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]

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]

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]

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]

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 [Mar 23 2020]

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

The Progressive Perspective on Same Sex Marriage | Galus Australis

The Progressive Perspective on Same Sex Marriage

July 24, 2013 – 8:00 pm

By Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black:

Scott Whitmont wedding in Sydney

Within Progressive Judaism, we start with a strong emphasis on the human position. We also believe that every human being is ‘made in God’s image’, and that God is a God of love, kindness and justice. Whilst the majority of people are predominantly heterosexual, it is clear that a significant number are not, and we do not accept that God wishes them to be forced into relationships and structures that are not as loving, healthy and supportive as they could be.

Since we believe that Torah is a revered but ultimately human document, written by our ancestors, inspired by God and seeking to answer the question ‘What does God want of us?’, we recognise the duplicated prohibition in Leviticus that ‘a man should not lie with another man as with a woman’ as one of those simplistic and time-bound human rules, developed in the context of needing to produce as many children as possible to create a numerous nation (and army) – and one that has, sadly and tragically, led to enormous prejudice, bigotry, hatred and violence against a particular group within all monotheistic religions over the subsequent millennia.

Back in Genesis 2, the observation is made, in the name of God, that a person should not be alone. However much you love your animals, they are not the same as another person. The context of the creation story on Genesis 1 is on reproduction – the trees and vegetation with their seed in them, the very first command – even before humans have been created – to the creatures and birds and insects: ‘Go forth and multiply’. When God created humanity – male and female at the same moment – they too received the same instruction – the first command to humanity, but with the added responsibility to ‘khivshuha’ – to ‘master’ or ‘care-take’ the earth. After Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden (the naive innocence of childhood where everything is provided), they get down to propagation (chapter 4) – the explanation for the population of the world. Male and Female equals children!

So this relationship which produces children was seen as ‘God’s natural plan’ (though sometimes with more than one wife!) and was formalised in ‘marriage’ which was then seen as a ‘God given’ or ‘holy’ structure (the agreement to form such as unit is termed ‘kiddushin’, sanctification). Hence, as with homophobia, marriage as a divinely sanctioned heterosexual union has also drawn heavily on the Hebrew bible as it has become the norm in monotheism.

Today we acknowledge that we cannot be sure of God’s will, and that Torah scholarship does not spell it out definitively and fully. We view and review our generations of experience and scholarship with our wish for truth, right, justice and compassion and our understanding of psychology, history, coercion and oppression in the name of religion and God. We seek to do God’s will, as our ancestors did, but with the awareness that we may not be right, and can only do our best.

In March, 2000, the Central Conference of American Rabbis agreed that “the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual”. In Britain, too, homosexual Jewish couples were able to celebrate a Commitment Ceremony. In 2009, the Rabbis of the Union for Progressive Judaism (Australia, New Zealand and Asia) resolved to permit its rabbis to officiate at same gender commitment ceremonies between two Jews. At that stage we were not ready to use the specific term Kiddushin but could use the term ‘bestowing Kedusha’.  A document may be used and referred to as a Ketubah. A Khuppah may be used as it may be understood to represent the Jewish home being established.

We have agreed not to call the ceremony Marriage for the time being even where we may be legally entitled to do so, but we have written to the government to call for full Marriage Equality – so that marriage may now be recognized as a binding legal and social commitment between two adults. Marriage serves as a recognised and long-term legal and social structure in the modern world. Those who live in a permanent relationship without the benefit of the formal recognition may still suffer from some social stigma and may be disadvantaged, for example in pension rights, and any such inequity is unjust and unacceptable. For these reasons, the Rabbis and leaders of the UPJ now wish to see marriage redefined as the permanent and exclusive relationship between two people, whether a man and a woman, two women or two men, and support Marriage Equality. We were the only religious group to provide supportive testimony to the two Parliamentary enquiries into it, but hope that others will soon join us! We also support Keshet (keshet.org.au), who are committed to challenging the ongoing prejudice and discrimination within the Jewish community against homosexuality.

Jonathan Keren-Black is Rabbi at The Leo Baeck Centre.

JCCV update on Melbourne gay radio JOY 94.9 FM – Nov 4 2011

Further to the post on November 3 about the analysis of the JCCV’s report, here’s the podcast of the interview.

Title: The Rainbow Report-Progress Part 3
Author: Joy 94.9
Summary: On this edition of the Rainbow Report Doug with the assistance of his co-host, Chris Warwick from the Defence Force Gay and Lesbian Information Service and hopefully our new producer, speak with Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black from the Centre for Progressive Judaism about the report that looks into GLBT vilification and discrimination in the Jewish community.
Published: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 2:08 PM
Duration: 14:51
Download: RR_PODCAST_04 11 2011_PART 3.mp3

Rainbow Report – Slow Progress at the JCCV?

Last month Doug Pollard spoke to the JCCV’s outgoing President John Searle about the progress of their investigation into vilification of and discrimination against GLBT people in the Jewish community.  Tomorrow he discusses the findings of the JCCV’s investigation with Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black from the Leo Baeck Centre.

Tune in to JOY 94.9 in Melbourne or via live streaming on www.joy.org.au at 12:30pm (UTC/GMT+11) on Friday November 4 2011.

If you’d like to know a little more about Jonathan, this article will give you an idea of the wonderful person that he is.

 

Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black

Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black

 

SLOW PROGRESS AT JCCV?

“Regular listeners will know that I’ve been following the story of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and their somewhat tortuous relations with the gay and lesbian community

This week saw the publication of their report into GLBT discrimination and vilification in the Jewish Community, and it’s fair to say that while it was progress of a sort, most seemed to feel it was far too little.  Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, from the Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism in Melbourne, gives us his reactions to the report.”