Jewish community comes together at Midsumma Pride March

In a fantastic show of support from Melbourne’s Jewish community, over 13 community groups and 100+ participants danced their way down the length of Fitzroy Street St Kilda for the Midsumma Pride March.

Following months of planning the day came together without a hitch, not taking into account the 38 degree weather forecast.

The sound system had been boosted with extra speakers, to bring more of our exciting Jewish and Israeli music mix to the street, and the ute was more vibrantly Jewish in appearance.

As with previous years, the crowds cheered us from the sidelines, loving our Jewish solidarity for LGBTIQA+ diversity.

Poignantly, placards of the late David Zyngier were flown especially high to commemorate his participation in the contingent over recent years and his commitment to LGBTIQA+rights.

One long-standing participant of the Jews of Pride contingent told us that being part of the march this year was really important to them and made them even more proud, a sentiment reflected by many others.

We are especially grateful to both Midsumma Festival and Victoria Police LGBTIQA+ Liaison for their assistance in keeping us safe, and to CSG Victoria for their additional assistance.

Photos from the day are available on Facebook and Google Photos.

Colin Krycer OAM & Michael Barnett OAM
“Jews of Pride ” Contingent organisers

‘We are an unstoppable force of unity’ | AJN

‘BE STRONG. BE PROUD. BE THERE.’

‘We are an unstoppable force of unity’

We aren’t alone in this struggle, but our struggle is not a new one, and we know that eternal vigilance is required to fend off the antisemitism.

By MICHAEL BARNETT
February 1, 2024, 9:00 am

The Jews of Pride contingent at the 2023 Pride March. Photo: Peter Haskin

I recently attended the 70th anniversary celebration for Hashomer Hatzair, as a friend of the movement.

It was a fabulous event, full of ritual, tradition, community and celebration. The day was tinged with sadness though, as they announced they were entering a period of hiatus due to leadership uncertainties.

My connection with Hashy is mainly through the “Jews of Pride” contingent at the annual Pride March in St Kilda. Each year they attend dressed in their chultzot, bring their flags, dance like crazy, fill my heart with joy and bring tears of happiness to my eyes. I know they will continue to join us, one way or another.

I left the party at Bet Anielewicz, their home in East St Kilda, just as the Israeli dancing was starting. I wanted to stay on but had to be elsewhere. Od Lo Ahavti Dai started playing.

I took a moment to soak in the music before getting into my car. It did something to me. I was transformed to a time when I was learning Israeli dancing. I don’t remember when, but it was powerful. I felt so connected to my Jewish upbringing by this simple but catchy tune.

Right now, the Jewish community is struggling. We are in a world where we hear the footsteps of less friendly times. Those echoes seem to grow louder by the day and we don’t know if we can be ourselves as easily as we could yesterday.

We aren’t alone in this struggle, but our struggle is not a new one, and we know that eternal vigilance is required to fend off the antisemitism.

Since October 7 I have witnessed a new phenomenon. Many people and organisations familiar to me have been swept up with efforts to support Palestinian people. I can understand this, as the humanitarian response to the destruction in Gaza is sizeable.

What I can’t understand is why many of the same people and organisations have chosen to stay silent on or minimise the terrorism that Israel faced, along with Hamas’ plan to erase Israel.

My LGBTIQA+ community has in parts become increasingly hostile towards Jews and Israel. Yet those who enable this juggernaut claim not to be antisemitic, despite supporting initiatives that are nothing but. This saddens me deeply.

However, through my commitment to my Jewish community I know I can help bring a sense of hope, peace, love and optimism. Sunday, February 4 is when “Jews of Pride” comes to life at Melbourne’s Midsumma Pride March. A raft of new and returning community organisations will coalesce in force to show their support for rainbow diversity, amid a burst of Jewish culture and identity.

We are an unstoppable force of unity that is undeniably and unashamedly Jewish. We convey pride in standing for inclusion and acceptance, and pride in who we are as a people.

Fitzroy Street will resonate with familiar Jewish tunes and Israeli music that calls to a solidarity with our families and friends in Israel. Together with fellow contingent organiser Colin Krycer, we urge you to come along and show your support.

Be strong. Be proud. Be there.

Michael Barnett is co-convenor of Aleph Melbourne.

More info: jewsofpride.org.au

David Southwick supports Safe Schools program (May 17 2023)

SAFE SCHOOLS

17 May 2023 Motions David Southwick (LIB)

David SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (14:54): I rise to make some comments on the motion before the house today:

That this house affirms its support for the Safe Schools program and acknowledges that it critically:

(1) supports the well-being of all young people; and

(2) provides valuable resources and support for teachers to foster an inclusive learning environment where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

I think we would all agree that every single child should feel safe. It is the right of every child to feel safe and there is an obligation on all of us to provide a safe environment for these kids.

