Killing two faygels with one stone

February 28, 2011

I find going to the gym really rewarding.  Tonight it was especially so because not only did I get to perve on some ultra-hot guys but I had a flash of inspiration, some might say it was divinely inspired, while I was pedalling away on the exercise bike.

There are a couple of issues that seem to be on the agenda about the offices of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.  One is how to deal with the problem of “alcohol abuse issues affecting Victoria’s Jewish youth”1.  The other is that the JCCV and Rabbi Rapoport fear that if the GLBT community become members of the JCCV “this would fracture the Jewish community”2.

I have worked out a really simple solution to both of these problems.  It’s simplicity floored me, and I’m sure you’ll feel similarly impressed.

Oh, I just remembered, there’s a third benefit that will come from this.  A reduction in child abuse.  You get three for the price of one.  Such a mitzia!

The answer to the million dollar question?  Stop circumcising boys.  How simple is that?

You want to know my logic?  Well, when a Jewish boy is born, he is circumcised, usually when he’s 8 days old.  The mohel (the man who does the snip), according to some ancient Jewish customs3:

takes some wine in his mouth and applies his lips to the part involved in the operation, and exerts suction, after which he expels the mixture of wine and blood into a receptacle provided for the purpose. This procedure is repeated several times, and completes the operation, except as to the control of the bleeding and the dressing of the wound.

What happens here is the infant gets a feel for a man’s mouth around his penis, and this is impressed into his brain.  Some baby boys, the more intelligent (and better looking) ones, remember this sensation as they go through puberty, and rekindle the desire to have a man’s mouth around their penis.  This leads to their desire to grow up to be gay.

Other baby boys will, similarly, retain the taste of the alcohol and again, later on in their youth, will develop an obsession for more of the substance.  This leads to the problem of alcohol abuse.

By stopping this cruel practice, we can effectively stop homosexuality, youth alcohol abuse and as a bonus, reduce the incidence of paedophilia.

It’s really quite amazing.  Three remarkable outcomes from one simple action.

I’m so clever.

1Parents and Alcohol, Educating our Youth

2JCCV, GLBT and Halacha, together We Can Move Forward

3Circumcision, Talmud Style


My Letter to the AJN Editor

February 25, 2011

In response to the AJN’s unbalanced coverage of the JCCV’s latest “open mouth, change feet” statement of GLBT “inclusion” (I think they actually meant “exclusion” – they seem to get the two concepts mixed up so often these days), I have submitted this Letter to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

I welcome the historic resolution on Gender and Sexual Equality that the assembly of World Union for Progressive Judaism recently passed at their convention in San Francisco.  This resolution condemns bigotry and discrimination and calls for equality of gay and lesbian people in all facets of the community.

This approach by the WUPJ is in direct contrast to that being suggested by the JCCV-endorsed Rabbi Chaim Rapoport who “contends that the GLBT community must accept that they cannot become official members of the JCCV as this would fracture the Jewish community”.

The position that the JCCV and Rabbi Rapoport are taking on this matter of inclusion and acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of the Jewish community is in direct contradiction with the best practices of Australian health professionals expert in the area of human sexuality.

I strongly urge the JCCV to adopt a more inclusive, transparent and secular approach to this serious matter.  It seems that the JCCV have forgotten that they are not a religious organisation and that they represent a diverse range of religious and non-religious interests.

Michael Barnett.

I managed to keep the letter to under 250 words and have submitted it well in advance of the deadline for the AJN Letters column, so I’m sure they’ll publish it in the next edition.


WUPJ – The Jewish Superhero

February 25, 2011

[SOURCE]

It’s heartening to see the Progressive Jewish world working to reduce the isolation and marginalisation of same-sex attracted people.  Unconditional acceptance and inclusion is the only way this can be done effectively and it seems they are on track here.

Yes, there is the big elephant in the room about same-sex marriage, and there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of that tunnel yet.  I am optimistic that when the federal government here in Australia removes the obstacles to marriage equality, the Progressive community will be open to discussing this issue in a sensible and respectful manner.  I would be happiest to hear them say they will fully support the evolution of the Marriage Act.

I have included below a communication from Philip Bliss, President of Progressive Judaism Victoria and the Chair of the World Union For Progressive Judaism Resolutions Committee.  It contains the relevant resolution passed at the recent WUPJ assembly in San Francisco.  Clearly this is a step in the right direction.  I have asked Philip Bliss to have his committee consider including mention of bisexuality and gender identity, and reminded them that same-sex attracted people generally find the term “sexual orientation” favourable over “sexual preference”.

A hearty Mazal Tov to the Progressive community.  They are great advocates of human rights and equality and set a high benchmark for others to follow.

Dear Michael
In response to your email
As chair of the WUPJ resolutions committee I was delighted that the resolution below was passed by a huge majority (only one vote against) at our recent WUPJ convention in San Francisco. I also gave on interview on the GLT radio station Swirl a few days after.
I would say that this resolution covers the attitude of the UPJ and PJV here in Victoria
Sincerely
Philip Bliss President PJV


2) WUPJ Resolution on Gender and Sexual Equality
Whereas this International body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism condemns all forms of bigotry and discrimination in our society as being  incompatible with the preservation of human dignity which is destructive of tzelem elohim.
And whereas the WUPJ upholds the principle of treating all people equally whether by gender, age, colour or sexual preference.
And whereas the WUPJ has long championed full equality of women in our movement and in society generally.
IT IS RESOLVED that this International Assembly of the World Union for Progressive Judaism  calls on all institutions, colleges, congregations and youth groups to give equal opportunity to gay and lesbian members,  especially in terms of leadership and learning and to be aware of gender issues when developing study curriculum
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that this International Assembly of the World Union for Progressive Judaism calls on all institutions associated with the WUPJ to treat gay and lesbian couples in the same manner as married heterosexual couples and families.  This call includes commitment ceremonies, and family membership fees.


