate in favour of members of their own faith, or to promote their own beliefs.

  1. Do you agree?

Licia Heath (Independent) [web site]

The same-sex marriage debate was about removing the state-supported discrimination that was enshrined in law (within the marriage act).  This had no impact on the rights of religious institutions to continue their faith-based practices in the existing manner including practice or promotion of their beliefs.

The Australian community, including the Wentworth community, strongly voiced its support of removing discrimination in Australian law and in civil practice.

To legislate in a manner that establishes, in law, a right to discriminate against a segment of the Australian community is against the majority of strongly held community sentiment and should not be supported.

Allowing a religious, or religiously-affiliated institution to discriminate against one minority group would open the door to other forms of discrimination that are against community values – such as religious discrimination.

If religious schools or institutions practice discrimination outside of the law, and outside of community standards, then they forfeit the right

Tim Murray (Australian Labor Party) [web site]

I am comfortable with the marriage equality legislation passed last year and the protections it provides.

Dr Kerryn Phelps (Independent) [web site]

I believe that all Australians should be free to practice their religion, provided that does not impinge on the rights or freedoms of others.

More than any other group, the Jewish community understands the consequences of discrimination on the basis of religion.

I do not believe in any form of discrimination.

At a time when their only worry should be whether they get their homework done in time, some children have to worry that they may be expelled from school because they are gay or transgender.
We know the consequences of marginalisation and rejection are serious and potentially fatal, with high rates of suicide and attempted suicide in children and young people who are rejected or lack social support if they think they are gay or transgender.

Schools should provide supportive environments for these children and young people.

I believe that religion and faith communities should provide comfort and protection for vulnerable young people, not be the source of distress and despair.

As a doctor I am deeply concerned that after the bruising marriage equality campaign, yet another debate about the personal lives of LGBTQI people will open those wounds again.

Dave Sharma (Liberal Party of Australia) [web site]

Wentworth is quite a progressive community. 80% voted for same-sex marriage, as I did.

I would be opposed to any new measures that impose forms of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, or anything else.

It is important to many, right across Australia, that people be free to choose their religion and express and practice their beliefs, without intimidation – so long as they practice their beliefs within the framework of the law.

The Government is considering the report of the expert panel chaired by Philip Ruddock, which received 15,000 submissions on this issue. I’m confident the Government will get the balance right.

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Dave Sharma, Neo-Nazism and the Jewish Community

Dave SharmaDave Sharma is the Liberal Party candidate in the 2018 Wentworth By-election.

He proudly announced a $2.2million grant from the federal government for security infrastructure for the NSW Jewish community, welcomed by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (NSW JBD):

“The federal government’s grant will help ensure that the security risks faced by the Jewish community are reduced,” he said.

This “urgent” funding was “warmly welcomed” by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ):

“Ensuring the safety and security of all citizens is the first duty of any government”, Wertheim said. “Dave Sharma is to be congratulated for pursuing this matter so energetically with the Federal government. We thank him and the Federal government for recognising the importance and urgency of this issue for our community.”

Attacks on the Jews and LGBTIQ people by white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are nothing new, as we are reminded by the ECAJ:

The “racialists” are a more extreme version of the nationalists. They seek the violent overthrow of democracy and the imposition of an explicitly Nazi dictatorship by “Aryan” whites. The newest such group, Antipodean Resistance, whose Hitler-saluting members hide behind the anonymity of “death’s-head” masks in all their videos and photos, actively promotes and incites hatred and violence. Its anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual posters include graphic images depicting the shooting of Jews and homosexuals in the head. One poster called to “Legalise the execution of Jews”. Other posters urged homosexuals to commit suicide; one of these was widely distributed during the same sex marriage debate.

On October 15 2018 the Australian Senate voted 31-28 to narrowly defeat Senator Pauline Hanson’s “It’s OK to Be White” motion:

27 senators voted with Hanson, including ten government ministers.

Communications minister Mitch Fifield, trade minister Simon Birmingham, indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion, small business minister Michaelia Cash, deputy leader of the Nationals and minister for sport Bridget McKenzie, resources minister Matt Canavan, assistant minister for Home Affairs Linda Reynolds, assistant minister for treasury Zed Seselja, assistant minister for agriculture Richard Colbeck and the assistant minister for international development Anne Ruston all voted in favour.

Before the vote Ruston told the chamber: “The government condemns all forms of racism”.

Liberal senators Eric Abetz, Slade Brockman, David Bushby, Jonathon Duniam, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Lucy Gichuhi, Jane Hume, James McGrath, Jim Molan, Dean Smith, Amanda Stoker and National senators Barry O’Sullivan and John Williams also voted for the motion.

