1974-1982 in the AJN: ‘Chutzpah’ – the Australian Jewish gay men’s group

Aleph Melbourne research has unearthed a collection of clippings on Trove from Melbourne’s Australian Jewish News and Sydney’s Australian Jewish Times documenting the activities of Chutzpah, a national organisation for Jewish homosexual / gay men, between 1974 and 1982.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 29 Aug 1974; Page 20

‘HOMOSEXUAL’ JEWISH GROUP

A newly formed group, catering for Jewish homosexuals, intend to apply for membership of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

“Chutzpah”, which is dedicated to the “liberation of both homosexual and heterosexual Jews from the bonds of ignorance and apathy concerning homosexuals and homosexuality”, only recently came into existence and plans are already afoot to establish branches throughout Australia.

Chutzpah has the support of three of the most prominent Jewish activists or “gay lib” Dennis Altman, Martin Smith and David Wippup.

Altman, who is a lecturer in American Politics at Sydney University is best known for his book “Homosexuals; Oppression of Liberation.”

David Wippup contested the constituency of Lowe in the 1972 Federal elections as a candidate of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP).

Martin Smith, who is the editor of the national magazine “Stallion” contested the electorate of Waverly in the last State elections.

The creation of the group follows similar moves by Jewish homosexuals in North America and England and “Chutzpah” has already made moves to link up with these groups.

“It is not enough for the rabbis to say the Torah condemns homosexuality”, a spokesman for Chutzpah said last week.

“God condemns sin, not sexuality.”

[ July 19 2021: It has been pointed out that the name “David Wippup” was a misprint and should have been “David Widdup” ]


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne)  Fri 30 Aug 1974; Page 4 

Watchman’s In The News

Weekend paper announces the Australian Jewish Homosexual Group, and asks the Rabbis and E.C.A.J. for a study of homosexuals among Jews and Judaism.

Name of the organisation is CHUTZPAH.

And they intend to form branches of Chutzpah in every capital city.

Thought we’d had Chutzpah for years!


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne) Fri 13 Sep 1974; Page 11 

Chutzpah on Board?

SYDNEY: A newly formed group, catering for Jewish homosexuals, intends to apply for membership of the N.S.W. Board of Deputies. Called “Chutzpah”, it is dedicated to the “liberation of both homosexual and heterosexual Jews from the bonds of ignorance and apathy”.

Creation of the group follows similar moves in North America and England, with whom Chutzpah plans links. A spokesman, claiming that it was not enough for rabbis to say the Torah condemns homosexuality, said, “God condemns sin not sexuality”.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney) Fri 27 Sep 1974; Page 23 

Advertising

GAY & JEWISH? CHUTZPAH

is the Jewish homosexual group which lends a friendly ear. Contact David Weiner, Wentworth Box 4, University of Sydney, NSW Phone 698-2831 (office hours).


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 3 Oct 1974; Page 3

BOARD’S REPLY TO ‘CHUTZPAH’

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has answered an application for membership by Chutzpah, the Jew ish homosexual group.

“Chutzpah” must satisfy the Board that they have at least 50 members, the minimum number of members allowable for any organisation intending to join the Board of Deputies.

Each of these members must be over 18 years of age and must have been a member of the group for at least six months.

Further, they have to prove to the Board that they are working for the good of the Jewish cause and send a copy of their constitution and a membership list.

Only if all these requirements are met will their membership application go before the executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies for a final decision.

“Chutzpah”, in the meantime, has plans to establish divisions in Melbourne, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane.

It has also made contact with Jewish student movements on university campuses in the hope that at the next annual conference of the Australian Union of Jewish Students, the subject of ‘gay rights’ will be debated.

Other subjects they hope to air are the problems of Jewish homosexuals and the attitude of Jewish lay and religious leaders to homsexuals and homosexuality.

Hopes are that the conference will pass a motion along the lines of the North American Student Network, who recently adopted a

resolution supporting gay rights legislation and censured the discrimination which has been traditionally directed against homosexuals, even within the Jewish community.


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne)  Fri 18 Oct 1974; Page 25 

Sydney Scene

The N.S.W. Board of Deputies has stipulated its requirements for memberships to Chutzpah, the Jewish homosexual group.

Chutzpah must satisfy the board that they have at least 50 members; these must be aged over 18; and must have been a group member for at least six months.

The group also has to prove it is working for the good of the Jewish cause and send in copies of its constitution and membership lists.

Chutzpah plans to establish branches in Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, and Brisbane.

It has also contacted Jewish student organisations with the hope that “gay rights” will be debated at the next annual conference of the Australian Union of Jewish Students. 


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 14 Nov 1974; Page 17 

Youth Scene

“RABBIS SUPPORT GAY OPPRESSION”

“The rabbonim in Australia/ with the exception of Rabbi Uri Themal of Perth, have supported the continual oppression of homosexuals in our society by their silence and refusal to discuss the matter,” according to Martin Smith, who recently addressed a students meeting at Macquarie University.

The discussion, entitled, “Can one be both a practicing Jew and a practicing homosexual?” was arranged by the Hillel director, Ze’ev Dar.

Martin Smith, an organiser of Chutzpah, he was more concerned with reality than morality, the fact that there are Jewish homsexuals, than with disputing the point of whether or not they have the right to exist.

“Chutzpah, a group of homosexuals who identify themselves as Jews, meets regularly and is expanding in this country (there is now a branch of the organisation in each of Australia’s capital cities)” he said.

Over the last month he had been invited to speak to four Jewish groups on the subject of homosexuality and on each of these occasions, the speaking dates had been cancelled at the last minute, he said.

He pointed out that Jewish homsexuals have existed since the time of Abraham.

