Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities respond to COVID-19

A collection of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities.

Responses to COVID-19 from the Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities

Thorne Harbour Health (Victoria)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update and advice for people living with HIV [Feb 28 2020]
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Mar 12 2020]
Update on COVID-19 for PLHIV [Mar 16 2020]
Sex, Intimacy and Coronavirus [Mar 17 2020]
PrEP & COVID-19

ACON (New South Wales)
ACON Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement [Mar 15 2020]
Trans and Gender Diverse People and COVID-19 [Mar 18 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Casual Sex and Social Distancing [Mar 20 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON services, programs and events [Mar 23 2020]
Sex in the Era of COVID-19 [Mar 24 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON Regional Services [Mar 26 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON Head Office Opening Hours [Apr 3 2020]
Dealing with stress and anxiety during COVID-19 [Apr 3 2020]
ACON Publishes Online COVID-19 Clearinghouse for LGBTQ Communities in NSW [Apr 8 2020]
WATCH: LGBTQ Online Forum – COVID-19 & Our Communities [Apr 8 2020]
Support For Harmful Drug and Alcohol Use Available During Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Apr 9 2020]

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations / National LGBTI Health Alliance
LGBTI people, health and COVID-19 [Mar 17 2020]

Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation [Mar 20 2020]

Hares & Hyenas Bookshop (Victoria)
UPDATE FOR CUSTOMERS & SUPPORTERS [Mar 19 2020]

Minus18 (Victoria)
COVID-19 UPDATE FROM MINUS18 [Mar 20 2020]

Living Positive Victoria
Coronavirus update and advice for HIV positive Australians [Feb 28 2020]
COVID-19 Update for People Living with HIV [Mar 17 2020]
COVID-19 is changing the way we interact with you [Mar 25 2020]

Jewish Community Council of Victoria
Information for Victorian Jewish Communal Leaders on Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Mar 17 2020]
Information for Victorian Jewish Communal Leaders on Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UPDATE 2 [Mar 18 2020]

Executive Council of Australian Jewry
ECAJ Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic [Mar 12 2020]
Community response to Coronavirus [Mar 17 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #1 [Mar 20 2020]
COVID-19: ABC’s Dr Norman Swan with a special message for the Australian Jewish community [Mar 23 2020]
What coronavirus means for our school-kids, seders, and saftas [Mar 24 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #2 [Mar 27 2020]
Coping with isolation, fear and anxiety in a time of Coronavirus [Mar 29 2020]
NSW Jewish community opens Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to support community during coronavirus pandemic [Mar 31 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #3 [Apr 3 2020]

New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies
NSW Jewish Community Response to COVID-19 [Mar 18 2020]
COVID-19 pandemic: Message from Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger [Mar 26 2020]

Union for Progressive Judaism
Union for Progressive Judaism Statement on Coronavirus [c Mar 12 2020]

Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand
Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19 [c Mar 12 2020]

Temple Beth Israel (Victoria)
COVID-19 update [Mar 18 2020]

Leo Baeck Centre (Victoria)
LBC Weekly Update 11 March 2020

Jewish Care Victoria
COVID-19 Helpline

Community Security Group (Victoria)
Information on COVID-19 for communal leaders

Jewish Care (NSW)
JCA Announces COVID‐19 Jewish Emergency Relief Fund [Apr 2 2020]

This page will be updated as further information comes to hand.
We invite readers to contact us with relevant community information.

MEDIA RELEASE: In memory of Anton Hermann

Aleph Melbourne is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Anton Hermann in a cycling accident on July 6 2019.

Anton was Vice President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV). In this capacity Anton was key in formulating the JCCV apology to Aleph Melbourne in April 2019 – an apology in response to the JCCV voting to reject Aleph’s membership to the JCCV 20 years earlier, in May 1999.

Anton was proactive in listening to the concerns of Aleph (including meeting with Aleph representatives Michael Barnett and Shaun Miller) and also reviewing the minutes of the JCCV meeting from May 1999 at which Aleph’s membership to the JCCV was rejected.

Anton came to understand the hateful and hurtful language of some delegates at the JCCV meeting of 20 years ago, and the long term negative impact this had on many LGBTIQ people in the Jewish community and also on their allies.

With conviction, compassion and consensus, Anton ensured that the JCCV apology was genuine, meaningful and unconditional.

This is just one of many actions of Anton’s that had a positive and uplifting social impact in relation to the Jewish community, the LGBTIQ community, and the broader community.

Anton’s untimely death is devastating to all who knew him and who were helped by him. We extend our sincere condolences to his family

Aleph will always remember his values and value his memory.

For further comment contact Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541 or michael@aleph.org.au.

Aleph Melbourne is a social, support and advocacy group for same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people (and allies) who have a Jewish heritage, living in Melbourne, Australia.

ENDS

JOY Saturday Magazine: Michael Barnett discusses the JCCV apology to Aleph Melbourne

Macca and Tass interview Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne regarding the May 2019 apology from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria

Saturday Magazine / Current Affairs / Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne

Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne

Presented by David ‘Macca’ McCarthy & Tass Mousaferiadis

Michael Barnett is the co-convener of Aleph @AlephMelbourne. They recently received an official apology from the Jewish Community Council Victoria for exclusion over 20 years ago. This is an historic occasion, because this is the first time a Jewish organisation has apologised, worldwide, for such things. 20 years of this hurt has been wiped away by this apology. JCCV have agreed that it was not just harmful but hateful.

