At the start of the new school year in New York, a trans, Jewish teacher at Brooklyn’s Magen David Yeshivah was outed by parents and forced by the school from her job.
Talia Avrahami, who holds a master’s degree in Jewish education from Yeshiva University, was hired shortly before the school year began.
Following parents’ night at the yeshiva, which serves a mostly Syrian Orthodox community, video of Avrahami introducing herself went viral on YouTube and WhatsApp, with accusations that Avrahami was masquerading as a woman. People dug up pictures from before she transitioned and shared them on social media platforms.
Two Orthodox outlets, in posts since removed, disparaged Avrahami’s hire as shocking and “insane.” She was doxed, with her home address published online. The family was forced from their Washington Heights apartment for fear of reprisal. Video of Avrahami leaving her building with her husband and child with bags packed on Friday was posted to an Orthodox YouTube channel.
That video was shot the same day Avrahami was forced to resign her position as a social studies teacher.
According to a spokesperson for Avrahami, the yeshiva told her she wasn’t a good fit for the school. Avrahami agreed to take her salary through January in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement, barring her from disparaging the school publicly.
Over the weekend, the yeshiva sent an email to parents addressing the vacancy: “Please be advised that beginning Monday, September 19th, your child will have a replacement teacher for Social Studies.”
“It’s sad to see that some people want to derail our lives,” Avrahami told The Times of Israel. “We’re questioning whether or not our entire lives are ruined or not. It’s tough.”
“They’re posting pictures of our family, they’re posting where we live, we’re getting death threats. They’ve somehow taken videos outside our home,” she said.
Despite the fact Avrahami signed a non-disclosure agreement with the school, she retains the right to make claims under civil rights employment law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that the protections of Title VII against discrimination applies to people who are LGBTQ.
Last week, Avrahami posted to Facebook seeking a “lawyer with expertise in defamation, contract law and human rights issues.”