VIDEO: Jews of Pride 2020

A compilation of videos showcasing the “Jews of Pride” contingent at Pride March 2020.

The “Jews of Pride” contingent came to life again at the 25th Pride March, February 2, 2020.

Enjoy this compilation of clips taken from the day showcasing the diversity of Melbourne’s Jewish community, celebrating LGBTIQ+ people and our families.

Compilation:
SKIF shows who can dance (0:22)
Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC) (2:09)
Queer South Asian dancers (2:17)
The truck starts and a proud Jewish mum rushes out (2:25)
Ute-cam: Music, meet contingent. Let the fun begin! (2:57)
Quick dance routine in street (7:32)
Street dancing and the contingent (7:37)
SKIF & Habo dance (12:56)
Rounding final corner out of Fitzroy Street (13:47)

Participating organisations:
Aleph Melbourne, Australian Jewish Democratic Society, Habonim Dror, Jewish Care Victoria, Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, Keshet Australia, National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (VIC), SKIF, Temple Beth Israel, and Zionist Federation of Australia.

Beyond politics – a Jewish call for serious climate action

Aleph Melbourne is a signatory to this statement because as an organisation that cares about the well-being of individuals and families, we understand that we must also care about our environment and all life on the planet if we wish to live safely and harmoniously.

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EXTRA MEDIA COVERAGE
THE BIG SMOKE: Beyond politics: A jewish call for serious climate action
PLUS61J: Australian Jewish advocacy groups urge government to ramp up climate strategy
ARRCC: BEYOND POLITICS – A JEWISH CALL FOR SERIOUS CLIMATE ACTION
ABC RN Religion & Ethics Report: Feb 12 (17:14-17:26)
PLUS61J: Why is ECAJ so reluctant to speak out on climate action?

Media Release: Jews of Pride returns to Pride March in 2020

MEDIA RELEASE
SUNDAY JANUARY 12 2020
JEWS OF PRIDE RETURNS TO PRIDE MARCH IN 2020

The biggest ever Jews of Pride contingent will come together on Sunday February 2 at the 2020 Midsumma Pride March in Melbourne.

Over ten supportive groups from the Melbourne Jewish community will comprise Jews of Pride as we proudly stand up for and celebrate equality for all LGBTIQ+ people.

In 2018 Jews of Pride was awarded the “Most Fabulous” group in Pride March: https://aleph.org.au/2018/02/18/jewish-contingent-awarded-most-fabulous-in-2018-midsumma-pride-march

Last year the collective energy of 100 people created an unsurpassed Jewish presence in Pride March: https://aleph.org.au/2019/02/06/jews-of-pride-at-midsumma-pride-march-2019

This year, after months of planning, Jews of Pride returns with renewed enthusiasm, a fantastic fresh look, a bigger sound system and refreshed playlist, and our largest ever number of groups from the Jewish community. Participating organisations include:

  • Aleph Melbourne
  • Australian Jewish Democratic Society
  • Habonim Dror
  • Jewish Care Victoria
  • Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria
  • Keshet
  • National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Vic)
  • SKIF
  • Temple Beth Israel
  • Zionist Federation of Australia
  • and more!

We invite the entire Jewish community to join Jews of Pride and celebrate Jewish trans and gender diverse, intersex, same-sex attracted people, rainbow families and allies, in the most fabulous, dynamic and festive contingent, as we pump out upbeat music and dance our way along Fitzroy Street.

Be part of the fun and meet us at the marshalling area, corner of Lakeside Drive and Fitzroy Street between 10 and 10:30 am for the 11am march start. Jews of Pride is in Wave G, position 16.

Jews of Pride Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1361418940707508
March order: https://www.midsumma.org.au/info/midsumma-pride-march-2020-marching-order

Enquiries: Michael Barnett | michael@aleph.org.au | 0417-595-541

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


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1999 AJDS letter re Aleph Melbourne membership denied by JCCV

19990511 AJDS JCCV letter

AJN May 14 1999 p33 Letters re Aleph defeat

11 May, 1999

In a momentous and shameful vote of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, on Monday 10 May, the Jewish Gay support group, ALEPH was refused membership of the JCCV. It has been only a generation since Jews and Homosexuals were forced to wear badges of coloured cloth – how quickly we seem to forget that we are inseparably linked by a very common but tragic history.

The criteria for acceptance onto the JCCV – the roof body of Victorian Jewry are simple indeed: A Victorian Jewish organisation aiming to advance Jewish ideals for its membership.

In an unusual secret ballot, affiliate organisations including Synagogues, Sporting groups, Youth Organisations, Cultural, Political and Women’s groups were asked to vote after some months of debate. Many expressed their dismay that they were forced to vote against their consciences by their affiliates. History does not accept such lame excuses when what was required from our community representatives was compassion and understanding, not religious bigotry.

