LGBTQ

LGBTQ

View from bimah of Consultation on Conscience 2017 participants filling sanctuary (including the balcony)

With more than 800 Reform Movement leaders and activists gathered at the 2017 Consultation on Conscience, the excitement to build a more just world was palpable.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Trans flag blowing in the wind against a blue sky

The Reform Jewish Movement remains committed to full inclusion for transgender and gender non-conforming people and their families.

Lauren Theodore

In recent days, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has been under a blistering attack by various political and social groups. On the eve of the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, whose theme this year will be a memorial to 16-year-old Shira Banki, who was stabbed to death at last year's parade by an ultra-Orthodox extremist, there is a heavy feeling in the LGBT community.v

Rabbi Noa Sattath

What is the proper religious response to acts of barbarism like the massacre we saw perpetrated against members of the LGBT community in Orlando on Sunday?

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Here are three things you can do during the month of June to honor and celebrate LGBT rights.

Tracy Wolf

A less well-known part of the Holocaust is that the Nazis also rounded up gays and lesbians, forcing them to wear pink triangles on their clothes so they could be easily recognized and further humiliated inside the concentration camps.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

More than four decades after his own tentative step into the world of the Reform Movement's youth programs, Rabbi Michael White reflects on what we can do to inspire and empower today's teens.

Rabbi Michael White

On the bimah during his confirmation, twelfth grader Sean Cooper recounted his coming out experience:

When I came out as a homosexual, I posted a picture to Facebook with my father, with the caption “….”. While some may have previously inferred my sexual orientation, that post was my first official public coming out. The next day, I came to my temple, Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, CA, for a meeting of our youth group. I was greeted at the door by Cantor Doug Cotler, the man I have known my whole life, with a warm hug and friendly “I’m proud of you,” and by Rabbi Julia Weisz with a smile and great warmth. Rabbi Paul Kipnes was even more accepting than anyone. His kind and heartfelt acceptance expressed not only his embracing personal views, but also the wide-open arms of the Jewish community.

Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Already this month, we have celebrated inclusion in its many forms: making congregations accessible to those with disabilities, highlighting women's stories in the Torah and Talmud, breaking the Jewish glass ceiling for women, and of course, celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month. Women of Reform Judaism was ahead of its time and the entire Reform Movement in 1965, when it publicly supported the decriminalization of homosexuality. Since then, WRJ has not stopped speaking up for LGBTQ people and their rights as citizens and as Jews - and the entire Reform Jewish Movement has now joined in.

As a young, queer Jew growing up in a Reform synagogue, I didn't know that these resolutions were being made - that the women in our temple sisterhood were a part of a larger movement to support LGBTQ rights. But I never worried about acceptance in my community. Our small post-confirmation class with the rabbi frequently discussed Reform & Conservative Judaism's support of same-sex marriage. Our adult youth group advisors were a lesbian couple who were married by our rabbi. I knew that if and when I came out, it would be okay.

We all know that the Reform Movement supports LGBTQ Jews, but how can congregations, sisterhoods, and brotherhoods put this audacious hospitality into practice? Here are some ideas:

June is here, and in honor of LGBT Pride Month, we're sharing suggestions for welcoming LGBTQ members into your congregation and community. Do you have ideas to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below!

  1. Celebrate Gay Pride Month (June) with a special Shabbat service. Invite LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer) members to participate and include readings that speak to the experience of being both Jewish and LGBTQ. Consider having a guest speaker deliver a sermon or have a panel of congregants at the oneg to discuss how LGBTQ issues affect their congregational and personal lives.
  1. Phrase your congregational publicity in a way that is inviting to all people. In your congregational advertising, make sure that the LGBTQ population is specifically welcomed at all congregational events.
  1. Review your temple website to make sure that it is welcoming to LGBTQ Jews. Rather than using terms such as “alternative lifestyles” or “non-traditional families,” use language such as, “We proudly welcome members of the LGBTQ community,” or “We welcome LGBTQ Jews and their families.”