"Jews of Pride" huge success at 25th Pride March

MEDIA RELEASE
FEBRUARY 3 2020
“Jews of Pride” huge success at 25th Pride March

Jews of Pride at 2020 Pride March
Jews of Pride at 2020 Pride March

Returning for the third year in a row, the award-winning Jews of Pride contingent brought song, dance and festivity to the streets of St Kilda, as part of the 25th annual Pride March, on Sunday February 2 2020.

Fielding it’s largest contingent ever, over 140 people came together representing ten organisations from the Jewish community proudly made their way along Fitzroy Street, to the tunes of traditional and Israeli music pumping from a brightly decorated sound truck, in support of LGBTIQ+ people and families.

Lead organisers Colin Krycer and Michael Barnett, having spent months planning the contingent, were overjoyed that a greater breadth of organisations from the Jewish community joined participated. First time attendees included the National Council of Jewish Women VIC headed up by President Miriam Bass, Zionist Federation of Australia headed up by CEO Ginette Searle, and Australian Jewish Democratic Society headed up by David Zyngier.

Contingent stalwarts included SKIF, Habonim Dror, Temple Beth Israel, Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, Aleph Melbourne and Keshet Australia.

Jewish Care, returning for their second year, added two brightly decorated minibuses to the contingent, allowing an inclusive opportunity for those who could not walk along the parade route.

The weather was magnificent, breaking the trend of searingly hot days in recent years, and escaping flooding downpours the day prior, with blue skies and warmth adding to the joy of the event. Onlookers were thrilled with the Jews of Pride, many offering Mazal Tovs and L’chaims.

Although there has been a strong Jewish presence in Pride March for all of its 25 year history, this year’s Jews of Pride contingent saw more community leaders, community organisations, families and supporters standing up for the inclusion, celebration, acceptance, visibility and respect of same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people, and rainbow families.

Jews of Pride will return in 2021, bigger, better and more beautifully Jewish.

Further comment available:
Michael Barnett
michael@aleph.org.au
0417-595-541
Pronouns: he/him/his
Colin Krycer
colin@aleph.org.au
0411-441-691
Pronouns: he/him/his

PHOTO GALLERY (31 high-res photos)
Credit to Michael Barnett
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dymdzf4io5idjpc/AACxWXf751__wk74PIZhKIwha?dl=0
Note: photos will be available for a limited time

END

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

Jewish Care Marches with Pride

Jewish Care Marches with Pride

06 February 2019

Jewish Care Victoria is proud to have walked in the 24th Annual Midsumma Pride March on Sunday 3 February.

Together with eight other Jewish community organisations, Jewish Care staff, volunteers, leaders and Board members, including Jewish Care CEO Bill Appleby and President Mike Debinski, marched under the ‘Jews of Pride’ banner.

Other groups and organisations marching under the same banner included AlephJewish Lesbian Group of VictoriaKeshetHashomer Hatzair AustraliaHabonim Dror MelbourneSKIFNetzer and Temple Beth Israel.

The Midsumma Pride March is part of the Midsumma Festival, a 22-day annual celebration of LGBTI+ arts, culture, and the diverse communities that exist within the larger LGBTI+ community.

Speaking of the importance of Jewish Care walking in the Midsumma Pride March, Jewish Care employee Doron Abramovici said, “Marching under the umbrella of ‘Jews of Pride’ showed a unity like I’ve never seen before in our community. Having the CEO and President of Victoria’s largest Jewish services provider march sends a powerful message to community members who identify as LGBTI+ and should not be understated.”

“As Jewish Care’s Pride banner said, there is strength in diversity,” said Jewish Care CEO, Bill Appleby. “We know that we, as a community, are at our strongest when we celebrate our differences and stand with each other.”

“Jewish Care values inclusion for all members of our community,” added Jewish Care President Mike Debinski. “Marching alongside LGBTI+ members of both the Jewish and wider communities, as well as other communal organisations, is one way we can outwardly express our commitment to supporting LGBTI+ people.”

Jewish Care Victoria is committed to developing and implementing inclusive practices for all members of the Victorian Jewish community. In addition, to participating in the Midsumma Pride March, Jewish Care continues to work towards achieving Rainbow Tick Accreditation in 2019.

To find out more about Jewish Care’s commitment to inclusive practice, contact rainbow@jewishcare.org.au.

Gallery of Pride

20190207-Jewish-Care-marches-with-Pride_FINAL

Join “Jews of Pride” at Pride March 2019

Join the “Jews of Pride” contingent on Sunday February 3 at the 2019 Midsumma Pride March in Melbourne.

Bringing together supportive groups and allies in the Jewish community, “Jews of Pride” proudly stands up for equality for all LGBTIQ+ people in the Jewish community.

