Re: Openly gay students attending day schools
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Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

December 16, 2018 08:12AM
Hi all,

I am the Executive Director of Eshel, a national organization that works with orthodox communities in creating understanding and awareness on behalf of their LGBT members. One of our goals is to ensure that people do not have to leave their Orthodoxy because they are LGBT.

I see that the responses here focus on defining sexual and gender identity, comparing an LGBT person to someone who is violating halakha and how we should treat them etc. These are all good discussions to have. But I think the focus of the educator should be more on how the student is being treated, by their peers, and by the staff. Being LGBT is not a lifestyle choice, it is how people are born. So the jury is out on whether and to what degree they are violating halakhah. We also know that there is a higher risk of depression and suicide amongst LGBT teens than there is amongst teens who are not LGBT. Thus, the discussion of educators, I believe should not be about whether we treat other people who sin similarly, but should be a question of pikuach nefesh.

We have a yearly retreat for parents of LGBT people who live in Orthodox communities to help them cope with parenting and with their communities that ostracize them and their kids. Rabbi Riskin was our guest and his main message was this: Love your child, accept and be proud of your child. That was the bottom line. He did discuss halakhik issues but that wasn’t the main point at all.

Currently, Eshel is running the High School Pledge Project. The points of the pledge are basic and can be tailored to what feels comfortable to each school; several frum yeshivot have incorporated these principles using language that feels right to them. Here are the main points of how LGBT students should be treated; no bullying, no expelling, not recommending illegal or harmful therapies, providing support, fully integrating them in religious activities, and admitting students who have LGBT parents. You can see it here:

[www.eshelonline.org]

If you want to figure out how your school community is going to deal with kids who come out, Eshel is happy to work with you and tailor a response that feels appropriate to your school, and your hashkafah, while being respectful of your students. Feel free to email me at Miryam@eshelonline.org.

Miryam

Miryam Kabakov
Executive Director
Warmline: 724-374-3501
Direct line: 917-553-3029
www.eshelonline.org



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/16/2018 08:13AM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

Openly gay students attending day schools

Rochelle Brand November 27, 2018 08:21AM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Abie Zayit December 05, 2018 07:31AM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Shmuel Silberman December 05, 2018 07:34AM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Russel Neiss December 09, 2018 06:11PM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Eliyahu Teitz December 09, 2018 06:15PM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Shmuel Silberman December 12, 2018 07:13PM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Miryam Kabakov December 16, 2018 08:12AM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Tzvika Kanarek December 18, 2018 07:44AM

Re: Openly gay students attending day schools

Jessie Fischbein January 21, 2019 06:45AM



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