Aberdeen Israel Fund
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Ramaz Club On Sexual Identity
Tue, 10/08/2013 - 20:00
Jerry Zeitchik, Director of Guidance

Rabbi Steven Greenberg’s column, “New Hope For Gay Orthodox Jews” (Opinion, Oct. 4), mischaracterizes a student club at Ramaz that was initiated by the school (not “pushed into it”). In this spirit, we want to clarify the purpose and focus of the club, called Sexuality, Identity and Society.

The club serves as a forum for meaningful and open discussions about sexuality, as well as about tolerance and sensitivity (a core Jewish value) for all people regardless of sexual orientation. It is not an advocacy club, nor is it a “Gay-Straight Alliance.” The club members meet regularly with faculty advisers to promote educational and humanistic goals. We are proud of our commitment to the dignity of every student and faculty member, of each individual, regardless of sexual orientation.
As educators, we are clear with the group about our commitment to the core mission of the school, which is observant Orthodox — a mission that cannot compromise the halachic position on homosexual behavior. The group’s discussions balance open and inclusive meetings, with respect for the core values of the school.

Ramaz Upper School                                                                                                                                                     Manhattan


Ramaz Club, Sexual Identity

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"The idea was to create a club that would combat homophobia and be a general forum for sexuality and gender, and the administration signed off on it, calling it “The Sexuality, Identity and Society Club,” which Altzman says sounds more like an introduction to gender studies course at a college than a club. But it functions as the club he envisioned, with eight or nine students sitting in a classroom on Wednesdays and talking over such topics as coming out; transgender identity; the Defense of Marriage Act and whether bullying is a problem at Ramaz."