“As the minority faith Judaism is as valid a religious code and life style as the majority faith, Christianity, so too is homosexuality to heterosexuality and surely validity has nothing to do with numbers,” he said.

He challenged the rabbis to obey the edicts of the Old Testament and pass the death penalty on homsexuals in this State.

He said if the Beth Din would call members of Chutzpah before that religious court, they would attend and discuss the issue.

“Jews and homosexuals were the two groups most persecuted by Hitler in Nazi Germany ; millions of Jews and homosexuals died in the gas chambers of concentration camps and it is therefore singularly inapproprite and ironic that Orthodox Jewish rabbis should be in the forefront of the struggle against ending anti-gay discrimination,” he said.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 14 Nov 1974; Page 23 

Advertising

CHUTZPAH, the jewish homosexual group, meets for fellowship and discussion next on Wednesday, November 20. Further details from David Weiner, Wentworth Box 4, University of Sydney or phone David Ritchie on 698-2831.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 28 Nov 1974; Page 3 

DEPUTIES QUERY

“CHUTZPAH” HEAD

The credentials of leader and spokesman of “Chutzpah”, the Jewish homosexual group, were queried at the November meeting of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Vice-president, Mr. G. Y. Falk and franchise deputy, Mr. Julius Nadel, alleged they had documents that Mr. Martin Smith, convenor of “Chutzpah” is not Jewish in spite of his statements to the contrary.

“Years ago I personally confronted Mr. Smith with his parents’ marriage and his birth certificate showing his religion as Church of England,” Mr. Falk said.

Mr. Nadel and Mr. Falk expressed concern over the community ’s acceptance of Mr. Smith.

Earlier Chutzpah inquired about affiliation to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, but took no further steps after receiving the information, Board president, Mr. Maurice Allen said.

Mr. Smith claims that, there are an estimated 1,500 Jewish homosexuals in Australia, many of them affiliated with Chutzpah.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 28 Nov 1974; Page 24 

Advertising

CHUTZPAH

The Jewish Homosexual group meets for fellowship and discussion next on Wednesday, December 11.

Further details from David Weiner, Box 4, Wentworth. 2006 or phone 827-2378


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 12 Dec 1974; Page 3 

CHUTZPAH ASKS BOARD DEBATE

Chutzpah, the Jewish homosexual group wants to discuss the affiliation of the organisation at the next meeting of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Speaking on behalf of Chutzpah, Mr. Leon Prollius, said attacks on the group and Mr. Martin Smith at the November meeting of the Board are to be deplored.

“Sidestepping the issue of homosexual rights is un becoming of the Board and individual deputies, that, and not Martin Smith’s Jewishness is the question,” he wrote in a letter to the editor.

He said Chutzpah does not have a “leader”.

After their application to the Board of Deputies for affiliation they received back a list of requirements necessary, including their constitution being in existence for six months, at least 50 members and the list of their names.

He said the executive can comply with the first three but is reluctant to provide a membership list “for obvious reasons”.

“Would the Board like a member of Chutzpah, other than Martin Smith, to discuss Chutzpah and homosexual rights at the December meeting?” he asked.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 19 Dec 1974; Page 2 

TIMES TALK

CHUTZPAH, the Jewish Homosexual Group writing to the AJT firmly states that it does not have “spokesmen”, but “has spokespersons as the group is open to both gay women and gay men.” OK, but they addressed the letter “Dear Sir”, when they know that the AJT editor is Eve Symon!


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 19 Dec 1974; Page 20 

READER WRITES

RED HERRING

I usually refrain from engaging in pointless arguments or allowing non gays to use gay liberation as a means of making political capital, but I feel I should reply to the story in your publication of November 28 under the headline DEPUTIES QUERY “CHUTZPAH” HEAD.

If, as they say, Messrs Falk and Nadel have documents that prove I’m not Jewish then let them make such documents public. I don’t need to tell readers that the question “What is a Jew?” has never been answered so, if the aforementioned gentlemen do have such documents then apparently they’ve at last answered the question which has plagued our people since time immemorial.

Mr. Falk is quoted as saying that he personally confronted me with my parents’ marriage and my birth certificate showing my religion as Church of England. I deny that any such confrontation took place. I deny that I am or have ever been a member of the Church of England or any religious faith other than Judaism.

Unless I was born Jewish and my parents were married in a Jewish ceremony, without certain facts (e.g. my mother’s name before marriage), only obtainable from me, neither my birth certificate nor my parents’ marriage certificate would be able to be obtained from the appropriate authority.

I admit I did go to a Church of England school but then was that uncommon for us Jews before we created our own educational establishments? There are at least two men active in the Sydney Jewish community who were at school with me.

Mr. Falk apparently believes that being a Member of the Church of England per se ‘un Jewishes’ an individual and so, if that be the Case, then a lot of history books will have to be rewritten and the fact that the Church of Englander Benjamin Disraeli was a Jew removed from them.

Many members of the community will remember the 1966 controversy involving me when Mark Braham, writing in his column in the Australian Jewish Times, under the headline THE FUSS OVER MARTIN said that “some extremely embarrassing situations are going to arise, believe me, if there is to be a witch-hunt to decide who is a Jew in this community.” I agreed then and I agree even more so now.

I would like it to be known that if any individual, before a witness, states that I’m not a Jew that individual will have legal action taken against them for defamation of character and I’d remind such a person that they will be required in court to prove their claim, not I that I’m Jewish.

It is my belief that the deputies who attacked me at the November meeting of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies did so to create a red herring to avoid discussing the major issue which is the stand which the board should take on homosexual rights.

This week will see the formation of the WA division of Chutzpah giving us groups in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with individual members belonging to the Jewish gay movement from Queensland, South Australia and Canberra.

