JQY (Jewish Queer Youth) has premiered a series of animated videos to foster kinder, more productive dialogue about the treatment of LGBTQ+ youth in Orthodox Jewish educational settings, according to a press release published on Thursday.
The main video of the series, "Rainbow Club in Yeshiva," tells the story of three yeshiva students who are trying to form an LGBTQ+ student club. The video aims to frame a new community conversation about LGBTQ+ issues that allows "disagreements without divisiveness."
The main characters of the video are Pinky Circleberg, Saphir Oval, and Goldie Cohen, represented by colored shapes. The characters interact with the yeshiva principal, Rabbi Greenbox, with the narrator asking the audience to help the rabbi respond to their request.
A second video, Pinky and Pride, introduces a character named Pinky and his Grandma Circleberg to answer the question "Why Pride?"
The videos, posted on JQY's social media channels, come in the context of the High Holidays and after a year of legal battles between Yeshiva University and a campus Pride alliance. It also comes after a New Jersey kosher bakery refused to make rainbow cupcakes for a synagogue and Pride banners were briefly removed in another New Jersey community at the request of a synagogue.
'Disagreement does not have to be disagreeable'
“We want to model a community conversation about Orthodox LGBTQ+ issues that we can be proud of,” said JQY founder and Clinical Director Mordechai Levovitz. “Disagreement does not have to be disagreeable. We seek to frame a communal discussion where queer people define who we are, what we want, and why we want it. There are no wrong responses, and the hope is that commenters respond with curiosity and not combativeness.”
The videos are aimed primarily at educational institutions, but also at the wider Orthodox and general communities.
Besides the animated videos, JQY also has a library of videos and other resources about Jewish LGBTQ+ life and tolerance.