KeshetUK names first Executive Director
Monday 18 September 2017
KeshetUK, the charity working to ensure that no one has to choose between their Jewish and LGBT+ identity, is excited to announce the appointment of Dalia Fleming as its first Executive Director.
As KeshetUK’s first full time employee, Dalia will take on the Board of Trustees’ executive functions as well as supporting both our director of programmes, Neil Levitan and volunteer coordinator, Emma Grant, to deliver sustainable growth for our education, training and advocacy projects.
Dalia is an experienced trainer, facilitator and programme manager. Previously having worked for Local Government in areas ranging from child poverty policy to IT programme management, she has simultaneously been volunteering with KeshetUK since 2012, primarily developing the Education piece.
In a joint statement the Trustees said, “KeshetUK is delighted that Dalia will lead KeshetUK as our first executive director from 13 November 2017. She has been a key development and delivery partner across several of our workstreams and understands the complex nature LGBT+ inclusion work for different stakeholders across the Jewish community. We know she will bring lots of energy and hit the ground running at a time where demand for our services has far outweighed supply.”
Dalia added, “I am excited to build on the momentum that KeshetUK has created over the last 6 years. Placing us at the forefront when communities, organisations and individuals are working to make their worlds more inclusive and supporting KeshetUK's vision that no Jewish person has to choose between their faith and LGBT+ identity.”
KeshetUK believes that every UK Jewish community could be more inclusive of LGBT+ people and their families and that no one should be forced to choose between their Jewish and LGBT+ identity. We were moved by Rabbi Dweck's words, and what shone through was his passion for inclusion and his compassion towards all Jews, regardless of their gender or sexuality. Exclusion caused by homophobia, biphobia and transphobia destroys lives, and in particular puts young people at risk of harm and suicide. KeshetUK works to ensure that the voices of those who are willing to stand up and challenge discrimination and exlcusion are never silenced.
In reference to http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2017/4.html
We at KeshetUK are deeply upset by this cruel judgement. We are saddened that part of our community fought hard to keep five children away from one of their parents. We are disappointed in a family court and social care system that failed to find a way for these children to continue a meaningful relationship with both their parents. Because of transphobia, a choice has been made on behalf of these young people that they should grow up without knowing the love for, or feeling the love of, an adoring parent. KeshetUK believes that no one should be forced to choose between love for their family and their Jewish community and heritage. Many Jewish communities are already working hard to make sure they are welcome places for trans people and their families. Every Jewish community can and now must find ways to prevent children from suffering such unnecessary pain and loss.
The 20th anniversary edition of the UK International Jewish Film Festival is coming soon to venues across London and the UK from the 5th – 20th November 2016, showcasing more than 80 world, European and UK premieres of new feature dramas, documentaries and shorts. This year’s programmes includes a fantastic slate of the latest in LGBT films from Israel and around the world. Booking is now open and the UKJF team is looking forward to giving you a warm welcome at this year’s Festival.
Just click through the link in each film's title to buy your tickets.
A Queer Country + Q&A with the film’s director Lisa Morgenthau (Mon 7 Nov)
Dir. Lisa Morgenthau
Israel/UK, 2016, 73 mins
A Queer Country takes us on a riveting journey through Israel’s LGBT history. The film celebrates the community’s remarkable achievement in making Israel – Tel Aviv in particular – the gay capital of the Middle East, whilst also considering the oft-heard accusations of so-called ‘pinkwashing’ of other human rights violations. Indeed, the community’s success stories are often overshadowed by the conflicted nature of Israeli society, discriminatory laws and homophobic attacks. While displaying cautious optimism, A Queer Country shows the battle is not yet over.
“Entertaining and powerful” Jerusalem Post
Who’s Gonna Love Me Now + Q&A with Sa’ar Maoz and Alexander Bodin Saphir (Sat 12 Nov)
Dirs. Tomer Heymann, Barak Heymann, Alexander Bodin Saphir
Israel/UK, 2016, 86 mins
“We urge you to see Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? wherever and whenever you can. It is simply brilliant.” Gay Times
Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? follows the inspirational and intensely personal journey of Saar, an Israeli man rejected by his religious family and community after defying the rules of the kibbutz. He leaves Israel to live freely as a gay man in London but is subsequently diagnosed as HIV positive. With the camaraderie, support and love of his friends in his adoptive city, and the community of the London’s Gay Men’s Chorus, Saar beings to repair and bridge the relationships with his family, and the country he left behind.
