Monthly Archives: January 2012

Jewish School Pupils Taught How To ‘Cure Gays’

This article has been taken from The Jewish Chronicle and available in its original format by clicking here JFS has provoked anger from parents and pupils by teaching sixth formers that homosexuality can be “cured”. As part of the school’s Jewish studies curriculum, pupils are shown a website from the American group JONAH – Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality. It promotes the idea that homosexuality can be “mitigated and potentially eliminated” and sends participants on retreats such as “Journey into Manhood”. The JONAH website is introduced at the end of the textual study part of a lower sixth lesson on homosexuality and the Orthodox viewpoint. Pupils have complained that, coming at the end of the lesson, there is no opportunity for debate and that the JONAH website was effectively presented as the authoritative statement of the Orthodox view. One of the students at a recent lesson said: “We discussed whether someone chooses to be gay or not. Then there was the concluding voice of “the Jewish view”, where we looked at Orthodox Judaism, which condemns homosexuality. “At the end, we were asked what we thought about religious Jews who might hate themselves because their religion condemns being gay. The last slide on the PowerPoint was a picture and a link to the JONAH website, after we were discussing what gay Orthodox Jews can do, if they hate themselves.” The student said there was no condemnation or discussion of the controversy around gay “conversion”, and no alternative group was mentioned. “I was appalled; it felt like it was saying, ‘If you are having doubts, check this out’.” Another pupil who was in the lesson said: “If I were gay or worrying about my sexuality, sitting through that lesson, I would have been so upset. They could have advertised other organisations, which are not there to convert but to support whatever decision people want to make. I know most people were offended by it.” JONAH has run sessions in the UK. Rabbi David Mitchell of West London Synagogue said he was aware of people who had been involved in the organisation’s “therapy”. He said: “I find it deeply distressing that this group was referred to as part of a Jewish studies lesson, and have concerns about whether those preparing have students’ best interests at heart, without referring to the damage JONAH has done.” Keshet UK, the lesbian, gay and transgender forum, whose co-chair Dave Shaw is an ex-JFS pupil, said it was “appalled” at the claims. JFS head teacher Jonathan Miller said the JONAH website was intended to illustrate the different Jewish perspectives on the issue. Mr Miller said: “It is absolutely not the case that we promote JONAH. The teaching materials explicitly state that Judaism would utterly condemn homophobia and discrimination. “The website is referred to at the end of the lesson, as another opinion, ‘some Jews think this’, to leave students with food for thought. He said the school was looking into the issue of when it should be viewed during the lesson. “We are always reviewing what we teach after something like this comes up. There have already been discussions about it at the school. Absolutely, we will address it.” Personally I think this is disgusting, as a Jew I am of the view that those who life their lives in a way that does not affect me should be able to do so without the fear of hatred; and as such I have sent the co-directors Arhur Goldberg & Elaine Silodor an email expressing my disgust. I would advise you to do the same, however if sending an email please put your points across in a polite manor. Their email address is A copy of the email I sent is below.

iCloud – Where Is The Silver Lining

Well its been several months since mobile me was re-branded/relaunched as iCloud, and I thought I would give a little critique as to my current thoughts of Apple’s cloud/syncing solution. Firstly I do honestly believe that MobileMe/iCloud was a vital tool for anyone who owned either more than one mac, or an iPhone/iPad, as it allowed syncing of ‘mission critical’ information such as contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all platforms. For mission critical information MobileMe/iCloud didn’t throw up many problems for me, an event or contact created on one device was already waiting for me on my others when I came to it; however when Apple announced iCloud in 2011, its killer feature was going to be document syncing. Apple had yet to shake away the public perception of iDisk, one that was unreliable, and susceptible to poor data transfer speeds. They were so keen to insure they hit the ground running that they released the developer preview of iCloud several months prior to its general release to insure that developers had ample time to code their apps to insure that they moved away from the customary use of Dropbox sync to iCloud, however there have currently been very few apps released that take advantage of iCloud. The big names that still use DropBox include: 1Password and Text Expander as well as others, I wonder why they haven’t embraced iCloud syncing by Apple? On iOS documents in iWork sync across other devices, however this chain of convenience is broken by the very un-Apple like approach of not implementing document support in the mac versions of iWork. Syncing is possible however users must instead use the web interface, which to be honest is far too much effort. Apple have always got ‘mission critical’ information syncing spot on, and under the old model of MobileMe would have been something I would have paid for, however my 5GB of complementary online storage is currently un-utilised, whereas I am paying for extra storage from SugarSync. I do hope that Apple release iWork ’12 soon that has iCloud properly integrated, thereby encouraging developers to embrace this new technology and use it in conjunction with SugarSync/Dropbox.