Principal Claims Jewish Day School Fired Him Because He’s Gay

A gay man is suing a Jewish day school in Melbourne, claiming he was unfairly fired as principal last year because of his sexuality.

Joseph Gerassi alleges his dismissal from Bialik College in August 2011 was in breach of Australia’s Fair Work Act, and is suing the school for millions of dollars.

He’s believed to be the first openly gay principal of a Jewish school in the country.

The board of directors at Bialik told Gerassi to resign or it would fire him because it had ”lost confidence in his ability to lead the school,” according to a letter from school president Graham Goldsmith, who claims more than a dozen staffers threatened to quit Gerassi wasn’t axed. After his termination, Gerassi was allegedly told by Goldsmith to not speak about it to anyone for nine months if he wanted to keep getting paid for the rest of the school year.

The main Jewish denominations have historically approached homosexuality quite differently: Reformed Judaism welcomes LGBT rabbis since the 1980s and same-sex marriages since the 1990s—Conservative Judaism has done the same, though more recently and with more trepidation. Homosexuality is shunned, however, in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Bialik College, which has more than 1,000 students from preschool through high school, prides itself as “Australia’s only cross-communal Jewish school embracing the entire Jewish community regardless of affiliation or practice and with a strong and positive relationship with Israel.”

Gerassi, who came from Johannesburg to work at Bialik in 2009, is seeking compensation for loss of income, shock, distress, humiliation and damage to his professional reputation.


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  • jerry_pritikin

    Bailik College made the wrong choice, it was the staffers who made threats that should be let go. However being a religious school it becomes a 2 way street. The main thing is that he did nothing wrong just being himself. Remember, not all Jews are liberal or liberated. I happen to be Jewish… and know social justice is needed at all levels. Sadly, private schools are not funded by tax dollars and this becomes a choice of social justice or private funding. I hope Mr. Garassi does not hurt his career by making this a “political” . issue! There is an old adage… taking a political stance on issues in the middle of the road, opens you up to the extremes of both sides of an issue. I hope there is a just settlement in the schools final decision for both sides, but more so for Mr. Garassi.

  • Spike

    Newsflash . . . conservative jews are big time HOMOPHOBES. And try to find any reference to pink triangles at Holocaust Museums . . . just saying.

    And in Israeli, it’s not a matter of there being gays in the military, EVERYONE has to serve in the military, their popular mandates there be no discrimination accordingly.

  • jerry_pritikin

    @Spike: Your overlooking the fact that many who wore Jewish Stars to identify their “crime”,happened to be gay,too. Jews were sent to death camps just for being Jewish. Most gays were sent to work camps. Also keep in mind the # of Jews who were killed to that of gays. Of course each matters. However whole families of Jews, no matter their age were put in death and work camps,compared to gays who families escaped the Holocaust.

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