As many of your readers will know, the Sydney bran ch of Chutzpah now has a member in Israel, having arrived there last month, to get gay lib going in that country.

After thousands of years of oppression, ostracism and ignoring our existence, Jewish homosexuals in this country, Israel, North America, Britain and New Zealand are uniting to challenge that anti-gay stance of many of our co religionists. We are no longer prepared to be treated as untouchables, as if we didn’t exist, or, as non-Jews.

Martin Smith, Chippendale


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne) Fri 10 Jan 1975; Page 2 

SYDNEY DIARY

GAYS GAGGED

Chutzpah, the Jewish homosexual group, wants to discuss the affiliation of the organisation at the next meeting of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Speaking on behalf of Chutzpah, Mr. Leon Prollius said attacks on the group at the November meeting of the Board are to be deplored.

“Sidestepping the issue of homosexual rights is unbecoming of the Board and individual deputies.”

He said Chutzpah does not have a “leader”.

After their application to the Board of Deputies for affiliation they received back a list of requirements. necessary, including their constitution being in existence for six months, at least 50 members and the list of their names.

He said the executive can comply with the first three but is reluctant to provide a membership list “for obvious reasons”.


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne)  Fri 7 Feb 1975; Page 4

Watchman’s In The News

“Chutzpah” is the name of Jewish homosexual groups whose No. 1 newsletter appeared in December.

It says “Chutzpah has divisions in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth”

Trust it’s nothing painful or serious?


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 13 Feb 1975; Page 4 

Chutzpah wants to join Temple

Chutzpah, the Jewish homosexual movement has applied for formal membership of the Temple Emanuel, Woollahra and although they cannot join as a group, they are welcome to join as individuals.

In their January newsletter, Chutzpah said they have written to Rabbi Dr. R. Brasch, chief minister of the Temple, asking for his support to allow members of the group to join the congregation.

A formal application for membership by members of the group has been sent to the Temple’s Board of Management.

Rabbi Brasch replied that any Jew is welcome to join the congregation, regardless of their private life.

“A member’s private life has nothing to do with their membership of the Temple, we do not ask about an individual’s sex life,” Rabbi Brasch said last week.

“We are not here to condemn or judge and who are we to act as God?”, he required.

CAMPAIGN

However, he said Chutzpah could be using the application for membership as another step in their advertising campaign.

“A congregation is an assembly of individuals who gather to worship God and any Jewish person is more than welcome to join our Temple,” he concluded.

A spokesman for the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies denied that the Board had discussed Chutzpah’s membership application at their recent executive meeting as claimed by the group’s newsletter.

“We received a letter from the group and this was tabled but once again the Board reiterated that

Chutzpah, must comply to our constitution before their application for membership is considered,” the spokesman added.

The Board asks that any group wanting membership must have a written constitution, must have a membership of more than 50, each member being over 18 years old.

Finally each member must have been allied to the group for more than six months before the application was lodged and the body requiring membership must have objects in the best interest of the welfare of Jewry.

The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne)  Fri 9 May 1975; Page 4 

Watchman’s In The News

Chutzpah, the NSW branch of the Australian Jewish Homosexual movement, had important dates in March and April.

A Strudel and Coffee night and a Nosh and Natter function.

Cosy stuff.

Rabbi Dr. R. Brasch, of Temple Emanuel, Sydney, was asked if open homosexuals could join his congregation.

To which the learned minister replied:- “A member’s private life has nothing to do with their mem bership of the Temple, we do not ask about an individual’s sex life.”

Our latest info. is that Gay rights and their place in the Jewish community was on the agenda for the Australian Jewish Ministers Association conference in Sydney last weekend.

And in London, the Jewish Gay Group there recently held a Fancy Dress Party, with prizes for best costumes.

Men’s or women’s?


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 5 Jun 1975; Page 2 

READERS WRITE

CHUTZPAH “DISTURBED”

The national committee of Chutzpah, the Jewish homosexual movement in Australia, is disturbed at certain items which appeared in the AJT, 29/5/75.

Two matters on page 2, we found require comment: your editorial and the cartoon. The first we applaud, particularly your sentiment that, concerning the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, “if the Board wishes to gain the respect of the community, it should act and act now”, but the second, the cartoon, we found sexist, confirming the worst stereotype images of women possible, and contributing nothing to the serious debate of womens’ rights, in the Jewish community.

As homosexuals have been “silenced” by the Jewish community for thousands of year. Chutzpah is totally opposed to any action which stifles debate on any subject and so, for that reason, we can not (despite our inate support for Zionism per se) find any justificiation for the undemocratic actions of stopping. the two representatives of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) speaking in this country.

On page 3, under the headline ‘Freedom In Danger”, the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia (Mr Robert Zablud) is quoted as saying that “as a result of the violent demonstration at Macquarie University, free expression is being threatened in this country.” He’s right, but to say the violence was due to “PLO terrorists and their sympathisers” is untrue; Mr Zablud is either very naive or worse, very one eyed.

On page 7 there is a long story about the suggested “commission of inquiry” into the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, something we support wholeheartedly.

You quote the president of the Board (Mr Sid Muller) as saying: “It would be far more constructive if these separate groups, these rebels and dissenters could see their way clear to unify and use the not inconsiderable talents and resources of the board, collectively for the good of the whole community.”

A most laudable idea. But we’d remind Mr Muller that Chutzpah, as a group of “rebels and dissenters” has sought on several occasion to affiliate with the Board only to have almost insurmountable obstacles placed in our way or our letters ignored.

Despite, or perhaps because of such action as this against our movement Chutzpah now has groups in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, has been responsible for getting

Continued Page 24

“Chutzpah” complaint

(• From Page 2)

started gay liberation groups in Tel Aviv and Rehovot, and brought many Jews back to Judaism who had, for many years, felt alienated and alone.

