Yeshiva University launches LGBTQ group that doesn't exist
Two weeks ago, Yeshiva University announced the establishment of Kol Yisrael Areivim Club, an undergraduate "traditional Orthodox" LGBTQ club that doesn't exist
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Yeshiva University (YU) announced two weeks ago the establishment of Kol Yisrael Areivim Club, an undergraduate LGBTQ club that follows a “traditional Orthodox alternative to YU Pride Alliance.”
The University has been in an ongoing legal battle with students that challenge the institutions stance arguing it violates the law by fostering an environment of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Back in August, Yeshiva University filed an emergency request seeking to block a court order requiring the University to recognize an LGBTQ club, “Pride Alliance.”
At the time, Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily blocked the court order that would force YU to recognize the LGBTQ group. However, 5-4 Supreme Court Justices voted to favor the formation of an LGBTQ club “Pride Alliance” on YU campus.
“If applicants seek and receive neither expedited review nor interim relief from the New York courts, they may return to this Court,” the justices wrote as reported by Higher Ed Dive. This ruling dictated that YU had to recognize the LGBTQ club, but YU was not ready to commit— prompting the institution to halt all student clubs after the Supreme Court ruling.
The University president, Rabbi Ari German said at the time in a statement that “every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its LGBTQ students, to establish the clubs, places and spaces that fit within its faith tradition.”
The intimidation tactics worked, forcing the LGBTQ group, “Pride Alliance” to willingly delay seeking recognition if YU can resume all student clubs to avoid division on campus— the university’s response was to agree to restart all student clubs on campus.
The Commentator reports that this LGBTQ club does not exist and is not even listed on the university’s club roster. The club only exists on the premise of prolonging to properly recognize an LGBTQ club.
YU press release states that Kol Yisrael Areivim Club “reflects input and perspectives from conversations between Yeshiva’s rabbis, educators, and current and past undergraduate LGBTQ students. The club will provide students with space to grow in their personal journeys, navigating the formidable challenges that they face in living a fully committed, uncompromisingly authentic halachic life within Orthodox communities.”
What’s interesting is that the club is “traditional Orthodox alternative,” and “uncompromisingly authentic halachic life,” further diminishing the rights of students’ on campus especially those voicing the ongoing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, said in a statement, “We are eager to support and facilitate the religious growth and personal life journeys of all of our students to lead authentic Torah lives, and we hope that this Torah based initiative with a new student club tailored to Yeshiva’s undergraduate LGBTQ students will provide them with meaningful support to do so.”
However, even Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University, said in a statement, “I add my blessing to this initiative and new student club, which we hope deepens our students’ commitment to the Torah and leads to harmony in our Yeshiva University community.” Furthering the same narrative that the LGBTQ club should be guided under the premise of the Torah.
The institution’s allegations that this new club “reflects input and perspectives” from “current and past undergraduate LGBTQ students,” is questionable. In the end, their rights are not being recognized but religion is being preserved in a desperate attempt to make others’ believe real, concrete changes are happening.
Ira Mitzner, Chairman of Yeshiva University’s Board of Trustees, added in a statement, “I am thankful for the strong partnership between the Administration, rabbinic and lay leadership, and fully support this new initiative.”