Bat Kol (organization)
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The organization was founded to provide a home for religious women struggling to reconcile their traditional religious ways of life and their sexual orientation. In July 2008, Bat Kol held its first elections and entered a new phase in its development by becoming an official organization. Bat Kol is a growing community building new pathways for fulfilling and celebrating both religious and lesbian identities, making it possible for women to live in loving relationships and raise children within the context of traditional Judaism and the larger religious community. Working in collaboration with a diverse group of Orthodox Rabbis, Professors, community members and friends, Bat Kol aspires to promote and sponsor education for tolerance and the acceptance of difference within the religious community and society at large.
Bat Kol was founded by ten women in the winter of 2004 and as of January 2010 includes about 300 women whose ages range from 19 to sixty plus. Members of Bat Kol come from various religious backgrounds and include graduates of prominent religious schools in Israel. Some have established gay families and are raising children, others are still in the closet.
Bat Kol is an active organization hosting a range of various programming, activities and meetings throughout the year. Bat is represented in both the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Gay Pride Parades.
Bat Kol is involved in many efforts to promote dialogue about homosexuality between the many factions of the Orthodox community and encourage heart-felt and serious Rabbinic engagement with the issue at the Halachic level. Bat Kol also engages in outreach and supports dialogue with the non-orthodox Jewish communities in both Israel and the Diaspora in the hopes of helping to effect a slow transformation of hostile religious attitudes toward homosexuality as well as hostile secular attitudes towards religion.
- Parents group - Bat Kol established a support group for parents of religious homosexuals and lesbians in cooperation with Tehila. These meetings bring parents together to share their experiences and gain strength from the understanding that they are not alone in the struggle.
- Advocacy project - Bat Kol has joined forces with Havruta, the orthodox gay association, to create Shoval which educates administrators, teachers and counsellors in Israeli elementary, middle-school and high-schools about homosexuality.
- LGBT youth - Women from Bat Kol have created a group for religious lesbian adolescents in cooperation with Israeli Gay Youth (IGY) organization. A parallel group for religious gay male adolescents is supported by Havruta
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