What makes the actions of the Board towards Chutzpah both in comprehensible and unforgiveable is the story you carried on page 20 (Salvation Army Man Tells Of Holocaust) which clearly shows that the Board would prefer to have a talk from a Christian clergyman than from someone representing Chutzpah talking about the historic oppression of homosexuals, particularly homosexuals oppressed by the Jewish community.

Except for fringe groups, every denomination within the Christian Church has discussed at length and in depth, in this country, the subject of homosexuals and homosexuality, including the Catholic Church, with the majority coming out in favor of decriminalisation. It is to the shame (we believe) and indictment of the Jewish community generally, and the Board of Deputies in particular, that the matter has (along with Black Rights, Womens’ Rights, Penal Reform and other social justice questions) never been considered by the Board.

David Weiner Secretary to the national committee, CHUTZPAH/AUSTRALIA

• The GUPS representatives were not stopped from appearing at any meeting organised by the Australian Union of Students. Interjections, part and parcel of democratic society, were the only “weapon” used to encounter the GUPS visitors. (ED.)


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne)  Fri 11 Jul 1975; Page 4

TOP LEVEL WATCHMAN’S IN THE NEWS

Chutzpah, the Australian Jewish Homosexual Movement, in its June newsletter tackles a Jewish News writer for being a ‘gay basher’.  Then they add comment about ‘fiddling’ with the truth.  REALLY!


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne)  Fri 18 Jul 1975; Page 4 

WATCHMAN’S IN THE NEWS

Bit disturbing reading about those super spies preferring men, instead of being womanising heroes.

But then we’ve always thought that some of those secret service antics were a bit . . . queer.

Which brings us to the Rabbinical rejection of homosexuality.

Won’t exactly set alight members of Chutzpah, the Australian Jewish Gay movement.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 27 May 1976; Page 6 

GAY PRAYERS SOON IN SYDNEY

Sydney’s first Gay Congregation may begin functioning in the near future if the efforts of a small group of Jewish homosexuals succeed.

Their spokesman, a recent immigrant from the United States, last week claimed about 25 people have already indicated their interest in joining the group.

He emphasised that the new congregation has no connections with Chutzpah, a Jewish Gay Liberation group which was active in Sydney some time ago.

“Chutzpah was concerned only with the social aspect of the life of Jewish homosexuals, we are now introducing the religious connections” he said.

Asked why homosexuals should seek an alternative to membership of existing synagogues, the spokesman claimed ordinary shules do not cater for the special needs of gay people.

“We do not want to adhere to any set format.”

The young American now organising the Gay Congregation in Sydney was actively involved in a similar experiment in New York.

“The first gay religious group in that city was for med in 1972 and has been functioning successfully ever since.

“We were offered recognition by the Reform authorities, but many of our members were of Conservative and Orthodox persuasion and the offer was declined,” he claimed.

The New York group is said to include many “straight” people making up about 25 percent of the membership.

Similar “open door” policy is planned for Sydney and activities are expected to consist of weekly services and other gatherings with a religious orientation.

Get-togethers are to be held at premises in Oxford Street, Paddington, and the founders hope to gauge whether there is a future for the project by the response within the community during the next few weeks.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 1 Jul 1976; Page 24 

AMERICAN MEETING FOR GAY HEBREW ALLIANCE

Claims were made this week that the International Gay Hebrew Alliance (IGHA) has been invited to attend the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in 1977.

Mr Martin Smith, national convenor of Chutzpah, the Australian Jewish Gay Movement, said representation at the WJC is only one of many matters to be discussed at a meeting he will attend in the United States in August.

He plans to be present at what he claimed will be the inaugural meeting of the IGHA in Washington, DC.

Mr Smith expects representatives of some 17 Jewish gay groups from the US, Canada, Israel, England and Australia to attend the meeting.

Following the conference Mr Smith says he will be undertaking a lecture tour of North America, including addresses to gay groups, Jaycee and Rotary gatherings, as well as homosexual and “straight” congregations and synagogues.

He also expects to deliver addresses on several university campuses.

Mr Smith will be accompanied on his tour by photographer Mr Peter Gregory.

After their visit to the States they plan to meet with various groups in England, France, Italy, Israel and South-East Asia, prior to returning to Australia.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney) Thu 25 Sep 1980; Page 23

GAY JEWS

Dinner to decide
the future of the gay
Jewish social
group.
Saturday, Sept. 27
at 7pm
For details phone
Kim 399-6856 A.H.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney) Thu 13 Nov 1980; Page 47

CHUTZPAH

Gay Jewish
Social Group

• Sunday, Nov. 23, 1980
PICNIC at 11.30am
• Friday, Dec. 5, 1980
CANDLE PARTY at 8.30pm
to celebrate CHANUKAH

For details phone:
Kim 399-6856
Warren 439-2256
or write to P.O. Box 5074,
Sydney, N.S.W., 2001.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney) Thu 22 Oct 1981; Page 27

CHUTZPAH

Gay Jewish, Social
Group celebrate the
Festival of First
Fruits.
Friday, October 23.
Phone Kim 399-6856
Warren 439-2256.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 8 Jul 1982; Page 22 

Quiz “spoof” opens JFU 1982 program

Sydney Jewish students open the annual Jewish Free University (JFU) at the Hakoah Club on Saturday with their own version of a popular television quiz show.

Under the banner “Family Broiges” the program is a take-off from the daily Channel 9 “Family Feud” show.

Family teams will compete against each other for prizes.

Organisers suggest that teams do not have to be related.

But they want the four-member teams to be dressed appropriately for the age of the contestant they are playing.