Podcast: Download (Duration: 8:26 — 5.8MB)

Coverage of JCCV apology to Aleph Melbourne

Coverage of the April 2019 JCCV apology to Aleph Meebourne

This list of articles will be updated as new coverage is identified.

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Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne
JOY 94.9 Saturday Magazine / April 14 2019
https://joy.org.au/saturdaymagazine/2019/04/michael-barnett-jccv-apology

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JCCV’s ‘sorry’ to Aleph 20 years on
Australian Jewish News / April 5, 2019
https://www.jewishnews.net.au/jccvs-sorry-to-aleph-20-years-on/88233

[Note, there are a couple of mistakes in the second last paragraph of this story.  Aleph is not currently a member of the JCCV LGBTIQ Reference Group, although there are ongoing discussions about this.  Also, back in 1999 Aleph did not lose members after the failed vote.  The group went into hiatus and when it reformed it didn’t reinstate dues, which means there are no financial members, a prerequisite of becoming a JCCV affiliate.]

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MEDIA RELEASE: Aleph Melbourne receives historic 20 year apology from Jewish Community Council of Victoria
Aleph Melbourne / April 2, 2019
https://aleph.org.au/2019/04/02/media-release-aleph-melbourne-receives-historic-20-year-apology-from-jewish-community-council-of-victoria

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JEWISH LGBTI GROUP ALEPH MELBOURNE RECEIVES ‘HISTORIC’ APOLOGY FROM JEWISH COUNCIL
Star Observer / April 2, 2019
http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/victoria-news/jewish-lgbti-group-aleph-melbourne-receives-historic-apology-from-jewish-council/180333

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JCCV makes historic apology to Aleph Melbourne
J-Wire / April 2, 2019
http://www.jwire.com.au/jccv-makes-historic-apology-to-aleph-melbourne

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Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Australian Jewish News / March 7, 2019
https://www.jewishnews.net.au/sorry-seems-to-be-the-hardest-word/87175

MEDIA RELEASE: Aleph Melbourne receives historic 20 year apology from Jewish Community Council of Victoria

On April 1 2019 the Jewish Community Council of Victoria delivered an historic 20-year apology to Aleph Melbourne for past injustices.

MEDIA RELEASE
Aleph Melbourne receives historic 20 year apology
from Jewish Community Council of Victoria
April 2 2019

Last night the Jewish Community Council of Victoria issued an unconditional apology to Aleph Melbourne for denying it membership of their council in May 1999, and for hurt arising out of the debate that transpired.

Aleph Melbourne welcomes the apology and thanks the JCCV Executive and those members of their council who turned up to vote in favour of the motion.

Whilst the JCCV Executive has always been supportive of Aleph Melbourne, the words of the apology and their actions have demonstrated they are committed to supporting the full and unconditional inclusion and acceptance of all same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people in the Jewish community.

It was significant that this apology was issued alongside a discussion on anti-Semitism and racism.  The JCCV have further demonstrated their integrity by acknowledging that hate from within the Jewish community is as unacceptable as hate directed toward it.

Aleph Melbourne acknowledges the involvement of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society in the formulation and passage of this apology and is grateful for their long-standing and ongoing support.

Aleph Melbourne believes this is the first apology ever from any Jewish community in relation to the mistreatment of LGBTIQ people.

The JCCV apology is attached below.

A photograph of the formal presentation of a framed copy of the apology is available below and online here: http://bit.ly/jccv-aleph-apology-photo; L to R: (JCCV reps) Anton Hermann, Doron Abramovici, Jennifer Huppert; (Aleph Melbourne reps) Michael Barnett, Shaun Miller, Colin Krycer.  Photo by Gregory Storer.

Michael Barnett & Shaun Miller
ALEPH MELBOURNE

ENDS

For further information contact Michael Barnett  on 0417-595-541 or michael@aleph.org.au


 

Motion to JCCV Plenum – April 2019

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

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 a valid application for membership of the JCCV in January 1999
  • The Executive of the JCCV supported admission of Aleph Melbourne as a member
  • On 10 May 1999 the JCCV Plenum debated the motion and voted (39 votes in favour and 46 votes against) to deny the application for membership
  • In the course of the debate, homophobic views were expressed by some delegates which caused long-term harm to members of our LGBTIQ+ community

Accordingly, this Plenum now apologises unconditionally to all members of our community who were impacted by the rejection of the membership application and for the unacceptable homophobic views expressed during the debate.

We apologise for the deep offence and humiliation caused by the hateful words spoken in the course of the debate.

We apologise for the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of Aleph Melbourne’s membership application.

We now recommit ourselves to welcoming and embracing LGBTIQ+ Jews in all our work, as part of our broader commitment to social inclusion for all members of the Jewish community of Victoria.

Through our genuine commitment to equality and diversity we seek to ensure that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.


 

20190401 JCCV present historic apology to Aleph Melbourne
L to R: (JCCV reps) Anton Hermann, Doron Abramovici, Jennifer Huppert; (Aleph Melbourne reps) Michael Barnett, Shaun Miller, Colin Krycer.  Photo by Gregory Storer.

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


20190304-AJDS-Motion-to-JCCV-Plenum

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

The Shtick: LGBTIQ inclusion + “Jews of Pride” @ Pride March

[The article Aleph Melbourne – Championing LGBTIQ inclusion and advocacy in the Jewish community provides critical background on the formation of the JCCV’s LGBTI Reference Group, further to the discussion in this video]