Jewish day school supports marriage equality

February 21, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Melbourne’s Bialik College has become the first Australian K-12 school to support marriage equality.

Michael Barnett, convenor of Aleph Melbourne, said: “As a member of the Safe Schools Coalition, Bialik College is showing genuine leadership and vision by supporting marriage equality.  The school clearly understands that giving children equal opportunities in life enables them to achieve their full potential.

Jeremy Stowe-Landner

Jeremy Stowe-Lindner

As a former student of Bialik College, I am exceedingly proud of my first high school today.  They have come a long way since I attended in the early 1980s.  I would have had an easier time at school, experienced less bullying and felt less isolated if the school had told me it was ok to love boys and that I could even marry a man when I grew up.  That validation would have made a huge difference to me, particularly at that formative stage of my life”.

Bialik principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, a former  head teacher principal at London’s Jewish Community Secondary School told J-Wire: “We have a number of families at Bialik who are same-sex relationships. The rainbow spectrum of our community, and I use the term ‘rainbow’ deliberately, is something that we should celebrate.

The idea of inclusion of those whose lifestyles are different to what some may see as mainstream and who contribute positively to the community without impinging on the freedom of others, is a fundamental tenet of modern liberal Jewish values.

Bialik is an existing member of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia – a national coalition of organisations and schools working together to create safe and inclusive school environments for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families. It is funded by the Australian Government and, in Victoria, by the Victorian Government.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated that there may be a plebiscite to allow Australians to vote on the issue of same sex marriage but a positive result would still have to face the legislature to become legal.

Reform and progressive communities in Australia perform same sex ceremonies. Marriage celebrant Nitza Loewenstein told J-Wire: “I have performed many commitment ceremonies. There are no documents although I have seen parents present their offspring with ketubahs. As far as rights are concerned the law will recognise they are in a de facto relationship but not a marriage.”

A former family court judge told J-Wire that a same-sex couple living together for an extended period of time would be subject to the same legal rights as a de facto heterosexual couple.

Rabbi Kim Ettlinger of Temple beth Israel in Melbourne told J-Wire that she performed one same sex commitment ceremony and would continue to do so. She added: “We only officiate at a ceremony at which both participants are Jewish and do issue them with a specially-worded ketubah.”

The Rabbinic Council of Progressive Rabbis announced its support for marriage equality in 2011.


4 Responses to “Jewish day school supports marriage equality”
  1. Eleonora Mostert says:

    Wow… Aint we game to go against God and what He calls an abomination in His eyes.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Bialik College ought to hang its head in shame. It is supposed to be a Jewish school and it is endorsing a policy that seeks to sanctify practices the bible describes as abominations and prescribes death for those.

    Now nobody in 5777 seeks to kill non-heterosexual people or to discriminate against them. Bit the college cannot claim to uphold Jewish teachings and then go against its teachings. Quiet dignified tolerance is called for as much as is countering a noisy aggressive minority that seeks to change society to alleviate the neurosis brought on by the very difference they emphasise.

    The long and the short of the matter is that the LGBTIQ segment of society is not equal; they have not advanced to the stage of psychosexual maturity that heterosexual individuals have.

    Marriage has throughout the ages and in every society has been an institution for couples that are capable of reproducing. Such couples produce children and act as male and female role models. Same sex couples cannot reproduce and no man can be a child’s mother, nor can any woman be a child’s father.

    The Safe Schools Coalition’s program was exposed in The Australians and widely condemned in the letters column. The program is not to make schools safe but to propagandise non-heterosexuality to children too young to be dealing with such matters.

    Bialik College should replace its principal with someone who can guide its students in Jewish values of love, respect, tolerance and compassion for others but remains true to its own traditions. And that of societies throughout the ages.

  3. Michael Barnett says:

    So proud of Bialik.

    • Robert Weil says:

      “A proud moment for the Jewish community”? Purim is not a for a few weeks yet, but this is surely a joke. A very sick one.

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