This will add to the off-beat flavor of the contest, which the students are not expected to take too seriously.

The serious part of the eight-week JFU program starts on Monday, July 12.

The program is divided into four units on a variety of Jewish topics.

JFU is sponsored by the Hakoah Club under the patronage of the NSW Hillel Foundation.

The first unit “Too many Cooks . . . Diversity in Israel” gets underway on July 12.

This will feature a 50-minute documentary on “Israel — The Promised Land” by James Cameron.

The film provides a stimulating glimpse of Israel on a number of contemporary issues.

Unit II, called “Lies My Father Told Me”, starts on Wednesday, July 14 with a panel discussion on “Can Jews Be Gay?”

Speakers are Kim Gottlieb, of Chutzpah, an organisation for Gay Jews, Marian Apple, wife of Great Synagogue’s Rabbi Raymond Apple, and Rabbi Brian Fox, of Temple Emanuel Woollahra.

Speakers will examine Jewish ethics on the subject of homosexuality.

JFU aims to provide an open forum for community education directed towards students, youth and the general community.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 29 Jul 1982; Page 22 

Gay Jews resent attitude of community

The conservative values of the Sydney Jewish community make homosexuals feel oppressed, Kim Gotlieb, organiser of “Chutzpah”, a Jewish Gay Liberation group, said recently.

Mr Gotlieb was a member of a three-speaker panel on the topic, “Can Jews Be Gay?”, for the Jewish Free University (JFU) in the Hakoah Club last Wednesday-week.

Other speakers represented two points of the spectrum: Marian Apple, wife of Great Synagogue’s Rabbi Raymond Apple, who gave the Orthodox viewpoint on homosexuality and Rabbi Brian Fox of Temple Emanuel, Woollahra, who presented the Liberal view.

“Gay Jews do not want to be accepted into the community by pretending they are ‘straight’,” Mr Gotlieb said.

“We want acceptance for what we are and freedom to celebrate it.”

Mrs Apple and Rabbi Fox said gays should not form their own houses of worship.

They should be integrated into the community by means of greater participation in established synagogues and communal organisations.

Homosexuals will be accepted into either Orthodox or Liberal congregations because they are Jews, Mrs Apple said.

Jews come to synagogue to pray and all else should be forgotten, especially one’s sexual preference.

According to Mr Gotlieb, however, synagogues are established on a premise of certain rules and laws which abhor homosexuality.

Gay Jews, by virtue of what they practice, are in direct opposition to the principles laid down by the community, he said.

“It is important for gay Jews to feel valid members of a congregation, to be able to sit among other Jews and pray.

“But because gay Jews do not adhere to the social norms they remain on the outside, never fully being accepted or integrated,” Mr Gotlieb said.

“How can we be integral members of a community when everything we stand for is regarded as an abomination?”

OPPRESSIVE NATURE

The oppressive nature of the community’s accepted mores towards gays can be compared with the persecution of Soviet Jewry, Jews who wish to retain their religious beliefs even though they are forbidden by the State.

It is hard for gay Jews to feel part of a congregation because they cannot openly celebrate their homosexuality.

For this reason several gay-lesbian synagogues have been established in the USA.

At present there is no recognised gay synagogue in Sydney.

“We remain alienated from the community and self-reliant for support,” Kim said.

“If we attend established synagogues we are only accepted on the basis of a pretend heterosexuality and not in terms of our real selves,” he said.

If we are to be members of a congregation we want our true selves to be recognised and accepted, not the mask the community would like us to assume, he said.

The Jewish community neither discriminates nor punishes homosexuals, Mrs Apple said.

“To be gay is punishment enough. Even in moral judgment, the deed is regarded as criminal and not the individual,” Mrs Apple said.

“I think Sydney congregants are big enough to accept homosexuality.

“Judaism has certain rules, however, concerning marriage,” she said.

“There is no way an Orthodox rabbi would write a marriage deed for two men or two women because this would be as good as recognising homosexuality as an acceptable practice.

“The Jewish community will accept gays, but it is often they who feel unaccepted, social misfits,” Mrs Apple said.

PAST AND PRESENT

Orthodoxy makes an assumption about the past and present in its laws pertaining to homosexuality, Rabbi Fox said.

Science says there is no such thing as “normal”.

“Who says that a husband and wife and 2.3 children makes a relationship perfect or better than a relationship between two males or two females?

“I would be prepared to perform a wedding between homosexuals, but there would be problems for me to consider, such as publicity, communal attitudes and how the non-Jewish community perceives the Sydney Jewish community,” he said.

“I believe two males or two females can say something positive about relationships, in some cases much more than a man-woman relationship, if two real souls are going together.

“Homosexuals may be able to teach heterosexuals about relationships,” he said.

“When the Orthodox value implies ‘family’ it assumes that every male is fit to be a ‘father’ and every woman a ‘mother’, when both roles may be totally inappropriate for the individual,” Rabbi Fox said.

“Many people are not equipped emotionally or psychologically for these roles in life.

“To say that status is punishment enough does not produce a community of difference.

“The Sydney Jewish community wreaks hurtful attitudes within this kind of social framework,” Rabbi Fox said.

We live in a society which breeds racism and antiSemitism so what gives us the right to point the finger at people and persecute them because they are different. Many homosexuals desperately want to feel authentic Jews, Rabbi Fox said.

REGULAR MEETINGS

“Chutzpah” is a social Jewish gay-lesbian group which was formed two years ago in Sydney.

It has a membership of about 25 people.

It holds regular monthly meetings to celebrate Jewish festivals, as well as theatre parties and picnics.

It is largely a support group for gay Jews, to create a feeling of belonging.

Chutzpah is a member of the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish organisations, Kim added.