And now for something completely different

February 24, 2011

Last week I commented on the latest news from the JCCV regarding homosexuals.  This week the Australian Jewish News (in Melbourne) reports on the JCCV.

AJN p11 Feb 25 2011: A different take on same-sex couples

AJN p11 Feb 25 2011: A different take on same-sex couples

Write a Letter to the Editor (letters@jewishnews.net.au).  Keep it under 250 words.  Do it now.


JCCV grovels to Orthodox on gay inclusion

February 16, 2011

[SOURCE]

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has today released details of ‘ground breaking’ work that they’ve undertaken, to try to work out some way to remove the hate and intolerance in the Jewish community that ostracises and marginalises people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  There is incredible stigma in the Jewish community around these areas of human sexuality and gender identity, especially amongst those who subscribe to a fundamentalist interpretation of Jewish teachings.

Compounding this issue is the reluctance of the Jewish community, at best, to engage in the topic of discussions around the area of suicide, especially youth suicide.  I mention this as there is an especially high and alarming rate of suicide amongst GLBT youth.

It is with highly cautious optimism that I am pleased to see discussions on this issue going on.  Some talk is better than no talk.  However I am extremely disturbed that the JCCV are undertaking this in the context of the Orthodox interpretation of homosexuality.  This issue is so serious that any religious parameters placed around the discussions will effectively render the entire process a complete waste of time.  It is the fundamentalist religious attitudes that have created this dire situation and while there is any respect given to them, there can be no credibility placed on what the JCCV are doing.  In fact these intolerant religious attitudes much be challenged, even if this is not popular.

From the media release:

Searle says that although the JCCV leaves questions of Halacha to the Rabbonim, the JCCV remains guided by principles of inclusion and support for Jewish people to live meaningful lives. “The JCCV was set up as an umbrella organisation to protect the needs of all Jews in the Victorian Jewish community and is hence obliged to investigate areas of concern and provide support structures as necessary.”

The JCCV is a secular organisation representing a highly diverse Jewish community. It is imperative that it respect the complete religious diversity of the community they claim to represent.  From a religious perspective, there is a significant percentage of members who are Progressive and Conservative, in addition to those who identify as Orthodox or similar.  There are also members of the Jewish community who are secular and who do not subscribe to any religious teachings.  This reference group must not operate within a religious context, as the JCCV is not a religious organisation and does not operative within any specific religious context.

The highly partisan stance the JCCV has taken on this matter betrays the impartiality of the JCCV, if it ever had any.  I would strongly encourage the JCCV to include representation from the Progressive community on this reference group, along with community members who do not have an Orthodox allegiance.

Given the extreme lack of transparency the JCCV has fostered with their GLBT Reference Group, one can only conclude that it consists of people stacked from the Orthodox community, people sympathetic to the Orthodox community and people who simply don’t understand the dynamics of the diverse nature of the Jewish community.

Until the JCCV acknowledges that the Progressive and Conservative Jewish communities have a diametrically opposed, inclusive and accepting understanding and interpretation of homosexuality to that of the fundamentalist Orthodox community, they will be doing the entire Jewish community a serious disservice.

Lastly, the JCCV continues to sideline people, such as me, who have the credentials to competently address many of their concerns.  It begs the question why this is the case.


The Broiges Dyke

February 12, 2011

I saw my dear friend Alex Nissen at Pride March last Sunday.  She was overjoyed to catch up after having been in Israel for quite some time.  She also told me she was very angry and although she didn’t look angry, she was boiling on the inside.

I took this photo of her, perhaps not the best I’ve ever taken, but the message is there.  She’s a broiges dyke.  If you want to know the story, ask her.  She’ll tell you.

 

Alex, the broiges dyke

Alex, the broiges dyke

[Broiges is the Yiddish word for angry]


Melbourne’s Pride March 2011

February 12, 2011

Last Sunday was the 16th annual Pride March in St Kilda.  Melbourne’s weather started out a little rainy and overcast, but cleared in time for the parade, leaving an abundance of blue skies and sunshine.

Young Aleph in Pride March

Young Aleph in Pride March

Kaye Sera always brings a ray of sunshine, and a pink plastic penis.

Kaye Sera in Pride March

Kaye Sera in Pride March

Behind-the-scenes magic was performed by Colin Krycer, back with a vengeance after missing the prior year’s parade due to an appointment with a heart surgeon.

Colin Krycer (L) offering a helping hand

Colin Krycer (L) offering a helping hand

Pride March celebrates the diversity and under the umbrella of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council marched a diverse array of cultural organisations.

Alyena and John from the AGMC

Alyena and John from the AGMC

I’ve posted my photos from the day in Picasa and Facebook.  Enjoy them and feel free to comment.


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