In 2018 “Jews of Pride” was awarded the “Most Fabulous” group in Pride March.

In 2019 we return more fabulous and festive, pumping out upbeat music to dance your way down Fitzroy Street to.

Be sure to arrive at the marshalling area corner of Lakeside Drive and Fitzroy Street between 10 and 10:30 am for the 11am march start.

March order: http://midsumma.org.au/participate/pride-march-rego/order
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/351633665388612

Jewish contingent awarded “Most Fabulous” in 2018 Midsumma Pride March

It is with great delight we announce that Aleph Melbourne, together with the entire Jewish contingent participating in the 2018 Midsumma Pride March, is recipient of the “Most Fabulous” award (for the most fantastically frocked).

2018 Midsumma Pride March "Jews of Pride" Most Fabulous award

Groups registered in the award-winning Jewish contingent included Aleph Melbourne, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair, Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, Keshet Australia, Netzer Melbourne, Progressive Judaism Victoria and Temple Beth Israel.

Contributing to the success of the Jewish contingent were the visually spectacular placards from Temple Beth Israel and Aleph Melbourne, together with the booming sound truck “Barbra the Beaut Ute” and a range of technicolour banners, umbrellas, flags and fabulous community members.

The judges’ decision to select the Jewish contingent the “most fabulous” would have been especially difficult, given the many fabulous entries amongst the over 190 groups registered to march.

Aleph Melbourne is proud to represent a diverse, inclusive and most fabulous Jewish community.

A complete set of photograph of the Jewish contingent can be viewed here.  Hi-resolution images are available on request from Michael Barnett (michael@aleph.org.au).

Aleph Melbourne – Championing LGBTIQ inclusion and advocacy in the Jewish community

20 December 2017

January 1995 saw the formation of a social group for gay Jewish men in Melbourne. The group was called Aleph Melbourne, to be distinct from the now long-defunct Aleph Sydney.

The need for a separate men’s group was due to the existence of the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, formed in 1992. It was JLGV’s desire to remain women-only, so Aleph filled the niche for men.

In the early years Aleph convened in private houses, had a committee, a meet-and-greet arrangement for new members, and a busy calendar of events.

Aleph was promoted through a small advert in the Jewish News, and also word of mouth.

I helped set up the first web page and email address for Aleph, both hosted on the then-popular Geocities service offered by Yahoo.

Due to a change in the group’s leadership in the late 1990s the committee decided to hold monthly drop-in meetings at the premises of the Victorian AIDS Council, then at 6 Claremont Street, South Yarra. The drop-in nights were a success for a long time, however dwindling attendance saw an end to these meetings in 1999.

Toward the latter half of 1998 the committee decided to apply for membership of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, in an effort to increase awareness in the Jewish community of issues that gay and bisexual men faced. Such issues included social isolation, discrimination, HIV/AIDS, and the emerging awareness of negative mental health outcomes and suicide.

In May 1999 our membership application failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote required from the council’s membership. To say our application for membership was controversial was an understatement, as it attracted front-page news, heated debate and full letter columns in the Jewish News for weeks and weeks.

Aleph felt the white-hot anger of the Orthodox leadership for daring to stand up for our individuality and acceptance. We also discovered there was a ground-swell of acceptance from many socially inclusive organisations, most notably the Progressive Jewish community, along with a large number of high school students, Zionist youth organisations and university students.

The rejection of our application by the JCCV took a huge toll on our small group which led to the committee folding and the group going into hiatus. However I felt that the need for the group was still strong and maintained a vigilant telephone and email presence.

Operating on a shoestring budget, we continued holding functions in private homes and offered support as best as we could.

Around 2007 we felt that continuing on as a gay and bisexual men’s group was marginalising those in the community who were transgender and so after consulting our membership we elected to become fully inclusive, accepting anyone with a Jewish identity as a member, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

We also noticed a need to cater specifically to Jewish youth and so Young Aleph was formed in 2007. A dynamic leadership team and fun events saw packed attendances for weeks and weeks. Young Aleph was a hugely successful experiment that ran until approximately 2009.

The shooting at the Tel Aviv LGBT Centre on August 1 2009 was a turning point for Aleph Melbourne. The now-dormant Melbourne-based AJN Watch blog wrote some hideous commentary about this event, degrading and vilifying gay men in the process. As an advocacy group, Aleph Melbourne reached out to the JCCV and asked for their help to combat this intolerance.

Whilst no practical support was initially forthcoming, the JCCV eventually succumbed to strong pressure from Aleph Melbourne and in late 2009 formed a reference group to start investigating the needs of LGBTIQ Jews. The JCCV has since become an advocate for LGBTIQ inclusion and awareness.

