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The Bat-Kol code
The Bat-Kol code 
 
Historical plenum.  Avigail Sperber
Historical plenum. Avigail Sperber 
 
 

Religious lesbian organization lays down code of conduct

Operating for years as support group for religious lesbians, Bat-Kol is finally gaining legitimacy as members seek to boost their standing, gain acceptance in religious sector

Ynet
Published: 07.21.08, 15:11 / Israel Jewish Scene

Five year after founding the Bat-Kol Religious Lesbian Organization, its members convened last Thursday for their first plenary session. “For us this means a new phase in our organization, which has become more institutionalized,” said Avigail Sperber, co-founder of Bat-Kol and a member of its managing committee. “It was a historical plenum; festive, moving and most of all – important,” Sperber added.

 

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For the first time in years, dozens of the organization’s members met face-to-face to agree on Bat-Kol’s guiding code, elect the organization’s leaders management committee.

 

According to the document of principals presented at the plenum, Bat-Kol will act to establish social community frameworks for religious lesbians as well as raise awareness towards the acceptance of religious lesbians and their families by the religious sector. The organization will also act to promote tolerance and equality in that sector – while maintaining the members’ discretion.

 

The guidelines determine that “maintaining a religious identity is an important value for the organization. Bat-Kol will not desecrate Shabbat, and its activities will not entail a public profanation of Shabbat. The food served in the activities will be kosher.” However, the Bat-Kol members will respect the different life styles of their members, and aspire to establish mutual responsibility between them.

 

‘What is hateful to you, don’t do unto others'

The members signed the document of principles stipulating that Bat-Kol members will act “in good faith to fulfill the organization’s goals. The interpretation of the guidelines will be according what is deemed reasonable, in an effort to encourage harmony and friendship within the organization. Every activity and discussion will be conducted with mutual respect and in keeping with the belief that 'what is hateful to you, don’t do unto others.’”

 

The members of Bat-Kol held a closing ceremony for the Megillah Tractate, which they studied on their website, and recounted the organization’s founding days and joined in the singing of “Tov Le’Hodot La’Shem” (“It is good to praise Hashem”) and read other verses. After electing the five management representatives, the members said the “Shehecheyanu” blessing ("Who has kept us alive") upon embarking on their new path.

 

Sperber told Ynet that the significant increase in the number of activities held by the organization over the past few years made it impossible to go on consulting every single member before making decisions, therefore requiring the election of a managing committee.

 

“From now on, Bat-Kol is not only a support group but an institution run by professional committees, working towards changes we would like to lead in the religious society in treating the “other” and educating towards that end.”

 

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