Bnei Akiva UK congratulates lesbian member couple on engagement, backtracks - report

According to screenshots, Bnei Akiva UK congratulated a lesbian member couple on their engagement in a newsletter, then sent out a revised version without the mazal tov.

Pride flag at Jerusalem Pride march, June 2021 (photo credit: GAL GASHMA)
Pride flag at Jerusalem Pride march, June 2021
(photo credit: GAL GASHMA)

Bnei Akiva UK wished a mazal tov a lesbian couple, both of whom are members of the organization, but then immediately deleted the note, according to a report by the UK's Jewish News. 

According to a screenshot of the newsletter that was sent out, Bnei Akiva UK wished a mazal tov to Anoushka Goldman and Gila Perlman on their engagement — both of whom are members of Shevet Avichai, the cohort born in 1999.

An edited version of the newsletter was sent again after the first congratulatory one, less than two hours later, and without the targeted mazal tovs.

“The incorrect attachment was sent with the previous email. It was a mistake and oversight by a member of the admin staff and was not approved by the mazkirut (Bnei Akiva office) or Rav Shaliach (Bnei Akiva’s rabbi, an Israeli emissary),” the Jewish News reported.

One week ago, Gila Perlman wrote on her Facebook page: "I’m so excited to announce my engagement to Anoushka Goldman." Goldman is photographed wearing a Bnei Akiva sweatshirt and both of the young women are wearing an engagement ring. "We’re so happy to be starting our life together and we’re very grateful to Hashem that we were able to find each other in a way that, unfortunately, many others in the past have not."

Three months ago, Bnei Akiva UK actually criticized its shaliach (emissary) for meeting with Religious Zionist Party MK Bezalel Smotrich and hinting that Smotrich is homophobic. "Bnei Akiva UK stated that it will continue promoting the “inclusion and acceptance of all, and rejecting all forms of racism, homophobia and hate.”