Making Yeshiva High Schools Inclusive
Eshel-Yeshiva High School
“Take the Pledge Campaign”
As the average coming-out age drops to 14, Yeshiva High School students are in trouble.
“Why did I need to spend two years waking up with stomach aches and dreaming of ways to kill myself?”
That is what one Orthodox gay high school teen in Los Angeles wondered. He’s not alone.
In Yeshiva High Schools across the US and Canada, students are at risk. Eshel is launching the campaign to mobilize Orthodox allies – potentially thousands of alumni – to encourage their schools do better.
Shalhevet, an Orthodox Yeshiva High School in Los Angeles, has adopted an inclusion pledge.
And Eshel is Taking Shalhevet’s pledge national.
Rabbi Ari Segal and a student, Micha Thau drafted a pledge of support, inclusion and guidance for LGBT students to let them know from day one that should have no fear.
We are launching a social media campaign for Yeshiva Day School alumni in the US and Canada to urge their schools with a video campaign and a petition to take Shalhevet’s Pledge.
This is a “bucket challenge” to assure that our yeshivot are supportive environments for everyone.
Read the Pledge
Eshel High School Pledge
Developed by Micha Thau and Rabbi Ari Segal of Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles.
*Our School* strives to be a nurturing and inclusive environment for all of our students. The administration, faculty, and students of *Our School* commit to upholding the values of kavod habriyot and derekh eretz in our relationships with each other. We commit generally to the values of inclusion and make the following pledge to our students
NO EXPULSION:*Our School* supports and respects all of our students. We will not expel, dismiss, suspend or otherwise discipline students for coming out and being open about their gender identity or sexual orientation.
NO BULLYING: No member of *Our School*’s administration, faculty, or student body will be permitted to harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
NO REPARATIVE THERAPY: *Our School* will not recommend, refer, or pressure students towards “reparative” or “conversion therapy.”
SUPPORT: *Our School* will strive to connect students struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity with the support services that they need. If appropriate services cannot be found on school grounds, we will connect students with such opportunities outside of the school.
INTEGRATION: Being open about one’s sexual orientation will not preclude full involvement in religious activities. *Our School* will provide closeted, and “out” students with religious guidance as they need it, with staff who are trained to help teens manage the coming-out process and its integration with religious values.
OPEN ADMISSION: An applicant’s or a parent’s gender identity or sexual orientation will not have a negative impact on the admission process for *Our School*.
If you support this BOLD CAMPAIGN to organize our allies to make Yeshivot RESPONSIBLE.
There are two ways you can help.
1.Take the pledge and speak out as an alumnus and ally.
2. Donate. Your donation makes Orthodox schools a safe haven for everyone!
Take the Pledge
If you’re ready to join hundreds of alumni then pick up your smart phone and urge your school to “Take the Pledge.” Here’s how:
- Hold your phone horizontally.
- Introduce yourself: Share whatever information you are comfortable sharing; for example, you can say your name, what high school you attended, what year you graduated, and where you live now.
- Short Reason you are encouraging your Yeshiva High school to take the Pledge; here are some examples:
- It’s about time!
- My best friend was gay.
- Our kids are worth it.
- I had years of anxiety that began in high school.
- Teens need hope.
- What I learned at Yeshivah taught me that we should take the Pledge!
- End with a clear call: HAFTR, Ramaz, SAR, Flatbush, Frisch, YULA, Maimonides, Ida Crown (fill in the blank)….TAKE THE PLEDGE!
- Post the Video on your social media and tag it with #eshelpledge
- Share that info on the pledge can be found at http://www.eshelonline.org/high-school-pledge
- Notify us that you’ve put it up by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for helping us to launch this campaign to make Orthodox High Schools supportive environments for all our teenagers.