GLBTI Statement from Nina Bassat AM | JCCV

Jewish Community Council of Victoria – Latest News & Media

GLBTI Statement from Nina Bassat AM

24 April 2013

“The mark of an enlightened society is the ability to allow all its members to live in a cultural climate free from any form of harassment or discrimination. The “No to Homophobia” campaign, by promoting an environment of respect and inclusiveness, seeks to ensure that the GLBTI members of our community can do so.”

Nina Bassat AM

JCCV- organisational partner in the “No to Homophobia Campaign


Media Release: JCCV tackles homophobia but must prove it is serious

Aleph Melbourne Media Release
March 28 2013
“JCCV tackles homophobia, but must prove it is serious”

Aleph Melbourne congratulates the Jewish Community Council of Victoria for aligning themselves with the No To Homophobia1 campaign, as announced2 in this week’s Australian Jewish News.

The No To Homophobia campaign aims to challenge all forms of harassment and discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people.  With the JCCV signing up for these values it paves the way for greater acceptance and inclusion of GLBTIQ people in the Jewish community and will work to reduce the extreme marginalisation and intolerance that GLBTIQ people face at the Orthodox end of the religious spectrum.

As the only organisation representing the combined interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Melbourne’s Jewish community, Aleph Melbourne all too frequently sees the effects of intolerance of sexual orientation and gender identity, especially when it emanates from within the Jewish community.

A recent example of homophobia in the Victorian Jewish community is when Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen3 called for the defunding of the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria program and published his beliefs that homosexual people should undergo sexual reorientation therapy to make them heterosexual.

Another example of homophobia in the Victorian Jewish community is the Rabbinical Council of Victoria writing a submission4 to the Australian Senate opposing changes to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to obtain civil marriages.

Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett asks of JCCV President Nina Bassat “Signing up to the No To Homophobia campaign is definitely a step in the right direction, but how is the JCCV going to counter homophobic attitudes from the intolerant sections of the Jewish community, especially when it comes to equal recognition of our relationships under Civil law and other forms of legalised intolerance such as that where Jewish organisations are allowed to discriminate against LGBTI people, especially when they are Jewish.  It’s simply not enough for the JCCV just to ask their membership to also sign up.  That is not affirmative action.”

Barnett states “The JCCV must show that joining No To Homophobia is a sincere attitude change and not just window-dressing.  The lives of vulnerable same-sex attracted and gender diverse youth are at stake here and there is no room for hollow platitudes.”

Aleph Melbourne looks forward to the seeing the JCCV bring along its constituents in this new chapter and the accompanying benefits to the community that this entails, in particular building stronger and more inclusive families and reducing the rate of youth suicide, self-harm and mental health issues.

Aleph Melbourne also looks forward to the JCCV taking proactive initiatives to counter homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in all Jewish schools by recommending they all join the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria5.  There is also ample scope for the JCCV to work with Jewish sporting organisations to reduce homophobic intolerance and promote positive role models in those spaces.

Contact Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541 for further comment.



JCCV says no to homophobia | AJN

See also:
Media Release: JCCV tackles homophobia but must prove it is serious
No To Homophobia

Friday, March 29, 2013
The Australian  Jewish News
Page 7

JCCV says no to homophobia


THE Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) will join the “No to Homophobia” campaign and is asking its affiliate organisations to sign up too.

The “No to Homophobia” initiative aims to challenge all forms of harassment and discrimination faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) people.

The campaign aims to reduce the incidence of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment in Victoria – and beyond – by empowering people who identify as GLBTIQ as well as the broader community to respond and speak out against this harassment.

According to JCCV president Nina Bassat, the campaign promotes respect between people and healthy relationships, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identification.

Bassat acknowledged the emotional turmoil members of the GLBTIQ community can face, whether it be at school, in the workplace or in the wider community.

“No-one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity;’ she said. “The mental wellbeing issues in relation to bullying, depression and lack of self-esteem can be catastrophic.’

By Jewish organisations joining the campaign, the JCCV not only anticipates a greater level of understanding and awareness within the Jewish community, but also an education with respect to what constitutes homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment. For instance, phrases such as “That’s so gay’.

Sally Goldner, a spokesperson for Transgender Victoria and a member of the JCCV’s GLBTIQ reference group, said as a transgender person she has been received fairly well by the Jewish community, and feels this move can only make people more tolerant.
“This is an amazing step forward that pushes diversity higher. It’s sensational,’ she told The AJN.

The JCCV will officially request that its affiliates become part of this campaign at their next plenum meeting in May.

Jewish Gays still excluded from Victoria Police Jewish Community reception « mikeybear

Jewish Gays still excluded from Victoria Police Jewish Community reception « mikeybear.

Nina Bassat JCCV President first interview on gay radio station JOY 94.9 – May 1 2012

The interview with Nina Bassat runs from 3:45 to 12:41 in the following podcast.