• Kim Gotlieb


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney) Thu 29 Jul 1982; Page 23

CHUTZPAH

GAY JEWISH
SOCIAL GROUP
meeting
Friday, August 6,
at 7.45pm
at TEMPLE EMANUEL
7 Ocean Street, Woollahra.
Followed by an Oneg Shabbat
Enquiries: Kim Gotlieb 399-6856
Warren Abeshouse 439-2256


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney)  Thu 5 Aug 1982; Page 3

Rabbi disassociates from Chutzpah ad.

Chief minister of Temple Emanuel, Woollahra, Rabbi Brian Fox, has disassociated himself and his congregation from an advertised meeting by “Chutzpah”, the gay Jewish social group.

In a statement issued last Thursday, Rabbi Fox said he was “shocked at the false statement in the advertisement placed by Chutzpah”.

“While every Jew is welcome at services at the Temple it is simply untrue for Chutzpah to advertise a ‘meeting at the Temple at 7.45pm on August 6 followed by an Oneg Shabbat’.

“No such meeting will take place, but services start at 8pm and are always followed by an Oneg Shabbat,” Rabbi Fox said.

Rabbi Fox said that at a recent debate he held with Marion Apple at the Jewish Free University, both he and Mrs Apple had said that homosexuals would be welcome to worship as part of the congregation at both the Temple and the Great Synagogue.


The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney) Thu 5 Aug 1982; Page 23

APOLOGY

CHUTZPAH Gay Jewish Group
apologises for any
embarrassment caused to
Rabbi Fox and Temple Emanuel
regarding any misunderstanding
created by the notice in Aust.
Jewish Times (July 29, 1982).


The Australian Jewish News (Melbourne)  Fri 6 Aug 1982; Page 4

‘Watchman’ In The News

Here’s an odd Jewish line: “The conservative values of the Sydney Jewish community make homosexuals feel op pressed,” Kim Gottlieb, organiser of “Chutzpah” a Jewish Gay Liberation group said in Sydney. Mr. Gottlieb was member of a panel on the topic “Can Jews be Gay?”


The Queer Sessions at JIFF 2019

As the 2019 Jewish International Film Festival rapidly approaches, be sure to check out the festival’s rich programme. Amongst the festival’s offerings are three queer-themed films, screening at various locations in Melbourne and Sydney, as detailed below.


Family in Transition

“Defies expectations.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Amit, a father of four living in a small town in Israel, tells his wife, Galit, that he is a woman and wants to transition. Galit pledges her support, ready to overcome surgery, social stigma and bureaucracy to maintain her marriage. But as Amit transforms, tensions arise while everyone in the family readjusts to understand themselves and each other anew. In the process, Galit must redefine her own identity and what it means to be a parent, a spouse and a lover.

Winner Best Israeli Documentary at the 2018 Docaviv Film Festival.


Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life

“A quantum leap in the work of one of Israel’s leading documentary filmmakers.” – Haaretz

Jonathan Agassi is one of the world’s most successful gay porn stars. The director Tomer Heymann (Mr Gaga) followed him for eight years, both in his temporary hometown of Berlin and back in Tel Aviv with his mother. Alongside his acting, he performs in live shows and works as an escort.

Offering a rare and intimate look inside what is often a taboo world, Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life also gives us access to the unique relationship between a mother and son who courageously redefine familiar family concepts. 

Contains sex scenes and nudity.


Where’s My Roy Cohn?

“A diabolical public figure mesmerizes from the grave.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Roy Cohn was one of the most controversial and influential American men of the 20th century. An only son born to a Jewish family in the Bronx, Cohn is best known for being Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel, prosecuting Esther and Julius Rosenberg, and for influencing the career of the young Queens real estate developer Donald Trump. He was a closeted man who refused to publicly identify as gay even as he was dying of Aids.

Explosive and scathingly delicious, Where’s My Roy Cohn? is a thriller-like exposé that reveals the workings of a deeply troubled master manipulator.

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.

Photos from Alon Amir’s visit to Melbourne

Aleph Melbourne, together with the Embassy of Israel, hosted an intimate evening with Israeli Eurovision expert Alon Amir at Nature Boy Cafe in Murrumbeena.

View the photo gallery here.

Aleph Melbourne, together with the Embassy of Israel, hosted a Q&A evening with Israeli Eurovision expert Alon Amir.

Posted by Aleph Melbourne on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

“Harry Elkus” and the Caulfield Synagogue anti-homosexuality protest

A document protesting a gay rabbi was being shared around the Melbourne Jewish community.
Intolerance of gay people is unacceptable.

Gay orthodox rabbi Steven Greenberg was billed as guest speaker at the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation on Friday June 16 2017:

Rabbi Steven Greenberg guest speaker at CHC

It came to our attention last week that a document “HERESY-CHC” was being distributed around the Melbourne Jewish community calling for concerned members of the Jewish community to protest this event:

Heresy pamphlet

The document contains the name “Harry Elkus” in the Author field of the document Properties:

Heresy document properties

It also came to our attention that some of the information in the flyer was apparently misleading:

 

FYI
(i just received this from a protest organiser)
==========================
Please send this out ASAP
To the Melbourne Jewish community,
Yesterday an email was disseminated to the community calling for a public protest outside Caulfield Shule during its upcoming event this Friday night.
Following consultation with leading communal Rabbonim we hereby inform the community that the planned protest has been cancelled. We discourage anyone from participating in any public protests as it will only serve to escalate the controversy surrounding the issue.
We also wish to clarify one aspect of the email distributed yesterday. Some in the community understood from the email that the (now cancelled) protest had the widespread support of the Rabbinate including, but not limited to, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) and the Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand (RCANZ). We wish to clarify that at no point were the RCV or the RCANZ consulted about the said protest. We apologise sincerely to both Rabbinic bodies for any implication otherwise.
We maintain our view that the event at Caulfield Shule should not be under the auspices of Orthodoxy but we recognize that public protests are counter-productive.
May Hashem help us in seeing Torah true Judaism upheld in our community.