Over the years Aleph Melbourne has attended Pride March, Mardi Gras, In One Voice / Concert in the Park, International Holocaust Remembrance Day events, and the Midsumma Festival.

We made a documentary in 2016 commemorating our 20 year anniversary (1995-2015). This short film has screened in many film festivals around Australia and overseas. Most notably it was included in the Belfast Human Rights Film Festival and the prestigious St Kilda Film Festival.

Whilst Aleph Melbourne has provided a safe space for same-sex attracted Jews for many years now, most recently we have seen an increase in the need for support for transgender and gender-diverse people.

Statements calling for respect for LGBTIQ people together with statements of support for marriage equality, from organisations like the JCCV, Maccabi Victoria and the National Council of Jewish Women, have paved the way for a greater level of acceptance for LGBTIQ people.

Aleph Melbourne continues to offer a home for those Jews who do not identify as heterosexual, who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, or who may identify outside the gender-binary.

The tide has turned in the Jewish community. We have come a long way since 1995 and look forward to an exciting 2018 and beyond.

Michael Barnett
Co-Convenor – Aleph Melbourne

Aleph Melbourne withdraws from tainted 2017 Midsumma Pride March

Regretfully Aleph Melbourne will not be participating in the 2017 Pride March due to Midsumma keeping News Corp Australia as a sponsor.  This breaks an annual tradition going back to 1997.

While News Corp journalists like Andrew Bolt, Mirada Devine and Rita Panahi are on a crusade to destroy transgender kids, the Safe Schools program and marriage equality, it is completely unacceptable for any LGBTIQ community organisation to accept money or in-kind support from them.

Thirteen-year old Tyrone Unsworth might not have had cause to take his own life if News Corp had not fuelled the fires of bigotry and intolerance.  If Midsumma want to partner with News Corp then it must accept responsibility for Tyrone’s tragic death.

“This is the second year that News Corp have been a supporter of Midsumma (Herald Sun logo was used last year).”

Midsumma (Nov 25 2016)

Sadly this is the second year that Midsumma have had News Corp as a sponsor.  Aleph Melbourne would not have participated in 2016 if this had become apparent at the time.

Aleph Melbourne calls on Midsumma to hold News Corp to account for their words and actions, along with returning any cash sponsorship or in-kind support.

Related media coverage

JOY 94.9FM – Nov 25 2016

6PM News

SameSame – Nov 25 2016
Community Upset At Midsumma’s News Corp Sponsorship

Herald-Sun – Nov 26 2016
Gay activist must apologise for this lie

SameSame – Nov 27 2016
OPINION: Enough, Everyone, Andrew Bolt Is No Transphobe

Jewish Museum of Australia: Midsumma Festival 2014 – When voices meet visions: an exploration of queer Jewish identity

Media Release
Jewish Museum of Australia

Midsumma Festival 2014 – When voices meet visions: an exploration of queer Jewish identity

“A community is too heavy to carry alone” – Deuteronomy Rabbah 1:10
This quote is featured in the current temporary exhibition Voices & Visions, now showing at the Jewish Museum.

The Jewish Museum of Australia is proud to be taking part in another year of the Midsumma Festival. This year’s event, When voices meet visions: an exploration of queer Jewish identity, uses the current Voices & Visions temporary exhibition, as the launchpad for a discussion about what it is to be gay and Jewish.

The exhibition features a series of posters designed by some of America’s most prominent graphic designers, who have responded to quotes by Jewish luminaries throughout history – ranging from Martin Buber to Susan Sontag to Maimonides. In the same vein, the panel will respond to the quotes featured in the exhibition, and relate them to their personal experiences.

Chairing the event will be Museum Director & CEO Rebecca Forgasz, and the panellists include psychologist Debbie Zaks, teacher Sandra Schneiderman and artist Sam Schoenbaum.

Rebecca Forgasz says:
“In Judaism we are encouraged to ask questions and find multiple interpretations of traditional texts, the premise being that these texts have infinite depth and eternal relevance. At this event we are asking the panellists to make their own meanings from the texts offered up in the Voices & Visions exhibition. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore queer culture in a Jewish context.”

Rebecca Forgasz is available for further comment and interviews.

For media enquiries please contact Elise Hearst on 8534 3612 or e.hearst@jewishmuseum.com.au

When voices meet visions: an exploration of queer Jewish identity
Thursday 30 January at 6.30pm
Jewish Museum of Australia
26 Alma Rd
St Kilda 3182
www.jewishmuseum.com.au

Elsternwick couple in Victoria’s first Jewish gay commitment ceremony as synagogue prepares to host first gay and lesbian festival celebration | Herald-Sun

Elsternwick couple in Victoria’s first Jewish gay commitment ceremony as synagogue prepares to host first gay and lesbian festival celebration

  • Nicole Precel
  • January 07, 2014 12:00AM
Ilana and Chrissie were the first gay couple to have a marriage ceremony at a Jewish synagogue in Melbourne at Temple Beth Is...

