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Monday, 10 September 2018 23:08

Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth calls for Jewish Orthodox schools to protect LGBTQ students

Written by 

Ephraim Mirvis

 

Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis, wants to end homophobia. He calls on all schools to protect LGBTQ students.

Rabbi Mirvis has released a paper entitled "The Wellbeing of LGBT+ Pupils: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Schools," in partnership with KeshetUK, an organization that helps young LGBT Jews.

Through this paper, Rabbi Mirvis wants teachers to punish students who use the term 'gay' as an insult and vow that the fight against homophobia and transphobia is a "Jewish imperative."

The document also asks teachers not to give children "false assurances" that their families will accept them if they come out as a trans person.

It adds that conversion therapy is strongly condemned by doctors and psychologists.

Rabbi Mirvis said the paper was a significant milestone that would have “a real and lasting impact on reducing harm to LGBT+ Jews across the Orthodox Jewish community”. He added: “Our children need to know that at school, at home and in the community, they will be loved and protected regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.”

It must be said that Orthodox Judaism is very unwelcoming towards LGBTQ people. Leaders encourage young people to take part in conversion camps and push families to marry LGBT youth against their sexual orientation.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis' document won't be welcome but may, I hope, put an end to harassment that LGBTQ students are experiencing.

Photo by John Rifkin

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