 

It is deeply disappointing and disturbing that some members of the Jewish community wish to use their religion to demonise and further marginalise homosexual people.  There is no room for discrimination or intolerance in the Jewish community.

2016 Voters Guide to Marriage Equality in Jewish Melbourne

This guide is aimed to assist voters living in the main Jewish neighbourhoods in Melbourne best select candidates who have comprehensively demonstrated or pledged their full support for marriage equality.

Levels of support for “same-sex marriage” listed for each electorate in this guide are taken from the “News Ltd 2010 Same-Sex Marriage Poll”.  The raw data is available in the resources section below.

MPs re-contesting their seats have an * after their name.

Feedback, corrections and updates are invited via the form below.  Information is provided here in good faith and on the understanding that it is correct.

This page is optimised for viewing on a full-screen browser.

Candidates & Electorates


Goldstein

2010 levels of support for “same-sex marriage” in electorate:

  • For: 50% | Against: 28% | Don’t Care: 22%

Candidates who will support marriage equality based on their party or personal position:

Candidates who personally support marriage equality but are denied a free vote by their party:

  • Tim WILSON (Liberal) (web site | facebook[2]) 

Candidates who will oppose marriage equality based on their party or personal position:


Higgins

2010 levels of support for “same-sex marriage” in electorate:

  • For: 57% | Against: 27% | Don’t Care: 17%

Candidates who will support marriage equality based on their party or personal position:

Candidates who personally support marriage equality but are denied a free vote by their party:


Hotham

2010 levels of support for “same-sex marriage” in electorate:

  • For: 44% | Against: 32% | Don’t Care: 24%

Candidates who will support marriage equality based on their party or personal position:

Candidates who do not have a declared position on marriage equality but are denied a free vote by their party:

  • George HUA (Liberal) (web site | facebook)
    ** Note: this candidate has refused to advise if they would support marriage equality.

Candidates who will oppose marriage equality based on their party or personal position:


Kooyong

2010 levels of support for “same-sex marriage” in electorate:

  • For: 54% | Against: 29% | Don’t Care: 18%

Candidates who will support marriage equality based on their party or personal position:

Candidates who personally support marriage equality but are denied a free vote by their party:


Melbourne Ports

2010 levels of support for “same-sex marriage” in electorate:

  • For: 61% | Against: 20% | Don’t Care: 19%

Candidates who will support marriage equality based on their party or personal position:

  • Michael DANBY* (ALP) (web site | facebook[9]) ✡
  • Steph HODGINS-MAY (The Greens) (web site | facebook[5])
  • Peter HOLLAND (Independent) (web site | facebook[6])
  • Levi MCKENZIE-KIRKBRIGHT (Drug Law Reform) (web site | email)
  • Robert Millen SMYTH (AJP) (web site)
  • Henry VON DOUSSA (Marriage Equality) (party web site | facebook)

Candidates who personally support marriage equality but are denied a free vote by their party:

Candidates who will oppose marriage equality based on their party or personal position:

  • John B MYERS (Independent) (facebook)

Menzies

2010 levels of support for “same-sex marriage” in electorate:

  • For: 39% | Against: 41% | Don’t Care: 19%

Candidates who will support marriage equality based on their party or personal position:

Candidates who do not have a declared their position on marriage equality but belong to a party that is broadly supportive of progressive and/or evidence-based reform:

Candidates who will oppose marriage equality based on their party or personal position:


✡ Candidate has declared a Jewish identity
Candidate has declared a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex identity


Parties

Parties that support marriage equality in their policy platform and require their candidates to vote accordingly:

Parties that support marriage equality in their policy platform but allow their candidates to vote on their conscience:

Parties that don’t currently have a position on marriage equality but are broadly supportive of equality and progressive and/or evidence-based reform:

Parties that are actively obstructing the prompt passage of marriage equality:

Independent candidates may vote for or against marriage equality as they choose.


Resources







    STALE Facebook links

    1. https://www.facebook.com/AJPNarenChellappah
    2. https://www.facebook.com/TimWilsonForGoldstein
    3. https://www.facebook.com/greens.jason
    4. https://www.facebook.com/AJPHiggins
    5. https://www.facebook.com/stephforports
    6. https://www.facebook.com/peterforthepalais
    7. https://www.facebook.com/AdamRundellALP
    8. https://www.facebook.com/TonyHulbertAJP
    9. https://www.facebook.com/michael.danby.39
    10. https://www.facebook.com/PeterVassiliou

    Gay? Jewish? Neither? A manual to help you challenge the rules

    Gay? Jewish? Neither? A manual to help you challenge the rules

    By Diana Hodge, University of South Australia

    Young adult fiction and complex themes go hand in hand – not least in one of the most recent entries to this field.

    Melbourne-based writer Eli Glasman’s debut novel The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew opens a window on growing up Jewish and the ramifications this has for the development of an individual’s sexuality; protagonist, 17-year-old Yossi Speilman, is working out how to be gay in a strictly orthodox family.

    Glasman’s book is a breath of fresh air, and fascinating culturally. Having lived in Melbourne’s Caulfield and St Kilda I’m familiar with the sight of Jewish families in the streets on Saturday and the men and boys in long coats with their sideburns and hats.

    I’m guilty of reading this visual display of religiosity as a one-dimensional indicator of a life committed to religion with no room for fun or personal choice. Glasman’s novel has opened my eyes and reminded me (yet again) of the danger of cultural stereotypes.

