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The Eshel Pledge Campaign

Creating Inclusive Orthodox School Communities Make a VideoSign the Petition

The Pledge Background

A student at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles, Micha Thau, suffered for two years in anxious fear before he came out of the closet. He didn’t want other students to have that experience, so Micha and Rabbi Ari Segal drafted a pledge to let LGBTQ students at Shalhevet know from day one that they have nothing to fear. Eshel is taking the Pledge national with the #EshelPledge campaign.

We Need Your Help. Grab your Smartphone!

We are asking you — students and alumni of Orthodox High Schools — along with the parents and grandparents of students — to grab your smartphones and inspire your school to “Take the Pledge.”

  • Record yourself encouraging your school to adopt a policy of inclusion
  • Post and share your video tagged with #EshelPledge and
  • Sign the #EshelPledge Petition

Interested? Keep reading to find out how.

Use Your Voice!

Help us make the Pledge a standard for every Orthodox yeshiva high school in America. Sign the Petition

How to Make a “Pledge Appeal” Video

Join hundreds of alumni by picking up your smart phone and inspiring your school to “Take the Pledge.” (See examples of “Pledge Appeal” videos from Brandeis students)

  1. Find a quiet location where you (and a maybe friend) can comfortably film a 30-45 second video clip.
  2. Hold the phone horizontally (so that it looks like a YouTube video)…and action!
  3. Introduce yourself: Share whatever information you are comfortable sharing; ideally, your name, the name of your high school and the year you graduated (or will graduate).
  4. Then, in your own words, give a short reason why you feel that your high school should “Take the Pledge.” For example:
    • It’s about time!
    • My best friend was gay.
    • Our kids need to know that it’s going to be alright.
    • The pledge would have made a huge difference in my teen years.
    • The values of that you instilled me are the reason that I am asking you to take the pledge.
  5. End with a clear call to action: HAFTR, Ramaz, SAR, Flatbush, Frisch, YULA, Maimonides, Ida Crown (fill in the blank)…TAKE THE PLEDGE!
  6. Post your video on social media (facebook, instagram or twitter) and tag it with #eshelpledge
  7. When you post, you can paste this text as an example:
    “Join me and hundreds of Orthodox yeshiva alumni around the country calling on our yeshivot to take the Eshel Pledge. Learn more at eshelonline.org/pledge
  8. Lastly, sign the Pledge Petition that will go directly to your school administration and faculty.

We will gather your videos and petition signatures over the coming months and present them to yeshiva high school leadership, educators and stakeholders to ensure that all our schools provide every student with hope for a good Jewish future.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Thanks so much for helping us to launch this campaign to make Orthodox High Schools supportive environments for all our teenagers.

Here’s What a “Pledge Appeal” Video Looks Like

The Eshel Pledge

[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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. NO REPARATIVE THERAPY
    [Our School] will not recommend, refer, or pressure students towards “reparative” or “conversion therapy.”
  4. 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.
  5. INTEGRATION
    Being open about one’s sexual orientation will not preclude full participation 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.
  6. 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].