The meeting voted clearly on religious lines – with the Orthodox representatives vehemently rejecting the view that Jewish Gays have a legitimate place in the Community! This despite an impassioned plea by Dr Phillip Bliss, president of the JCCV for Aleph’s acceptance.

The week prior to this opprobrious vote, Aleph published in the AJN an impressive and impassioned plea for acceptance – only to be refused and have the door to the closet slammed in their faces once again!

I can only say how ashamed I feel to be part of such a community that has turned its back on our fellow Jews.

Perhaps wearing a Pink Triangle with a yellow Star of David on it as a symbol of solidarity will finally bring the message home to the bigoted minority.

David Zyngier
The Australian Jewish Democratic Society
Publicity Officer

 

AJN Letters: Homophobia, Bullying & Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen – March 2 2012

2 Mar 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Letters to the editor should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for length and content. Only letters sent to letters@jewishnews.net.au will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.


My norms are not your norms

AS A proud gay Jew, who follows the Orthodox practices, I found little comfort in last week’s article “Tackling homophobia in the schoolyard” (AJN 24/02). They may preach against judgment, but that gives them no right to belittle us. “Universal norms” is not a “heterosexual union” Rabbi Cowen; that is your norm, in the same way that my norm is to be with someone of the same gender.

As for Rabbi Gutnick, your suggestion of submitting to celibacy is something to be ashamed of. It’s extremely narrow to perceive sexual diversity as purely physical and then to suggest that they deprive themselves of the same pleasures as everyone else. We don’t just need to be treated as equals, but we need to be recognised as equals. As with you, I too was created in God’s image – don’t ever forget that!

There is an Orthodox medium: accept and live. I pray that others of sexual diversity find the same strength to look beyond the community’s “tolerance” and seek those who accept: and most importantly, that they accept themselves.

NAME SUPPLIED
Caulfield, Vic


Sexual orientation and the dignity of difference

THE AJN should be congratulated for publishing a plurality of rabbinic and other views about schools programs to combat bullying.

Bullying and vilification on the basis of sexual orientation is as much a scourge as is bullying and vilification on grounds of faith, race or ethnic origin.

Teaching high-school students that some people happen to be homosexual (or happen to be Jewish or black or from a minority ethnic group) celebrates only that they should enjoy the dignity of difference, a phrase that hails from the most hallowed halls of Orthodoxy.

DAVID KNOLL
Coogee, NSW


Rabbis opinions should not be silenced

RABBI Fred Morgan’s criticism of Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen’s attitude to homosexuality in “The realities of the human condition” (AJN 24/02) is based on relativism. But if no behaviour is “normative”, is anything normal? And is it not a rabbi’s and ethicist’s task to give guidance?

Our homosexual brothers and sisters, treated with love and respect, should celebrate their acceptance. Instead, some demand that their sexuality be celebrated. And some ridicule religion, but demand the utmost respect.

The Safe Schools Coalition Victoria website reveals a homosexuality-promoting group ensconced in a university, with programs even for kindergarten children. Sensitivity programs are fine, but the indoctrination of a minority ideal isn’t.

A society that values tolerance and prizes free speech must respect the right of Rabbi Dr Cowen to air his views. Those who disagree with his views should debate them, instead of trying to silence him, as though he was a blasphemer.

PAUL WINTER
Chatswood, NSW


The right way to tackle the scourge of bullying

A WORLD that is threatened by terrorism and is exposed to violence and immorality in the media is a breeding ground for anti-social functioning among both children and their adult role models. It is no surprise that bullying in schools and through social networking sites is on the rise. We need strong remedies to address the problem of bullying.

Do I want my Jewish children in school today to have their moral and ethical education regarding bullying initiated by our present day government answerable to every lobby group?

Even if some of what they propose to teach is on track in their “Safe Schools Coalition”, I know with a mother’s love that some of the methods they espouse are far from appropriate for any school age child.

We should be most grateful to Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen who has courageously spoken out in these challenging times against a “politically correct” but dangerously flawed approach to bullying.

Inspired by the greatness of his own father who helped to bring healing and peace wherever his work took him, Rabbi Cowen’s writings show us how to return to the universal values, the moral and ethical absolutes of Torah and the Noahide Laws.

The Torah absolutes simplify everything. Our children learn that God is greatly good and that we are all made in His image therefore we all have great goodness.

A child with good self-esteem who feels loved and wanted at home and who is modelled good behaviours will not become a bully.

SUE ZIMMERMAN
St Kilda East, Vic


Halacha is out-of-date on homosexuality

AS a heterosexual atheistic Jew I would like to address the GLBT issue featured last week. I am one of the very large number of Jews in Melbourne who do not believe in God, the divinity of the Torah or any other supernatural phenomenon.