Ilana and Chrissie were the first gay couple to have a marriage ceremony at a Jewish synagogue in Melbourne at Temple Beth Israel. Picture: Adam Elwood Source: News Limited

WHEN Ilana Gelbart said “yes” to Krissy Adrian’s elaborate proposal, the issue wasn’t coming out of the closet, it was conversion.

“It was more difficult for me because Krissy had to get converted; when we got together­ she wasn’t Jewish,” Ms Gelbart said.

On August 18, the Elsternwick couple became the first gay couple in Victoria to have a Jewish commitment ceremony.

And now their progressive synagogue, Temple Beth Israel in St Kilda, is hosting the first-ever celebration of the Midsumma Gay and Lesbian Festival in a synagogue, on January 31, in partnership with Keshet, the national GLBTI Jewish advocacy group.

“Coming out as a lesbian was something I knew my parents would support me with and not judge me for,” Ms Gelbart said.

And with Judaism deeply entrenched in her family and her psyche, she said it had been wonderful TBI had “welcomed and accepted” them.

“We never stopped to wonder whether they would or wouldn’t (do a commitment ceremony); from the first day Rabbi Kim Ettlinger said, ‘Here’s how it goes’, we never thought we wouldn’t be allowed to,” Ms Gelbart said.

“It does put it out there for more gay and lesbian couples to understand they are welcome in progressive congregations.”

 

Ilana Gelbart and Krissy Adriaan at their ceremony at Temple Beth. Picture: Supplied

Ilana Gelbart and Krissy Adriaan at their ceremony at Temple Beth. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The couple keep Shabbat every Friday night, don’t eat shellfish or pork and don’t mix meat and milk.

“We light the candles every week and try to go to synagogue every week,” Ms Gelbart said. “It’s all very much a part of our lives.”

The couple met at Monash University three years ago, and Ms Adrian converted to Judaism soon after.

“I didn’t ever ask her (to convert), that was just something that she wanted to do,” Ms Gelbert said.

Senior Rabbi Gersh Lazarow said TBI encouraged members of the Jewish GLBTI community to form a meaningful spiritual connection at the synagogue.

He said the January 31 Midsumma celebration would focus on inclusion, equality and human rights.

“While historically many from the GLBTI have felt isolated or shunned from faith-based organisations, Temple Beth Israel, as part of the Progressive Jewish movement, prides itself on principles of egalitarianism and respect for others,” Rabbi Lazarow said.

There will also be a Midsumma Mass on January 31 held at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Fitzroy.

Details: tbi.org.au or 9510 1488.

Melbourne’s Largest Synagogue Celebrates GLBTI Festival

Temple Beth IsraelTemple Beth Israel (TBI) is proud to host the first ever celebration of the Midsumma Gay and Lesbian Festival in a Victorian Synagogue on Friday 31 January 2014.

In partnership with Keshet, the national GLBTI (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Intersex) Jewish advocacy group, the Shabbat Service will focus on issues of inclusion, equality and human rights in the lead up to the final weekend of the Midsumma Festival 2014.

Leading members of the Melbourne Jewish community will be honoured at the evening service in recognition of their contributions to the Jewish GLBTI community.

Among those selected for an honour are Kristen Adriaan and Ilana Gelbart, Melbourne’s first gay couple to have a Jewish commitment ceremony earlier this year at Temple Beth Israel.

TBI Senior Rabbi Gersh Lazarow says that all Jews should feel welcomed and accepted in a Synagogue.

“Temple Beth Israel is a long-standing friend of the GLBTI community, and has been a home for many members of this group.” “We actively encourage members of the Jewish GLBTI community to form a meaningful spiritual connection at TBI.

While historically many from the GLBTI have felt isolated or shunned from faith based organisations, Temple Beth Israel, as part of the

Progressive Jewish movement, prides itself on principles of egalitarianism and respect for others.” Says Rabbi Lazarow.

Founded in 1930 by a few visionaries in the Melbourne Jewish community, Temple Beth Israel is the original Progressive synagogue in Australia and New Zealand. It is one of the most active and spiritually creative forces in the Australian Jewish community running a plethora of programs for all age and interest groups.

Keshet President Jonathan Barnett welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the community within the setting of a synagogue. “Keshet strives to cultivate the spirit and practice of inclusion in all parts of the Jewish community. To bring about long term change in institutional practices and beliefs we work in partnership with community leaders, such as TBI rabbis”, says President Barnett.