Title: The Rainbow Report-May Day 2012
Author: Joy 94.9
Summary: With Nina Bassat, JCCV President on progress in the Jewish community since the LGBTI report, Catherine Gardiner-Gaskin on how Scouts Australia is inclusive, Keith Paulusse on how the Seventh Day Adventist Church shut down his language school, and Brent Allan on the latest NAPWA HIV/AIDS campaign.
Published: Wed, 2 May 2012 10:01 AM
Duration: 49:30
Download: 01052012 Rainbow Report PODCAST.mp3

Gay youth: teaching the teachers | AJN

10 Feb 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Gay youth: teaching the teachers

IN JONATHAN Barnett’s eyes, the most important goal is for Jewish secondary school students “to feel wanted and part of the Jewish community”, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

“The consequences of not being welcomed by the Jewish community range from depression and psychiatric problems to suicide, and God forbid, that’s the last thing we ever want,” the American-born fire safety engineer told The AJN.

Barnett, who is gay, is the convenor of Keshet (Hebrew for ‘rainbow’), a group that seeks to train Jewish educators, youth leaders and rabbis so they can deal with senior school students who have identified with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) community.

Keshet Australia stems from the Keshet organisation in the United States, which has so far trained about 700 educators. There are plans now to incorporate Keshet Australia as a notfor-profit organisation, which will implement a training and support program somewhat along the lines of Safe Schools Victoria, Barnett said.

While the local group has strong informal ties with Progressive Judaism Victoria (PJV), Barnett, a PJV board member, said there were GLBTI Jews across the Jewish spectrum, “whether they be Progressive or Orthodox”.

“It’s not a Progressive issue or an Orthodox issue, it’s a Jewish issue. It’s not an issue of simple tolerance, it’s an issue of the community embracing its own members, and its members include GLBTI Jews. But if you’re going to teach people to really create a warm environment, they have to understand what’s needed, and they need to understand it in a Jewish context,” he said.

“The Keshet program has been developed with a focus on our traditions and our texts. It looks at Torah and Talmud and the evolution of Jewish thought and philosophy.”

Once Keshet Australia has been incorporated, there are plans to bring an American educator to Australia to offer workshops.

“One of the reasons we’re not part of the Progressive movement is that the [Jewish] community is more than the Progressive movement,” he said, adding he was elated that the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has indicated its support for Keshet.

But asked if he expected strong opposition from educators at Orthodox Jewish schools, Barnett said: “We’re reaching out to teachers of day schools, and rabbis and others, because they too are worried about their kids. No one can tell me that the Orthodox don’t care about children.

“Nobody in the Jewish community, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t support gay kids. The issue is how do we do it. We’re not going into the schools to do the teaching. We want to give the educators the tools so they understand how to reach their own children in a way that’s appropriate to them and their philosophy.”

Barnett said he was hopeful that some Orthodox Jewish educators would become involved and that he had already had expressions of interest from teachers at Orthodox Jewish schools.

Last month, the PJV and Keshet organised an open forum linked to a Theatreworks production of Mother Son, a play on a gay Jewish theme. Half the proceeds benefited Keshet, and attendees took part in a discussion after the show with writer-performer Jeffrey Solomon.

JCCV president Nina Bassat said the roof body had asked Keshet how the Victorian Jewish community could help. “Given that it’s educating the educators in an area where there’s a lot of misinformation, we’ve said let us know what kind of support we can give you.”

A JCCV report last year found GLBTI members of the Victorian Jewish community were subjected to widespread marginalisation.

Bassat returns as JCCV president | AJN

11 Nov 2011
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Bassat returns as JCCV president

AS THE only nominee for president in the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) elections, Nina Bassat will replace John Searle when he steps down after three years in the role.

According to Bassat, a former president of the JCCV and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, it’s an exciting time to take over.

“I think we are at a stage in communal life where we must work together.

“If there’s one thing I’d like to see happen it’s collaborative communal activity,” she told The AJN.

In a distinguished communal career, Bassat has been a tireless campaigner and facilitator for Holocaust restitution, for resettling Jews from the former Soviet Union, and for dealing with the aftermath of the Maccabiah bridge disaster. In 2003, Bassat, who has an Order of Australia medal, was added to the Victorian Women’s Roll of Honour. Having headed the JCCV from 1996-1998, Bassat currently presides as vice-president and is highly regarded by Searle.

“Nina Bassat has a wealth of experience and skills to offer our community and will no doubt do an outstanding job as president of this organisation. I wish her every success,” he Searle.

He said he felt confident that the JCCV was well placed to fulfil its mission to be the recognised and responsible peak body and voice of Victorian Jewry.

Basset will be joined by current board member Dr Helen Light as vice-president and Ian Jones as treasurer.

Meanwhile, the Jewish community has expressed unprecedented interest in joining the JCCV’S executive, with nine nominations received.

“We attribute this to the sensational job the JCCV has done over the last few years, the respect afforded to it by members of our community and the wider Victorian community as well as to our restructure, the reformulation of our mission and goals, and the introduction of clearly defined portfolio position descriptions,” Searle said.

He said interest in the organisation had been generated by its increasing relevance and high-profile in the community.

Nina Bassett (Photo by Peter Haskin)
Nina Bassett (Photo by Peter Haskin)


At the JCCV’S annual meeting on November 21, five executive members will be elected from current executives John Searle, Dvir Abramovich and Rimma Sverdlin and new nominees Ashley Browne, Daniel Fox, Jennifer Huppert, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, Atida Lipshatz and Jackie Phillips.