Today is IDAHOBIT, which is a day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and it is appropriate for us to be talking about this as part of the very important element of what many of our young children, particularly those from an LGBTQI+ background, experience at school and what we need to do to ensure that they have a safe environment. Can I say to every LGBTIQ+ Victorian: you are worthy, you are accepted, you are loved, and you and your kids deserve nothing less than to be embraced by all, including the schools, teachers, friends and communities. We must embrace, support and provide every single opportunity for every child no matter who they are, no matter where they come from and no matter what background they are also from. That extends more broadly to both their ethnic background and their faith, and it is something that I have raised on many occasions, as you know, Speaker, particularly in my community where we have unfortunately an increase in antisemitism and we have seen kids targeted at schools because of their faith background as well.

On this motion I wanted at the outset to just raise a few people in terms of their being staunch advocates in this space, particularly Michael Barnett from Aleph. Michael has been a staunch supporter and has been able to work with and support many of the schools. Very early on he worked with Bialik College and King David, just to name a few, and Mount Scopus has been involved in that, in terms of Jewish schools, but we also have a number of other schools that have been involved in terms of being able to provide a safe environment. There is no question that non-heterosexual Australians experience anxiety at 2½ times the rate of heterosexual people. For depression, the figure is four times the rate of heterosexual people. One in six LGBTIQ+ people have attempted suicide and one-third have harmed themselves. They are alarming figures and say that we must do more to support those who do not feel that they belong and those who feel that it is tough just to be able to get on with their daily lives. We have seen that in many instances. We have seen with organisations like Beyond Blue that 61 per cent of young non-heterosexual people have reported experiencing verbal abuse and 80 per cent have reported physical abuse. We have seen another study that showed 33 per cent of trans people reported discrimination in employment as a result of being trans and the unemployment rate of 19 per cent was more than three times that of the national rate.

We have a great state. Victoria is a state that should be embracing everybody no matter who you are, no matter where you come from. We should not be using politics as a way to fight against things like this. We should be coming together and working in ways to actually help people. I have got to say that certainly during question time today I did not feel that that was doing anything to help anybody, particularly those from the LGBTIQ+ community. I know many from our party, the Liberal Party, the Pride branch which is the fastest growing branch in our Liberal Party, of which I am proud to be a member, would feel pretty alarmed about the way that Labor members attacked the Liberal Party today because that does nothing. That does nothing to try and help people belong. The LGBTIQ+ community should not be used as a political football. We should not be using people and targeting them in that way. We should be talking across the chamber about how we do more. We should absolutely do that.

I am very proud that the Leader of the Opposition the member for Hawthorn, the Manager of Opposition Business the member for Brighton, the leader in the upper house Georgie Crozier and a number of others went to the Pride March not only on this occasion but on a number of occasions and stood side by side with the LGBTIQ+ community. We will continue to do so, whether it is popular or whether it is not popular. We will do it because we care, and we will do it because we do not want this to be seen as a political football. So I say, and I implore those opposite: let us look at how we can work together. Let us look at how we can come together on these things.

Belinda Wilson interjected.

David SOUTHWICK: Well, again I say – and I am trying to do this as calmly and as fairly as I possibly can – that ultimately this is not something that we should be trying to score cheap political points out of. It is something that we should be working together on. And that is where I very proudly stand alongside many of those within my party, as I said, including the Liberal Pride branch, who have been absolutely actively providing a very inclusive part of our party so people can feel welcome and so people can feel supported. And if those opposite did not hear me the first time, it is the fastest growing branch we have within our party. So it is certainly something that we celebrate.

Can I also just move on to some of the schools, particularly, that I want to make mention of today, which do some great work. Unfortunately, only a week or so ago we had a report that our great school, Glen Eira College, had what was labelled a toxic and bullying situation where there were almost 10 social media bullying pages on TikTok and Instagram with students posting –

A member interjected.

David SOUTHWICK: Excuse me – posting cruel memes mocking other students and teachers before flashing identifiable photographs of their targets. Can I say the school takes these things very seriously, and I rang the principal as soon as I was made aware of this and was comforted to know that they were acting immediately on this to ensure that kids feel safe – immediately – and so they should. Looking at Glen Eira College’s Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy, one of the things that I think is very important is, within this policy, it talks about all kids feeling safe, whether they be from different backgrounds, whether they be students with disabilities or whether they be from the LGBTIQ+ background. It says this, and I note:

Every person involved in our school has an important role in promoting child safety and wellbeing and promptly raising any issues or concerns about a child’s safety.

That is where we need to be. It is something that we all need to work together on. Whether you are at the school, whether you are a parent at the school or whether you are part of the broader school community, everyone needs to work together to ensure that they feel safe. If you see something wrong, you need to tell somebody. We certainly saw that in a number of inquiries that we had here in this Parliament. We led the way in terms of that in the child safety area, particularly in the child abuse work that was done here in this Parliament, and I think that is something that we must continue to do to ensure that we have kids that feel safe.

