Weekly Round-Up: December 2, 2016

Stay up-to-date with our many communities: Here’s what’s been happening this week in the intersecting worlds of Israeli, LGBT and Jewish life!

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TOP NEWS

This gay Syrian refugee wants to move to Israel: Stockholm resident Refat Rothschild has ditched his drugs, his old name, and his old religion. “I quizzed [my western friends who visited Israel] about their Jewish friends’ beliefs and lives, and everything sounded fine and positive to me,” he says. The Local Voice

While a new study for World AIDS Day 2016 finds that the number of people infected with the virus went down in the past year, news about a cure for the virus that is currently being developed keeps coming in from Israel. A Wider Bridge follows the news closely, and here’s what we know so far. A Wider Bridge

The Religious Kibbutz Movement has announced that it has embraced a pro-LGBT document that was written to settle disputes between the different religious communities and gay members. “There is no way we will allow sexual relations between persons of the same sex, but there is nothing wrong or immoral in people with orientations.” Kipa

What it’s Like to come out as gay in the orthodox world? Haaretz’ Departures / Arrivals column talks to Yehonatan Shapira and Yehuda Shlezinger, two young Israelis, on their way home. The two went abroad for the first time, flew to Rome, and even visited a gay club. Haaretz

Famed gay Jewish TV personality and author Andy Cohen revealed on live TV he was diagnosed with skin cancer after he had spotted a suspicious black dot on his lip. People

LOCAL NEWS

FLORIDA — Scott Melton, an openly gay, black, Jewish teacher, doesn’t know if he was pushed out of Saint Andrew’s private school in Boca Raton because of his sexuality, or because he was a whistleblower – or a combination of both. South Florida Gay News

ILLINOIS — Laurie Grauer, Midwest Manager of Programs and Operations at A Wider Bridge, reflects on the organization’s 2016 LGBT Leadership Mission – AKA #bridge2israel16 – that ended last week. A Wider Bridge Chicago

MASSACHUSETTS — A panel discussion on the issues facing transgender individuals moderated by Idit Klein, executive director of Keshet will be held Monday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Boston. Boston Globe

NEW YORK — Gay, Jewish Manhattan lawmaker Brad Hoylman who has been hit with death threats in recent weeks received another hateful missive Tuesday stating he and his family will be “burned alive,” police sources said. The New York Post

UNITED KINGDOM — Jewish club in London throws Butt Mitzvah parties – to try and help boys find nice Jewish husbands. Vice

IN ISRAEL

Erez Cohen, a transgender man, is suffering from a gynecological disease that, without surgery, could lead to cancer. When he turned to Tel Hashomer hospital to get treatment, he ran into transphobic doctor and staff. Mako Pride

Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, who previously called gays ‘deviants’ and ‘perverts,’ strikes again: ‘Women need to be women and men need to be men,’ he told his students. Haaretz

In a deposition to clarify his position on topics addressed in his writings, Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim told the supreme court that he had meant to show that there is an obligation to love and help homosexuals, but understands why it was offensive. Karim said that he now does not believe that gay people should fight their sexual orientation. The Forward

Kristof Steiner gets to stay a “White City Boy:” The gay Hungarian blogger had been living in Israel for seven years with Israeli boyfriend and faced deportation after breaking up with him – despite being in a new relationship with an Israeli actor. A Wider Bridge

ACTIVISM

A Wider Bridge’s 2016 honoree Roberta Kaplan, recently gave a speech to one of the largest Conservative shuls in the U.S., where a significant number of congregants voted for Donald Trump. “I’ve fought for gay rights in the courtroom and have seen same-sex marriage become the law of the land,” Kaplan said. “Despite narrow interpretations, I argue the belief in God is not inimical to the concept of change.” Tablet Magazine

Following a TV program that documented a teacher coming out to his students, a new social media campaign led by The Aguda – The Israeli National LGBT Task Force –  calls LGBT teachers to come out and create a discourse at their schools. WDG

How many times have you heard the phrase, “But you don’t look gay” and other sayings referring to your sexual identity? Eighteen year old Shira Shan, who is currently on national service at IGY, put together five sentences that she’s tired of hearing. IGY

CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT

Check out our monthly dose of new music from LGBT Israeli/Jewish artists: Korin Allal and Ohad Hitman open up on tough experience, Cantor Juval Porat gives a blessing. A Wider Bridge

TV Show “Younger” recently upped the Jewish content with an observant Jewish lesbian, Malkie, played by Sally Pressman. JTA

Logo Channel’s popular blog NewNowNext features AWB 2016 Mission alumnus Summer Luk, calling her latest song “a powerful anthem of trans authenticity.” NewNowNext

OPINIONS

Some of President-elect Donald Trump’s top advisers support gay conversion therapy, which raises fears of a potential change that could resurrect the communal battle over the practice. Josh Nathan-Kazis writes. The Forward

Gay activist and popular social media personality Omer Nahmany writes on World AIDS Day about acceptance of people with HIV, and how the disease has become a chronic disease- just like psoriasis. A Wider Bridge

Eighteen-year-old NCJW LA intern Emily Heaps was reluctant to come out, and then went from being ashamed of who she was, to waking up every morning loving herself. Change the Talk

Conservative Messianic Jewish radio host Dr. Michael Brown organized an interfaith funeral for his mother, and invited gay Rabbi Bill Kraus to give the Jewish prayers, per the request of his Jewish sister. Rabbi Kraus managed to challenge the author views of LGBT people. “I care deeply about Rabbi Kraus and his gay friends and colleagues,” Dr. Brown wrote. CharismaNews

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

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A Wider Bridge 2016 Mission alumnae Summer Luk and Hannah Simpson posed for a powerful trans pride selfie under the title “My Trans Body is Beautiful”. Follow A Wider Bridge on Instagram