Winner: Best Documentary, Berlin International Film Festival
Family Commitments (Wed 9 and Wed 16 Nov)
Dir. Hanno Olderdissen
Cast: Max von Pufendorf, Omar El-Saeidi, Maren Kroymann
Germany, 2015, 85 mins
Deeply in love and having been together for two years, David feels the time is ripe for him and his boyfriend Khaled to tie the knot. Nothing could stand in their way, it seems, except for their families: David’s overbearing, arrogant and Islamophobic mother, and Khaled’s homophobic and conservative father. And if this wasn’t enough, a 19-year old woman shows up on their door with news that will put their relationship to the test.
The Book of Gabrielle + Q&A and a live drawing introduction with Lisa Gornick (Thurs 10 and Mon 14 Nov)
Dir. Lisa Gornick
Cast Lisa Gornick, Allan Corduner, Anna Koval, Ruth Lass, Joni Kame
UK, 2016, 80 mins
Set in London and written, directed by and starring local talent Lisa Gornick, this is the story of a chance encounter between an illustrator who is working on a “how to” sex book and a well-known author, which develops into a complex and revealing mentor-protégé relationship. Funny, insightful and highly risqué, our protagonist begins to question everything she knows about sex, love and art. Warning: the film contains some graphic scenes and numerous sexual references.
The People vs Fritz Bauer (Sun 13 and Sat 19 Nov) + Q&A with Burghart Klaussner on 13 Nov only
Dir. Lars Kraume
Cast: Burghart Klaußner, Ronald Zehrfeld, Lilith Stangenberg, Jörg Schüttauf, Sebastian Blomberg
Germany, 2015, 105 mins
“From start to finish, it’s absorbing.” – New York Times
Having received intelligence about Adolf Eichmann’s whereabouts, German-Jewish public prosecutor Fritz Bauer needs to tread carefully. On one side, there are German officials who would do all they can to thwart his operation. On the other, there is the Israeli Mossad, where priorities are given to more immediate threats. Bauer does what he must for the benefit of both his nation and his fellow Jewish people. A stylish and thrilling film (with a fascinating gay subplot) that uncovers the politics behind the capture of the architect of the Holocaust.
Winner – Audience Award – Locarno Film Festival
Winner Outstanding Feature Film German Film Awards
To join the Jewish bloc at Pride this year, you will need a wristband. This is because security is higher than usual following the Orlando massacre. We have been allotted 100 wrist bands to distribute among people that with to march with us. This has been funded jointly by Keshet UK, JGLG and Gay Jews in London.
If you want to join us, we'll be distributing wristbands from 11am at the Albany Pub at 240 Great Portland Street. Of course once you have your wristband you are free to wander off until the march begins. It won't be possible to reserve wristbands for individuals, though we think there should be enough to go round. We know this is different to our original intention, but events have overtaken us and this seems to be the fairest approach all round. So even if you've already let us know you're coming, please be there early to collect a wristband. If you have a special access need which prevents you from collecting your wrist band in this way, please be in touch to see if we can make another arrangement.
We're sorry if arrangements haven't been smooth this year. We would value feedback so we can do things better next year.
Looking forward to seeing many of you tonight at West London Synagogue, and tomorrow at the march.
With best wishes,
Keshet UK, JGLG and Gay Jews in London.
Friday 24 June 2016 - Shabbat Pride service and dinner
7.00pm - 7.15pm join the WLS community for a pre-service L’chayim
7.15pm - 8.30pm Jewish Pride Service with Shabbat Shira musicians & Maya led by Rabbi Emily Jurman and a sermon by Rabbi Indigo Jonah Raphael on Pride in our T.
8.45pm - 10.00pm supper & buffet - fully catered with bar in addition to entertainment by Daniel Koek (West End Superstar) & a 6-part group from the London Gay Big Band.