At the moment we have issues that are still before the courts. I will not make comment on specific details regarding Brighton Secondary College, but it was absolutely appalling that we had a number of kids that were targeted – a number of kids that saw over that time, because they have Jewish backgrounds, antisemitic attacks. The government has spent literally millions of dollars of taxpayers money trying to defend the school, and these poor kids have again had to endure a horrific time at the school. It has been appalling the way those kids have been treated, and I hope that the government ensures that there are systems in place and that kids of all backgrounds are safe, because that is what kids need and expect.

Hansard PDF from page 65:

Legislative_Assembly_2023-05-17

[PDF]

Mural recognising Jewish LGBTQI+ groups | AJN


RECOGNITION

Mural recognising Jewish LGBTQI+ groups

“It took me a few minutes to realise that in fact it was the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria logo (on the left) and the Aleph Melbourne logo on the right.”

By MIA GARDINER
May 18, 2023, 10:37 am 

Queerways mural in St Kilda.
Queerways mural in St Kilda.

Co-convener of Aleph Melbourne Michael Barnett recently stumbled upon a special mural outside the Pride Centre in St Kilda.

Barnett told The AJN that he was having lunch at Buba, the Tel Aviv-style cafe next to the Pride Centre, when he noticed that the mural had a Magen David on it.

“I was taken aback,” he said.

“The more I looked at it the more it seemed familiar, along with the logo next to it. It took me a few minutes to realise that in fact it was the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria logo (on the left) and the Aleph Melbourne logo on the right.”

He realised that two Jewish groups had been “singled out for recognition” on the mural depicting queer presence in St Kilda.

“We’ve both been part of the Pride March in St Kilda since the late 1990s and cater to people living in the area,” Barnett said.

Aleph Melbourne is a social, support and advocacy group for people who identify as Jewish or who have a Jewish heritage and who identify as same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex (LGBTIQ+).


Australian Jewish News May 19 2023, Community Heartbeat section, page 2

Additional photos:

Jewish Lesbian Group and Aleph Melbourne feature in St Kilda mural

The 2023 Urban Canvas Mural Festival contains a mural by Queer-ways in the Jackson Street car park. Depicted on the mural is a placard bearing the logos of the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria and Aleph Melbourne, two Jewish organisations integral to the diversity of the broader St Kilda area and stalwarts in the annual Pride March in St Kilda.

This gallery of photos was taken on April 23 2023:

Media coverage:


“Jews of Pride” at 2023 Midsumma Pride March

The “Jews of Pride” contingent came to life again at the 28th Midsumma Pride March on February 5, 2023.

Enjoy this compilation of clips taken from the day showcasing the diversity of Melbourne’s Jewish community, celebrating LGBTIQ+ people and our families.

Video by Steve Andersson

Jewish News photo sales here.

Participating organisations:

Jewish organisations show their support | AJN

JEWS OF PRIDE

Jewish organisations show their support

‘It filled my heart to the brim to see so many amazing people join in, from all areas within the Jewish community.’

By MIA GARDINER
February 10, 2023, 7:36 am 

Jews of Pride at the Pride march in St Kilda. Photo: Peter Haskin

This year the annual Pride march saw a 130-person strong Jews of Pride group make its way down Fitzroy Street.

Some participating organisations in the contingent organised by Aleph Melbourne included; the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) and Temple Beth Israel (TBI).

Co-convener of Aleph Melbourne Michael Barnett told The AJN, “It filled my heart to the brim to see so many amazing people join in, from all areas within the Jewish community.

“We had several newcomer organisations to the contingent this year and a variety of first-time attendees from the community,” Barnett added.

Aleph Melbourne’s Colin Krycer set up the sound truck once again, with assistance from Gregory Storer who navigated the truck down the parade route.

Barnett said, “This year the truck was resplendent in stylistic rainbow Magen David wheel covers, and our contingent leaders Susie and Dudi flew massive rainbow Magen David flags to tell the world LGBTIQ+ Jews are worth dancing and prancing down the street for.”

Vice-president of the JCCV Doron Abramovici told The AJN that he was “proud” to join the Jews of Pride continent at the march.

“Once again, Colin Krycer and Michael Barnett OAM did an excellent job in bringing our community together. Our Jewish community has made significant inroads towards LGBTIQ+ inclusion over the last decade, but there is always more we can do to help the LGBTIQ+ community overcome any barriers they may face to fully participate in Jewish life,” he said.

“[I hope] we have continued to share the important message that our community today is more welcoming and inclusive, and leadership takes issues affecting LGBTIQ+ Jews very seriously.”