    Being serious about one’s religion does not, of course, mean being devoid of a sense of humour or of not having fun with your mates. Religion may provide some certainty and rules for living but it does not preclude the need for individual self-discovery that all adolescents experience.

    Yossi is a young man committed to his religion, culture and community but also a typical teenager exploring his sexual feelings. I found him a delightful character and was relieved Glasman didn’t portray Yossi’s homosexuality as a torturous burden that blights his life.

    Earlier young adult novels about gay and lesbian characters such as John Donovan’s I’ll Get There. It Better be Worth the Trip (1969) or more recently Julie Ann Peters’ Keeping You a Secret (2003) frequently did take this path – the sexuality of the character being the defining quality of their lives and a problem that had to be solved.

    Matt Kowal

    Refreshingly, Yossi does not find his homosexuality an insurmountable – the challenge is how to express it within the laws of Judaism and how to tell his friends, family and wider community. Yossi knows he is gay, he has always known; he isn’t embarrassed and he knows he can’t change.

    Yossi does initially seek help from Rabbi Pilcer via an internet chat site, who advises him to wear a rubber band on his wrist and snap it whenever Yossi has a sexual thought about another male. This, Pilcer claims, will “cure” him. It doesn’t.

    The Jewish teachings on sexual behaviour are complicated and, to an outsider, peculiar. It is OK to have a wet dream but masturbating is forbidden; having homosexual thoughts is all right but acting on them isn’t. Yossi’s friendship with a new kid at school, Josh, is pivotal in his coming-out process.

    Josh does not have an orthodox Jewish background and challenges many of Yossi’s religious beliefs. Glasman uses these conversations between Yossi and Josh to explain various Jewish teachings, not just those on sexuality.

    Josh takes Yossi to his first gay synagogue and through this Yossi begins to understand that he can be gay and religious – he meets other gay Jews and begins to see a way forward for himself.

    Yossi has his first sexual experience with Josh and, for once in a young adult novel, the sex did not make me cringe. It is natural, simple, affectionate and just slightly uncomfortable. It isn’t overly graphic, nor is it coy.

    The morning after, Yossi isn’t embarrassed or filled with remorse but quietly and with humour discusses the reasons for the religious prohibitions against anal sex and condoms with Josh.

    OKNOVOKGHT

    As Yossi says, preempting the reader’s possible response, some of this may seem silly but it is still interesting.

    Coming out isn’t easy for Yossi; his father, sister and friends don’t accept immediately that he is gay; they learn as Yossi does to integrate their idea of homosexuality into their orthodox worldview. Glasman does a great job of presenting a balanced account of Yossi’s experience.

    For every challenge he faces coming out to his Jewish community he also finds support and kindness from strangers, friends and family.

    Glasman has avoided the trap of producing a novel about teenage sexuality; he has written a story about an interesting, intelligent and loving young man who happens to be Jewish and gay. Yossi never feels like an afterthought, created to populate an issue based or “problem” novel.

    Australian writing for young adults has moved on as has our thinking about what it means to be gay.

    Yossi’s life is not defined by his gayness or his Jewishness and neither is Glasman’s novel. Sure this novel could be a real comfort and support to young people facing coming out in a potentially hostile environment but it is also a joyful book that would inspire all readers to question the rules and to use creativity and love to find their path in life.

    The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew by Eli Glasman is published by Sleepers, and will be launched at Readings, St Kilda, Melbourne, on July 24.

    Diana Hodge does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

    This article was originally published on The Conversation.
    Read the original article.

    “I’m Gay and I’m Jewish. Do I still belong?”

    Young Jewish Professionals – Melbourne presents panel event I’m Gay and I’m Jewish. Do I still belong? as part of their Shavuot night “A Night To Ignite”:

    DaMinyan - A night to ignite

    Facebook event here.

    Disclaimer: In posting this event Aleph Melbourne does not necessarily endorse the views of the organisation hosting this event or that of the speakers presenting at it.  Aleph Melbourne also advises that there are multiple ‘Torah perspectives’ on homosexuality, such as that of Masorti and Progressive Judaism, which offer a more inclusive and accepting perspective to that of Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

    Limmud Oz 2014: the Queer sessions

    Limmud Oz Logo 2014This year there are two Queer-related sessions at Limmud Oz 2014 in Melbourne.
    Details below.


    Sunday June 8
    4:00pm – 5:00pm
    Room: HB36

    The Yids are all right: the hidden Jews behind British Pop
    Gary Holzman
    Arts | Other

    It is a little known fact that a group of gay Jewish promoters had a substantial influence on the development of pop music in the late 50s and early 60s in Britain. In this session we will investigate the reasons for this phenomenon and also look in depth at the hidden Jewish promoters and songwriters behind such popular British pop and rock acts of the 60s and 70s as Cliff Richard, the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Freddie & the Dreamers, Herman’s Hermits, The Yardbirds, Manfred Mann, Fleetwood Mac, The Hollies, 10cc, Procol Harum, T-Rex and many others. Viewing vintage film & video clips, analysing song lyrics and listening to a lot of great music are all part of this entertaining session.


    Monday June 9:
    5:15pm – 6:15pm
    Room: H2.38

    Orthogay – has anything changed for gay men and women in the orthodox world? Will it ever?
    Shamir Caplan
    Text, Tradition and Faith | Jewish Ideas

    One of the most challenging issues of our time within the Orthodox community is how to deal with homosexuality. How to reconcile the Biblical texts with modern science’s understanding of sexuality? How has Orthodoxy responded to homosexuals within the community? This is surely a defining issue for Orthodoxy in the modern era. Come join us for a presentation and respectful and open discussion on this important topic.