As did One Nation’s Peter Georgiou, Katter Australia Party’s Fraser Anning, Australian Conservatives’ Cory Bernardi and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm.

The “It’s OK to Be White” slogan has its origins in the neo-Nazi movement.  The US-based Jewish Anti-Defamation League documents this.

Dave Sharma clearly has the tick of approval from the Jewish community’s leadership.  Now he is aligned with a party from which at least a dozen MPs openly support a motion with its origins unambiguously founded in neo-Nazism.

It is not without irony that the $2.2million urgent security funding promised to the Jewish community, announced by a Liberal Party candidate, and welcomed by the NSW JBD and ECAJ, is likely going to be used to protect the Jewish community from white-supremacist neo-Nazi hate and bigotry fuelled by the very party the candidate belongs to.

Dave Sharma, the NSW JBD and the ECAJ need to urgently condemn the “It’s ok Be White” motion, the absence of which will amount to tacit support.

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Queer @ JIFF 2018

Enjoy the following queer offerings at JIFF 2018.  Full programme here.

JIFF 2018


THE PRINCE AND THE DYBBUK (KSIĄŻĘ I DYBUK) POLANDGERMANY / 2017

“Outstanding… one of the most amazing biographies of the 20th century.” — The Spiegel

The director of the Yiddish classic The Dybbuk is remembered as a Polish aristocrat, Hollywood producer, a rogue and liar, and an open homosexual. But who, really, was Michal Waszyński (born Moshe Waks), the son of a poor Ukrainian Jewish blacksmith, who died as Prince Michal Waszyński in Italy? Waszyński made 40 films with Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani, Orson Welles and other stars, but his most spectacular creation was his own life.

Presenting a modern take on the narrative of the Wandering Jew, The Prince and the Dybbuk asks whether it is ever possible to cut oneself off from one’s roots, and at what cost.

Winner Best Documentary on Cinema at the 2017 Venice Film Festival.

82 MINS / ENGLISH, ITALIAN, HEBREW, YIDDISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

DIRECTOR — Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosolowski
CATEGORY — Documentary


DEAR FREDY (FREDY HAYAKAR) ISRAEL / 2017

“People loved him. Their eyes sparkled when they talked about him, and they accept him as he was.” — Director Rubi Gat

The extraordinary story of Fredy Hirsch, a charismatic gymnast and youth leader who provided care and dignity to over 600 Jewish children.

Born in Germany, Hirsch was 19 years old when the Nuremberg Laws were published, forcing him to flee to the Czech Republic. Soon deported to Auschwitz, Hirsch used his experience to entertain and comfort the children of the camp, and collaborated with members of the underground to plan a revolt that never came to pass. Combining survivor testimony, exquisite animation and archive, Dear Fredy explores the life and legacy of an unsung queer Jewish hero.

74 MINS / HEBEW, ENGLISH, CZECH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

DIRECTOR — Rubi Gat
CATEGORY — Documentary


STUDIO 54: THE DOCUMENTARY USA / 2018

“[A] thrilling and definitive documentary [that] captures the delirium — and the dark side — of the legendary New York disco, and imprints us with an indelible portrait of the nightclub that became the apotheosis of the disco era: the freedom, the excess, the aristocracy, the pulsating pop glory.” — Variety

Studio 54 was the epicentre of 70s hedonism – a place that not only redefined the nightclub, but also came to symbolise an entire era. Its co-owners, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, two Jewish friends from Brooklyn, seemed to come out of nowhere to suddenly preside over a new kind of New York society. Now, 39 years after the velvet rope was first slung across the club’s hallowed threshold, this feature documentary tells the real story behind the greatest club of all time.

98 MINS / ENGLISH

DIRECTOR — Matt Tyrnauer
CAST — Steve Rubell, Ian Schrager
CATEGORY — Documentary


SAVING NETA (LEHATZIL ET NE) ISRAEL / 2016

“Touching and rewarding.” — The Jerusalem Post

Four women with nothing in common find their lives profoundly altered by an encounter with a mysterious stranger. A collection of stories spanning the seasons, each episode introduces a woman ‘on the verge’: a career police officer unable to cope with the stress of work and her teenage daughter; a lesbian cellist ambivalent about raising a child with her partner; a mother who plans to tell her children she’s getting a divorce; and a businesswoman who goes home for her mother’s funeral and must institutionalise her mentally challenged sister. Impacting each of these fractured lives is Neta, a drifter struggling with his own personal crisis.