Saturday 25 June 2016 - Shabbat service and Pride Parade
11.00am - 12.45pm Shirah Chadasha Service @ WLS - Celebrating Pride - followed by a 'Walk & Talk' - laid back LGBT+ themed study session as we walk from WLS to the Pride march.
As previous years, all the Jewish LGBT organisations are invited to march together for the parade. Please note that Keshet UK has registered on behalf of all the Jewish organisations.
Those not attending the WLS service are invited to arrive at the junction of Portland Place and Park Crescent from 11am. There a Pride in London stewards who will direct you to the exact location to form up and wait for the Parade to start. This will be somewhere in 'Section B' - please look for the Keshet UK flag!
NB for security reasons, all people marching are required by Westminster council to have a wristband - so please ensure you get one from a Keshet UK volunteer upon arrival, or you will not be able to be in the parade march.
We look forward to seeing you on the weekend! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
At the start of London Pride week, Keshet UK – the charity working for full inclusion of LGBT people in Jewish communities – is delighted to confirm the appointment of Neil Levitan as director of programmes.
As the charity’s first paid employee, Neil will lead on delivering Keshet UK’s education and training work, further developing our volunteer network and growing our reach among schools, youth movements, synagogues and university campuses and Jewish community organisations.
Neil is an experienced community development professional with a passion for tackling violence and discrimination through building inclusive communities. He has experience in managing and directing a variety of community based initiatives both inside and outside of the Jewish community.
In his most recent post, Neil led the inclusion and outreach team at the Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre where is now a trustee. Previously he managed numerous projects at JCORE and JAT. He was the UK research officer on the Brunel University/EU Funded GAP Work Project, which trained 200 youth practitioners on methods to tackle gender-related violence with and amongst young people.
Neil commented, “I am very excited to be joining Keshet UK at a time when the Jewish community is taking more action in order to create more inclusive spaces for LGBT+ Jews and their families. I looking forward to helping Keshet UK grow its programme in the coming years”.
Keshet UK welcomes Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis's response to the Orlando massacre, and his honest recognition that homophobia continues to exist in the UK Jewish community. Many LGBT people and their families will be comforted to hear his position: the Torah is clear that we must provide a welcoming environment in our synagogues and beyond for all Jews, regardless of sexuality.
Sadly, at Keshet UK we know that all too often the reality is different. Many people in our community feel forced to choose between their Jewish and LGBT identity, causing untold - often silent - suffering to LGBT people and their families.
It's time now to go beyond these good words and take action. The Chief Rabbi has met with Keshet UK to discuss how we can work together to make our community more inclusive. Every Jewish school, youth movement, synagogue and community group should now do the same.
What have we done?
מֶה עָשִׂיתָ;קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ, צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן-הָאֲדָמָה
The murder of a 16-year old girl at Jerusalem Pride reminds us of the dangers of homophobia and transphobia. Several rabbis have approached Keshet UK saying that they had ‘no words’ to describe these atrocities. This is simply not good enough. The communal silence shrouding the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews is stifling. Silence is oppressive and damaging, causing untold anguish, distress. It must be, and can be broken, because through our lack of words we fail those who need us most.
We all must look at ourselves, and ask whether we can do more to create an atmosphere where diversity is welcome, but hatred not. We need to be careful in our speech, using language to hurt. We must vocally reject the idea that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are not fully part of our community. We must never be silent and complicit when people dismiss Jewish souls as outsiders, but instead must raise our voices and hold on tight to every member of our community.
Where we have not before had words, we now must find them. We must not waste a single opportunity to talk. Whether we are a rabbi, a communal leader, the family of a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, or simply someone who cares – we must not let silence fall on this moment. Silence breeds fear and mistrust, and we must shatter it with kind words of respect and love. In our schools, and our shuls and around our Shabbat tables we must open our hearts to those who so often have felt rejected by our community.
Keshet UK is committed to working within the Jewish community to achieve the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We invite Jewish communities to come and meet with us, speak with us, and together we will find the words that are so needed at this dark time.
Alma Reisel, Benjamin Ellis and Dave Shaw
Directors, Keshet UK