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Yeshiva University launches ‘mainstream’ alternative to LGBTQ student group

Yeshiva University announced on Monday that it would allow a new group of LGBTQ students to form, the latest twist in a years-long dispute between the Orthodox Jewish university and its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and lesbian students. queer.

The university said the new queer club, Kol Yisrael Areivim, will be an “approved traditional Orthodox alternative” to its current LGBTQ student group, the YU Pride Alliance. School officials have been in a legal battle with the student-run group for more than a year after the university refused to officially recognize it.

“The club will provide space for students to grow in their personal journey, addressing the formidable challenges they face in living a fully engaged and authentic halachic life without compromise within Orthodox communities,” the university said in a statement. , referring to his new band. “Within this association, students can come together, share their experiences, organize events and help each other while benefiting from all the resources of the Yeshiva community – all within the framework of Halacha – like all other clubs students.” (Halakha refers to interpretations of Jewish law, especially the legal part of the Talmud.)

The Pride Alliance criticized the new club as a “sham”.

“This is a desperate move by Yeshiva University to distract from the growing pleas from its donors, alumni, faculty, policy makers and business community, who have stood with the YU Pride Alliance , as we continue to fight for our rights,” the group said in a statement. “The YU sham is not a club because it was not formed by students, is not run by students and has no members; rather, it is a weak attempt by the part of YU to continue to deny LGBTQ students equal treatment as full members of the YU student community.

The Pride Alliance, which first sought official recognition for the New York-based university in 2019, sued the school in April 2021, arguing that Yeshiva violated the city’s human rights law. New York. The university said that as a religious institution, it is exempt from complying with the law.

In June, a state judge ruled in favor of the Pride Alliance, finding the university did not qualify for a religious exemption. And last month, the United States Supreme Court denied the university’s emergency request to overturn New York’s decision.

Soon after, school officials suspended all student club activities. The Pride Alliance then agreed to suspend its efforts to receive official recognition until the end of its legal battle so that the rest of the school’s student groups could reunite. The university is expected to appeal the June ruling in state court.

The Pride Alliance has raised more than $8,200 to fund activities during the legal battle — like guest speakers, book clubs and social events — that it would otherwise access if officially recognized.

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