This sensitive and thought-provoking contemplation of femininity and parenthood won the Audience Award at the 2017 Jerusalem Film Festival.

90 MINS / HEBREW (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

DIRECTOR — Nir Bergman
CAST — Benny Avni, Rotem Abuhab, Naama Arlaky, Irit Kaplan
CATEGORY — Feature


 

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AGMC Conference 2018: Melbourne’s Jewish Community: Going from “gays not welcome” to “we support marriage equality” in under 20 years

2018 AGMC Natioal Conference - Register Now.png(Click above or here to register)

Melbourne’s Jewish Community: Going from “gays not welcome” to “we support marriage equality” in under 20 years
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Sat Sep 22, 2018
Training Room
Community groups in action

Description
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.

30 minute Oral Presentation and Video

Speaker
Michael Barnett
Convenor, Aleph Melbourne

20180922 AGMC - Michael Barnett - Aleph Melbourne session

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The Wellbeing of LGBT+ Pupils A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Schools | Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

SOURCE: The Wellbeing of LGBT+ Pupils: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Schools

Guide for Orthodox Jewish schools on the welfare of LGBT+ pupils.

For many months, together with KeshetUK, the Chief Rabbi has been working to produce this unique and essential guide.

Entitled “The Wellbeing of LGBT+ Pupils: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Schools”, it is aimed at school leaders, and sets out how they should provide for the welfare of LGBT+ students.

Following the release of the document, the Chief Rabbi said, “This is a document which I believe is an extremely significant milestone and will have a real and lasting impact on reducing harm to LGBT+ Jews across the Orthodox Jewish community. Our children need to know that at school, at home and in the community, they will be loved and protected regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.”

Dalia Fleming, Executive Director of KeshetUK said, “KeshetUK is proud to have worked closely with Chief Rabbi Mirvis and Jewish LGBT+ people to create “The Wellbeing of LGBT+ Pupils: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Schools”. KeshetUK now looks forward to working with with schools, Rabbis and educators across Jewish communities, supporting them to implement this guide so they can ensure their LGBT+ students reach their potential, free from homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, discrimination and fear.”

In order to view the full document click here.

201809-The-Wellbeing-of-LGBT-Pupils-A-Guide-for-Orthodox-Jewish-Schools
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Chief rabbi calls on Jewish schools to tackle homophobia | The Guardian

Chief rabbi calls on Jewish schools to tackle homophobia

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Historic Day as Organisations Pledge Support for LGBTI

 

Historic Day as Organisations Pledge Support for LGBTIQ

On Thursday 30 August, Jewish Care Victoria and nine other faith-based organisations came together to pledge commitment to inclusivity for all LGBTIQ people who seek services.

Co-hosted by Jewish Care and Temple Beth Israel, the historic event was attended by CEOs and representatives of participating organisations, all of which are part of the Faith-Based Service Provider Network.

Jewish Care is committed to developing and implementing inclusive practices for all members of the Victorian Jewish community. In addition to signing the multi-faith pledge, Jewish Care is working towards achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation.

 


20180804-Historic-Day-as-Organisations-Pledge-Support-for-LGBTIQ_FINAL

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Joint statement of LGBTIQ Inclusion

“Today ten faith based providers launched a joint statement of LGBTIQ Inclusion. Pictured is the statement with the signatures from the ten organisations at Temple Beth Israel. GLHV@ARCSHS manager of LGBTI family violence, Matthew Parsons, was present as all ten organisations are working with GLHV to achieve rainbow tick accreditation.” (August 30 2018)

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Aleph Melbourne & Dayenu stand up for LGBTIQ surrogacy in Israel

A Letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - LGBTQ-Jews

 

Benjamin Netanyahu
Office of the Prime Minister
Jerusalem, Israel
July 21, 2018

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

We represent more than 20 LGBTQ-Jewish communities from across the world and writing to express our strong support for the Israeli LGBTQ community’s struggle and fight for equality.

The right to become a parent is a universal basic human right that should not be deprived to anyone, especially due to their sexual or gender identity. It is not just a liberal concept, but also a Jewish mandate to “be fruitful and multiply”. Israel’s latest legislation, which discriminates against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Queers by denying their right to parenthood, comes after several years where same-sex couples in Israel are facing inequality in parenthood rights and legal recognition.

We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Israel and express our concerns over the recent trends happening to individuals and their equal rights.

We call on you to amend this discrimination and to truly promote equality for the LGBTQ community.

Sincerely,

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