Tel Aviv urges preschools to include LGBT family model in “welcoming Shabbat” services

Example of kindergraden children learning about welcoming in Shabbat (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The Tel Aviv municipality has recommended a new way for its preschools to be more inclusive of LGBT families, according to Israeli media reports this week.

Tel Aviv, which has been voted the “best gay city in the world,” is now encouraging its preschools to purposefully represent diverse family models at their “welcoming Shabbat” services on Fridays. Welcoming Shabbat services are a festive time for the children that may include baking challah bread, singing songs, lighting candles and reciting Shabbat blessings.

“Many preschools have already adopted the recommendation and are hosting Shabbat-welcoming services with rotating volunteers, regardless of their gender identity,” Ynet News reported.

“It’s important to strengthen the children’s expressing of empathy for the feelings of every child, and on the other hand, to strengthen (the sentiment) that their family is worthwhile, good, complete, proper and loving,” Itai Himmelfarb, a psychologist from the public counseling service of Tel Aviv, told Ynet.

Not everyone believes the sentiment is solely about inclusiveness.

“The very idea that the municipality of Tel Aviv wants to introduce alternative family lifestyles to preschoolers especially during their weekly Shabbat observances has nothing to do with wanting to be inclusive, but rather everything to do with reorienting the hearts and minds of impressionable and innocent young children to believe that the homosexual lifestyle is able to be a valid choice consideration once they grow up,” the principal of a Messianic school, Makor HaTikvah, in Jerusalem told KNI. “It is a conscious objective which is trying to be de-stigmatized and actually legitimized in order to make it acceptable and as common an occurrence as heterosexual marriage in society.”

Moti Cohen, who grew up in Tel Aviv and who serves on the pastoral staff at the city’s Tiferet Yeshua Messianic congregation, provided some background to this phenomenon in a recent article.

“In the last few years, Tel Aviv has become more and more liberal in its way of thinking, where its main value is the egalitarianism of genders,” Cohen wrote. “According to this liberal perception there’s no gender difference between a man and a woman, so there is a need to blur the concept of the ‘traditional family’ and highlight this ‘new family’ instead; a family that has a man that’s in a relationship with a man and/or a family that has a mother that’s in a relationship with another mother.”

“It even includes a single mom who prefers career over intimate relationship with a man, but won’t give up on her wish to bear children. That makes her a mom without a permanent partner for life,” Cohen noted. “These days, the LGBT way of thinking is already being injected into our kids when they’re 3 years old in the kindergartens!”

“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14