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June 24th, 2012

By MICHAEL SMITH
Tulsa World Scene Writer
Published: 6/24/2012

Lee Hirsch, director of the acclaimed documentary “Bully,” which is playing at Circle Cinema, will speak at the theater on Monday night (June 25th).

Hirsch will introduce his film about bullying in America’s schools at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the theater at 12 S. Lewis Ave. Following the film, about 8:15 p.m., he will lead a discussion of the picture and answer questions.

The theater has been showing the documentary for several weeks, with free tickets available to educators and students. The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is sponsoring Hirsch’s visit to Tulsa.

Read more from this Tulsa World article

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January 19th, 2011
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December 27th, 2010
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December 21st, 2010

With a spate of suicides calling national attention to the epidemic of homophobic bullying and intolerance, Jewish teens across the country are taking the lead to end bullying and support LGBTQ teens.

A recent letter issued by the youth leaders from the major Jewish teen organizations, including BBYO, NFTY, USY and NCSY, calls upon all Jewish teens to sign the Jewish Community Pledge, with a goal of reaching 18,000 signatures. This effort marks the first time these youth organizations have jointly called upon their peers to band together over an issue so closely tied to their experiences as teens.

As Lynn said upon learning of the initiative: “These teens are sending an extraordinarily powerful message: that they uphold LGBTQ inclusion and equality as fundamental tenets of our community, that they believe deeply in building a more welcoming community and that by taking the Jewish community pledge not to stand idly by, they represent a united Jewish contingent on behalf of this vision.” You can read the letter here. Read More »

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December 21st, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Carly Lundy
954-253-7848
clundy@bbyo.org

JEWISH TEENS TAKE THE LEAD TO END BULLYING AND SUPPORT LGBTQ TEENS

Major International Jewish Youth Movements Join Forces

[Washington, DC] – Jewish teenagers from the major International Jewish Youth Movements are taking on bullying and standing up for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer peers.  In addition to publicly committing to end bullying and creating an inclusive environment in their own movements, the Coalition of Jewish Teen Leaders—the presidents of the International Jewish Youth Movements—has set a goal of getting 18,000 Jews to sign Keshet’s “Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives”. This goal has been echoed by the Executive leadership of the movements and their staff.

“It is really exciting to see Jewish teen leadership take a strong stand against homophobia and to promote a vision of the Jewish community that fully embraces all forms of diversity. When Keshet began the Jewish Community Pledge campaign, we hoped that it would lead to exactly this type of action. As important as it is for Jewish adults to take a stand against bullying and harassment, the most important voice for Jewish youth to hear is that of other youth. I know that there are GLBTQ teens in each of these youth groups as well as unaffiliated youth who will see this letter and feel affirmed by their peers,” said Andrea Jacobs, Director of Education, Keshet.

Connected by their shared desire and passion for tikkun olam, the responsibility to repair the world, the CJTL has called on their membership to create a more inclusive and open Jewish community for today and tomorrow.

BBYO, NFTY, and USY may be different in many ways, but our mission for the Jewish people is the same. We share a desire to impact lives, and bring Jewish teens together.  The CJTL’s combined effort to stand for respect and inclusion is a significant one.  Rarely do we join forces for a common cause, but in this case, Jewish teens have done just that.   We are showing that working together, we are stronger than apart,” said Jeremy Sherman, BBYO’s International Co-President.

The CJTL asks all Jewish teens, as well as all those who work with Jewish teens and the parents and families of Jewish teens, to take a stand against intolerance. As Judaism tells them, they are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, and therefore, it is their role and responsibility as individuals, and also as a community, to always respect one another.

“We call being inclusive and working against bullying and intolerance, ‘Living NFTY’; by working together with the teens in the CJTL, we’ve been able to tell the larger community that saying no to bullies and being inclusive is living Jewishly,” said Daniel Landesberg, NFTY’s President.

The initiative began this fall when a horrific spate of teen suicide due to homophobic bullying gained national attention.  While each youth organization initially responded independently, it was a natural issue for collaboration for the CJTL.

“In taking a strong stand against homophobic bullying and intolerance, these teens send an extraordinarily powerful message that they uphold LGBTQ inclusion and equality as fundamental tenets of our community,” says Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “These teens believe deeply in building a more welcoming community—one that treats their LGBTQ peers with dignity and respect, celebrates diversity and promotes inclusiveness in Jewish life. Together, by taking the Jewish community pledge not to stand idly by, they represent a united Jewish contingent on behalf of this vision.”

In addition to the collective efforts of the CJTL, the movements are doing major work within their organization to support LGBTQ teens and bring awareness to this issue.

The CJTL had previously been convened to support disaster relief in Haiti and also Iran’s Nuclear Disarmament, but never before had an issue been so close and personally tied to their experience as teens.

“It has been an honor working with the leaders of the other Jewish youth organizations, and all our joint efforts serve as a symbol of what can be accomplished by working towards a common purpose.  When people are willing to reach over borders in order to effect significant political, cultural, and global change, real progress can be achieved. I hope that my efforts and the efforts of the entire Coalition of Jewish Teen Leaders are just the beginning of this process,” said Josh Block, USY’s International President.

Download: Coalition of Jewish Teen Leaders Letter for Respect and Inclusion

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BBYO is the leading pluralistic teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. www.bbyo.org

NFTY is the Reform Jewish youth movement of the Union for Reform Judaism, fostering leadership at the national, regional and congregational level. www.nfty.org

USY is the Conservative Movement’s Jewish youth leadership program, offering opportunities on the International, regional, and chapter level. www.usy.org

Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews in Jewish life. Led and supported by GLBT Jews and straight allies, Keshet offers resources, trainings, and technical assistance to create inclusive Jewish communities nationwide. www.keshetonline.org

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December 17th, 2010

In October, in response to a spate of teen suicides brought on by bullying, Keshet launched the Do Not Stand Idly By: A Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives campaign. It asked all Jewish community members, youth and adults, to take a stand against bullying and intolerance by signing a pledge stating a commitment to speak out when witnessing anyone being demeaned for their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

When Keshet launched the Jewish Community Pledge, they weren’t entirely certain how far it would go or what impact it would have. Here are some answers … Read More »

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October 28th, 2010

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, issued this message to LGBT youth suffering from bullying and intolerance.

For more information on bullying prevention, click here.

Or for immediate suicide-prevention assistance, please call The Trevor Lifeline 866-488-7386 (866-4-U-TREVOR) or click here.

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October 18th, 2010

On October 12, 2010, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns shared a personal story and message of hope for gay teens. His remarks include a reference to the tragedy involving  Zach Harrington, a 19-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma who committed suicide following a heated Norman city council meeting that focused on homosexuality.

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October 14th, 2010

On Oct. 5, in response to a recent spate of suicides, Keshet issued the Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives, which calls on all Jewish community members, youth and adults, to take a stand against homophobic bullying and intolerance. Since then, more than 3,600 people have signed on to the pledge.

It is in this context that Rabbi Steven Greenberg writes an article in the Jewish Week in which he poignantly declares his disappointment in how few Orthodox institutions have signed on to the pledge and outlines three steps that his colleagues in the Orthodox rabbinate, and leaders of Orthodox organizations, can and should take at this time to show that they too will not stand idly by in the face of bullying. Read More »

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October 8th, 2010

Idit Klein is the executive director of Keshet, a national grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews in Jewish life.

On Oct. 5, in response to a recent spate of suicides brought on by homophobic bullying and intolerance, Keshet issued the Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives. In addition, they offer 10 tips for ensuring our community is a welcoming, inclusive one that will not stand by in face of suffering and injustice. Read More »

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