I have learnt much ethical wisdom from many Jewish sources, but I believe they are all ultimately human in origin. There are however numerous aspects of halachic law I see as archaic, immoral and tragic. Some have fortunately been relegated to a status of inactive irrelevance by rabbis of previous centuries. These include the laws permitting slavery and polygamy. I see the biblical prohibitions against homosexuality as now crying out to be similarly shelved in the backwaters of Jewish history. Halacha actually recommends capital punishment for homosexuals in certain situations.

Jews more than most should have learnt from history that it is evil to persecute minorities and threaten them with execution.

I believe homophobia is as offensive as anti-semitism, and homophobic attitudes within the Jewish community must be challenged by every rational and responsible Jew.

To ignore homophobia is to condone it. I encourage those who are committed to orthodoxy to challenge their rabbis to be courageous on this issue.

NAME SUPPLIED
Caulfield, Vic


Why the rabbi has got it wrong

IN an article recently published in the Australian Family Association journal, Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen writes that the real goal of the homosexual “anti-bullying” program for schools is “the teaching and validation of homosexual behaviour at the early stages of child education”. He further argues that homosexual behaviour is a moral wrong.

Rabbi Cowen is essentially claiming that the homosexual “anti-bullying” program for schools has an agenda hidden behind the overt purpose of eliminating bullying behaviour.

This claim deserves condemnation for two reasons:

Firstly, because it seeks to discredit a program aimed at protecting vulnerable young people in our community.

Secondly, because it validates the discriminatory attitudes on which the bullying behaviour overtly relies for its justification.

Even accepting that Rabbi Cowen himself agrees it is unmistakeably clear to “all good and reasonable” people that “the bullying of a child on any grounds is reprehensible and must be stopped”, arguing that homosexuality is abnormal behaviour undermines any anti-discriminatory message.

Writing from his religious perspective Rabbi Cowen reflects the attitude of religious authorities down the ages when he says that “however common or strong homosexual impulses may be in certain individuals, that will not make homosexual practice permissible”.

That position has ever been used by some to justify the vile persecution of those who are different to the majority.

We stand alongside those Jews and others who firmly believe that we need to be accepting of the wide variety of sexualities that are manifest in our community.

Bullying and exclusion – whether by schoolchildren or by rabbis, or indeed by anyone else – needs to be combated. Regardless of traditionalist religious interpretations, it is vital that the Jewish community, and the wider community, become places of inclusivity and belonging.

DR JORDY SILVERSTEIN
HAROLD ZWIER
Australian Jewish Democratic Society

AJDS supports anti-bullying program in schools  | The Australian Jewish Democratic Society.

AJDS supports anti-bullying program in schools

Submitted by AJDS on February 27, 2012 – 12:08

  • Editorial
Safe Schools Coalition Victoria

In an article recently published in the Australian Family Association journal, Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen writes that the real goal of the homosexual “anti-bullying” program for schools is “the teaching and validation of homosexual behaviour at the early stages of child education”. He further argues that homosexual behaviour is a moral wrong.

Rabbi Cowen is essentially claiming that the homosexual “anti-bullying” program for schools has an agenda hidden behind the overt purpose of eliminating bullying behaviour.

This claim deserves condemnation for two reasons: Firstly, because it seeks to discredit a program aimed at protecting vulnerable young people in our community. Secondly, because it validates the discriminatory attitudes on which the bullying behaviour overtly relies for its justification.

Even accepting that Rabbi Cowen himself agrees it is unmistakeably clear to “all good and reasonable” people that “the bullying of a child on any grounds is reprehensible and must be stopped”, arguing that homosexuality is abnormal behaviour undermines any anti-discriminatory message.

Writing from his religious perspective Rabbi Cowen reflects the attitude of religious authorities down the ages when he says that “however common or strong homosexual impulses may be in certain individuals, that will not make homosexual practice permissible”. That position has ever been used by some to justify the vile persecution of those who are different to the majority.

We stand alongside those Jews and others who firmly believe that we need to be accepting of the wide variety of sexualities that are manifest in our community. Bullying and exclusion – whether by schoolchildren or by rabbis, or indeed by anyone else – needs to be combated. Regardless of traditionalist religious interpretations, it is vital that the Jewish community, and the wider community, become places of inclusivity and belonging.

Dr Jordy Silverstein, Harold Zwier: Australian Jewish Democratic Society
27 February 2012

Aleph Melbourne denied JCCV membership on May 10 1999

These are the minutes from the JCCV Plenum Meeting at Beth Weizmann on May 10 1999 at which Aleph Melbourne’s membership application was rejected.

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