Guest blog post from Erez Lieberman (Flatbush H.S. ’97), Open Flatbush Reunions creator and Nachshon Rothstein (Flatbush H.S. ’98)

The petition:

The Yeshivah of Flatbush High School Class of 1997 reunion was held on December 22nd, 2007. Although the vast majority of students were invited to bring guests to the reunion, some students — including an out of the closet homosexual– were singled out and received emails from the Flatbush Administration barring them from bringing a guest:

Dear X,

The Director of our Alumni Association forwarded your request to bring your partner with you to the 10th anniversary reunion this coming Saturday night. As previously stated to you, we welcome your attendance and look forward to your participation. However, your partner cannot attend.

The policy of the school and that is enforced is that only graduates and their spouses (engagements are recognized) are invited. We cannot acknowledge or define your partner relationship as one that falls under this policy. We kindly ask you to respect and follow our Yeshivah’s policy and attend the reunion without your partner.

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary.

Yeshivah of Flatbush

In addition, a book of alumni biographies was circulated at the reunion. Some alumni biographies were censored. This is completely inconsistent with the value of ‘Hachnassat Orchim’ which we, as Flatbush alumni, hold dear. The purpose of this group and petition is to encourage the Yeshivah of Flatbush to begin an ‘Open Reunion’ Policy:

(i) everyone returning to their reunion should be entitled to bring a guest. No one should ever again feel the need to stay home because of alumni profiling.

(ii) barring the use of inappropriate language, alumni biographies should faithfully represent the submission of the alumnus, and not be censored or tampered with in any way.

By joining this group you are expressing your support for an ‘Open Reunions’ Policy at Flabush. Other alumni have already written:

Nobel Prize winner, Eric Kandel, “I strongly support an Open Reunion Policy.” (In 2000, Prof. Kandel won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.)

“Our class reunion is about our relationships with fellow alumni and our feelings of goodwill toward Flatbush – by profiling our classmate Flatbush overstepped its role and risks fostering ill will with thoughtful alumni including the members of this petition. An apology to our classmate and a prompt policy change are in order.”

“As an educational institution, Flatbush has a reputation for instilling in its students the value of respect for their fellow human beings. I’d hate to see that reputation go to waste.”

“The one thing that made the Yeshivah stand out from every other institution was its stress on good will toward your brothers and sisters. The biggest tragedy is when the people teaching these values don’t put enough thought and effort on the feelings of others in order to resolve matters in a civil and respectful way, dehumanizing them. This behavior is no better than that of fanatics who in selfishness do whatever it takes to uphold their opinions and beliefs, the type of behavior that belittles the school in the eyes of the community and belittles Judaism in the eyes of everyone else.”

“I realize Flatbush’s need to follow the letter of the law, but closeminded decisions will only turn their students away from the path of Judaism.”

Please join your alumni in this effort:

Open Flatbush Reunions – End Censorship and Alumni Profiling

The petition: